Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): News Corp., Permira, NDS, Orange, Percy3D

--Report: News Corp., Permira Planning New York IPO for NDS
--Orange Launches ACR-Based Social-TV App for iPhone
--PercyFX Lets Users Embed 3D Text in Movie Clips

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:

  • News Corp. and Permira, which jointly own interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, have hired banks to arrange a New York listing for the company, the Financial Times reported last week. The newspaper said that it is not yet clear how much NDS's parent companies expect to raise through the planned IPO, nor which exchange the company will be listed on (it was listed on Nasdaq, before being taken private back in 2009).
  • France Telecom's Orange arm has launched TVcheck, an automatic content recognition (ACR)-based social-TV app for the iPhone. "Unlike ordinary social networks, TVcheck is a dedicated social network for TV, targeting both occasional and serious TV watchers," the company states in its press materials. "The application allows users to share their thoughts on the show they are watching thanks to a number of social features such as status updates, comments and program recommendations. Users will be able to log in using their Facebook credentials, making it easy for them to add friends from their Facebook account. Each user has their own profile, which gives them access to an activity log, messages and friends and enables them to display their favorite programs using the 'I like' function on each program's page. Program pages also allow users to recommend the program to their friends. During the broadcast, members can view all the comments made on that page. You can then easily add friends to your network by contacting members with the same television interests as yourself. TVcheck is the first application for iPhone that offers automatic program identification based on visual recognition technology. The application recognizes shows broadcast on the 19 French DTTV channels. Based on the automatic detection function, discussing what you watch on TV is now an even more enjoyable experience. What's more, you no longer have to look at the TV guide, just trust your friends. TVcheck offers users a new TV experience by combining the power of the social network with games. All popular programs have their own badge. By using the check function, you can win points which go towards badges. The most actively involved users win the title of 'Master,' i.e. the member who has won the most number of points on a program or channel. TVcheck also offers a number of surprises to Masters, including the chance to watch their TV shows being recorded."
  • Toronto-based Percy3D, which bills itself as "a creative Web services company that encourages people to create their own movie moment using the latest 3D visual effects and multimedia technologies," contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that it has signed an agreement with Universal Partnerships & Licensing and launched its flagship app, PercyFX. "Leveraging Universal's vast library of titles, film buffs can re-live favorite movie scenes with a customizable twist," the company states in its press materials. "Percy3D's interactive app, PercyFX, melds the best of entertainment and technology together by embedding personalized 3D text into well-known movies as if the text were a part of the original scene. PercyFX delivers the clip to the iPhone, iPad or social network page (Facebook and YouTube) so it may be shared with friends. Beginning today, iOS customers will have access to classic Universal movies including blockbusters from the 'Back to the Future,' 'The Fast and the Furious' and 'American Pie' franchises. Film titles will include clips that customers will be able to personalize with text phrases, starting at three customizable clips for $0.99. Clip content for each film will be regularly added and refreshed to encourage users to return. The app will also become available to Android, RIM, Ovi and Windows Mobile users shortly thereafter."
North America