Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Shazam, TWC, Blue Wave Media, Unicorn Media, Viggle, USA
--Shazam's ACR Technology Powers Interactive TV for "American Idol"
--Time Warner Cable's TWC TV App to Offer Live Video Streaming on ICS Android Devices
--Blue Wave Media Taps Unicorn Media to Deliver Content to Connected TV's and Mobiles
--USA Network Offers Viggle-Powered Second-Screen Experience for "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.
- Automatic content recognition (ACR) specialist, Shazam (note: the London-based company is best known for offering a mobile application that consumers can use to identify music, as well as unlock supplemental content associated with TV shows--a process it calls "tagging"), announced Thursday that the rest of the current season of "American Idol" will be "Shazam-enabled." Viewers who use the company's app to tag the show will be able to access 1) a song list, with links to buy the featured music; 2) links to Twitter feeds from "insiders" and other viewers; 3) links to the show's official social media channels; and 4) video and photos from the show's Web site. Said Shazam CEO, Andrew Fisher: "As we surpass more than 200 million users worldwide, this initiative marks another major achievement for Shazam--'American Idol' is the first live series following the successful Shazam for TV integration of this year's Super Bowl and Grammy Awards. We're really excited to make another flagship show Shazam-enabled, after the world's biggest sporting event, the biggest night in music, and now television's most-watched show."
- In a blog post, Friday, Time Warner Cable announced that its TWC TV video-streaming app for Android devices--which launched late last year without live video support--will begin offering live video streaming "in a few weeks--definitely by Memorial Day." However, the MSO cautioned, the live video streaming will only work on Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, as the latter is "currently the only version of the Android OS that allows us the security and stability necessary to distribute video over our private network."
- Mobile monetization technology provider, Unicorn Media, announced last week that mobile cloud platform service provider, Blue Wave Media, has chosen its Unicorn Once technology to monetize and deliver content to connected TV's and mobiles for such customers as Porchlight Entertainment, Echobridge Entertainment and Moonbeam Entertainment. "Unicorn Once is a patented technology solution that enables the monetization of media content by allowing publishers to upload one file, one time and then deliver that video content via a single URL to any IP-enabled device such as iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Roku, connected TV's, game consoles and more," Unicorn Media states in its press materials. "Blue Wave Media utilizes Unicorn Once to deliver and monetize short- and long-form content to Internet-connected devices, enabling dynamic ad integration and real-time analytics across all platforms. Unicorn Once utilizes the native player or application player on each device, maintaining the flexible nature of the Blue Wave Media mobile cloud platform. Unicorn Once also provides real-time intelligence into content and ad performance across all devices through its real-time data warehouse, Unicorn Vision. The Blue Wave Media mobile cloud platform is an open-access, premier content delivery and mobile application platform which provides content publishers, studios, IPTV networks, television networks, second-screen offerings and corporate enterprises the ability to drive dynamic content and mobile app structure updates at any frequency. Blue Wave Media chose Unicorn Once for its flexible infrastructure and its ability to allow its customers to dynamically insert interstitial ads and monitor content or ad performance in real time on any device."
- Function(x), the company that recently launched the rewards-based social-TV loyalty-program app, Viggle, and subsequently acquired rival Loyalize (see the articles published on itvt.com, January 19th and February 20th), teamed with USA Network to enhance the latter's April 7th special presentation (in partnership with the AFI) of the classic movie, "To Kill a Mockingbird." "Fans will learn about iconic moments, celebrity recounts, exclusive photos and videos as they watch Universal's digitally remastered and fully restored classic being broadcast nationally for the first time," Function(x) and USA state in their press materials. "This second-screen experience is a social companion element aimed at driving discussion and providing more context around this iconic film. Viewers can use Viggle to check into the movie and will earn points by participating in Viggle LIVE's second-screen experience to learn more about the 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and USA's Characters Unite campaign which highlights the importance of tolerance and respect. USA and Viggle will match the amount of points being generated by fans and make a donation of up to $20,000 to the Characters Unite nonprofit partners championing civil and human rights. Fans can also convert their Viggle points into charitable donations for charities of their choice in the Viggle app rewards section. The film, based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, tells the story of lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) and his struggle for justice in a small community in Alabama. With its timeless depiction of issues that are still prevalent today, the film's themes lend themselves to the social-TV environment, where viewers can share their thoughts and access new, relevant content. Characters Unite, USA's award-winning public service program, is a community designed to promote greater understanding and acceptance and was created to address the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society."