January 2010

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News Round-Up: Regulatory and Government

--Comcast: Union with NBCU Will Help "TV Everywhere" and Broadband Market in General
--NCTA Urges FCC not to Rush to Mandate "Standardized Gateway"

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of regulatory/government news for the past few days:

News Round-Up: Interactive TV Technologies and Operators

--Sky Reveals its 3D TV Plans
--Miniweb in Advertising Deal with Real Media
--Rovi in Multi-Year EPG Patent License Agreement with Austar
--RTB Launches Interactive TV Service

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of interactive TV technology/operator news for the past few days.

News Round-Up: Interactive/Multiplatform TV Content

--Bravo in Partnership with Mobile Social Network, Foursquare
--Elisabeth Murdoch Stresses Importance of Social Media to Future of TV
--NBCU Unveils Plans for Measuring Multiplatform Viewing of its Olympics Coverage
--Sky Betting and Gaming Shifts Focus from Interactive TV to Online

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of interactive TV content news for the past few days:

News Round-Up: Broadband Video

--Clikthrough Teams with EuroRSCG to Create Interactive Video for New PlayStation Game
--Immersive Media Powers Live Interactive Video Coverage of Grammys Red Carpet
--NFL Network Programs, Super Bowl "AdZone" Launch on Hulu
--Ooyala Powering Video for TVGuide.com, IC Places
--SeeSaw Secures Multiple New Content Deals
--Ustream Launches Tool to Enable Users to Increase Production Values of their Broadcasts
--1.3 Million Viewers for White House's Live Streaming Coverage of State of the Union Address

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of broadband video news for the past few days:

New iTV Doctor Column on AT&T U-verse TV's Interactive TV Apps Strategy

--AT&T U-verse TV's GW Shaw Explains What the Service Has Learned from its
Customers

[itvt] has just published the latest edition of Rick Howe's regular column, "The iTV Doctor Is In!" This week, GW Shaw, executive director of AT&T U-verse marketing, discusses AT&T U-verse TV's interactive TV apps strategy, and how that strategy has been shaped by what it has learned from its customers since launching its first ITV apps back in 2006.

CEO Wood: Content Subscriptions More Important to Roku's Business Plan than Hardware Sales

--Roku Claims to Have Sold 500k+ Units, Plans to Raise $30 Mil this Quarter, May Go Public Next Year
--48% of Netflix Subscribers Now Accessing its Content OTT

In an interview with Bloomberg News that was published Wednesday, Anthony Wood, CEO of over-the-top company, Roku, revealed that the company hopes to raise $30 million in private funding this quarter from Menlo Ventures and other sources, and that it may go public next year--though he added that it is not currently working with an investment bank and has yet to set a date for an IPO.

MLB.TV to Be Available on Apple's New iPad, Other Portable Devices

MLB.com, the digital arm of Major League Baseball, announced Wednesday that, starting with the 2010 season, its subscription-based, live streaming-enabled broadband video service, MLB.TV, will for the first time offer portability. According to the company, subscribers to the service will be able to access a complete season of 2,430 games on a range of portable interactive platforms, including the new Apple iPad and the MLB.com At Bat 2010 app for iPhone/iPod touch. The company says that it expects to be able to announce additional platforms for MLB.TV's live streaming prior to baseball's Opening Day.

Canoe Ventures Names John Redpath SVP and General Counsel

Canoe Ventures, the company tasked with implementing the US cable industry's plans for interactive and addressable advertising (note: its backers are Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Cablevision and Bright House), announced Wednesday that it has appointed John Redpath as SVP and general counsel.

iN Demand to Offer Movies-on-Demand Category Dedicated to Black History Month

Cable industry-owned VOD content aggregator, iN Demand, announced Wednesday that on February 1st it will launch a new movies-on-demand category, designed to celebrate Black History Month. Dubbed Black Cinema On Demand, the category will offer films featuring African-American directors, actors and themes.

Music Choice's VOD Service Most Popular in US, According to Rentrak Data

--Comcast Offering Extensive Package of VOD Content for Obama's State of the Union
--Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium to Offer 700+ Hours of VOD Olympics Coverage

Multiplatform music video programmer, Music Choice, said Wednesday that its VOD service, Music Choice On Demand, generated over a billion orders in 2009, making it the number-one VOD network for the year. The company cited data from media measurement and analytics company, Rentrak, which it says confirmed that its service secured the most orders of any free or premium VOD service and surpassed all free VOD services for total unique set-top boxes accessing its content. The company also said that the data showed that the service accumulated more than double the orders of most other VOD music services combined, with nearly three out of every four music-related orders in 2009 being for Music Choice content.

WatchNBuy.com to White-Label its Interactive Video Commerce Player

Interactive video commerce company, WatchNBuy.com, announced Wednesday that it is offering its interactive video player on a white-label basis to other Web site operators. The player, which is powered by technologies from Jivox, allows viewers to click on items for sale in a video, in order to launch supplemental product information that appears to the right of the screen, and lets them make purchases without stopping the video or leaving the video page. According to WatchNBuy.com, the player will work on any third-party Web site: Web site operators simply insert a line of code in the page in which they want the player to operate, the company says.

Ooyala Launches Localized Version of its Broadband Video Publishing Platform for Japan

--Also Launches Self-Serve Web Site for Japanese Market

Earlier this month (see the article published on itvt.com, January 12th), broadband video platform provider, Ooyala, announced that it had entered into a partnership with NTT Smartconnect--a subsidiary of Asia's largest telco, NTT Holdings--to sell a localized, co-branded version of its flagship Backlot video platform in Japan. On Wednesday, the company launched the new Japanese version of the platform, together with a Japanese Web site.

Exclusive: TAG Interactive TV Games Channel Tops Major Linear Channels in Daily Viewing Averages

--TNS STB Data Show Channel Retains Viewers for Longer than Disney, CNN, Nickelodeon and Others

TAG Networks--an interactive TV games company that has developed a games-on-demand channel, called TAG, which it says integrates with existing VOD infrastructures (note: the company has a history of working closely with ActiveVideo Networks and is involved in the latter's deployments with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision)--contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that new TNS data, measuring daily time spent viewing per set-top box, show that the TAG channel topped 43 linear channels available through Time Warner Cable's Hawaiian arm, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, for the most minutes viewers spent watching.

Total Immersion Creates Interactive Augmented Reality Applications for Paramount, Fox, Universal

Augmented reality specialist, Total Immersion, recently contacted [itvt] to let us know about some of the interactive AR applications it has completed over the past few months. The apps are all triggered by holding up a movie or album's packaging in front of a Webcam, which allows a hidden visual code to launch the app:

Sonic Solutions in Over-the-Top Deal with Cineplex Entertainment

--Company's Roxio CinemaNow Platform Will Power New Canadian OTT Service

Sonic Solutions, the digital media company that in 2008 acquired the pioneering broadband VOD service/platform, CinemaNow (it subsequently added "Roxio" to the service's name in order to make its branding consistent with its other products), announced Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with Canadian movie theater chain operator, Cineplex Entertainment. According to the company, the deal sees Cineplex licensing the Roxio CinemaNow platform to power a new movie streaming and download service at http://www.cineplex.com, that will make content available on a range of connected devices and that is scheduled to launch later this year. The service will be targeted at the Canadian market.