kids

Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): PBS, Roku, Disney, Fling Soft, "Travel with Kids," YouTube

--PBS to Premiere First Episode of New Ken Burns Documentary on its iPad and iPhone/iPod touch Apps
--Roku Adds Disney App Featuring Short-Form Video
--TV Series, "Travel with Kids," Launches on Roku; Official YouTube Roku Channel Set to Launch

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on TVOT NYC Intensive 2011, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): NDS, Netflix, Ooyala, ESPN

--NDS Unveils its IBC 2011 Exhibit Plans
--Netflix Launches Children's Version of its Service
--Ooyala Tapped to Power Online Video for ESPN

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks--as well as working on our second annual TVOT NYC Intensive event--we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us a few more days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

Charter Launches PBS Kids Sprout on its VOD Platform

Charter Communications announced last week that it has launched PBS Kids Sprout--a multiplatform programming service which is a joint venture between PBS, Comcast, HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop and which targets children aged 2-5--on its VOD platform. The MSO also says it plans to make the service's 24-hour linear channel available on a market-by-market basis by the end of the year.

High-Profile Interactive TV Industry Figure, John P. Roberts, Joins Discovery-Hasbro JV, The Hub

--Roberts Pioneered Participation TV in the US while at the Game Show Network

John P. Roberts, the executive who pioneered participation TV in the US as SVP of digital media and entertainment at the Game Show Network (now GSN), has been named SVP of digital content and cross-platform entertainment at The Hub, a multiplatform children's TV network that is a joint venture between Discovery and Hasbro and that is scheduled to launch October 10th with what it promises will be a "robust and engaging online presence." He will report to The Hub's president and CEO, Margaret Loesch.

BBC Announces Plans to Offer Four Original "Interactive Episodes" of "Doctor Who"

--Also Makes Children's Radio Reports Available through Red Button
--Commissions Second Series of "EastEnders" Broadband TV Spin-Off

The BBC last week announced plans to offer four original "interactive episodes" of its long-running scifi series, "Doctor Who." Entitled "Doctor Who--The Adventure Games" and available free of charge on bbc.co.uk/doctorwho, the "interactive episodes" will take the form of downloadable computer games for PC and Mac that will allow players to assume control of The Doctor and his human sidekick, Amy, as they embark on new adventures that complement the latest season of the TV series, the corporation says.

Music Choice Says Viewers Responding Enthusiastically to New Interactive Network, SWRV

--Imira, Enne Team on Interactive TV Series for Children
--MySpace, Fox Inviting Viewers to Audition for New Roles in "Glee"
--"Sims" Creator, Will Wright, Said to Be Teaming with Current TV on Interactive TV Series

Multiplatform music programmer, Music Choice, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that its new 24/7 interactive music video network, SWRV, has generated 500,000 viewer interactions in 750,000 homes since its launch last month. According to the company, 54% of those interactions were via the Web (http://www.swrv.tv) and 46% via the phone.

News Round-Up

--Brightcove Powering Broadband Video for New Sports Social Media Site, Sportpost
--FTC Seeking Input on Whether COPPA Should Be Updated to Reflect Interactive TV, Other New Tech
--Harmonic Secures VOD and Web/Mobile TV Deals in China and Switzerland
--Hulu Sued by Hulavision
--LG Electronics Demo'ing Mobile Phones with Broadcast DTV Reception
--Twitter-Based Interactive TV Show Launched in Spain
--Widevine and Verimatrix Settle Patent Dispute

Here is a round-up of some other recent interactive TV-related stories that we didn't have room for in this issue:

BBC Launches @North Initiative to Boost Interactive/Multiplatform TV Industry in North of England

--Initiative Has £500,000 Budget to Support Development of Interactive Content for Children

The BBC on Wednesday unveiled a new digital initiative, called @North, that is designed to boost the interactive/multiplatform TV industry in the north of England, the region in which Salford--the city to which a number of BBC departments, including Future Media & Technology and Children's, are scheduled to move in 2011--is located.

"Sesame Street" Launches its First-Ever iPhone App, Makes Current-Season Episodes Available on iTunes

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the long-running children's TV show, "Sesame Street" (which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary), said Wednesday that it has teamed with design consultancy, IDEO, to launch the first-ever official "Sesame Street" iPhone/iPod touch app.

Characters from New E4 Show, "Misfits" to Tweet to Audience During Each Episode

--Other "In-Character" Multiplatform Extensions Include Facebook Page, YouTube Channel

"Misfits," a new drama series from Channel 4's digital channel, E4, that centers on a group of teenage superheroes, will offer a multiplatform experience by having two of its characters send out tweets during the course of each of its hour-long episodes, according to an article in The Guardian. The tweets for the show's first episode have been written in advance of its November 12th broadcast by a team led by the show's head writer, Howard Overman, and tweets will also be incorporated into the show's other five episodes, the show's producers say.

BBC Unveils Revamped Red-Button Interactive TV Service for Children's Channel, CBeebies

--Corporation also Launches Audio-Described Programming on the BBC iPlayer

In a posting on the BBC Red Button team's Press Red blog last week, Damian Vicary, interactive TV producer for BBC Children's, announced the launch of a revamped red-button interactive TV service for CBeebies, the BBC's digital channel for children six and under. Among other things, the new version of the service (which is accessed by pressing red while watching CBeebies) features:

BBC Children's Planning More Red-Button "Children's Commentaries" for Major Sporting Events

--CBeebies to Launch Red-Button Quiz for "Numberjacks"

BBC Children's interactive division is planning to work with BBC Sport to produce "children's commentaries" for major sports events and make them available through the red button, according to a report in the UK broadcast-industry trade publication, Broadcast.

KidZui Launches Broadband Video Site for Children, ZuiTube.com

--Site Features Around 60,000 Videos, Reviewed and Curated by Team of Parents and Teachers

KidZui, a company that offers a "safe" Web browser for children, has launched a YouTube-powered broadband video site, called ZuiTube.com. According to the company, the site--which is free and appears to carry no advertising (Kidzui generates revenue by, among other things, selling memberships that add various features to its flagship browser)--offers an intuitive user interface specially designed for children, and a library of nearly 60,000 "parent and teacher approved" YouTube-sourced videos, which it claims is the largest catalog of child-appropriate videos available online.

The Puppy Channel Launches New Video and Social Features

Channemals, a company that operates a broadband video-enabled site called The Puppy Channel (thepuppychannel.com), contacted [itvt] Wednesday to let us know that--in time for the "Dog Days of August"--it has enhanced the site with various new video and social features. According to the company, the enhancements were made possible by "investment received in four successive quarters" and are part of an "expanded strategic plan" that was developed by "new partner," Scott Carmichael, who was previously involved with such services as JibJab.com (where he was a senior director), ElfYourself/StarringYou and Getback.com.

Jim Henson Company to Produce Original Animated Series for PBSKIDSGO.org

--Show Designed to Teach Children about American Culture, History and Geography

PBS has tapped The Jim Henson Company to produce an educational animated series that will be offered exclusively on its PBSKIDSGO.org Web site (designed for early elementary school children) this fall. Entitled "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America," the new show, which is targeted at 6- to 10-year-olds, follows two comical gopher brothers, Wilson and Ditch, on a cross-country road trip in a "green-powered van," during which they learn about American culture, history and geography while exploring various famous destinations, including cities and national parks.

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