Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): ActiveVideo, Verizon, Avail-TVN, Univision, Stingray Digital

--ActiveVideo Networks Files for Injunction against Verizon
--Avail-TVN in Video Distribution Services Agreement with Univision
--Avail-TVN Expands Relationship with Stingray, Launches Managed MPEG-4 Delivery Solution

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.

  • Cloud-based interactive TV specialist, ActiveVideo Networks, which was recently awarded $115 million in a patent-infringement case it brought against Verizon (see the article published on, August 10th), has now filed for an injunction against Verizon "to prevent the continued, unlawful use of ActiveVideo's intellectual property in Verizon's FiOS TV service. The requested injunction, intended to protect ActiveVideo's rights as the inventor of industry-leading technology in the delivery of advanced television applications such as video-on-demand (VOD) and interactive TV, orders Verizon to 'cease and desist from further infringement of ActiveVideo's patents,'" the company's press materials continue. Said ActiveVideo president and CEO, Jeff Miller: "The decision of the court to uphold our intellectual property rights was very clear. We insist that Verizon immediately cease its unlawful use of the patented technology developed by the employees and investors of ActiveVideo Networks." Verizon has promised to appeal the jury verdict in the case.
  • Avail-TVN last week announced that it has secured a long-term agreement to provide video distribution services to US Spanish-language broadcaster, Univision Communications. According to Univision, it decided to expand its relationship with Avail-TVN after working with the company to prepare and distribute coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup: "We were extremely impressed with the outstanding levels of service and technology Avail-TVN provided during the 2010 FIFA World Cup when we required a broad set of quick turnaround services on every game in SD, HD, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 across our affiliate base," Laura Dergal, director of Univision On Demand, said in a prepared statement. "As Univision continues to expand its programming offerings, launch new networks, and broaden its video distribution efforts across platforms, Avail-TVN's commitment to customer service and ability to manage large, complex projects makes it the right long-term partner for us."
  • In other Avail-TVN news: 1) The company has announced an expanded long-term agreement with music programmer, Stingray Digital, whose Karaoke Channel it already offers to its VOD affiliates on an exclusive basis. "The expanded agreement continues Avail-TVN's role in providing a full suite of VOD services for Karaoke Channel, and will include additional services, including multiplatform extensions for Karaoke as well as the launch of new offerings Galaxie Digital Music Service and Concert TV," the company states in its press materials. "To help affiliates market the new Stingray Digital VOD offerings, Avail-TVN is making available a full slate of marketing materials including cross-channel spots, barker spots, Web banners, direct mail templates and other tools. The Karaoke Channel also features monthly promotable stunts that feature special menu categories featuring popular artists, subgenres and seasonal music." 2) The company has launched Linear Complete, which it bills as "the first fully managed MPEG-4 content-delivery solution. "Until now, hosted linear solutions have only been available in MPEG-2, limiting the opportunity for smaller, bandwidth-constrained operators to add the additional channels and advanced services that are necessary to compete in an increasingly crowded digital video marketplace," the company states in its press materials. "Avail-TVN's Linear Complete offers a cost-effective way to maximize existing bandwidth, allowing operators to add the services they need to meet consumer demand, reduce churn and increase ARPU. Zito Media is among the first cable MSO's to utilize the service...Avail-TVN delivers more than 300 SD and HD linear channels, plus more than 10,000 hours of VOD content from its super headend in Burbank, California. By offering a fully hosted digital video solution, that includes reception, transcoding, encryption, content delivery over satellite/fiber, hosted conditional access and management of set-top boxes, Avail-TVN is able to remove one of the biggest barriers to upgrading to MPEG-4--the cost of equipment at each cable headend. The company has close working relationships with industry leaders such as Motorola, Evolution Digital, BBT and Conax, providing compatibility with any cable ecosystem. This technology-agnostic approach allows Avail-TVN's operator customers to achieve the most effective path toward offering next-generation services." (Note: Avail-TVN is apparently hoping that EchoStar's recent decision to close its ViP-TV service will give it a chance to sign up some new customers for Linear Complete.)
North America