Interactive TV News Roundup

-- UK Retailer Tesco Buys Streaming Video Site Blinkbox

-- Two Way Media Raises Funds for Social Gaming, Connected TV Projects

-- Hollywood Directors Protes New $30 Premium VOD Window 

-- Appeals Court Ruling Could Force EchoStar to Settle with TiVo

 

  • British retail giant Tesco is expanding into the streaming video business, acquiring an 80 percent stake in online TV and movie site Blinkbox. Founded by former executives from the UK's Channel 4 and Vodafone in 2006, Blinkbox offers both paid content, and free ad-supported videos. Tesco's deal follows a move from Amazon in January to buy Blinkbox rival LoveFilm. Some U.S. retailers are also expanding into the online video sector, including Wal-Mart which bought streaming video site Vudu last year. More 
  • Two Way Media said it will step up the production of social TV games with funding from Ingenious Media. The interactive TV production company, which makes games for broadcast programs such as "X Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent," said it will use the funding to focus on social gaming and connected TV projects. More
  • About two dozen Hollywood directors and producers are protesting plans by DirecTV and other pay TV providers to sell $30 video-on-demand movies 60 days after they are released in theaters. Michael Bay, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Robert Zemeckis and other prominent directors and producers warn in an open letter to Hollywood studios that releasing movies in a premium VOD window could increase piracy and hurt movie theater owners. While DirecTV just began selling movies for $29.99 movies this week, the producers and directors say that the price tag for movies in the new window could drop to $9.99 within a few years. "If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue," they write in the letter, which was posted on the Website of the National Association of Theater Owners
  • EchoStar and Dish Network could be forced to disable thousands of DVRs in subscriber homes, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a ruling that EchoStar violated a TiVo patent for a "multimedia time warping system." The companies have waged a war over patents for DVR technology since 2004. The ruling could compel EchoStar and Dish founder Charlie Ergen finally strike a licensing deal for TiVo technology. More 
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