Interactive TV News Round-Up

--Bluefin Unveils Tech for Analyzing Real-Time Viewer Response to TV Shows and Ads via Social Media
--New EMEA Hire, Customer Wins for Brightcove
--BT Vision Adds 40,000 Subscribers in Q4
--Cable VOD Offerings Celebrate Black History Month
--Hulu in Content Deal with Viacom
--CEO Kilar Provides Information on Hulu's Growth and Financials
--Kaltura in Broadband Video Partnership with Siemens IT
--MTV Launches Micropayment-Based Online VOD Service
--Russia's IMAQLIQ Integrates Opera's Browser Technology into its IPTV Devices
--Suddenlink Rolls Out VOD in Cabot, Arkansas
--Time Warner's Bewkes Confirms Premium VOD Plans
--Verimatrix Secure's PMT's OViVO Personalized TV Service
--YuMe Trumpets Two Studies Showing Growing Importance of Online Video for Ad Campaigns

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

  • Bluefin Labs has unveiled technology which it says will "discover and analyze what people say via social media about the shows and ads they watch on television in real time. The technology, currently in pilot with several global brands, agencies and media companies, lets marketers see audience response to mass media, providing insight to develop measurably more targeted and responsive campaigns," the company's press materials continue. "Built upon deep machine learning principles developed from over 15 years of MIT Media Lab research, the company has attracted top academic talent and media and technology business veterans to its leadership. Bluefin recently closed a $6 million round of Series-A funding led by Redpoint Ventures and has been growing steadily since its inception in 2008." Said Bluefin founder and CEO, Deb Roy: "A chasm is growing between mass media, where brands spend hundreds of billions each year to reach large audiences, and social media, where audiences share response and shape public opinion at lightning speeds. Unless companies learn how to integrate social media response tightly with their mass media marketing, they risk losing control of their brands. Bluefin's platform radically reduces the cost and complexity of mapping social chatter to TV content in real time and at scale."
  • Online video platform provider, Brightcove, has announced that it has appointed Robert Raiola as senior marketing director for the EMEA region and secured new customer wins in France with L'Express and Le Figaro Group.
  • In its latest earnings release, UK incumbent telco, BT, announced that BT Vision, its Microsoft Mediaroom-powered hybrid DTT/IP service, added 40,000 subs in Q4, for a total of 545,000. This represents the service's best subscriber-acquisition total in seven quarters.
  • CTAM is trumpeting the line-up of programming that will be available on US cable VOD systems throughout February to mark Black History Month. More information on the line-up is available here.
  • Hulu has announced a new content partnership with Viacom that will return "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" to (Viacom removed those shows from the service back in March) and bring a range of shows from Viacom networks, Comedy Central, MTV, BET, VH1, Spike TV and TV Land to the Hulu Plus subscription service. "Under the agreement, current full episodes and clips of 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and 'The Colbert Report' will be available on the free ad-supported service and through the Hulu Plus subscription service beginning February 2, 2011," the company states in its press materials. "In addition, Viacom will make available to Hulu Plus subscribers a selection of current programs, like 'Jersey Shore,' 'Tosh.0,' 'Teen Mom 2,' 'Manswers,' 'Let's Stay Together,' and 'Hot in Cleveland' 21 days after they air. Viacom content availability on Hulu Plus will vary on a show-by-show basis. Additionally, Hulu Plus subscribers will have access to more than 2,000 episodes of programming from Viacom's library, including 'The Chappelle Show,' 'Reno 911,' 'Beavis & Butthead,' 'Real World,' 'Punk'd,' 'Baldwin Hills' and many others on PC's, Internet-connected TV's and Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and tablets (in HD when available)." Said Viacom president and CEO, Philippe Dauman: "We are very pleased to partner with Hulu in a way that recognizes the value of our strong brands and the passionate young fans who are attracted to our content. The Hulu Plus service offers us the opportunity to connect with our audiences through an exciting subscription and ad-supported platform that is complementary to our existing distribution arrangements. This innovative agreement allows us to benefit from the success and expansion of Hulu and we look forward to bringing our popular content to their growing audience."
