News Round-Up

--ActiveVideo, Concurrent, Harmonic Announce SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Plans
--Babelgum Launches Channel for Culture-Jamming Duo, The Yes Men Relaunched with More Video, iReport Integration
--Comcast COO Burke: TV Industry Must "Get in Front of" Internet or Face Cord-Cutting
--Video-Sharing Company, Dailymotion, Secures $25 Million in New Funding
--News Corp.'s Chase Carey Confirms that Hulu Will Launch Premium Service
--Sky+ HD DVR Now in 1.6 Million Households
--Thomson in Deal to Provide Interactive HD Set-Tops to Israel's HOT
--Windows 7 Offers Extensive Internet TV Features

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

  • ActiveVideo Networks, Concurrent and Harmonic have announced their plans for this week's SCTE Cable-Tec Expo.
  • Broadband video content company, Babelgum, has launched a new channel devoted to The Yes Men--described by the company as "culture jamming activists who practice what they call 'identity correction,' revealing the true, planet- and people-raving intents of business and political powers by posing as official spokespersons of organizations ranging from ExxonMobil to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits and eye-catching show-and-tell like The Executive Leisure Suit and the Haliburton SurvivaBall," Babelgum explains, "they lie their way into business conferences to parody their corporate nemesis in the most shocking and telling ways--ones that result in public awareness and attitude change from the worldwide media attention they generate."
  • CNN has relaunched its Web site, giving video content more prominence. Among other things, the revamp sees CNN's user-generated news service,, integrated into the new Web site, and the launch of a new video commentary feature that is the result of a partnership with TED.
  • French video-sharing company, Dailymotion, has secured $25 million in a new funding round. The round was led by the French Sovereign Fund (which contributed $11 million), and also saw the participation of the company's original investors, Advent Venture Partners, AGF Private Equity, Atlas Venture and Partech International. Dailymotion claims to attract 60 million unique visitors and to generate a billion video views per month. It says that it will use the new funding to accelerate its growth globally and to expand its offerings--including to new platforms such as mobile and IPTV.
  • In remarks at the CTAM Summit 2009, Comcast COO, Steve Burke, explained why he believes initiatives such as TV Everywhere and Canoe are crucial to the future of the television industry: "An entire generation is growing up [watching video on the computer rather than on the TV]," Burke said. "If we don't do something to change that behavior so they respect copyrights on the side of content providers, and cable subscriptions or satellite subscriptions or telco subscriptions on the side of the distributors, we are going to wake up with a lot of ingrained habits going the wrong way and we will see cord-cutting." He also stated that Comcast's implementation of the TV Everywhere distribution model, On Demand Online, was not an attempt to "change the advertising model or get a minute back from content providers," but a way to "get in front of the biggest social movement I've every seen. Online video consumption is off the charts," he added. Extensive coverage of Burke's remarks (in which he also stressed that interactive TV will be as important for programming as for advertising) is available here and here.
  • An article by Claire Atkinson in Broadcasting & Cable last week, which reported that News Corp. deputy chairman, Chase Carey, had stated that Hulu would probably start charging for content next year, appears to have caused quite a stir on the Internet. This despite the fact that the article goes on to make it clear that Hulu is likely to charge only for certain kinds of content: "Carey says that while throwing up a pay-wall around all content is not the answer, it doesn't mean there won't be fees for some specially created content and TV previews," Atkinson reported. All Things Digital's Peter Kafka--who points out that "it's a little puzzling that...Carey's comments got folks worked up"--has more on Hulu's plans to offer a premium service.
  • In its Q3 earnings announcement, released last week, BSkyB said that it added 287,000 net new customers for its broadband-connected HD DVR platform, Sky+ HD, during the quarter, representing a threefold increase over the year-ago period. The device has now been deployed in 1.6 million households, the company says. Sky also said that it added 94,000 net new customers for its pay-TV service, giving it a reach of 9.54 million households.
  • Thomson has extended its relationship with Israeli cable operator, HOT, via a deal to provide the latter with new set-top boxes to support its move to HDTV. The deal also sees Thomson providing professional services to facilitate the migration of HOT's currently installed set-tops to a single conditional access system (VideoGuard) from NDS. According to Thomson, the new set-top boxes support OpenTV middleware for HOT's extensive line-up of interactive TV games and other services, and feature an embedded NDS EPG.
  • Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system, which was launched last week, offers extensive Internet TV features, including access to content from the CBS Audience Network, the Zune Video Podcast Library, MSNBC and Netflix. For more coverage, see, for example, here and here (and just about any other high-tech trade publication).


North America