Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): ABC, Amazon, Lovefilm, AT&T

abc - MY GENERATION - iPad App

--ABC to Revive its Nielsen-Powered Two-Screen Interactive TV App for iPad
--Report: Amazon May Be Launching Netflix-Type Instant Streaming Service
--Amazon to Acquire Lovefilm, the "European Netflix"
--AT&T Rebrands its Transactional VOD Service to Head Off Competition from Netflix


Because the [itvt] editorial team was busy last week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. We anticipate that it will take us a few days to catch up with all the news we plan to cover: 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 daily news coverage will return shortly.

  • At the Tvnext conference in Boston last week, ABC's VP of digital media, Rick Mandler, revealed that the broadcaster plans to revive, Sync, the iPad-based, broadcast-synchronized, two-screen interactive TV application that it launched last fall in conjunction with the short-lived series, "My Generation" (see the article published on, September 19th). This time, however, the app, which was developed in partnership with Nielsen, will be offered in conjunction with the long-running series, "Grey's Anatomy." "We went back and said, 'Let's try this again with a show that we know is going to be around for a while,'" Mandler said. The app--a demo video of the "My Generation" version of which is embedded above--is based on Nielsen's Media-Sync platform which is billed as enabling mobile apps to automatically detect and synchronize with TV programming, using audio watermarks. Paid Content has more.

  • Based on a reader tip, Engadget is reporting that Amazon may be quietly rolling out a Netflix-style all-you-can-eat instant streaming service to customers of its $79-per-year Amazon Prime offering (provides free two-day shipping on purchases). According to the tipster, the service offers unlimited access to around 5,000 standard-definition movie and TV titles via Amazon's broadband VOD service.

  • In other Amazon news: The company has announced an agreement to acquire the remaining shares in Lovefilm, a company often referred to as "the European Netflix." "Lovefilm is a leading European subscription entertainment service which combines the benefits of online DVD and games rental-by-post as well as streaming films and TV shows instantly over the internet to PC's, Internet-enabled TV's and PlayStation 3," Amazon explains in its press materials. "Lovefilm operates today in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Amazon already has a significant minority shareholding in Lovefilm and does not itself operate any similar business in Europe." Said Greg Greeley, Amazon's VP of European retail: "Lovefilm has been innovating on behalf of movie rental customers across Europe for many years and with the advent of the Lovefilm player, they are further delighting customers by streaming digital movies for their immediate enjoyment. Lovefilm and Amazon have enjoyed a strong working relationship since Lovefilm acquired Amazon Europe's DVD rental business in 2008, and we look forward to a productive and innovative future."

  • AT&T has rebranded the transactional VOD service of its Microsoft Mediaroom-powered IPTV platform, U-verse TV: Formerly known as U-verse On Demand, the service is now called U-verse Movies, apparently in a bid to head off competition from Netflix and Redbox. Simultaneously with the rebranding, AT&T has been conducting a marketing campaign that points out that its VOD platform receives titles up to 28 days in advance of Netflix and that touts the fact that its customers can access those titles online, on mobiles and via the Microsoft Xbox 360. "We know our customers have lots of ways to get movies," John Blinkiewicz, AT&T's executive director of U-verse marketing, told Multichannel News's Todd Spangler. "Our competition has changed in the on-demand space, from the cable space, and shifted more toward the Netflixes and Redboxes of the world."


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