NDS, Axel Springer Partner to Promote "Personal TV" to German Operators, Broadcasters and Advertisers

--NDS in Deal to Provide Middleware, PVR and VOD Technologies to Kabel BW
--Kabel BW also Deploying VOD Technologies from Harmonic, eventIS

At the ANGA Cable show in Cologne, Tuesday, interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, and Axel Springer Digital TV Guide, a provider of consumer entertainment technologies and EPG metadata, announced that they are partnering to promote "personal TV"--by which the companies say they mean the "rich viewing experience enabled by state-of-the-art DVR's and EPG's"--to German broadcasters and pay-TV operators. The companies say that their joint initiative will also see them evangelizing how new television technologies--including addressable and interactive advertising and the ability to measure viewers' interactions with programming, advertising and the DVR--create new business opportunities for operators, advertising-supported TV channels and advertisers.

The companies are using ANGA to showcase NDS's XTV DVR platform, advanced EPG's, measurement tools and related services, and their respective metadata offerings. They say they will attempt to educate operators about how DVR capabilities "have been proven to increase TV consumption and to extend viewership and effectiveness of TV advertising" and explain how "operators and advertising-funded TV channels can benefit from advanced DVR functionality and personalization technologies powered by rich EPG data, as well as solid measurement tools." "The advanced TV technologies of today, particularly the DVR and EPG, have really revolutionized how people think about television," Yves Padrines, general manager of NDS GmbH, said in a prepared statement. "The freedom to choose from a wide range of content, and equally the choice as to how, when and where that content is viewed, fundamentally changes the entire paradigm of watching TV. We are pleased to work with Axel Springer Digital TV Guide to help bring a world-class viewing experience to more people across Germany."

The new partnership with Axel Springer is not NDS's first foray into technology evangelism: last year, it commissioned a survey of over 1,000 DVR owners, and published and promoted the resulting "NDS DVR Report," which it claimed showed that "consumers love their DVR's." According to the report, when asked to rank the relative importance of various household appliances, respondents ranked their DVR as their third most indispensable appliance after their washing machine and their microwave oven; DVR owners with partners said that having a DVR makes for a happier home life; and 89% of Americans, 81% of Britons, 80% of Australians and 78% of Italians reported that the DVR has improved their TV watching enjoyment.

In other NDS news: The company also announced Tuesday that German cable operator, Kabel BW, which provides triple-play services to around 2.3 million subscribers (it claims to serve nearly half of all homes in its home state of Baden-Wuerttemberg), has selected its MediaHighway middleware, its XTV PVR technology (allows viewers to record TV content while viewing another program, and supports such features as pause, rewind and fast-forward) and an "NDS VOD solution," in order to extend the capabilities of its service. According to NDS, MediaHighway will allow Kabel BW to efficiently manage its entire set-top box footprint and "seamlessly" introduce such new consumer devices and services as HD zapper boxes, HD DVR's and VOD.

Back in 2007, Kabel BW became the first German cable operator to deploy NDS's VideoGuard content-protection technology. NDS says that the operator's VideoGuard-equipped set-top boxes will now "progressively also feature" MediaHighway. According to the company, MediaHighway will enable Kabel BW to rapidly launch various integrated service enhancements identically over all its existing and future set-top boxes in a single roll-out operation, and will additionally allow the operator to deploy third-party applications, as it is based on an open software architecture. "Kabel BW was the first German operator to select NDS's VideoGuard content protection system," Kabel BW CEO, Harald Roesch, said in a prepared statement. "We now have also selected MediaHighway middleware to benefit from an end-to-end solution with NDS as our central and trusted technology partner. Based on this highly capable infrastructure, we look forward to delivering innovative next-generation digital TV services such as extended offerings in high-definition resolution, DVR functionality and on-demand content to our subscribers."

Kabel BW's VOD service--which will be Germany's first major cable VOD offering--is slated to begin a commercial trial in late 2009, and will be based primarily on technologies from Harmonic and eventIS. Harmonic says that it is providing a "complete VOD delivery infrastructure" for the new service, including its StreamLiner 2000 video servers, its Armada intelligent asset manager, its CLEARcut offline content preparation solution, its Rhozet Carbon Coder universal transcoder, its NSG 9000 universal edgeQAM, its ProStream 1000 stream-processing platform, and its NMX Digital Service Manager. eventIS, meanwhile, is providing its Traxis, Spectris and Prodis VOD backoffice solutions. "VOD, HD, multiscreen video and timeshifted applications offer operators innovative ways to deliver video to consumers whose viewing patterns are changing," Ian Graham, Harmonic's VP of EMEA sales and service, said in a prepared statement. "Kabel BW's deployment of Harmonic's end-to-end video delivery solution including VOD software and video servers, combined with the eventIS platform, reflects our focus on enabling advanced video services with a comprehensive yet easily integrated portfolio of high performance IP-based solutions." Added eventIS CEO, Erwin Van Dommelen: "Harmonic and eventIS together provide Kabel BW with an advanced and flexible VOD system solution that can scale as the service grows for years to come. At eventIS, we are committed to providing high-quality backoffice solutions for a variety of VOD functionalities, enabling a highly compelling VOD experience."