News Round-Up (VI)

--Hillcrest Labs Launches Half-Price Promotion for its Loop Pointer
--Israeli Start-Up, Interlude, Demo's Interactive Video Platform
--Addressable Advertising Specialist, Invidi, Secures $23 Million+ in Google-Led Series D Round
--itaas Develops tru2way-Based Twitter App, Plans Extensive Interactive TV Showcase at Cable Show
--itaas Develops Three New Interactive TV Apps for iN Demand

The [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week, so we are covering most stories in round-up/summary form, and we anticipate that there will be some additional interruptions of our regular news publishing schedule beyond that. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • Hillcrest Labs has launched a $49 promotion for its Loop Pointer in-air mouse/remote control device. The device is usually priced at $99.
  • An Israeli start-up called Interlude presented its new interactive video platform earlier this week at the Techonomy 2010 event in Tel Aviv. According to a review by TechCrunch's Robin Wauters, the presentation featured an interactive music video that provided viewers with "the opportunity to change the course of what happens in the music video, by selecting a person and following their path in a crowded apartment where a party was being held." The video was different from other choose-your-own-narrative videos, Wauters writes, because "Interlude makes the experience of picking a storyline an integral part of the video without interrupting the experience or cutting the audio." Once the video is over, Wauters writes, users can create a new version, download the personalized version they've put together, or share that version via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Addressable advertising specialist, Invidi, has announced that it has secured over $23 million in a Series D funding round that was led by Google and that also saw the participation of WPP's GroupM, Motorola Ventures, Menlo Ventures, InterWest, EnerTech, Westbury Equity Partners, BDC Capital and others.
  • itaas, an Atlanta-based company that provides a range of software development, integration and testing services for interactive TV, has announced the launch of an interactive TV application that provides Twitter capabilities on tru2way-enabled set-top boxes. According to the company, the app--which it says "enables customers who are already using Twitter on their PC or other devices to view 'tweets' on TV" and to "simultaneously view TV and track Twitter responses"--is currently being tested with a Bright House Networks internal employee group with an eye to deployment (note: itaas says that Bright House "is among the top cable operators with a large number of tru2way set-top boxes currently in customers' homes"). The app will be on display in itaas's NCTA Cable Show booth (439) next week, as well as in the MyWorld area of the showfloor. (Note: itaas has also announced plans to showcase an extensive line-up of its own and third-party interactive TV apps, technologies and services in its booth. A list of what will be on display is available here.)
  • In other itaas news: The company has announced that it has teamed with cable industry-backed VOD programming distributor, iN Demand, to develop three new interactive TV applications which the companies are billing as having been created "with an eye towards leveraging the power of EBIF and tru2way to become revolutionary new marketing tools that promote cable's on-demand and PPV products." The new apps are: 1) Interactive Mosaic App, which itaas describes as "a four-screen sales tool which promotes all categories of cable's transactional products, from sports and events to movies on-demand," and which it says allows viewers to use their remotes to "telescope deeper into the content to see product-specific videos, program descriptions, trailers, schedules and more"; 2) Sports Package Upsell App, which the company describes as a "dynamic interactive replacement for the current static slate on out-of-market sports packages [that] will deliver promos, schedules, product descriptions, pricing, ordering information and more"; and 3) Send to Cell Phone App, a multiplatform app that the company says "will add pop-up notifications during on-air promos, enabling viewers to send PPV event reminders to their cell phones."


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