Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): France Telecom-Orange, Samsung, DirecTV, i.TV, GetGlue

--France Telecom-Orange in Deal to Launch Portal on Samsung Connected-TV Devices
--Report: Initial Consumer Test Finds "Tepid" Response to Premium VOD
--i.TV Unveils New Version of its TV App, Forms Partnership with GetGlue

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:

  • France Telecom's Orange arm has signed an agreement with Samsung to launch a content and services portal on the latter's connected-TV platform. The portal is slated to roll out on 2011 Samsung Smart TV's in France in the coming weeks, and then on Samsung Blu-ray players and home theater products in that market. It is expected to launch in other European countries where Orange has a market presence in the second half of the year. "The Orange portal, designed to provide an experience which complements traditional TV use, can be accessed in just two clicks on the remote control," the companies state in their press materials. "It offers a selection of fun and useful services such as Orange sport info, 2424actu, Liveradio, an enhanced program guide, trailers for weekly cinema releases and free content from Orange Cinema Series channels. More services and content will be added to the Orange portal in the coming months. The ergonomics of the Orange portal were designed to offer easier use and navigation from a Samsung Smart TV. The portal is accessible to all, regardless of Internet service provider, and Orange Internet customers will soon enjoy additional services in the coming months."
  • Initial consumer reaction to a test of "premium VOD," in which DirecTV and four studios--20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.--allowed DirecTV customers to rent movies 60 days after their theatrical release (i.e. one to two months prior to their DVD release) for $30 a piece, has been "tepid," the Los Angeles Times's Ben Fritz reports. According to Fritz, several studio executives told him that more testing will be required in order to determine whether and how premium VOD could be a sustainable business, and that the next wave of testing will involve cable operators. However, as cable operators are still implementing the anti-piracy technology required by the studios, the next test of premium VOD may not happen until next year, the executives said.
  • i.TV on Monday unveiled version 3.3 of its flagship second-screen TV app for iOS devices, and announced that it has formed a partnership with social-TV check-in platform, GetGlue. New features of version 3.3 of the app, according to the company, include: "1) TV Check-ins--i.TV now allows users to check-in to shows via Facebook, Twitter and new i.TV platform partner, GetGlue. 2) Smart Lists--i.TV now has smart lists of television shows and movies on TV to make it easier for users to discover and organize content. Smart lists are themed according to content type and can be updated dynamically from the server without requiring an update to the application. Smart list themes include: new shows tonight, most favorited shows and award winners. Smart lists are located on the 'Shows' section of the application. 3) Tune-in Alerts--i.TV again allows users to set push notification alerts to remind them when their favorite television shows air." Said GetGlue CEO, Alex Iskold: "By directly connecting i.TV's listings to GetGlue, we've made it even easier to socialize around entertainment. What's more, i.TV's recent AOL TV integration means AOL's millions of users also have access. We are excited to work with i.TV and are looking forward to expanding this partnership with a deeper integration of the two products."
North America