Interactive TV News Round-Up

--Amino Reports Higher Annual Revenues, H2 Operating Profit
--Report: BBC to Launch Dedicated iPlayer App for iPad This Thursday
--Rovi Replenishes its Cash Reserves
--Sony Launches Qriocity Connected-TV VOD Service in Canada
--Report: Hybrid TV Set to Strike Deal to Ensure Australians Continue to Receive TiVo Service

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

  • Cambridge, UK-based IPTV/OTT set-top box company, Amino Technologies, has released financial results for the year ended November 30th: Revenues totaled £44 million, compared to £25.3 million for the prior year; gross profit totaled £12.6 million, compared to £8.3 million; gross margins were 28.6%, compared to 32.9%--largely due, the company said, to adverse foreign exchange markets and larger customer orders; EBITDA before exceptional items totaled £3.3 million, compared to a loss of £5 million; operating profit before exceptional items totaled £1.8 million, compared to a loss of £6.4 million; and operating loss after exceptional items totaled £0.9 million, compared to a loss of £8.8 million (note: in the second half, the company achieved an operating profit after exceptional items of £0.1 million, compared to a first-half operating loss of £1 million). At the end of the year, the company had cash reserves of £3.6 million, compared to £9 million at the end of the prior year: it attributed the decline to "the cost of stock built to fulfil [a] major tier 1 order which commenced delivery in December 2010." It also had net assets of £21.8 million, compared to £21.9 million at the end of the prior year. According to the company, operational highlights for 2010 included: "Strong performance in core IPTV market with recovery in key markets and launch of new product portfolio gaining immediate traction; investment in securing leadership in the emerging OTT TV market paying off with the launch, in December 2010, by a tier 1 Western European network operator of entertainment services based on the Company's hybrid/OTT technology; further OTT product developed and launched, after the year-end, targeting adjacent pay-TV market with initial technical trials underway with major operators; strengthened management team through appointment of experienced COO and FD." Amino's detailed breakdown of its results is available here.
  • Quoting a tweet from a "loose-lipped BBC interactive operations manager" by the name of Geoff Marshall, Pocket-lint is reporting that the BBC will release a dedicated iPlayer app for the Apple iPad this Thursday (February 10th). According to Marshall, users will only be able to play back programming on the app via WiFi (they will, however, be able to use 3G to browse content, he said.) He also stated that "inter-linking," a feature that will see the Web version of the iPlayer linking to non-BBC content, will go live today (February 8th).
  • Rovi has announced that it has completed a $750 million senior secured credit facility financing, in order to replenish its cash reserves following its planned acquisition of Sonic Solutions. "The Credit Facility consisted of a $450 million five-year Term Loan A tranche and a $300 million seven-year Term Loan B tranche," the company explains in its IR materials. "The Term Loan A bears interest, at the Company's election, at either prime plus 1.5% per annum or three-month LIBOR plus 2.5% per annum. The Term Loan B bears interest, at the Company's election, at either prime plus 2.0% per annum or three-month LIBOR plus 3.0% per annum, with a LIBOR floor of 1.0%. The Company expects to pay all the term loans based on the LIBOR option throughout 2011. The loans were issued at a rating of Ba1/BB+ and the corporate rating is Ba2/BB-. Net proceeds from the transaction (after associated expenses) were approximately $730 million. The Company expects to use the net proceeds to replenish cash reserves following the pending Sonic Solutions acquisition, to repurchase stock and repurchase or otherwise retire convertible debt securities (including the retirement of the remaining $84 million of par value August, 2011 2.625% convertible notes) and for general corporate purposes.
  • Sony has announced the Canadian launch of its "Video On Demand Powered by Qriocity" service. "'Video On Demand powered by Qriocity' is a premium streaming video service that allows film fans to rent from a growing library of hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters from NBC Universal Television Distribution, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, as well as films from local studios, straight to their Sony 2010 and 2011 network-enabled Bravia TV, Blu-ray Disc player, or Blu-ray Disc Home Theater system," the company states in its press materials. "Rental prices for high-definition content will range from CA$4.99-5.99 while those for standard-definition content will range from CA$3.99-4.99. After renting a film, consumers have up to 30 days to start watching their movie, and once playback is started, they have up to 24 or 48 hours to watch the film as many times as they like."
  • Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald includes a report that claims that TiVo's troubled Australia/New Zealand partner, Hybrid TV, is set to strike a deal with a cash-rich "major new services player targeting [Australia's] National Broadcast Network" that will ensure that TiVo owners in Australia and New Zealand continue to receive service.
North America