Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Flingo, Hulu, ITU

Introducing Fling (2010)

--Flingo Unveils its Automatic Content Recognition Platform
--CEO Kilar Says Hulu Plus Now Has 875,000 Subscribers
--ITU Issues Call for Entries for IPTV Application Challenge

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:

  • Flingo, the new automatic content recognition (ACR) company from BitTorrent co-founder, Ashwin Navin, emerged from stealth mode Thursday, with the launch of "application publishing products [that] seamlessly integrate the Web with the TV experience. Already the largest publisher of smart TV apps," the company's press materials continue, "Flingo is available on 5.7 million screens in 117 countries, and most smart TV's sold today are already enabled with Flingo. The company is emerging from stealth with relationships with manufacturers including LG, Samsung, Vizio, Insignia, Sanyo and Western Digital. Flingo's application publishing suite enables an ecosystem where media companies, artists and brand advertisers converge on consumer hardware platforms to give viewers a more engaging and personal TV experience. Viewers enjoy more content on TV than ever before in a highly personalized, interactive experience. Additionally, they can share their favorite moments across popular social networks. TV manufacturers use Flingo to improve the value proposition of their smart TV's by offering applications that bring streaming video and introduce interactivity on top of live TV. Content providers, studios and musicians can now engage their audience directly on the TV. Flingo partners share in the proceeds from advertising on the Flingo publishing platform. Flingo's new suite of publishing tools comes in addition to Fling, the company's Open Source project. People currently fling thousands of videos and music from the Web to their big screen TV every day. Viewers simply drag a bookmarklet to the browser bookmarks bar, and then browse a Flingo-supported Web site such as YouTube or Vimeo from a laptop or tablet. The Web site searches for and discovers the viewer's smart TV. Viewers can then click the bookmark to fling the video to the TV or media device. To see a demo of Flingo, go to: http://flingo.org." According to Flingo, its technology is already on 5.7 million TV's, Blu-ray players and IP set-top boxes; it has 67 content partners; and its "Fling" offering is used in 117 countries.
  • Hulu's premium service, Hulu Plus, which launched last November, now has 875,000 subscribers and is on track to exceed a million by the end of the summer, CEO Jason Kilar revealed in a blog post earlier this week. The full text of Kilar's blog post, which provides a range of statistics on Hulu's subscriber growth, business model and content line-up, can be seen here. In related news, Robert Iger, CEO of Hulu co-owner, The Walt Disney Company, confirmed earlier this week that Hulu's owners are "committed to selling" it. The Wall Street Journal has more.
  • The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has announced its latest international Application Challenge, which is intended to encourage developers to build IPTV apps that run on ITU standards. "Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about the IPTV platform and the opportunities it offers," the organization states in its press materials. "The best app submitted by an individual or SME will be awarded $10,000, thanks to platinum sponsors Sumitomo Electric Networks, Inc. and Dentsu Inc. There is a separate category for corporate entries, and winners will receive their awards at a special event at the ITU Telecom World 2011 show in Geneva in October...ITU App Challenge entrants are encouraged to be as creative as they like. Potential areas of focus could include: linear (channel service) broadcast TV, electronic program guide and video-on-demand; games; egovernment, epublishing, ecommerce, elearning and ehealth services; photo albums; user-generated content; fixed mobile convergence. Those wishing to enter the competition must register by 16 September 2011, and entries must be submitted between 1 August and 23 September inclusive. Full details, including technical descriptions of the applicable ITU standards, are available at www.itu.int/challenges/iptv."
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