November 2009

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Concurrent, FourthWall Media (BIAP) Team on End-to-End Advanced Advertising Solution

VOD and advanced advertising technology provider, Concurrent, and FourthWall Media, the interactive TV technology company formerly known as BIAP (note: for more on the company's rebranding, see the article published on itvt.com, October 26th), announced Tuesday that they have formed a partnership to deliver what they are billing as "the industry's first comprehensive, end-to-end advanced advertising solution for broadband operators."

Netflix Over-the-Top Service Now Available on Sony's Bravia TV's and Network Blu-ray Disc Player

--Facebook to Launch on PlayStation 3

Video rental company, Netflix, announced Tuesday that subscribers to its service can now instantly watch its streaming movie and TV show offerings on Sony Bravia connected HDTV's, on earlier Bravia models that are compatible with the company's Bravia Internet video link module, and on the Sony Network Blu-ray Disc Player.

ITV Launches Interactive TV Games for "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!" on Sky and Virgin Media

UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster ITV's ITV Studios Digital Productions arm on Tuesday announced the release of red-button interactive TV games for the reality show, "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!," on the Sky satellite and Virgin Media cable platforms. The games offer a free point of entry, followed by a pay-to-play option for higher-level playing. "We're incredibly excited about the launch of these pay-to-play branded games for 'I'm A Celebrity,'" Patricia Wagstaff, director of digital productions at ITV Studios, said in a prepared statement. "These are the first in a portfolio of interactive games from ITV Studios planned for the Sky and Virgin platforms and I'm confident they will delight their many subscribers.

ATIS's IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF) Releases Three New IPTV Standards

Standards-development organization, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), on Tuesday announced the release of three new IPTV standards, which were recently completed by its IPTV Interoperability Forum (IIF), and which it says standardize multiple areas of the IPTV ecosystem. The organization says that the new standards cover a test plan for validating objective quality models in the context of IPTV services; IPTV software download sequence and remote management security considerations and requirements to ensure interoperability between service provider IPTV multicast applications; and network provider domains, home networks and the IPTV terminal device.

Zugara, RichRelevance Launch Augmented Reality-Driven Social Shopping Application on Tobi.com

--"Fashionista" App Lets Consumers Use their Webcams to Try on Clothes "Virtually"

Interactive marketing company, Zugara, and RichRelevance, a company that specializes in personalization and product-recommendation tools for ecommerce sites, on Monday announced the launch of a new, augmented reality-driven "social shopping" application, called "Fashionista," that they describe as combining "the benefits of the fitting room with the convenience of online shopping and the power of the social Web." The app, which is initially being offered by fashion retailer, Tobi.com, is billed by the companies as combining augmented reality, motion capture and real-time personalization in order to create a "more social and intuitive" way to shop for clothes on the Web.

New Social TV App, NBC.com Communicator, Lets Viewers Interact with One Another via VoIP

Broadcast network NBC on Monday announced the launch of a new social TV application called the NBC.com Communicator. According to the broadcaster, the app, which was developed by Toronto-based Itibiti Systems, offers users a "one-stop mix" of custom NBC content, services and communication tools--including, most notably, computer-to-computer voice calling over IP--on the computer desktop.

Cablevision Launches "iO Search" Interactive TV Application

New York-area MSO, Cablevision, said Monday that it has successfully launched a new interactive TV application, called iO Search, across its entire service area (note: Cablevision's iO digital cable service enjoys a 94% penetration rate among the MSO's subscriber base). As its name implies, the new app is designed to make it easy for customers to search for programming, both on linear TV channels and VOD.

Foxtel Using OpenTV Interactive TV Middleware and Apps for its Next-Generation Platform

--Telstra to Begin Trial of "T-box" This Week

Interactive TV and advanced advertising technology provider, OpenTV (note: Kudelski is currently finalizing the process of acquiring full control of the company--see the article published on itvt.com, November 16th), said Monday that Australian pay-TV operator, Foxtel, which is a longtime OpenTV customer, has launched its next-generation platform in collaboration with the company.

South Africa Selects MHEG-5 as the Interactive TV Middleware for its Digital Switchover

The International MHEG Promotion Alliance (IMPALA), an organization that was set up in 2006 by Strategy & Technology, Cabot Communications and EchoStar Europe to promote use of the MHEG-5 standard outside the UK (note: MHEG-5 is the middleware standard upon which the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial service, Freeview, is based; it was developed and standardized in the mid-90's as part of the DAVIC standardization effort to support interactivity and navigation for VOD services), announced Monday that South Africa, via the country's Digital Dzonga Advisory Council, has selected MHEG-5 as the interactive TV middleware for its digital switchover.

DTV Media Planning Company, Leap Media, Names Tim Hanlon, Barry S. Fischer to Advisory Board

--New Hires Round-Up: Move Networks, Sinclair Broadcast Group, BBC

Digital TV media planning and implementation services company, Leap Media Group, has named Tim Hanlon and Barry S. Fischer as the first members of its Board of Advisors. According to the company, the board will be comprised of "leaders from the sales and agency sides of television and interactive media," and will provide strategic advice and guidance on market opportunities.

MaxPreps.com in High-School Sports VOD Deal with Comcast

--Cox, NBCU Team on Trial of Dynamic VOD Advertising

MaxPreps.com, a CBS Interactive-owned Web site that offers coverage of high-school sports, said Monday that it has signed a deal with Comcast to deliver an extensive line-up of high-school sports VOD programming on Comcast's Houston system. According to the company, the deal will see it producing "hundreds" of short-form features on high-school sports teams and athletes from the Houston area throughout the 2009-10 school year. The content will be available for free in the "Get Local" section of Comcast Houston's VOD platform.

Programming available as a result of the deal consists of three different types of feature:

Kaltura in Open Source Broadband Video Partnership with LongTail Video

--LongTail's JW Player and AdSolution Integrated with Kaltura's Broadband Video Platform

Kaltura, a company that offers what it bills as the first open source broadband video platform, and LongTail Video, a company that offers an open source video player, will today announce that they have formed a strategic partnership which they claim will boost open standards, flexibility and innovation in the broadband video space.

Univision to Offer Long- and Short-Form Programming on YouTube

--YouTube Teams with Target on "Holiday Solutions" Channel, Launches Citizen Journalism Tool

Univision Interactive Media, the digital arm of US Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision Communications, said Monday that it has signed a deal with YouTube to offer short- and long-form video on the latter's site. "This is a very exciting milestone, as it represents the first time that any Univision programming is available on the Web outside our own properties in both a short- and long-form format," Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, said in a prepared statement.

Brightcove 4 Features Support for Native iPhone App Development, Expanded Live Streaming and More

--Brightcove Targets SMB's with Entry-Level Brightcove Express Offering, Priced from $99 per Month

Broadband video publishing solutions provider, Brightcove, on Monday announced the general availability of Brightcove 4, which it describes as a "major new release" of its flagship online video platform that incorporates a range of new features, including support for native iPhone video application development, expanded live streaming capabilities, advanced analytics, and new resources for video distribution, monetization and custom online video applications.

Sezmi Secures $25 Million in New Funding, Launches Public Pilot in Los Angeles

--Company's Flagship Offering Combines Traditional TV, Movies and Internet Video

Sezmi, a company that has developed a set-top box-based offering which it bills as "combining traditional TV content, movies and Internet video in a single, easy-to-use product and service," said Monday that it has secured $25 million in new funding from new and existing investors. The company--which last year announced that it had raised $33 million in an earlier funding round--also announced Monday that it has made its "all-in-one personalized television service" available via a public pilot in Los Angeles, in preparation for a nationwide launch next year.