News Round-Up (VIII): Ooyala, Pace, Project Canvas

--Online Video Platform Provider, Ooyala, Raises $22 Million
--Pace Launches Pace App Cafe, Unveils New MDC1000 Capabilities
--Project Canvas Publishes Draft Technical Specs, Receives Expressions of Interest from 40+ CE Manufacturers

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

  • Online video platform provider, Ooyala, has announced that it has raised over $22 million in a new round of financing from new and existing investors. The round was led by the CID Group and ITOCHU Technology Ventures, and also saw the participation of existing investors, Sierra Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners. The company, which has raised a total of $42 million over a three-and-a-half-year period, says that the round was over-subscribed and that it expects a second closing within 60 days to accommodate additional investor interest.
  • UK set-top box company, Pace, announced its new Pace App Cafe at the IBC in Amsterdam this weekend. "Launching initially in the USA, the Pace App Cafe is a unique service allowing pay-TV operators to harness the potential of online applications within an integrated managed TV service," the company states in its press materials. "It offers hundreds of applications in a storefront format for subscribers to download directly to their individual set-top boxes, enhancing their experience and solidifying the pay-TV service's position at the heart of the home. The new service will be customized with each operator's unique brand and marketed by Pace under the trade name 'Pace App Cafe.' The service is based on Pace's North American Engineware software platform and is underpinned by a standards-based Flash Lite Engine and published Software Development Kit (SDK)." Pace has also just announced new capabilities for its MDC1000 platform, which it says will allow operators in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America "to leverage existing networks and deliver a complete digital experience to a larger share of their subscriber base. The MDC1000 enables operators in emerging markets to easily deploy advanced digital services such as high-definition TV, IPTV and VOD and take advantage of the rapid growth in demand for digital and triple-play services," the company says.
  • Project Canvas--an initiative that sees 1) the BBC and UK public-service broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, 2) UK ISP's, BT and TalkTalk, and 3) UK broadcast transmission company, Arqiva, partnering in order to attempt to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer, the ITV player and 4oD, as well as other Internet-based services (including VOD and interactive TV widgets), to broadband-connected Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes--has published a set of draft technical specs that it developed in collaboration with the Digital Television Group. The initiative has also announced that over 40 companies, including manufacturers of set-top boxes, connected TV's and DVR's, have responded to its invitation to develop and bring to market Canvas devices by 2011.