Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): Cisco, Inlet Technologies, Mubi, Belgacom, Softbank, PPTV

--Cisco to Enhance its New Videoscape Platform via Acquisition of Inlet Technologies
--Mubi in VOD Deal with Belgacom
--Softbank Acquires Stake in Chinese Broadband TV Service, PPTV

Here is the first of two round-ups of some recent interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue:

  • Cisco has announced its intent to acquire privately held Inlet Technologies, a provider of adaptive bit rate (ABR) video streaming technology, for $95 million in cash and "retention-based incentives." According to Cisco, the acquisition will strengthen the capabilities of its recently launched (see the article published on, January 6th) Videoscape platform. "Cisco Videoscape is a comprehensive TV platform for service providers that brings together digital TV and online content with social media and communications applications to create a truly immersive home and mobile video entertainment experience," Cisco states in its press materials. "Inlet's advanced ABR technology, which is used in streaming multimedia over managed and unmanaged networks, adapts the quality of the video stream based on real-time network conditions. Inlet brings to Cisco a strong team that understands the complexities of delivering ABR video over IP networks to any device. Upon the close of the acquisition, Inlet employees will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group."
  • Mubi, a Silicon Valley-based online VOD service devoted to independent, foreign and classic films, has secured a distribution deal with Belgacom that sees it offering 300 films on the latter's pay-TV platform, with an additional 200 titles slated to launch on the platform in May. Belgacom customers can access all the films (on TV or online) for a monthly subscription of 12.99 Euros; or can rent them on a pay-per-view basis with a seven-day viewing window (short films are priced at 0.99 Euros, library titles at 2.99 Euros, and day-and-date titles at 3.99 Euros; HD versions are priced at 1 Euro extra). According to Belgacom, the Mubi deal will bring the number of movies available on its VOD platform to 1,300.
  • Japan's Softbank has announced that it has acquired a 35% stake (worth around $250 million) in Synacast Corporation (better known as PPLive), the company that operates the popular Chinese broadband TV service, PPTV (often referred to as "the Chinese Hulu"). "PPTV is the premier online TV service in China with a 200 million user installed base and 105 million active monthly users throughout China," Softbank states in its press materials (which [itvt] has slightly edited due to some errors in English grammar and syntax). "It started the service in December 2004. Collaborating with TV stations and premium content providers in China, PPTV provides online live streaming and video-on-demand services for most popular TV programs and professionally produced content such as news, drama, movies, sports, and cartoons free of charge. It also distributes paid content such as movies, entertainment and educational programs. PPTV offers a very advanced Internet service with a variety of personalized or social functions for video viewing such as collaboration with SNS, chatting, 3D viewing, and multi-window viewing."
North America