Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Sony, YouView, thePlatform, Time Warner Cable

--Sony's UK Chief Says Company Will Not Support YouView
--thePlatform Names Former SeaChange Exec, Simon McGrath, General Manager for Europe
--Time Warner Cable Launches Version 2.0 of its iPad Streaming App

Because the [itvt] editorial team is on the road this week, we are covering stories in this edition of the newsletter in round-up format:

  • Speaking at a consumer electronics conference in London earlier this week, Sony's managing director for UK and Ireland, Gildas Pelliet, revealed that the company does not plan to support the UK's YouView standard (note: YouView is an initiative that sees 1) the BBC and UK public-service broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, 2) UK ISP's, BT and TalkTalk, and 3) UK broadcast transmission company, Arqiva, partnering in order to attempt to develop a common standard and interface for the delivery of online catch-up services such as the BBC iPlayer, the ITV player and 4oD, as well as other Internet-based services, including VOD and interactive TV widgets, to broadband-connected Freeview and Freesat set-top boxes). RegHardware has more.
  • Comcast-owned white-label video publishing company, thePlatform, has announced the appointment of Simon McGrath as general manager for Europe, and the promotion of Darren Grimstead to director of European sales. "McGrath has more than 20 years of experience leading strategic operational, marketing, sales and engineering initiatives at global organizations," thePlatform states in its press materials. "Most recently, he served as chief marketing officer and commercial director of EMEA at SeaChange International Inc., a global leader in the delivery of multiscreen video, which provides backend solutions to companies such as AT&T, DISH Network, Hutchison Whampoa, Virgin Media, and many others. At SeaChange, McGrath led the acquisition of Mobix Interactive Ltd. as well as held responsibility for all EMEA accounts, technology alliances and go-to-market strategies. Prior to SeaChange, McGrath served as deputy chief executive officer and director of strategy, development and technology of On Demand Group Ltd., a subsidiary of SeaChange since September 2005. He joined On Demand Group in 2002 as its first chief technology officer, leading the development and launch of ntl (now Virgin Media) video-on-demand, as well as building On Demand's Content Preparation Centre in London. Previously, McGrath served as chief sales and communication officer and executive board member of Lysis SA, a software company specializing in advanced content management solutions for digital television based in Switzerland. McGrath joined Lysis in November 1999 through the acquisition of Concision Limited, a company he founded. He holds a master's degree in computer science from Cambridge University. Darren Grimstead has spent the last eight years leading thePlatform's media and entertainment sales channel as director, media and entertainment Sales. His clients include: PBS, Starz Play, NBC Local Media, truTV, News Digital Media, HIT Entertainment and other top media company accounts. In his new role, he will report to McGrath. Before joining thePlatform, Grimstead held executive sales positions at NetReflector and Loudeye, online media and technology companies where he led strategic sales, market development, business development and customer acquisition initiatives."
  • Time Warner Cable has launched version 2.0 of TWCable TV, its streaming app for the Apple iPad. "TWCable TV 2.0 includes a variety of brand new features including over 100 live channels, an enhanced program guide, remote DVR manager, and the ability to change channels on your set-top box from your iPad," the company states in its press materials. "Features on TWCable TV 2.0 include: 1) Interactive Program Guide--view program listings for up to seven days, set favorite channels and more. 2) Remote control of the set-top box--use your iPad as a remote control by choosing a program from the Interactive Program Guide and tuning the set-top box to the selected channel. 3) Remote DVR Manager--use your iPad to schedule and manage upcoming recordings...Customers can download TWCable TV 2.0 from the App Store, launch it, log in and scroll through the channel line-up to select preferred programming." Said Time Warner Cable EVP and chief video and content officer, Melinda Witmer: "Our customers have made the TWCable TV app an overwhelming success, with over 600,000 downloads to date. Now they will enjoy an even better experience, with the ability to use the iPad as a remote control and to program and manage their DVR's using the iPad. This is another step forward in our plans to make any screen in your home function as a television." More information on the app's new feature set and expanded channel line-up (which does not yet include channels from Viacom, even though Time Warner Cable and Viacom recently announced that they were putting their litigation over the app on hold, pending negotiations--see the article published on, June 22nd) can be found here and here.
North America