Interactive TV News Round-Up: BBC, SeeSaw, HBO, Hulu, Rovi, Suddenlink, Cogeco, Shaw
--BBC Releases Red-Button Programming Schedule through July 4th
--Criterion Capital Partners Set to Acquire SeeSaw
--HBO Go to Offer Preview of "True Blood" Episode
--Hulu Considering Sale
--Rovi in TotalGuide Deals with Suddenlink, Cogeco
--Shaw Launches Gateway in Edmonton
Here are some other stories we didn't have room for in this issue:
- The BBC has released the schedule of programming and interactive content that will be available via the BBC Red Button service through July 4th.
- Criterion Capital Partners, the company that acquired the struggling social media service, Bebo, is set to buy SeeSaw, the broadband TV service from UK broadcast transmission company, Arqiva, according to a report in The Guardian (note: Arqiva launched the service after acquiring the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range). Last month, Arqiva announced that it would close SeeSaw, which has struggled in a UK broadband TV space dominated by broadcaster-owned services such as the BBC iPlayer and the ITV Player. The closure of the company was originally expected to take place this week.
- HBO has announced that it is providing its subscribers with a preview of the second episode of season 4 of the vampire drama series, "True Blood," via its "TV Everywhere" service, HBO Go (available on PC, iPad, and iOS and Android smartphones). The episode will be available on the service on June 26th, a week before its broadcast premiere.
- Broadband TV service, Hulu, is considering selling itself after receiving an unsolicited offer from a buyer whose identity the company has not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
- At the Cable Show last week, Rovi announced an agreement with Suddenlink to bring Rovi TotalGuide applications--including TotalGuide for Set-Top Boxes (note: for more on the latter, see the article published on itvt.com, June 14th) and TotalGuide xD--to market. "The agreement between Rovi and Suddenlink includes a multi-year license for the distribution of [the] i-Guide interactive program guide, on top of which the Rovi TotalGuide applications would be integrated and tested," the company states in its press materials. "Rovi recently announced that its new TotalGuide for STB application will work alongside i-Guide to bring advanced search, content discovery and recommendation capabilities to legacy set top boxes. This solution creates an easy adoption path for consumers, and enables service providers, such as Suddenlink to quickly deploy an advanced solution on top of their current offerings to deliver an immersive, rich user experience that broadens subscribers’ ability to find content across multiple environments."
- Rovi also announced at the Cable Show that it has signed an agreement with Canada's Cogeco Cable that will see the latter implementing TotalGuide on set-top boxes, tablets, smartphones and PC's. "TotalGuide for STB's will provide Cogeco with the ability to deploy advanced search, content discovery and recommendations capabilities to its subscribers while enabling consumers to transition between the current and enhanced user experience at their own pace," Rovi states in its press materials. "To further enhance its services, Cogeco will also utilize [the] Rovi TotalGuide xD 'white-label' application and enable users to connect, access and control their entertainment experience from the PC, tablets and smartphones."
- Canadian MSO, Shaw Communications, has launched its Shaw Gateway offering (which is based on a platform from Arris) in Edmonton, following a recent launch in Calgary. "The Gateway brings customers a shared PVR experience and more than 1,200 HD video-on-demand titles," Shaw states in its press materials. "The PVR supports the recording of up to six programs at once, while playing back up to three previously recorded programs--all in HD...Customers can seamlessly pick up recordings on another TV and resume playback without missing a beat. The Gateway also enables customers to maximize HD/SD recordings with Shaw's PVR expanders. An enriched program guide with content filters and enhanced search is one of the Gateway's key features. Customers can access VOD titles through a live TV storefront, along with on-screen video games and live Shaw pay-per-view events. In the coming months more features will be available on the Shaw Gateway, including: 1) Integration of Web content, providing customer access to Internet content through their TV's; 2) Remote PVR scheduling that allows customers to set up program recordings online and on their handheld devices; 3) Global Content Search of live TV, recorded TV, VOD and PPV content, and PC files on PC's and laptops; 4) Home sharing, allowing customers to share pictures and content from their computer onto their television."