News Round-Up (VII): Rovi, SeaChange-StarHub, Sezmi, Shaw, Sling Media

--Rovi Launches Advertising Network, Signs Deals with I-O Data Device,
--SeaChange Powers Mobile TV for StarHub, SeaChange's ODG Launches SVOD with SFR Neuf
--Sezmi Expands Entry-Level Version of its Hybrid Service into 10 New Markets
--Shaw Launches Broadband VOD Player
--Sling Media Launches SlingPlayer Mobile for Android

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news stories in summary/round-up form. We anticipate that it will take a couple of days for us to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us. We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • Rovi has announced a new offering for advertisers and agencies, called the Rovi Advertising Network. According to the company, the offering "bundles guide advertising on the Rovi ad platform and third-party interactive TV platforms to extend audience reach even further under one integrated and scalable ad buy"; "enables marketers to launch, manage and measure campaigns across leading interactive TV platforms in up to 15.8 million US households currently"; and "when combined with the distribution of Rovi technology through third parties...reaches over 30 million households in North America, one of the largest interactive TV advertising footprints on the market today." According to the company, the Rovi Advertising Network offers three portal formats: 1) Standard Portal, which it says allows consumers to "record, set a reminder, watch content or learn more about a product or promotion"; 2) Video Portal, which it says allows consumers to "click on the interactive banner by the guide, leading directly to video content or links to VOD folders on other cable platforms for deeper audience engagement"; and 3) Dynamic Portal, which it says "consists of video, graphics, text, programming and/or interactive content, offering consumers a variety of content choices accessed directly from an interactive banner by the guide, differentiating product and enhancing the consumer experience with a variety of user-driven content choices." Rovi has also announced: 1) a patent license agreement with Japan's I-O Data Device; the license includes the use of its G-Guide EPG on I-O Data Device's TV tuners and tuner boards for PC's, the company says; and 2) a deal with, under which the latter will incorporate Rovi movie and TV data onto its and portals in order to "facilitate the discovery, navigation and search capabilities on the two sites."
  • SeaChange International has announced that Singaporean pay-TV provider, StarHub, has deployed its Intelligent Video Platform to support its mobile TV service. "Providing a unified and open backoffice software solution for high-quality streaming over StarHub's mobile network to any mobile device, the SeaChange Intelligent Video Platform was implemented on the StarHub TV on Mobile service this month," SeaChange states in its press materials. "StarHub TV on Mobile offers users the ability to view 24 branded premium pay channels on their mobile handsets." In other SeaChange news: The company's VOD content-aggregator subsidiary, On Demand Group (ODG), has announced the launch of a subscription VOD movie service on French telco SFR Neuf's network.
  • Sezmi, a company which has developed a set-top box-based offering that it bills as combining "live television, on-demand movies and television shows, and Web videos in an easily self-installed system that automatically records, recommends and organizes the favorite shows of each individual member of the family," and which last fall announced that it had secured $25 million in new funding, has announced the expansion of the $4.99 entry-level version of its service (note: the company also offers a $19.99 "Select Plus" version of the service, which includes 23 cable channels) into 10 new markets: Boston; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City, MO.; Phoenix; Portland, OR.; Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.; and San Francisco. Sezmi, which launched its service in the greater Los Angeles area earlier this year, says that it plans to roll out "Select Plus" in new markets later this year. The company recently enhanced its service via what it calls "Entertainment Zones." According to the company, Entertainment Zones "aggregate live, recorded and on-demand programs, movies, Web videos and podcasts, plus upcoming TV listings, into one easy-to-navigate interface," and "enable broadcasters, TV stations and other entertainment providers to deliver a branded interactive entertainment experience that is always just one click away on the television screen."
  • Canadian pay-TV operator, Shaw Communications, has announced the launch of a broadband VOD player ( that allows authenticated customers to access its VOD offerings online. According to the company, the service offers customers, among other things, the option of "watching their movie choice online and, if they choose, continuing the show on their TV."
  • EchoStar-subsidiary, Sling Media, has announced the availability of its SlingPlayer Mobile TV place-shifting application for Android smartphones. "When in your mobile phone provider's area of 3G, 4G or WiFi coverage and connected to a Slingbox Solo, Pro or Pro-HD, SlingPlayer Mobile makes it simple to watch and control your living room television at any time from any location," the company states in its press materials. "Watch live and recorded TV and schedule recordings of new programs from any Android smartphone. SlingPlayer Mobile for Android features faster start-up and control response times, and it works among a variety of Android-based mobile phones in the market today. It also has a new user interface that gives quick-touch access to the most critical remote controls and recently viewed channels." The app is priced at $29.99, and is available through the Android Market in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, as well as in the US.


North America