Multiplatform/Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII)

--Univision, Veeple, Veoh, Verizon FiOS TV, Showtime Networks, Viacom, Hulu, Vpype, Vudu, YuMe, ZillionTV

Since February 3rd, [itvt] Daily News has been on hiatus, while the [itvt] editorial team produced the TV of Tomorrow Show 2010--and then took a few days off to recover. This is the eighth of eight round-up articles, in which we are covering some of the more significant developments in the multiplatform/interactive TV space that took place during our hiatus:

  • Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision, has announced the availability of its new Univision Video App in BlackBerry App World. The company has also announced plans to launch an online and mobile "Novelas y Series" channel later this year on
  • Interactive broadband video specialist, Veeple, has announced new video SEO capabilities.
  • Broadband video Web site company, Veoh, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (i.e. is liquidating its assets to pay off its creditors). The company's founder, Dmitry Shapiro, blames its demise on an expensive legal battle (in which it actually prevailed) with Universal Music Group and on the "challenges of the broader macro-economic climate."
  • Verizon FiOS TV has teamed with Showtime Networks to launch Showtime Sports Interactive, which the companies are billing as "the first nationwide, high-definition interactive television application using the Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format" (EBIF). The app debuted last month in association with the live "Strikeforce Challengers" mixed martial arts telecast, and, according to the companies, enabled viewers to "access fighter stats, records, bios and quotes; vote in interactive polls; test their knowledge in a trivia game; and check out a fight calendar--all on their TV screen while watching Showtime." Verizon FiOS TV has also announced the launch of TV One on its VOD platform; the launch of Verizon FiOS Mobile Remote, which enables Motorola Droid and HTC Imagio mobile phones (other phones are slated to be supported in the coming months) to be used as a FiOS TV remote control; the launch of a Visual 411 widget--which allows viewers to search for local businesses by name, type of business or keywords such as "automotive" or "florist"--in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex; and the roll-out of its advanced interactive TV features in its Mid-Atlantic markets. In addition, the company has teamed with HBO to offer the latter's HBO Go service on its FiOS TV Online Web site and on to FiOS TV subscribers who also subscribe to HBO or Cinemax. It also recently teamed with House Party to organize Super Bowl viewing parties throughout the US, and teamed with NBC to offer multiplatform and interactive TV coverage of the Winter Olympics.
  • In other Verizon news: the company last week filed a complaint against Cablevision with the US International Trade Commission, and also filed a lawsuit in the Delaware federal court. It is accusing Cablevision of infringing on eight of its patents with a number of Cisco/Scientific-Atlanta set-top boxes and is demanding that the cable MSO stop distributing those boxes. Multichannel News's Todd Spangler, and Light Reading Cable's Steve Donohue have more.
  • Viacom's Comedy Central has removed "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" from Hulu. Meanwhile, a report in the Wall Street Journal covers the latest developments in Viacom's copyright-infringement case against YouTube.
  • Vpype, which describes itself as a "social video company," has launched its Vpype Live Broadcaster for Facebook application, which it says "enables all 400+ million Facebook members to create and share live, interactive video content through an easy-to-use broadcast application."
  • In a deal believed to be worth around $100 million, OTT specialist, Vudu, has been acquired by Walmart. Vudu has also announced that TV manufacturer, Zoran, is integrating its Vudu Apps and Vudu Movies offerings into its SupraHD TV processor design platforms, and has announced a hybrid TV deal with Entone (see article in this issue).
  • Broadband video advertising technology provider, YuMe, has announced that it has closed a $25 million funding round, led by new investor, Menlo Ventures. The company says it plans to invest the funding in expanding the footprint of its flagship ACE platform, which, among other things, powers interactive in-stream video ad formats.
  • Qwest Communications has invested $10 million in multiplatform programmer, ZillionTV, in exchange for the exclusive rights to offer the latter's service within its footprint.


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