Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): iSIGN, L4 Media, Layar, Marc Dorcel (3D VOD), MegaPhone Labs, Minerva Networks, Music Choice, NHL, NDS, Netflix

MegaPhone Labs | DialPlayTV

[itvt]'s daily news coverage went on hiatus October 18th in order to allow our editorial staff to work full time on TVOT NYC Intensive. This issue contains a round-up of some of the major interactive TV-related news stories that have broken since then. Due to the volume of news we are covering in this issue, our summaries of each item are somewhat more abbreviated than usual (note: extensive background information on most of the companies and technologies covered in this issue can be found by using itvt.com's search functionality). We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers.

  • iSIGN Media Solutions has announced that its Interactive Marketing Solution (IMS) 3.0 software "is capable of being embedded into set-top boxes used by cable and satellite TV companies, thus allowing coupons and other communications to be delivered to consumers in their homes. SIGN's IMS technology can be leveraged within STB platforms supporting satellite, cable and IPTV for delivery of advertisements, product info, vouchers, etc. that is in sync with advertisements viewed by users," the company states in its press materials. "Users will be able to take content away from their viewing experience on their phone. This will make TV advertisements measurable and accountable in real time to advertisers and their agencies."
  • A company called L4 Media launched at the TelcoTV 2010 show in Las Vegas last month and unveiled its flagship interactive TV widget platform, dubbed Panorama, which it says Nokia Siemens Networks plans to integrate into its IPTV solution. According to the company, Panorama "is designed for IPTV and television service providers who want to make it easy for consumers to access personalized content, like Twitter and Facebook updates, weather forecasts, and sports scores, directly from their televisions."
  • Augmented reality specialist, Layar, has secured 10 million Euros in new funding in a round led by Intel Capital and existing investor, Prime Ventures.
  • Adult film production company, Marc Dorcel, has announced the launch of what it claims is Europe's first 3D VOD service. "Available on channel 171 of the French provider FREE, the service offers a space dedicated to 3D, organized around 10 themes ('girls only,' 'nurses,' 'pornochic,' 'fetish'...) and will add on new videos each week," the company states in its press materials.
  • MegaPhone Labs has named Mark Yackanich, the former VP and head of corporate strategy for NBC Local Media and head of business operations for the launch of Hulu, as CEO. " This appointment ushers in the company's expanded focus on interactive programming and social television as it ventures beyond its traditional digital signage deployments," MegaPhone Labs states in its press materials. "With Yackanich as CEO, MegaPhone Labs aims to revolutionize the television programming industry with its scalable, phone-based input platform, customizable Flash-based applications and new approach to delivering interactive and social content to homes." Yackanich unveiled MegaPhone's new interactive TV offering at TVOT NYC Intensive.
  • Minerva Networks has launched xTVFusion, which it bills as a platform "for the delivery of blended television and over-the-top (OTT) video services to broadband subscribers on multiple screens." According to the company, the platform offers new capabilities in five key areas: "1) Support for all types of content and streaming formats (e.g. adaptive streaming). 2) Flexible, standards-based applications development environment. 3) Support for both managed and unmanaged broadband networks. 4) Support for many types of devices (set-top boxes, PC's, tablets, smartphones, connected consumer devices). 5) Consistent television navigation experience across multiple content sources, services, networks and devices." In other Minerva news: 1) The company has signed a global distribution agreement with Edgeware, which it says will see it integrating the latter's distributed video delivery architecture with the new xTVFusion platform to enable such services as VOD, network DVR, time-shifted TV, fast channel change and video retransmission. 2) The company has announced a partnership with Mariner, which it says will "deliver improved video monitoring and operational efficiencies to IPTV operators. 3) Channel Master has unveiled a set-top box that it says is fully certified with Minerva iTVManager and xTVFusion, and is aimed at carriers deploying a mix of IPTV and broadband video services.
  • Music Choice has announced that its 24/7 interactive music video network, SWRV, has now generated over 5 million viewer interactions since its launch earlier this year. According to the company, 62% of those interactions were from the Web and 38% from mobile; and 80% were from the 13-24 demographic.
  • The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced that its NHL GameCenter LIVE streaming product (provides up to 40 out-of-market live NHL games per week, as well as classic games on-demand) is now available OTT through the Boxee, Roku and PlayStation 3 platforms. The NHL has also recently launched NHL GameCenter 2010 Premium for iPad, which offers video highlights, condensed games and live game radio. Paid Content has more.
  • At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo earlier this month, NDS demo'd its "Mango" guide concept on an Apple iPad. The guide "is laid out like a magazine to highlight programming personalized to an individual subscriber," and "in addition to enhancing navigation and letting viewers control their DVR, could also serve advertising associated with programming on TV," Todd Spangler writes in Multichannel News. In other NDS news: 1) The company's Snowflake user interface (UI) and content navigation model has been awarded a Janus award from the French Institute of Design; and 2) the company has appointed Jayant Changrani as country head and general manager for NDS India.
  • Netflix, which last month launched a $7.99-per-month streaming-only plan in the US, has announced a new licensing agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group, which it says will allow it "to stream hundreds of episodes from the ABC Television Network, Disney Channel and--for the first time--ABC Family over the Internet." Some shows will be available as soon as 15 days after their telecast, the company says.