ONdigital hires Visa e-specialist

Digital terrestrial broadcaster ONdigital has appointed an expert in electronic payments and e-commerce to boost its interactive services.

Tony Morreta, former vice-president of new products for Visa International’s European Union operations, will oversee the development of user-friendly new technology for the TV mass-market.

ONdigital is months behind interactive services rival Open – the broadcaster, part owned by BSkyB, which launched officially in the middle of October.

However, ONdigital – a joint venture between Carlton TV and Granada TV – has struck a deal with Scottish Telecom-owned Demon Internet to offer e-mail on TV by the end of the year. It is also planning pay-per-view TV, home shopping and more sophisticated TV games.

Morreta, who reports to operations director Simon Dore, says: “Everyone is talking about what interactive services are capable of. But we intend to develop the proposition for the consumer, not just the technology.

“People want to sit in front of the TV to watch TV. They don’t want too much interference. We want to make the interactive services fit with TV viewing as seamlessly as possible.”

Morreta says ONdigital’s set-top boxes, now on sale with a pre-pay subscription offer, have the technology to offer “a lot more” services.

At Visa, Morreta concentrated on smartcard technology, developing the Visacash electronic purse, which is on trial in Leeds.

Before joining Visa, he worked for NatWest as senior manager of commercial development for Mondex UK – the electronic payment system.

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