Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Cablevision, Canoe, chumby, Pace, Comcast

--Cablevision Launches, Claims Success for, Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment
--Canoe Ventures Unveils ExpandTV, a New Consumer-Facing Brand for Interactive Ads and Programs
--chumby, Pace Team to Demo chumby Apps on Pace Set-Top Boxes
--Comcast to Unveil "Next-Generation Xfinity TV Experience" This Thursday

Due to the large volume of news being generated this week by the Cable Show, we are covering today's stories in abbreviated round-up/summary form:

  • Cablevision has announced the launch of Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment, an interactive TV advertising format that allows viewers to "opt-in and engage directly with advertisers through a few clicks of the remote to request more information via email from a 30-second spot." According to the MSO, which launched its Optimum Select ITV advertising service back in 2009, the first advertiser to take advantage of the new format has been ICE Enterprise which it says "utilized their Voyage Travel Rewards brand to launch [a] Royal Caribbean Cruise Line promotion, which ran for two weeks across Cablevision's New York metro service area." Cablevision says that Lincoln, Benjamin Moore and Adirondack Regional Tourism plan to launch Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment campaigns shortly. According to the company, the ICE Enterprise campaign "consisted of a 'two for the price of one' vacation offer from Royal Caribbean, promoted through 30-second television spots, enabling consumers to request more information about purchasing the vacation package and joining the travel rewards program. The spots included an Optimum Select overlay prompting the viewer to press the 'select' button on their remote to receive additional information," the company's press materials continue. "After an opt-in and verification of their personal information, the viewer selects 'submit' to complete the email submission." Said ICE Enterprise chairman and CEO, John Rowley: "We could not have been happier with the results of the Optimum Select RFI with Email Fulfillment campaign; it is truly a groundbreaking milestone in television advertising driving engagement and ROI directly from the 30-second spot. The goal of the campaign was to generate sales for both Royal Caribbean and travel reward enrollment, and the campaign generated a total of 3,000 unique email leads over a two-week period. The offer redemption rates were off the charts at 24 percent--more than double the industry average for conventional email campaigns. Cablevision continues to be a leader in interactive advertising, providing marketers with innovative products to help brands break-through the increasingly cluttered media landscape."
  • At the Cable Show in Chicago this week, Canoe Ventures is promoting ExpandTV, which it describes as the new "consumer-facing brand for interactivity on television," and as "a brand that cues viewers that the advertisement or programming element is enhanced with interactivity." The brand was developed in partnership with the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB), CableLabs, CTAM and major cable MSO's. In an FAQ on the dedicated Web site that the company has set up for the new brand, it explains, among other things, that ExpandTV is intended to serve as "the industry's 'seal of confidence' assuring viewers of an interactive experience that is not only immersive and dynamic, convenient and immediate but also secure from unauthorized uses," and that "any collection of data by an ExpandTV interactive application is subject to and governed by the subscriber agreement between the viewer and his/her TV provider." It also explains that ExpandTV should not be considered "the new name/brand for EBIF"; and, in answer to the question, "Is this a cable-only effort?," it states: "Developed and managed under the stewardship of Canoe Ventures on behalf of the cable television industry, ExpandTV represents a commitment to a branded interactive experience. Over time, the initiative will grow to meet the evolving needs of distribution partners, programmers and advertisers." Canoe has also provided a set of brand and user interface guidelines for ExpandTV, which it cautions are currently "in non-production-intent form"--it says that "Version 1.0 Guidelines will be published and a free licensing agreement will be available for use in the summer of 2011."
  • chumby, which bills itself as "a software company that provides a personalized Internet experience to a multitude of connected devices," and set-top box manufacturer, Pace, have announced that they are demo'ing chumby apps on Pace set-top boxes in Pace's Cable Show booth (649) this week. "As part of the demonstration, Pace will showcase chumby applications for televisions, a service chumby offers in addition to its own branded hardware devices, Android application, and partner devices including the Sony Dash and Best Buy's Insignia Infocast," the companies state in their press materials. "chumby's cloud-based ecosystem of content is flexible across screen size and device type, making the chumby platform a natural fit for services available through your TV and set-top box. The chumby platform currently offers users access to more than 1,500 applications, ranging from music and social networking sites, news and entertainment gossip, photo viewing, video clips and sports scores." Said Pace's SVP of sales and customer support, Tim O'Loughlin: "The idea of keeping customers pervasively connected to the content they want is something both Pace and chumby share, and we look forward to working closely with them to make this a reality." Added chumby CEO, Derrick Oien: "With new categories of connected devices entering the market at a growing rate, chumby's cloud-managed app ecosystem provides an ideal library of content for companies looking to offer personalized information and content to their users across any screen. As the global leader in digital TV technology and the set-top box market, Pace is an ideal partner to unveil our TV platform."
  • Comcast said Tuesday that its chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts, will unveil the "next-generation Xfinity TV experience" during this Thursday's Cable Show General Session (starts at 9:00AM Central). "This new experience [dubbed "Xfinity Spectrum"] transforms the way consumers watch television with a new guide and user interface that makes the TV screen more interactive, personal and social," the company states in its press materials. "Now available in a market trial in Augusta, GA, Xfinity TV brings an entirely new user experience to television that makes it easier to search and select from tens of thousands of choices. Through this experience, customers enjoy: 1) Fast, intuitive search that lets users find what they want to watch in seconds from thousands of choices on TV, On Demand, on their DVR, or from a selection of additional content. 2) A more personalized TV experience, called MyTV, where users can see and access all of their recordings, favorites and recommendations in one place that reflects their interests, favorite series, sports teams, movies and music. 3) Interactive apps that are easy to access and enhanced for TV, like traffic and weather, and social apps like Facebook that let users share and discover what to watch with their friends." The press materials continue: "Xfinity TV integrates technology, content and applications from industry leaders including: 1) Integrating with Facebook to bring social apps to TV, making it easy for people to share their TV experience with friends, wherever they may be. 2) Intel Corporation provided the Intel Architecture-based CE SoC for the new set-top boxes, delivering the CPU and graphics performance required for the service's advanced user interface, fast responsive performance and new interactive applications. 3) Pace plc, a leader in digital TV technology, developed the powerful hybrid set-top box with tru2way and IP capability that enables the new television experience. 4) thePlatform, a leading video publishing company wholly owned by Comcast, is bringing its cloud-based video publishing system, mpx, as the content management infrastructure for the service." According to Comcast, the new version of Xfinity TV is the first in a series of products powered by Xcalibur, "an advanced application and video platform that uses cloud computing services in the Comcast network to bring new, more innovative television services to consumers, faster."
North America