Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): Microsoft, Music Choice, Pace, Minerva

--Microsoft Says 40+ Operators Now Using Mediaroom, Stresses Importance of Xbox to its TV Strategy
--New Nicki Minaj Video Breaks Music Choice VOD Record
--Pace to Integrate Minerva IPTV Middleware into HD Set-Tops

Due to the large volume of news generated over the past few days, we are covering today's stories in abbreviated round-up/summary form:

  • Microsoft contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that its Mediaroom IPTV platform has now been deployed by over 40 operators, and is powering TV services to seven million subscriber households via 15 million set-top boxes. An email from a company representative also stressed that the Xbox 360 games console will play a key role in Microsoft's television strategy going forward. "You've probably heard how Microsoft announced last week [see video embedded above] its commitment to expand access to live television on Xbox 360 to more providers in the US and around the world during the upcoming year," the email stated. "We also announced voice search with Bing on Xbox 360, making voice navigation even better for consumers to find the entertainment they want, quickly and easily. Bing on Xbox 360 searches Netflix, Hulu Plus and ESPN, as well as music, video and Xbox LIVE Marketplace. It's clear that Xbox is no longer just a gaming platform but a growing hub for music, video, gaming, social and beyond. For example, there are now nearly 35 million active Xbox LIVE members worldwide spending an average of almost 60 hours a month on the service. Compared to a year ago, there is three times as much video consumption taking place on the console. That's a lot of consumers watching content in new and amazing ways. And this is usage that there is clearly demand for, and which operators and content providers want to be part of. Microsoft has already been working with partners including BSkyB, Canal+ and Foxtel to bring live TV as well as on-demand experiences to consumers via Xbox LIVE. Three operators--AT&T, Telus, and Vodafone Portugal--are also delivering their Mediaroom-powered live TV services to the Xbox 360 today. As Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president for TV and services at Microsoft, also reiterated at yesterday's 'Future of Entertainment in the Living Room' presentation at the CTAM Insights conference, interactive TV the way it needs to be can only be done through partnership. And all of the new operator experiences on the Xbox will be powered by TV platform technologies based on Mediaroom."
  • Music Choice contacted [itvt] Monday to let us know that a new video from singer Nicki Minaj has broken its record for weekly VOD views. According to figures from Rentrak, Minaj's "Super Bass" music video generated 1,436,807 views for the week ending 5/29/11. The other four best-performing music videos on Music Choice's VOD platform in terms of weekly views are: 2) Minaj's "Right Thru Me" with 1,279,807 views for the week ending 11/10/10; 3) Justin Bieber's "Baby" with 1,222,670 views for the week ending 4/4/10; 4) Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" with 1,180,360 views for the week ending 4/13/08; and 5) Minaj's "Your Love" with 1,062,915 views for the week ending 8/15/10.
  • Pace has announced a partnership agreement with IPTV middleware provider, Minerva. "The worldwide agreement will integrate Minerva xTVFusion middleware technology into Pace's HD set-top boxes, expanding the range of IPTV middleware and technology delivery options available to service providers," the company states in its press materials. "The partnership will allow Pace to offer a pre-integrated end-to-end solution to service providers across its global customer base. It will enable operators to seamlessly integrate IPTV services into the broadcast offering and provide a cost-effective satellite and cable television delivery solution across Europe and South America. Minerva middleware, integrated with Pace technology, will allow service providers to cost-effectively deliver a range of new IP services to subscribers including video-on-demand, restart-TV, network-based digital video recording, catch-up TV, and Internet video." Said Pace Americas president, Mike Pulli: "Deployed over networks serving more than 20 million homes worldwide, Minerva is at the forefront of the convergence between the Internet and television. This new relationship facilitates the opportunity for Pace to deliver the complete solution at a competitive price to serve increasing customer expectations worldwide. Building on additional middleware partnerships, Pace is able to deliver the best possible user experience for the home network, and lead the future of the converged home."
North America