Yahoo Calls for Widget TV Developers

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Yahoo is expanding its Connected TV program so that developers can build fee-based widgets for television sets that use the Yahoo application platform.

The widgets, which developers can price between US$0.99 and $99, will be sold through the Yahoo Connected TV Store, slated for launch next March. Yahoo will process the transactions and split the revenue with the developers.

TV widgets appear as icons on the screen and, when highlighted and clicked on with the remote control, launch an Internet application optimized for television.

TV manufacturers participating in the program include Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio and Toshiba. Developers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Spain, Sweden, France, Canada and Australia can participate now. Yahoo plans to expand the program to other countries.

Participating developers include game companies Accedo Broadband and PlayJam, weather information provider MyCast Weather and MediaFly, with its video upload and sharing widget Kadoo.

Accessing Internet content and services through television sets is growing in popularity, but the delivery and revenue models are in flux, with a broad variety of players involved in this market.

At this week's Web 2.0 Summit, Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz acknowledged that while her company is satisfied with what it has in place with its Connected TV platform, it's paying attention to the market developments and may adjust its technology approach.

"I love what that [Connected TV] widget team did and I also loved that business development was hand in hand with them and went to the Sonys, and Panasonics and Toshibas and so on and so forth," she said.

But with major companies like Apple and Google getting in on the act, change is in the air, she said. "One of the things we're looking at is whether just having an API layer is good enough or whether we should think of a different way to work than the widget way," she said.

"So we're continuing to push that. We've got a great, small, young, aggressive team on this, but it could change -- I don't know -- because the landscape is changing," she said.

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