Pushbutton are notable for being one of only a handful of independents still creating digital satellite interactive television services in the UK, in an industry that has undergone significant consolidation and upheaval, and has long been dominated by major players like BSkyB and NDS Group (both owned or partly owned by News Corp).
Prior to setting up Pushbutton, Paula Byrne led the team responsible for delivering interactive applications and services on the Open.... interactive television platform, which subsequently evolved into Sky Active after Sky bought out the other partners in the Open.... venture (BT, Matsushita, and HSBC).
In 2004, James Cumberbatch, also ex-BSkyB joined the company as Development Director, and became a co-owner of the company; in the same year the company established a design studio in Brighton. Since then more ex-BSkyB staff have been added to the development and design teams, and the company has branched out into interactive advertising, and the creation of complete interactive services for the likes of National Geographic Channel and Disney Channel UK.
In 2007 the company relocated operations from Brighton to Carlisle Street in Soho. Their main offices moved again early in 2008 to St John Street in Smithfield, London. They have a separate administrative office in Harpenden.
Information about technologies for application delivery on internet-based platforms is widely available, both for services delivered via the public internet to traditional web browser client software (perhaps using Flash or AJAX), and those delivered on closed networks like BT Vision (which uses Microsoft's Mediaroom platform).
However, the digital satellite services Pushbutton have created are chiefly designed to run on set-top boxes with the less-well-known OpenTV middleware, where Pushbutton's exposure to interactive tv technologies on "both sides of the fence" is notable:
Development of interactive services was subsequently simplified using a templated subset of GEOFF functionality created for ITV by TwoWayTV, and integrated with a Content Management System developed by Tamblin (now part of Alcatel-Lucent). Pushbutton staff assisted in the template development, and in steering the development of the GEOFF platform.
During 2007 ITV changed the underlying technology supporting their interactive services on Sky; ITV's most recent interactive services, as seen alongside shows like Loose Women are created using tools provided by Emuse amongst others.
Where the phone call is made to a freephone number, the cost of the connection is borne by the providers of the interactive service, rather than by the consumer.
Their largest client for some years was UK broadcaster ITV. Between 2004 and 2007 Pushbutton designed and built interactive services for all of ITV’s biggest shows, including The X Factor, Coronation Street, I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, Emmerdale, This Morning, and ITV's World Cup coverage.
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