News Round-Up

--Report: Google CEO, Schmidt, Championing "Interactive Video Ads"
--Reports: Hulu Planning International Hulu Plus Launch, Is in Talks about Launching on US Cable VOD
--MTV Acquires Social Gaming Company, Social Express
--Panasonic in VieraCast OTT Deal with AceTrax
--PlaySpan Launches Micropayments Service for Broadband Video
--USPTO Suspends DISH Network's Application to Trademark "TV Everywhere"
--Comcast Attempting to Register "DVR2Go" with USPTO
--Visiware Develops Multiplayer Skill-Based Internet Games for France's TF1
--YouTube Announces 4K Support, Partner Grants Program

Here are some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • Google is championing "interactive video ads," the company's CEO, Eric Schmidt, told the Wall Street Journal's Jessica Vascellaro at Allen & Co.'s Sun Valley conference last week. "Such ads, which could appear anywhere on a Web page, not just inside a video, would be like mini-Web pages," Vascellaro writes. "That means they could allow Web users to watch a video, leave a comment and see real-time updates within the ads that are more customized to their interests." Vascellaro adds, however, that, while Schmidt said that he "has pushed Google's ad teams to think about the potential" for interactive video ads, he would not comment on any specific plans for such ads.
  • Hulu plans to roll out its recently launched subscription service, Hulu Plus, internationally, according to an article in the Financial Times. Meanwhile, the company is in talks with Time Warner Cable to launch either Hulu Plus or the basic version of its service on the latter's VOD platform, according to an article in the Hollywood reporter.
  • MTV Networks has announced that it has acquired San Francisco-based social gaming developer, Social Express, marking its first entry into the social gaming space. The broadcaster says that it will "develop social games based on original IP, as well as shows and characters from MTV, Nickelodeon and its other brands, with the first game to be introduced in the third quarter of 2010"; and that it "will also leverage Social Express's expertise to launch a publishing platform for independent game developers." Social Express will be integrated into MTV's Nickelodeon Digital operations, and the company's co-founder and CEO, Tony Espinoza, will serve as VP and general manager of social gaming for MTV Networks' Kids & Family group.
  • Panasonic has announced that it is making movies-on-demand service, AceTrax, available on its VieraCast OTT service on its connected TV's and Blu-ray players in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy.
  • Micropayments specialist, PlaySpan, has announced the beta launch of its PriceYourVideo platform, which it describes as a "proprietary, one-click, in-video, pay-per-view service that enables video producers of all kinds to upload, price, and sell their video creations through the proven freemium business model."
  • The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has suspended DISH Network's application to trademark the term, "TV Everywhere," citing a prior application by Time Warner Cable to trademark the term "On Demand Everywhere" as potentially nullifying DISH's claim on the term.
  • Comcast is attempting to register the term "DVR2Go" with the USPTO as a trademark. Cable Digital News's Jeff Baumgartner speculates on what the MSO is planning to do with the trademark.
  • Interactive TV games developer, Visiware, has announced that it is teaming with French broadcaster, TF1, to offer skill-based games on the latter's Web site. According to the company, the games will be presented in an area of the site that is branded as "Defis" ("Challenge") and that it describes as "a multiplayer skill-based game platform with simple rules." The site currently offers around 10 skill-based multiplayer games, including games based on TF1 shows, classics such as Mah-Jong and Solitaire, and quiz games.
  • YouTube has announced support for videos shot in the ultra-high-definition 4K format, meaning, the company says, that it now "support[s] original video resolution from 360p all the way up to 4K." The company has also announced a YouTube Partner Grants program that it says will "invest $5 million across select new and emerging YouTube partners." According to the company, the program's goal is "to catalyze the creation of new ideas and production models from some of our most innovative and original content partners for the benefit and advancement of the entire industry."


North America