Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): SeaChange International, Sky News, Time Warner Cable

--Software Segment Drives SeaChange Fiscal Q4 Revenue Growth
--New Sky News iPad App Lets Users "Control Their Own Interactive News Service"
--Time Warner Cable Restores Channels to iPad App after "Overwhelming" Demand Causes it to Crash

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been busy this week working on the TV of Tomorrow Show 2011, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. Once again, 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 see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Multiscreen video technology company, SeaChange International, has released financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter (2011), ended January 31st. "Total non-GAAP revenues were $56.8 million, which were $2.7 million or 5% higher than total non-GAAP revenues of $54.1 million for the fourth quarter of last year," the company states in its earnings announcement. "Total GAAP revenues for the fourth quarter of $61.4 million were $8.4 million or 16% higher than revenues of $53.0 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Non-GAAP net income for this year's fourth quarter was $5.8 million or $0.18 per share compared with non-GAAP net income of $2.3 million or $0.07 per share for the previous year's fourth quarter. GAAP net income for this year's fourth quarter was $10.9 million or $0.34 per share compared with GAAP break-even results for the fourth quarter of last year." According to the company, its fiscal Q4 revenue growth was driven by its software segment, which generated revenues of $46.1 million, compared to $34.9 million for the year-ago quarter. At the end of the quarter, the company's cash, cash-equivalents and marketable securities totaled $86.2 million and no debt, compared to $75 million and no debt at the end of the preceding quarter. The company has also provided guidance for the current fiscal quarter (revenues ranging between $50 million and $52 million, resulting in non-GAAP EPS of $0.01 to $0.03) and year (revenues ranging between $220 million and $230 million, resulting in non-GAAP EPS of $0.62 to $0.70).
  • Sky News has launched an iPad app which it bills as "allow[ing] users to control their own interactive news service." According to the company, the app--which it says is supported by a dedicated editorial team--will initially be free to all but will transition to a monthly subscription model, available via in-app purchase, for non-Sky customers in the near future. "The app gives users a new way to get their news--via live video, expert analysis and rich interactive graphics," Sky News states in its press materials. "Sky News for iPad lives in real time, blending breaking news from around the world with a range of interactive options which allow users to fully immerse themselves in their chosen stories. Users can select from live and on-demand video and then dive deeper by accessing supporting graphics, photo galleries, graphs and articles that provide extra context and analysis. The app allows users to rewind live video, even if they have missed the beginning of the story. What's more, live video is immediately available to replay once it finishes--through an instantly updated video-on-demand library."
  • Shortly after Time Warner Cable launched its new TWCable TV app for the iPad, which allows customers to stream live TV to the Apple device at no additional charge (see the article published on itvt.com, March 16th), the MSO announced that the app had crashed due to "overwhelming" demand and a "much heavier load than we anticipated," and that it was temporarily reducing the number of channels available on the app to 15 in order to "ease strain on the authentication process." The company has since restored the 17 channels it had to remove, and has also announced that it is working to fix a couple of problems that users of the app have complained about: "Most of the issues that you're having seem to fall into two categories: 1) Volume control--it's working fine, but is too quiet. 2) Some customers are still having problems viewing the app. It's refusing to log in or falsely claims that you're not in your home network," Time Warner Cable PR guru, Jeff Simmermon wrote on a company blog. "We're currently raising the audio on the iPad app by 4-6 decibels. We are doing that in real time, right this minute. Those of you that found it to be too quiet may want to give it another try now. This may take some time to fully propagate across our system, so please check back in periodically. If the app's still too quiet for you by tomorrow night, please let us know in the comments. We will be implementing a volume control slider that you can use within the app itself in an update to come in the near future. We deployed a fix to the app earlier this week that should have taken care of most customer registration/account issues. We're seeing that it's drastically reduced the number of people who are unable to login to the app within their home network--causing false error messages or erroneously claiming that you're not in your home network. However, a small percentage of our customers are still having the same problems. What we've discovered is that there are some small variations within some customer account setups between systems. If you are still unable to use the app, it's likely that your account is configured in a slightly different way than the overwhelming majority of our customers. This is something that we can fix for you, but we need you to call into your local customer care line. You can also use our online care team."
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