News Round-Up (III): BrightLine, Chad, Matt & Rob, Clearleap-Roku, Clikthrough, Comcast-NDS

--BrightLine iTV Study Shows Hispanic Viewers More Likely to Engage with Interactive TV Advertising
--Chad, Matt & Rob Release Trailer for their First FremantleMedia-Backed "Interactive Adventure"
--Clearleap, Roku Partner to Enable Operators, Premium Programmers to Offer VOD on Roku OTT STB's
--Clikthrough Creates "Interactive Stylepad" for Armani Exchange
--Comcast Taps NDS as Prime Integrator for tru2way, Says It Is "Committed" to CableLabs' tru2way RI

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.

  • Interactive TV advertising agency, BrightLine iTV Marketing Specialists, has announced that Steve Grubbs, a veteran of Omnicom media agencies and former North American CEO of PHD, will become a senior strategic advisor to the company. According to the company, which claims to be experiencing its second consecutive year of record growth, Grubbs will work closely with its CEO, Jacqueline Corbelli, to "help navigate the substantial number of opportunities that have emerged for BrightLine in the interactive television space, over the past 24 months." BrightLine has also released a report that claims that Hispanic/Latino viewers of interactive TV are early adopters and more likely to engage with interactive TV advertising than the population at large. Among the report's findings, according to BrightLine: 1) "Hispanics click ads at rates twice the general market average"; 2) "Hispanic viewers are dramatically more interested in clicking ads on TV than online"; 3) "On a campaign basis...custom ITV designs for Hispanics can drive as many as 30 times the engagement of online at substantially lower media costs"; 4) "Hispanic audiences spend extended durations interacting with branded content on their TV's, engaged on average for more than five times the duration of a typical :30 spot--two and a half minutes"; 5) "On a popular mass-targeted ITV portal, ads targeting Hispanics draw equally as many clicks as the general market despite the demographic only accounting for 16% of the audience, suggesting Hispanics are more active users of interactive guides and portals than the general market"; and 6) "Hispanic audiences show comfort and willingness to combine mobile and TV interactivity, responding to advanced TV ad experiences via mobile text messaging at rates similar to onscreen information release."
  • Earlier this year (see the article published on, April 21st), [itvt] reported that Chad, Matt & Rob--Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Rob Polonsky--a trio of 20-something Los Angeles-based filmmakers who have risen to prominence as a result of a series of interactive comedic shorts they have created, using YouTube's Annotations feature (note: their videos--which are influenced by Bantam Books' classic series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" children's gamebooks--include "The Birthday Party: An Interactive Adventure," "The Murder: An Interactive Adventure," and "The Time Machine: An Interactive Adventure"; the latter garnered over a million views on YouTube during its first week, and won the award for Best Multimedia Fiction at the 2009 Cinema Tout Ecran International Film Festival in Geneva), had secured a TV development deal with FremantleMedia. The trio have now produced and released on YouTube a trailer for their first FremantleMedia-backed production, "The Treasure Hunt: An Interactive Adventure." The trailer is embedded above.
  • Clearleap, a company that offers a technology platform for bringing Internet-sourced video content to television sets, and OTT specialist, Roku, have announced a partnership that they say will enable pay-TV operators and premium programmers to offer VOD content--and thus generate additional revenues--through a branded channel on Roku's flagship Roku Player boxes. "Clearleap's platform will enable paid VOD transactions to post directly through viewers' pay-TV subscription information, allowing Roku users to consume free or pay VOD titles congruent with their subscription package, with transactions posting as part of their monthly TV service bill," the companies explain in their press materials. "In addition to bolstering premium content offerings, the partnership positions Roku as an attractive, low-cost set-top box solution to the broader pay-TV industry that will work on any TV in any home environment. For Clearleap, the partnership signals its intentions to expand its platform from a cloud- based solution found inside cable and IPTV ecosystems to a universal video technology platform designed for any type of operator and programmer focused on the 10-foot television viewing experience." Clearleap and Roku say that their managed IP VOD solution will be in multiple trials over the next six months, and that they expect to launch a limited commercial deployment with a pay-TV operator by the end of the year.
  • San Francisco-based interactive video and video analytics company, Clikthrough, has been tapped by fashion company, Armani Exchange (A/X), to create an interactive multimedia presentation, dubbed "Interactive Stylepad," that showcases A/X's products and its new "Bodies of Summer" advertising campaign. According to the companies, Interactive Stylepad, which can be accessed here, allows consumers to "go behind the scenes with the ad campaign's models, hair stylists and make-up artists, listen to a custom A/X soundtrack, and get up-to-date information on how to purchase the featured fashions." It also features an "Advertising Creation Tool (ACT)," the companies state in their press materials, "which allows site visitors to create their own advertising campaign images" that "can then be shared via Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter and Digg."
  • Interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, has announced that Comcast has selected it as the prime integrator for its tru2way software integration project, and has revealed that the MSO plans to use CableLabs' tru2way Reference Implementation (RI). According to the company, its new deal with Comcast will see its Professional Services Group leading set-top box testing, code development and success validation for the integration of new tru2way applications and devices for Comcast. "NDS will provide Comcast with services that optimize the RI stack, enabling uniform and reliable porting to tru2way STB's," the company states in its press materials. "This will allow Comcast to run the same applications and services across multiple models of STB's, offering a consistent user experience for subscribers and providing the company with the freedom to use a variety of hardware platforms. The NDS team will work to build the RI testing tool, implement the tests against the different STB's, develop code and assist in fixing any issues." In a prepared statement, Comcast's SVP of advanced business and technology development, Mark Hess, said that the MSO is "committed to the CableLabs Reference Implementation and its deployment on tru2way devices," adding that "we're eager to begin our work together to enhance the RI, which will help advance the industry's adoption of tru2way while also enabling us to bring our customers interactive services." In related news: 1) In comments to the FCC, Comcast has revealed that it now supports tru2way in "almost 90% of its headends." Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner has more. 2) According to a report by Multichannel News's Todd Spangler, the MSO has tapped UK-based Pace to build its next-generation tru2way-enabled set-top box.


North America