News Round-Up

--ABC Licensing Deal with CafePress Will Enable Fans to Design Merchandise Based on its Shows
--blinkx Trumpets Ranking by Nielsen as a "Top Online Video Site"
--Freeview Australia to Feature Ads that Appear When Viewers Fast-Forward
--Reports: YouTube to Offer Live Streaming Coverage of Indian Premier League Cricket

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we are covering a number of stories in this issue in summary form:

  • ABC has announced a licensing deal with CafePress, a company that operates a Web site that allows users to place their own designs on clothes and other items. According to the broadcaster, the licensing agreement allows fans of its shows to design and sell authorized show merchandise. "Fans of the hit ABC shows 'Lost,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scrubs' and 'Schoolhouse Rock' along with 'Legend of the Seeker' (from ABC Studios) can unleash their creativity to design custom apparel and gifts by following the official guidelines," ABC says in a press release announcing the new deal. "Fans can visit to create products and purchase merchandise designed by other fans fully encompassing fan engagement within this merchandise platform."
  • Video search engine provider, blinkx, is trumpeting its ranking as a "top online video site" (based on video streams for December, 2009) in a recent report by the Nielsen Company. The report also concludes that online video usage in general is increasing: it claims that the total number of video streams has increased 11.8% over the past year and that the amount of time logged watching online video per viewer has increased 13.2%.
  • The commercial TV stations behind Australia's soon-to-launch Freeview service plan to sell ads that appear on screen when viewers fast-forward programming in Freeview-certified devices including set-top boxes, integrated digital TV's and any other devices that are powered by MHEG-5 technology, according to a report by David Richards in Australian high-tech publication, SmartHouse. (Note: Freeview Australia--which, as its name suggests, is similar in concept to the Freeview services that have been launched in the UK and New Zealand--is co-owned by Australian free-to-air broadcasters, ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine, Ten, Prime, Southern Cross and WIN, and is billed as upholding "Australians' right to watch quality television for free." It will be delivered via Freeview-endorsed receivers that will be available in retail stores. Earlier this year, it announced that it had selected MHEG-5 as its interactive TV middleware--see the article published on, July 21st.) "Effective from April 2010, Freeview...will move to only certifying devices that include the new MHEG-5 interactive TV middleware," Richards writes. "This allows them to restrict fast-forward speeds to 30x, as well as place advertising into recordings made on set-top boxes and TV's with a built-in hard drive...It also allows the TV stations to sell advertising that will appear on a screen as soon as a user presses the fast forward button." A TV station source told Richards that "at this stage, we will deliver static-only advertising" which will "allow us to deliver brand advertising as viewers fast-forward a sporting event or a recorded drama program." However, the source added that "in the future, we hope to deliver short video advertising."
  • According to reports in the Indian media, Google has signed a deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India that will see YouTube offering live streaming coverage of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches in countries where the TV rights to those matches have not already been sold. The deal is expected to be announced today (Wednesday). The IPL season begins March 12th and features 59 games. Paid Content UK has more.


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