  • In related news: Hulu CEO, Jason Kilar, has published a long post on the company's blog, outlining his thoughts on the future of TV and providing some details on Hulu's growth rate and financials. Among other things, the post reveals that Hulu expects its Hulu Plus subscription service to pass a million users this year and to have a revenue run-rate of over $200 million by the fall; and that the company expects to generate around half a billion dollars in advertising and subscription revenues in 2011, compared to $263 million in 2010.
  • Open source online video platform provider, Kaltura, has announced that it has joined forces with Siemens IT Solutions and Services to "offer video solutions and services to media organizations worldwide, with a focus on the media, enterprise, education and service provider verticals. Siemens [will] market and resell Kaltura's offerings globally, both as standalone products and as integrated solutions along with Siemens products and services," the company states in its press materials. "Siemens IT Solutions and Services Pvt. Ltd. recently launched iNeevM, the Next Generation Media Platform, which uses Kaltura's video platform as one of its delivery components for domain-specific customized industry solutions. iNeevM is a one-stop solution for publishers, broadcasters, content owners, educational content publishers and others, which enables the management and delivery of high-quality digital media content to online users within a social media framework. This helps businesses in achieving strategic objectives of recapturing audience share, maximizing revenue and strengthening customer relationships."
  • MTV Networks International has launched an online VOD service in the UK that employs a micropayments system. "Visitors will be able to watch full-length shows, including 'Jersey Shore' and 'My Super Sweet,' for £1 a day or £2 for a week's access to all programs," Jessica Davies writes in New Media Age. "They can also watch archive content including 'The Real World,' 'The Hills' and '16 and Pregnant.'" The service additionally features a line-up of original programming.
  • Opera Software has announced a partnership with Russian telecommunications equipment provider, IMAQLIQ, that will see the latter integrating Opera's browsing technology into its new line of IPTV devices. "Technology, coupled with strong industry partnerships, makes the Opera Devices Software Development Kit (SDK) the ideal solution for IPTV deployments," the company states in its press materials. "It is easy to integrate with streaming media players, conditional access systems, and personal video recorders/applications and can be used to create and render middleware portals. The SDK provides maximum performance on the platform, is optimized for hardware and supports the latest standards. This allows IMAQLIQ to work with multiple middleware solutions providers. Additionally, the collaboration allows customers to have access to the most on-demand applications such as YouTube, vkontakte and Google." Said IMAQLIQ's director of R&D, Dmitry Tolpanov: "When we were evaluating various browsers, we received excellent feedback from middleware vendors about Opera Software. We decided to go with the company that had active development and robust support for its product. Additionally, the Opera browser is beloved by millions of people across the Russian Federation. It was an easy decision to choose Opera on our latest line of consumer devices for interactive digital TV."
  • Suddenlink has announced the roll-out of its VOD service in Cabot, AR.
  • During Time Warner's earnings conference call, Wednesday, chairman and CEO, Jeff Bewkes, reiterated previous public statements that the company's Warner Bros. studio will launch a premium VOD service in the second quarter that will offer movies just 60 days after their theatrical release. He also stated that the company will this year "determine whether to lengthen the window for Redbox and Netflix and whether to increase how much we charge them for DVD's." The Los Angeles Times's Ben Fritz has more.
  • Verimatrix has announced that Russia's Personal Media Technology (PMT) is using its Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS) to secure its OViVO personalized TV service. "OViVO is a personalized digital TV platform that organizes the user's TV viewing for them without a traditional subscription," the company states in its press materials. "Developed and produced in Russia, the service liberates users by preparing content on their behalf, learning what they like and organizing content based on preferences, which is available on their existing TV's. The more the viewer watches, the better the system's recommendations become. This type of personalized approach allows OViVO to deliver targeted ads to a self-selected audience. The company is currently conducting beta tests on the service."
  • Broadband video advertising technology company, YuMe, has announced the results of two complementary studies which it says prove "the increasing power of online video for ad campaigns" and "offer a compelling picture of the mainstreaming of the online video audience and how brands can effectively and easily reach more viewers."


North America