'Big Brother' duo in £24m float on AIM

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The Independent Online

The brains behind the hit international television show Big Brother will float their latest venture on AIM this week, raising £24.3m in the process.

2waytraffic, which develops ways for viewers to interact with television programmes, will begin trading on Friday. The shares have already been placed with City institutions at 116p each, valuing the company at £108m.

The company's founders, Unico Glorie and Kees Abrahams, will retain a three-quarter stake in the company. The pair are responsible for commissioning and developing Big Brother.

On 2waytraffic's programmes, viewers typically respond to quiz questions by text messages or the phone. The company also sells ringtones, games and horoscopes that can be downloaded on to mobile phones.

The Netherlands-based company was set up in 2004 and is responsible for 115 hours of broadcasting a week in countries including Denmark and Romania.

Mr Abrahams said new technologies have jeopardised traditional broadcasting business models that rely on advertising for revenue. Technologies such as Tivo are increasingly making it possible for viewers to bypass advertising. 2waytraffic attempts to solve this problem by generating cash directly from viewers, rather than by selling an audience to advertisers. The revenues are then shared between 2waytraffic and the broadcaster.

A statement said yesterday the float "will enable the company to make selective acquisitions and play an active role in the consolidation of the interactive content market".

The two founders and Jeroen Tielens, the new finance director, previously worked for Endemol, the Big Brother creator.