News Round-Up

--BBC to Offer One-Off "Casualty" Webisode via Web, Mobile and Red Button
--BBC Worldwide Exec Discusses Plans for iPlayer-Like Paid VOD Service for International Markets
--Boxee App for Justin.TV Launches
--McObject Launches Database System for EPG's
--Interactive Video Company, PermissionTV, Changes Name to VisibleGains, Focuses on B2B
--Web-to-TV Browser Company, Personal Web Systems, Raises $1.2 Million
--JD Power Survey Finds Increased DVR Usage, Slightly Lower VOD Usage
--Qualcomm's FLO TV Launches Dedicated Mobile TV Device
--ScanScout Launches New Interactive Video Ad Unit
--India's NDTV Selects Tata Communications' BitGravity-Powered LiveBroadcast Streaming Service
--TiVo's Tom Rogers Delivers MIPCOM Keynote on Connected TV

Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • The BBC has announced plans to offer a one-off Webisode of its medical drama, "Casualty," on October 31st. In addition to the BBC's Web site ( the Webisode will be available through the red button and on mobiles.
  • managing director, Luke Bradley-Jones, discusses BBC Worldwide's plans to launch a paid version of the BBC iPlayer for the US and other international markets in an interview with Paid Content UK. The broadband VOD player, which has been in development for six months, will offer catch-up for BBC America and the corporation's other international channels; "premium catalog material" such as "Doctor Who" and "Top Gear"; and long-tail content from the BBC's archives.
  • Over-the-top-TV specialist, Boxee, has announced the launch of a Justin.TV app on its platform. "We're excited about Justin.TV's app not only because of the content, but also because it was originally built by a Boxee user and Justin.TV fan, Ike Gilbert," Boxee founder and CEO, Avner Ronen, wrote on his company's Web site. "His initial app grabbed our attention and received a lot of support from the community so we put him in touch with the guys from Justin.TV who collaborated with him to bring out an official app--they even tweaked their API to enable features for him!" Also, UK newspaper The Guardian has published a story on Boxee and its origins in the XBMC (Xbox Media Center) project.
  • Real-time database specialist, McObject, has launched eXtremeDB, an embedded software database platform for set-top box EPG's. "With an EPG," the company writes, "users zero in on relevant programming via show descriptions, schedules, ratings, genre, channel, user preferences and other criteria. In EPG software, manufacturers often facilitate handling this data by integrating a commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) database management system (DBMS). But 'database system' is a broad product category, and while some DBMS's specialize in addressing business or packaged software needs, only eXtremeDB was designed from scratch for set-top box programming guides and other real-time embedded systems." According to McObject, eXtremeDB has been incorporated into EPG technology from DirecTV, MOD Systems, Loewe Opta and ST Micro.
  • Interactive video company, PermissionTV, has announced that it has changed its name to VisibleGains and that it will now focus on providing "the first complete video solution for attracting and converting business-to-business sales leads." "Marketers are just beginning to tap the benefits of video-enabled communications, but until now they've focused on using video as eye candy rather than a conversation starter, especially in B2B," the company's CEO, Cliff Pollan, said in a prepared statement. "Working closely with brands and marketers over the past four years, we realized we could revolutionize B2B prospecting and selling, which is often a more complex and time-consuming process, by delivering engaging, interactive video experiences that literally move prospects closer to the sale by gaining their confidence and trust." An article by Xconomy's Wade Roush has more detail.
  • Web-to-TV browser company, Personal Web Systems, has raised $1.2 million of a $1.8 million funding round, according to an SEC filing unearthed by Paid Content. The company plans to offer a $150 device that will give consumers full access to the Web from their TV.
  • JD Power and Associates has released its 2009 US Residential Television Service Satisfaction Survey. According to the survey, AT&T U-verse TV ranks highest in the West and South regions for the second consecutive year; Verizon FiOS TV ranks highest in the East region--also for the second consecutive year; and WOW! ranks highest in the North Central Region. Among other things, the survey found that "the number of customers who use video-on-demand (VOD) and pay-per-view services has...moderately declined, as 33% report using VOD (compared with 35% in 2008) and 16% report using pay-per-view (compared to 18% in 2008)." However, the survey also found that DVR usage rose 22 percentage points to 40% this year.
  • Qualcomm's live mobile TV subsidiary, FLO TV, has launched FLO TV Personal Television, a dedicated mobile TV device. The device--which has a 3.5-inch (diagonal) screen, measures 4.4" x 3" x 0.5," and weighs just over 5 ounces--is billed as supporting over five hours of active viewing and 300 hours of standby. It is priced at $249.99 and is slated to be available for purchase in stores in time for the holiday shopping season.
  • Online video advertising network, ScanScout, has launched a new, interactive ad unit, according to an article in Mediaweek. Dubbed "Super Pre-Roll," the new units "take a company's existing TV spot and place multiple interactive 'overlay' placements on top of it," Mediaweek's Mike Shields writes. "But unlike most overlay ads, which appear at the bottom of a video player at the start of a particular clip, the Super Pre-Roll's various overlay placements appear at various positions on the screen [and] are designed to correspond with an ad's content."
  • Tata Communications has announced that NDTV Convergence has chosen its LiveBroadcast flash-based streaming service to broadcast three Indian national channels over the Internet to an international audience. LiveBroadcast is part of a suite of CDN services offered by Tata Communications, which are powered by technology from BitGravity.
  • The Hollywood Reporter has a write-up of a MIPCOM keynote delivered by TiVo president and CEO, Tom Rogers, before a panel on "Connected Entertainment." According to Rogers, TiVo's "secret sauce" is its ability to "make interactive TV something not just geeky, but totally simple."


North America