February 2006

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ITV Interview: Ian Blaine, Co-Founder and CEO, thePlatform

Theplatformlogo2006_1 Theplatformianblaine2006 Ian Blaine is co-founder and CEO of thePlatform, a cross-platform digital video publishing company, whose customers include Starz Entertainment Group, Verizon Wireless, Amp'd Mobile, Comcast, CNBC and Scripps Networks.

DirecTV to Offer Interactive TV Services for NCAA "March Madness"

Directvlogotv2005 News Corp.-controlled satellite TV provider, DirecTV, plans to offer an array of interactive TV services as part of its Mega March Madness package of coverage of the 2006 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship (begins March 16th). The interactive services are similar to those that DirecTV offered as part of its NFL Sunday Ticket SuperFan package last year.

Veoh Says 250,000 Videos Downloaded To Date

--Will Launch New Version of its Service March 1st

CNN Launches Interactive TV News App on EchoStar's DISH Network

Cnnlogo2005_1 News programmer, CNN, has launched an interactive TV news application on US satellite TV provider EchoStar's DISH Network. Dubbed "CNN Enhanced TV" and accessed via the DISH Network's interactive TV portal, DishHOME (channel 100), or by pressing "select" during a commercial for the application (note: EchoStar says that viewers will eventually be able to access the app from CNN's linear channel), the app was built by OpenTV, whose middleware powers interactivity on the DISH service (note: currently around 11 mill

Cellcast Enabling User-Generated 3G Content on Interactive TV Dating Show

--Also Plans to Support Mapping of User-Generated 3G Video onto 3D Avatars

Bluestreak, Sporever Team on Interactive Multimedia Sports Solution for Mobiles

Bluestreaktechlogo2005 Dallas, Texas-based Bluestreak Network (note: the latter was founded in spring 2002, when John Reed, who currently serves as its chairman and CEO, and his partner, Tom Peters, who serves as its president and COO, used their own financial resources to purchase the interactive TV assets of Montreal-based software company, ZAQ, and the streaming-media assets of networking company, Source Media: Bluestreak's current product portfolio is based on patented technologies from both of those forbears) says that it has integrated t

New Version of DigiSoft's DigiHost Platform Supports IPTV, as well as OCAP, ETV

Digisoftlogo2006 Cork, Ireland-based DigiSoft has released version 2.2 of its flagship platform for developing, deploying and managing interactive TV applications, DigiHost. In addition to supporting OCAP and ETV applications, the new version of the platform now also supports IPTV apps: the launch follows the release of single-server hybrid support for IPTV and for MHP digital terrestrial television (DTT) last September.

VOD Service, Mag Rack, Unveils New Line-Up of Hosts and Series for 2006

--Hosts Include Actor, John Lithgow

VIDEOCLIPS: NATPE 2006

Here is a selection of videoclips from the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) 2006 conference, which took place January 24th-26th in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The clips were taken during panel discussions, at demos, and on the show floor. Click on the descriptions below to view the clips.

ADVICE FOR INTERACTIVE/BROADBAND TV PRODUCERS

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Sling Media Secures $46.6 Million in New Funding

--Funding Round Led by Liberty Media, EchoStar

Channel 4 Shuts Down its Red-Button Interactive TV Service

--Will Still Support Red-Button Advertising

Video Networks/HomeChoice Said to be Up for Sale

A recent report in the UK newspaper, The Express on Sunday, claims that Video Networks, the company behind the pioneering IPTV-enabled triple-play service, HomeChoice, has put itself up for sale, with an asking price of approximately £200 million The newspaper said that potential buyers include BSkyB, which has long been rumored to be eyeing the company (note: in conversations with analysts that followed BSkyB's announcement last year of a £211 million deal to acquire broadband ISP, Easynet, BSkyB CEO, James Murdoch, conceded that his company might make additional purchases in the broadband space: "In a marketplace changing as rapidly as this, we are keeping all our options open," he said).

AOL to Invest in Local Loop Unbundling in the UK

--Plans to Offer IPTV, VOD and Advanced Gaming Services

Mobile DTV Alliance Formed to Promote Growth of DVB-H Standard

Four prominent wireless technology companies--Intel, Modeo (which is owned by Crown Castle), Nokia and Texas Instruments--have formed an organization, called the Mobile DTV Alliance, to promote the growth of Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H), an open procedure standard for broadcast digital TV reception on mobile devices (note: a fifth major wireless technology provider, Qualcomm, has committed to a proprietary technology called MediaFLO). The companies say that the organization will focus on promoting best practices and open standards that will help deliver premium-quality broadcast television to mobile devices in the North American market.

IPDR.org in Bid to Develop Accounting and Settlement Standards for IPTV

The Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR.org)--an open consortium of service providers, software and equipment vendors, system integrators, and billing and mediation vendors, which developed the Internet Protocol Detail Record interface used by IP service providers to capture network data usage information, and whose overall goal is to facilitate service measurement and exchange for next-generation IP services by implementing de facto standards--has announced plans to hold an open, industry-wide meeting as part of an initiative to develop accounting and settlement standards for IPTV services. The organization says that the meeting will allow all interested parties--including telcos, broadband network operators, cable companies, content providers, support v