Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): CMC, Ensequence, Verizon FiOS, MTV Networks, Eros International

--CMC's HITS Incorporates "Express Lane" Solution to Enable Indie Operators to Offer Local VOD
--Ensequence Builds "SpongeBob" Widget for Verizon FiOS TV
--Eros International Trumpets Growth of Bollywood Hits On Demand

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:

  • Comcast Media Center (CMC) says that its HITS offering (note: the latter, short for "Headend In The Sky," provides multiplatform content distribution services to independent cable operators) now includes its Express Lane content management solution. According to the company, Express Lane enables independent operators and MSO's to deliver locally produced VOD programming to their subscribers without the capital investment that would typically be required for headend-based solutions. "Express Lane is ideal for remote systems that do not have access to a centralized headend," CMC states in its press materials. "Local content can be quickly and easily delivered to these systems from cloud-based storage. With this solution, operators serving smaller, remote markets can add local content and only pay for the content they use, since Express Lane does not require a minimum content commitment...The Web-based Express Lane solution provides cloud encoding, metadata creation, quality control and storage. Express Lane also allows cable operators to authorize third-party content partners to submit content to the Express Lane bull pen, for review, approval and delivery of local television programming to VOD-enabled households." Said HITS general manager, Leslie Russell: "One of the greatest differentiators for cable operators is their ability to offer community-based programming to their customers, giving them a competitive advantage over DBS providers. Express Lane is a cost-effective way for cable systems to offer digital video customers more local programming without using linear channel capacity or investing in plant upgrades typically required for offering local VOD content."
  • Verizon FiOS TV and MTV Networks have tapped interactive TV development solutions provider, Ensequence, to build an ITV widget featuring four games based on the Nickelodeon cartoon series, "SpongeBob SquarePants." Viewers can access the widget, which presents the games on the left side of the screen while the broadcast feed continues on the right, only when watching Nickelodeon or its sister channel, Nicktoons (if viewers try to access the widget while tuned to another channel, it prompts them to "Press 'C' to watch Nick"). Verizon is promoting the app via a commercial spot, banner ads and email to subscribers. Multichannel News's Todd Spangler has more.
  • Eros International, a distributor of Indian films, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know that Bollywood Hits On Demand, the VOD service it operates in partnership with NBCUniversal subsidiary, International Media Distribution, has "more than tripled in size." According to the company, the service now offers over 150 hours of content (up from the 40 hours it originally offered), and is available in 80% of Comcast's VOD footprint and throughout Time Warner Cable's New York/New Jersey service area. Bollywood Hits On Demand's content line-up for the current and previous month is also made available at xfinitytv.com in all Comcast markets, Eros says, and new-release Bollywood titles from the service--including titles that have not yet been released on DVD--are also being offered via transactional VOD in select Comcast markets. "These Comcast and Time Warner Cable customers now have access to hundreds of entertainment choices from the Eros Bollywood Hits On Demand offering, including blockbuster Bollywood movies, music videos, TV series and other special programming," Eros states in its press materials. "Bollywood Hits On Demand expanded from 40 hours to 150 hours and now includes more of India's top new-release and blockbuster movies along with variety shows, music and behind-the-scenes content."

 

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