Interactive TV News Round-Up

--Report: Amazon in Talks with Studios about Acquiring Content for Netflix-Style Streaming Service
--"Security Requirements" Further Delay Launch of Boxee's Netflix App
--Brightcove Targets Federal Government
--HSN Names Jill Braff EVP of Digital Commerce
--Public Interest Groups File Amicus Brief Supporting ivi TV
--News Corp. Taps John McKinley to Head Development of New Digital Products
--Roku Launches Al Jazeera, USB Media Player
--Softel Announces Exhibit Plans for NAB 2011

Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue.

  • The Los Angeles Times' Ben Fritz has an update on Amazon's plans to launch a competitor to Netflix's online video service (see the article published on, January 30th). Among other things, Fritz reports that Amazon has held talks with Hollywood studios and various independents about acquiring content for its service, but has yet to secure a deal with any of the big six studios; and that the company told studio executives that it "wanted to launch the service in early to mid-February but has delayed those plans until at least later in the month to deal with some technical glitches and to acquire more content."

  • In a posting on Boxee's corporate blog, Tuesday, the company's VP of marketing, Andrew Kippen, announced that the launch of the long-awaited Netflix app for Boxee has once again been delayed. "The Netflix app is up and running on Boxee (we watched the intro to 'Full Metal Jacket' earlier today), but we have not yet satisfied Netflix's security requirements," he wrote. "We anticipate availability soon. It's terrible to be so close to releasing and yet still be waiting on one thing to fall into place."

  • Online video platform provider, Brightcove, has announced a new government-sector initiative that sees it partnering with government IT solutions provider, Carahsoft, and appointing government technology veteran, Chris Hill, as director of public sector sales. "Through the partnership, Carahsoft will market and sell the Brightcove platform to federal, state and local government agencies," Brightcove states in its press materials. "Additionally, Chris Hill will lead a wide range of sales and business development efforts for the company across public sector markets."

  • HSN has appointed Jill Braff as EVP of digital commerce, effective February 7th. She will report directly to CEO, Mindy Grossman. "In her new position, Jill will oversee HSN's existing ecommerce, mobile and social media platforms," the company states in its press materials. "In addition, she will manage the development and implementation of new multiplatform initiatives. HSN's ecommerce, digital marketing, merchandising and advanced services teams will report to Ms. Braff...Prior to joining HSN, Ms. Braff was the CEO and president of Scrapblog, a photo social media Web site with over 2.5 million registered users. Previously, she spent six years as the senior vice president of global publishing for Glu Mobile (GLUU), a leading mobile game publisher. She has also held positions at, The Learning Company/Mattel Interactive, Sega of America and Nintendo of America."

  • "Virtual cable TV system" ivi TV has announced that Public Knowledge, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Media Access Project and the Open Technology Initiative have filed an Amicus Memorandum of Law opposing a motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction that was brought against it in the New York Federal District Court by various media companies.

  • News Corp. has appointed John McKinley to the newly created dual role of CTO for News Corp. and president of technology for News Corp. Digital Media Group. He will report to chief digital officer, Jon Miller, and will be responsible for "developing new digital products, while also working closely with Mr. Miller and key division executives to extend the Company's core media businesses into the digital space," News Corp. says.

  • Roku has announced the availability of a live streaming version of Al Jazeera's English-language channel on its OTT platform. The company has also released the Roku USB Media Player channel. "If you have a Roku player with a USB port (Roku XDS or Roku HD-XR), you can use the channel to play back personal video, music and photo files from a USB drive right on your TV!" the company announced on its user forums Monday evening.

  • Softel Group has announced its exhibit plans for NAB 2011. Among other things, the company will be showcasing its MediaSphere interactive TV playout platform, which is designed to enable efficient testing and rapid deployment of interactive applications. "MediaSphere supports the latest trends such as EBIF and HbbTV and provides efficient management of over-air delivery of DVB-SSU data," the company states in its press materials. "MediaSphere supports all DTT, DSAT and cable-interactive standards, including EBIF, MHEG, OpenTV, HbbTV and tru2way. Its unique ability to support parallel multi-format playout from a single 1RU server provides a flexible and scalable solution, decreasing time-to-market and reliably playing out high volumes of interactive content."
North America