News Round-Up (II): BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BT, Disney-ABC

--BBC Releases Red-Button Programming Schedule through September 10th
--BBC Director-General Thompson Floats Plans for International Expansion of BBC iPlayer
--BT, Disney in Deal to Launch New ABC-Branded VOD Service on BT Vision

Due to the large volume of interactive TV-related news generated over the past few days, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. Our regular news coverage will return shortly.

  • The BBC has announced the line-up of content that will be available through its red-button interactive TV service through September 10th.
  • In his MacTaggart Lecture at the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival last week, BBC director-general, Mark Thompson, revealed that the corporation is looking to make its iPlayer broadband VOD service available to UK citizens--provided they pay that country's TV license fee--when they are abroad (note: the service is currently geo-blocked outside the UK). News of the BBC's plan did not meet with a warm welcome from Pact, a trade group that represents the UK's independent television producers: Paid Content has more. Thompson also stated in his speech that the BBC's BBC Worldwide arm plans to launch a commercial international version of the iPlayer within a year. A transcript of Thompson's speech is available here. In related news: The BBC has released July usage statistics for the iPlayer.
  • UK incumbent telco, BT, and The Walt Disney Company EMEA have announced a deal to launch a VOD service, called ABC TV On Demand, on BT's Microsoft Mediaroom-powered hybrid DTT/IPTV platform, BT Vision, September 15th. The service will be available as part of BT Vision's £6.99-per-month TV Pack, and individual episodes will also be available for £0.99 each. Content will be refreshed on a monthly basis. According to the companies, ABC TV On Demand is Disney's first launch of an ABC-branded VOD entertainment service outside the US. "The service will offer a range of popular US series produced by Disney's network TV production arm, ABC Studios, giving BT Vision customers on-demand full seasons of hit shows such as 'Cougar Town,' 'Private Practice,' 'Desperate Housewives,' 'Criminal Minds' and 'Brothers & Sisters,' with episodes being made available after their first UK linear TV broadcast window," the companies state in their press materials. "ABC TV On Demand will also offer past seasons of these same US series, plus other modern TV classics such as 'Lost,' 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Ugly Betty.' The service builds on previous series and movie VOD agreements between Disney and BT Vision, adding a selection of new shows for the launch of the branded service."


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