Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): TV Genius, Red Bee Media, Verismo, Virgin Media

--TV Genius Acquired by Red Bee Media
--Verismo Launches New Business Unit Focused on Entertainment Services
--Virgin Media Launches V Festival Interactive TV App on its TiVo-Powered Hybrid-TV Platform

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several days to catch up with all the recent news: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Media management company, Red Bee Media, announced last week that it has acquired TV Genius, a company that specializes in cloud-based content-discovery solutions for TV, the Internet and connected devices. "The strategic acquisition will blend Red Bee Media's rich metadata services with TV Genius' content-discovery technology to bring a synchronized viewer experience across live and on-demand TV with accurate search, personally relevant recommendations and enhanced TV guides across multiple platforms and devices," Red Bee states in its press materials. "The deal demonstrates Red Bee Media's commitment to providing clients with market-leading end-to-end solutions to maximize and monetize content and establishes Red Bee Media as the UK's first media management company to provide both broadcasters and platform operators alike with a holistic content-discovery proposition...In line with its ongoing growth strategy, Red Bee Media plans to invest in TV Genius' technologies as an integrated part of its portfolio and the core driver behind innovative and intelligent solutions for its content-discovery offering and RedPlayer, the first 'media-grade,' next-generation online video platform. RedPlayer, which was launched in June, allows broadcasters and content owners in the UK and internationally to deliver and monetize high-quality video to multiple devices, including PC, iPhone, iPad, gaming consoles and connected TV in a secure and scalable manner. TV Genius has seen significant year-on-year growth since its inception in 2005 and has established itself as a leading innovator in content discovery for operators, broadcasters and publishers. Its TV search and recommendation engine creates more than 100 million transactions each month in seven different countries and is used by a number of leading media businesses including ITV, Sky, Freeview, Astra, Bauer Media, IPC Media, STV and AOL. TV Genius recently announced the launch of its Facebook-integrated TV guide solution, further improving content-discovery experience for TV viewers. The new solution uses TV Genius' award-winning Content Discovery Platform to personalize TV guides; when a user logs into the EPG with Facebook Connect, all the shows their friends like are instantly highlighted in the grid. The solution taps into the increasingly popular use of social media."
  • Verismo Networks, which bills itself as offering a complete, end-to-end solution for enabling entertainment and video delivery over broadband networks, has launched a new business unit focused on entertainment services. The unit will be headed up by Sab Kanaujia, who joins Verismo as president of entertainment services and who previously founded Digital Entertainment Corporation of India (DECI), a holding company focused on launching entertainment services to an international audience. "In his new role, Kanaujia will head Verismo's new entertainment business unit and will be responsible for all areas including content acquisition, product, operations, marketing and distribution," the company states in its press materials. "Kanaujia brings more than 15 years of global experience to the company, with an impressive career that spans NBC Universal and Time Warner AOL, amongst others." Said Verismo chairman and CEO, Prakash Bhalerao: "Verismo Networks continues to set lofty goals for developing and delivering content-rich broadband entertainment solutions for our customers. Delivering new entertainment content and content-rich services over our proven and widely deployed broadband entertainment platform is a high priority for Verismo Networks. Kanaujia has been a proven innovator in his previous roles and we are excited to have him join our team."
  • UK cable operator, Virgin Media, has launched an interactive TV app on its TiVo-powered hybrid-TV platform, for the upcoming V Festival 2011 (August 20th-21st), a music fest that it is sponsoring. "The new app, developed by Virgin Media, can be found from today in the Virgin Media TiVo 'Apps and Games' section," Virgin states in its press materials. "The app complements terrestrial broadcast coverage on Channel 4 and 4Music with a wealth of video content that will be continuously updated during the festival weekend to include special backstage performances and exclusive artist interviews. Fans will also be able to keep up with the latest news and gossip direct from the event with a live feed from the @vfestival Twitter feed. For those wanting to warm up for the big weekend, the app features videos of past legendary performances from the likes of Amy Winehouse (including her performance of 'Stronger than Me' at V Festival '04), The Proclaimers (bringing the house down with 'I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)' at V Festival '07) and Snow Patrol (performing 'Chasing Cars' at V Festival '07), in addition to featuring a V Festival Artist Playlist, which includes a mix of the best video clips from the awesome 2011 line-up... Customers using the app will also be able to get more information on Virgin Media's 'Last Chance Live' campaign, broadcasting live on Channel 4 from 9:00PM on Friday, August 19. 'Last Chance Live,' hosted by Keith Lemon, will give viewers the chance to win the last pairs of tickets, including accommodation and transport to and from the festival. Viewers will be able to win by entering the competition in the live TV ads or by visiting" Said Virgin Media's director of digital entertainment products, Aleks Habdank: "V Festival is one of the leading music events in the UK, and TiVo gives us a fantastic way to bring this great festival to customers' front rooms, demonstrating the power of our great new interactive digital entertainment service. The app will allow TiVo customers to enjoy some of the best bits from past years as well as the latest news and behind-the-scenes from this year's event, and is perfect for armchair revelers wanting to get into the spirit of the weekend from the comfort of their homes."
North America