Interactive TV News Round-Up (V): Google+, YouTube, Microsoft, MTV

Microsoft - The Future of the Living Room

--Google Enables Social Viewing on YouTube via Google+ Hangouts Button
--New Microsoft Video Illustrates Company's Vision for the Future of Media in the Living Room
--MTV Launches WatchWith Companion App to Provide Supplemental Content, Social-TV Experiences

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks--as well as working on TVOT NYC Intensive 2011--we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us a few more 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.

  • Google has quietly launched a button on YouTube video pages that allows users to initiate a Google+ Hangouts video conferencing session while watching a video. The Hangouts button appears when users click a YouTube video's "share" button. CNET's Jay Greene has more.
  • Microsoft has published a video that casts some light on how it sees its Xbox 360 games console, its Bing search engine, its Kinect gesture- and voice-based control system and its Mediaroom IPTV platform working together to provide a new, integrated user experience in the living room. The video is embedded above.
  • MTV has launched a second-screen broadcast-companion app, called WatchWith, which it says "delivers complementary and additive content to fans by curating the social conversation on Twitter and Facebook and connecting them with the stars of their favorite MTV shows." The app is available in iPad, iPhone and desktop versions (note: the iOS versions are available for free download in the App Store; the desktop version is available on's "Teen Wolf" and "Awkward" pages). "Developed by Rogue Paper, WatchWith features a custom filter that displays the best and most 'liked' comments in real time including pushing one's own followers and friends to the top of the feed," MTV states in its press materials. "As the timeline of the show progresses, WatchWith delivers relevant content tied to the narrative directly into the stream, including photos and videos of specific characters, actors and show moments. Looking to provide fans with a unique opportunity to connect with and interact with their favorite MTV stars and cast members, WatchWith showcases comments and re-tweets from the show's cast, who will be live tweeting during each episode's premiere. Whether watching an episode premiere live or at later date, WatchWith records the social commentary in tandem with the timeline of the show. In addition, the iPhone and iPad apps provide a comprehensive content offering including videos, photos and news pieces." Said MTV's VP of digital, Colin Helms: "With WatchWith, we can deliver curated MTV content and interactions with our talent to an engaged audience during the moments they want it the most. Our approach is to provide an additive layer around our shows to encourage fan participation, without distracting from the core viewing."
North America