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MGt Launches Online Video Micropayments Platform
UK-based payment and billing services provider MGt—whose customers include Freeview, BT, Digital UK, and Sony—introduces micropayments for video across multiple devices

MGt, a specialist provider of payment and billing services, has launched micropayment package PayWizard with an eye to monetizing video content for content owners and consumer electronics manufacturers across multiple devices.

Unveiling the product at IBC, the UK-based firm said it would enable broadcasters to capitalise on the benefits of digital media.

"MGt's expertise is in enterprise level CRM to multiple broadcast platforms," explained Stephen Petheram, director of marketing. "We already bill £250 million (approximately 300 Euro) a year for our clients so we understand the billing cycle and we have good relationships with banks. We decided to take that subscription payment provenance and add to it a pre-paid e-wallet that securely supports micropayment transactions in multiple currencies across digital set-top boxes, connected TVs, smartphones, PCs, and iPads."

Petheram explained that MGt's business model was based on per transaction revenue share. Assets below £5.00 would be billed at 5p and 5% while assets above £5 would be billed at 10p and 3%.

"So this really drives opens up the micropayment market. You could have a 10p asset and you are still making margin," he said.

Customers would be able to top up the wallet in a number of ways, including direct debit, one-off or periodic credit card payments, and via automated payments based on a user-defined threshold. PayWizard also manages all traditional subscription based pay-TV billing.

"There are things we can offer which are unique against iTunes or PayPal or other billing systems," he says. "We understand pre-authorisation of cards which in the media world means when you press play it does play - there's no need for consumers to log in, write a password check out and come back again. If you've got enough in the ewallet to manage the transaction the video will play seamlessly but pre-authorisation also means there will always be a minimum commercially viable amount in the ewallet.

"In addition we want to push all of that transactional information and device based information, straight back to the merchant in realtime, providing detailed data dashboards so that they can react to that knowledge."

Petheram said four companies had so far begun integrating PayWizard although he could give no names.

In the UK, the biggest play for MGt is the impending Project Canvas connected TV platform which Petheram said the company was actively looking to engage with.

"Paypal has a fantastic business but it is largely based on the PC and it has not committed one way or another to Canvas.  We absolutely will. We will talk to Canvas STB makers and Canvas content owners including five and ITV and a lot of the smaller broadcasters."

Console gaming and print publishers as well as application development houses are interested parties.

"There is a community who understand micropayment, they are able to do it on mobile, but unable as yet to do it across the media space," he says. "Traditional broadcasters wanting an easy means to monetise the long tail of archive content will also find a solution in PayWizard. As Mike Darcey (COO, BSkyB) accurately observed ‘micropayment means microrevenue' so we believe in allying micropayment with the subscription piece."

Mobile operators and CE manufacturers of connected TVs from LG to Sony are a target for MGt, as are content owners like CNN and Universal.

Most of MGt's current business is in the UK and Europe with customers including Freeview, Top Up TV, BT, Digital UK, and Sony Entertainment TV but the U.S. is definitely a target, Petheram added.