Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): VDS, Warner Bros., YOU On Demand

--VDS Demo's its New Watercooler Social-TV Tool at Cable Show
--Warner Bros. in China VOD Deal

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:

  • VDS and its cable market sales partner, UniSoft, have announced that they are demo'ing Watercooler, VDS's new automated, rules-based social-TV tool, in the Cable Show's CableNET exhibit this week. "With Watercooler by VDS, an exciting new product for the generation of social media posts synchronized with television content playback, broadcasters can easily engage viewers and create additional revenue opportunities," the companies state in their press materials. "Watercooler incorporates exact timing information from station automation, enabling synchronized tweets or Facebook posts throughout the broadcast, engaging viewers with program-centric information. Watercooler uses the complete program schedule on a per-channel basis, including the true start time, which is much different than the scheduled start time. Segment durations, timecode markers and any other associated metadata can be referenced as information. With more than 500 million Facebook users and 175 million Twitter users, advertisers have been waiting for this exact model for interactive engagement with their consumers. Broadcasters can create Watercooler events to occur at set points during the program day. With user-defined presets, Watercooler can send a pre-composed tweet or post a pre-composed message to Facebook in advance of a program, at a specific point in a program, or even in advance of, or during a specific commercial spot. Viewers with specific interests can opt into reminders as to when a certain event will occur during a program, for example, what time a specific recipe will be demonstrated on a cooking show...Watercooler is a complete turnkey system housed in a single small footprint server," VDS's and UniSoft's press materials continue. "The user interface is distributed and available to staff with the right credentials anywhere in the facility. Watercooler requires minimal engineering support after installation and operates independently of technical operations. This allows promotions personnel to create Watercooler events without requiring technical staff involvement. Watercooler can also be used to send show reminders to fans to tell them when their show will air in their location and on what channel, or to highlight a season launch or finale. It can post episode information for upcoming series prior to that episode airing. With Watercooler, broadcasters can highlight program dialog discussion points by inviting fans to join a dialog about a particular scene in a program. For example, Watercooler can send a message out in advance of the show, 'See Mike's new girlfriend at 9:11 ET, hot or not?' Or it can send at 9:22 ET, 'Did Wendy really just dis her?' Or it can send at 9:24 ET, 'Did you just see what Sam that really justified?' Broadcasters can add their own metadata timecode points for each program and can use these to create rules as needed. Watercooler can also be used for product placement contests by sending hints on the product placement, e.g.: 'you'll see the secret sponsor in 5 minutes. Be sure to reply for your coupon.' Watercooler can also alert fans as to when their favorite television commercials are airing so they can alert their friends. Further, Watercooler can send e-coupons for sponsored products at specific times in a show for viewers who have opted into a coupon program."
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment has announced that it will begin offering its films on-demand in China. "Through a distribution agreement with CAV Warner Home Entertainment Co., Ltd., Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group's joint venture in China, and YOU On Demand Holdings, Inc.'s PRC joint venture, YOU On Demand Media, consumers will be able to access Warner Bros.' new-release and catalog films this summer through the first national pay-per-view and video-on-demand platform in China," the company states in its press materials. "YOU On Demand will operate under an exclusive 20-year joint venture with CCTV-6's pay-TV arm China Home Cinema (CHC), to become the first national pay-per-view and video-on-demand platform in China. Warner Bros. Entertainment will leverage YOU On Demand's platform to provide a potential 200 million cable households access to the studio's films on their television sets. YOU On Demand anticipates their service will be available in three million cable TV homes in China by the end of this summer, which is comparable to the subscriber base of top cable operators in the United States."
North America