Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): BBC, blinkx, TV Guide Network, Channel 4, CineMexicano, Rentrak

--BBC iPlayer Sets New Records in December
--blinkx in Exclusive Online Video Deal with TV Guide Network
--Channel 4 Establishes Annual Fund to Invest in Apps and Concepts for Next-Generation Connected TV
--CineMexicano to Use Rentrak's OnDemand Essentials Service

Here is the first of two round-ups of interactive TV-related news stories that we didn't have room for in this issue.

  • The BBC says that December was a record month for its BBC iPlayer programming catch-up service. "In total BBC iPlayer received 145 million requests for TV and radio programs in December 2010," BBC social media executive, Nick Reynolds, wrote in a blog post. "This was the third month in a row that BBC iPlayer broke its total number of requests record, and is a year-on-year increase of 27%. Three more records were smashed in December: 1) Total number of requests for TV programs were at an all-time high 89.7 million requests; 2) BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media saw a new record of 23.9 million requests received; 3) Requests for programs via BBC iPlayer on Sony's PlayStation 3 reached 7 million, which is an increase of 31% month-on-month…Rounding out the top-ten most popular programs were Matt Lucas and David Walliams's new airport-based comedy 'Come Fly With Me,' charting at number 5, with over 780,000 requests for episode one, and the traditional Christmas Day episodes of 'Doctor Who' and 'EastEnders,' receiving over 700,000 and 600,000 requests respectively."
  • Video search engine company, blinkx, has announced that it will distribute exclusive video content from TV Guide Network. "A continually expanding library of pop culture videos from TV Guide Network is now fully searchable and viewable at," the company states in its press materials. "Leveraging its unique AdHoc platform, blinkx will also place contextually relevant advertising against these videos and share resulting advertising revenue with TV Guide."
  • Speaking at Tuesday's Nations & Regions Media Conference in Salford, Channel 4 CEO, David Abraham, announced that the terrestrial broadcaster plans to launch two new annual funds, each of which will have £2 million to disburse during its first year: the Alpha Fund, which Abraham said will attempt to "identify and support creative talent at its earliest stage"; and the Convergent Formats Fund, which he said will "invest in ideas, apps and creative concepts for the next generation of connected TV like YouView," and will "pioneer new ideas for a new generation of broadcast television" with the goal of "becom[ing] the partner of choice for the most imaginative digital media companies in the UK."
  • Multiscreen media measurement company, Rentrak, has announced that Spanish-language movie channel, CineMexicano, will use its OnDemand Essentials service. The deal builds on an existing relationship between Rentrak and CineMexicano's corporate parent, Olympusat. "Rentrak's industry-leading on-demand database measurement will analyze viewing habits and track data to evaluate and demonstrate viewer interest in CineMexicano content as well as provide a stable and accurate currency for CineMexicano to help attract advertisers to their video-on-demand (VOD) offerings," Rentrak states in its press materials. According to the company, OnDemand Essentials processes daily, census-level on-demand data representing over 80 million set-top boxes from 38 cable, telco and satellite providers and 100% of the top-25 operators offering VOD. The company claims that its on-demand data is used by over 150 network and studio clients.


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