News Round-Up

--Rob Gelick Named SVP and General Manager of CBS Mobile
--CCI Producing Multiplatform, Interactive Scavenger Hunt-Themed Kids' Show, "GeoFreakZ"
--Version 3.0 of the Layar Augmented Reality Browser Released
--Soft Ad Market Impacts SeaChange's Earnings, but VOD Server Revenues Nearly Double

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

  • CBS Interactive has promoted Rob Gelick to SVP and general manager of its CBS Mobile arm. He was previously VP of CBS Mobile. According to CBS Interactive, "Gelick will be responsible for guiding the evolution of CBS brands in the rapidly growing mobile arena, extending these brands onto the mobile Web, and creating applications for multiple platforms including iPhone and Android. He will also oversee all of the licensing of CBS brands on the mobile platform," the company says, "manage the 24-hour CBS Mobile television network, and oversee all mobile-related video, advertising, games, alerts and interactive TV initiatives." Prior to joining CBS, Gelick was a co-founder of and VP of data services at Helio where, according to CBS, he "envisioned, developed and managed an award-winning portfolio of mobile social networking and media services including the industry's first MySpace mobile service, the first complete YouTube mobile offering, custom mobile video and music-on-demand services, and a location-aware user-generated content publishing platform." More info on Gelick's responsibilities and resume is available here.
  • Toronto-based CCI Entertainment announced Wednesday that it is set to produce a multiplatform interactive children's show, called "GeoFreakZ," after receiving funding from the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund. According to the company, the show--which has been developed in partnership with Teletoon, Smiley Guy Studios and Moonray Studios and which it describes as "an integrated social, Web and TV experience"--will premiere next year and will have 44 short-form episodes. The company says that the show's Web site will feature social networking and a scavenger hunt/geocaching-themed game that will be played by gathering clues from the show's television component. "We couldn't be more excited about heading into production on this property," CCI co-chair, Arnie Zipursky, said in a prepared statement. "This is unlike any other project we have created, as it has been designed first for the Web and uses television to enhance the experience for our viewers. It's a great example of the evolving model in children's entertainment. Also, we are really enjoying working with Teletoon: they are very receptive and seem to really understand our vision on the project." Added Teletoon president, Len Cochrane: "Taking the scavenger hunt, enjoyed by children throughout the ages, and placing it online where contemporary kids can be found today, is an ingenious idea and one that is sure to win an enthusiastic audience."
  • Version 3.0 of SPRXmobile's Layar augmented reality browser was released earlier this week. Billed as "allow[ing] everybody with basic Web development skills to create rich immersive experiences that cannot be replicated on a map, in a traditional browser or in a mobile location-based application," Layar 3.0 adds, according to the company, support for 3D objects, unlimited POI types, support for more textbox and slider filters, a new checkboxlist filter, user authentication via cookies, auto-triggered actions, local layers, a flexible radius, improved layer validation and automatic support for older client versions, and POI-to-POI capability for storytelling and guided tours. "Layar v3.0 can now be downloaded free of charge from the Android Market and is available for all Android 1.5 and 1.6 devices," the company states on its blog. "We will release a compatible version for the Droid as soon as possible. We have almost finished testing for Android 2.0. A version for the iPhone 3GS is to follow after Apple's approval." Descriptions and screenshots of five new AR apps based on Layar v3.0 are available here.
  • VOD technology provider, SeaChange International, has released financial results for its fiscal third quarter (2010), ended October 31st: revenues totaled $53.3 million, compared to $51.8 million for the year-ago quarter; net income totaled $0.7 million, or $0.02 per share, compared to $3.4 million, or $0.11 per share, for the year-ago quarter; revenues from the company's Software segment totaled $35.7 million, compared to $37.6 million for the year-ago quarter (note: the company attributed the decrease mainly to "lower Advertising and Broadcast software revenue due to the soft advertising market," and added that "VOD software product revenue...increased 8% compared to the third quarter of last year, driven by strong growth in VOD software licensing revenue from US cable television providers and the inclusion of eventIS for a portion of the quarter"); revenues from the company's Servers and Storage segment totaled $12.4 million, compared to $10.4 million for the year-ago quarter (note: the company said that "a near doubling of VOD server revenue in this year's third quarter...due primarily to increased server shipments to Comcast in support of its next-generation VOD architecture roll-out" was partially offset by "lower broadcast server revenues due to the soft advertising market"); revenues from the company's Media Services segment totaled $5.2 million, up $1.3 million from the year-ago quarter (note: the company attributed the increase to "VOD content services revenue from Virgin Media along with customers from Greece and Turkey, as well as revenue from [its] acquisition of Mobix Interactive during the fourth quarter of last year"); at the end of the quarter, the company's cash, cash-equivalents and marketable securities totaled $53.4 million and no debt, compared to $93.5 million and no debt at the end of the prior quarter (note: the company used $36.6 million in cash during the third quarter to purchase eventIS). The full text of SeaChange's fiscal Q3 earnings release, including guidance for the company's current fiscal quarter and the next fiscal year, is available here.


North America