News Round-Up (X): TVNZ, WealthTV, Verizon FiOS TV, XStreamHD, Zappware, naxoo

--TVNZ Commissions Second Season of Emmy-Winning Interactive Online Series, "Reservoir Hill"
--WealthTV Offering 3D Episode on Verizon FiOS TV's VOD Platform
--Satellite VOD Company, XStreamHD, in Distribution Deal with Lionsgate
--Zappware in Interactive TV Deal with Swiss Cable Operator, naxoo

The [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week and next, 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.

  • New Zealand public broadcaster, TVNZ, has commissioned a second season of the online interactive TV drama series, "Reservoir Hill." The series, which won an International Emmy, centers on Beth Connolly, a teenager who is uprooted from her life in a rural community when her parents separate, and who is forced to move to a strange new suburb that is full of people who keep inexplicably staring at her. "Scared and lonely," as TVNZ describes the series in a house publication, "she needs the support of her mates to help her figure out what's going on." During its first season (see the article published on itvt.com, October 12th), a new episode of the show was uploaded to tvnz.co.nz every Monday, and a new video blog (in which Beth explained "what's going on in her head") every Thursday. Viewers were invited to contact the character and tell her what they thought was going on: "Send her a message on Bebo," TVNZ explained, "and she talks back. Text her, and the message could pop up on her phone in the show--and the advice given then steers the story to its natural conclusion, good or bad." According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the new season "will encourage the [series'] 1,500 or so Bebo friends to switch to Facebook, where they will be able to interact with all the characters. TVNZ's Web site," the Herald continues, "will also give audiences a chance to step inside Beth's subconscious, where they may pick up clues to the season's mystery. An extra pair of hands has been hired to take care of the round-the-clock social networking."
  • Verizon and "luxury lifestyle" network, WealthTV, have announced that WealthTV is making a 3D episode of the show, "Wealth on Wheels Classic," available exclusively on Verizon FiOS TV's VOD platform. "As we progress with 3D on FiOS TV, programming like this from WealthTV gives our customers a chance to see what 3D on FiOS is really all about," Tricia Lynch, Verizon's director of content strategy and acquisition, said in a prepared statement. "Seeing the classic cars come to life in 3D will make viewers feel like they're in the driver's seat, especially with the incredible picture quality only FiOS can deliver. We look forward to providing more 3D programming like this."
  • XStreamHD, a company which is developing a satellite-delivered 1080p HD movies-on-demand service, and which recently signed a long-term satellite service agreement with EchoStar's EchoStar Satellite Services subsidiary (see the article published on itvt.com, June 29th), has announced that it has signed a long-term electronic sell-through and VOD distribution agreement with Lionsgate. According to the company, the deal will enable it "to offer its customers the ability to digitally purchase or rent the latest HD releases from Lionsgate, as well as provide access to Lionsgate's content library of over 12,000 titles."
  • Belgian interactive TV technology provider, Zappware, has announced a deal with Swiss cable operator, 022 Telegeneve SA-naxoo, for the delivery of a range of ITV services. According to the company, the deal includes an EPG, a VOD service, a PVR service and a DLNA-based media player service. "The PVR service allows recordings to be made on an external hard disk that is plugged into the set-top box over USB," Zappware states in its press materials. "The media player service allows TV viewers to browse and play content that is stored on USB storage devices, PC's or other media servers in their home network. All these services are delivered as part of Zappware's proven Flux solution." The deal will see Zappware's Flux solution deployed on the SceneGate set-top boxes of its partner, Albis Technologies.

 

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