Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Pace, SocialGuide, MTV, Softel, Zazum

--Pace Launches Elements Software to Support Design, Delivery and Management of Digital Services
--SocialGuide: MTV's VMA's "Most Social Program" Measured to Date
--Softel Launches vFlex MC Ancillary Data Processor for Multichannel Workflows
--tCommerce Company, Zazum, Wins Spot in ad:tech's Start-Up Spotlight

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been 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 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.

  • Pace, a UK company best known for its set-top boxes, has launched Elements, a software platform for the broadcast and broadband industries that offers cloud-based capabilities. "Elements supports the design, delivery and management of digital content and services into and around the home, enabling operators to provide an outstanding consumer experience anywhere, anytime, across any device," Pace states in its press materials. "The platform's open, modular design gives control to the operator, allowing them to add new features to their services quickly and cost-effectively, and to integrate it with other parts of their infrastructure as needed." According to Pace, Elements: "1) Gives operators the power to simply and cost-effectively innovate at the speed they want, in the way they want for their subscribers. 2) Opens up new revenue opportunities by giving service providers the tools to quickly deploy exciting new applications and features across different devices. Examples include creating new live-TV experiences by personalizing your own football viewing, recommending must-see moments to friends, and instantly pulling and sharing team stats, as well as popular social networking and over-the-top (OTT) content. 3) Delivers advanced search capabilities that help consumers quickly and easily discover and access different types of content across multiple sources within a managed service. 4) Includes a cloud-based user interface, so that subscribers can personalize their video experience and access content in a consistent way across a broad range of connected devices. 5) Links with Pace's management systems for remote monitoring and control of operator and home networks, removing the complexity traditionally faced by service providers when delivering converged services to multiple devices. 6) Has an open, modular design that easily integrates with a wide range of other vendors' software and devices. This allows operators to build Elements into their existing infrastructure, and augment their systems rapidly and easily, as needed." Pace says that Elements is made up of three modular products that can be customized in accordance with operators' needs: "1) Cobalt--a range of powerful, cloud-based software components that delivers customizable, fast, highly visual and interactive services across all devices. Cobalt attaches detailed metadata to content to support easy search and discovery, helping service providers maximize revenue opportunity from their valuable content. 2) Oxygen--Pace's contemporary user interface product that provides the visual components for creating great end-user experiences. Oxygen leverages the capabilities of the set-top box and exposes the rich functionality of the Cobalt/Tungsten Elements. 3) Tungsten--Device software incorporating middleware, operating system and SDK's for set-top boxes, media gateways and other client devices around the home. Tungsten enables delivery of new applications and services across IP and broadcast to multiple client devices so that operators can attract and retain subscribers and increase revenue opportunities." Pace says that Elements is fully compatible with its existing systems management products.
  • SocialGuide contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that MTV's 2011 Video Music Awards "were the most social program" that it has measured to date. "The award show received 559,610 uniques (59% share) and 1,323,922 comments (55% share)," a company spokesperson stated in an email. More details are available here.
  • Softel, a provider of technologies for interactive TV playout, subtitling and captioning, MPEG stream processing and multiplexing, opt and ad insertion cuing and Teletext, on Tuesday announced the launch of vFlex MC, an extension of its vFlex ancillary data processor that is designed to support multichannel (hence the "MC" designation) workflows. "This compact new processor addresses the challenge that broadcasters face as their channel count increases faster than available rack space," Softel states in its press materials. "Available with a choice of four, eight, or 18 channels, vFlex MC provides VBI and VANC subtitle and cue encoding/decoding in as little as a single 1-RU rack space, and it reduces both power consumption and heat dissipation. vFlex MC is a variant of the Softel vFlex SDI VBI and VANC ancillary data processor. Initially, vFlex MC cards will be available for Teletext and OP47 subtitle encoding, and for Softel Oliver ad insertion cue encoding and decoding solutions, in either SD or HD SDI video signals. vFlex MC has also been designed to work with Axon's complete range of Synapse video and audio processing cards to further optimize rack-space utilization." Softel will demo vFlex MC in its booth (Stand 1.A27) at IBC 2011. "This is an example of how Softel's highly regarded product solutions team demonstrably listens to and reacts to market feedback," Softel CEO, Sam Pemberton, said in a prepared statement. "We know that multichannel solutions, rack space and supplier interconnectivity are all key operational drivers, and we are proud that vFlex MC addresses all three of those requirements."
  • Zazum, a New York-based company that is attempting to bring together automatic content recognition (ACR) and tcommerce (note: for more on the company, see the article published on, July 12th), contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that it has become one of only 16 companies that have been selected to take part in ad:tech New York's Start-Up Spotlight competition this November. "During four, one-hour conferences each rising digital star will spotlight their technology and services in each of these areas: Gaming, Mobile, Social and Shopper Marketing," the company states in its press materials. "Zazum, with its SeeLoveBuy mobile app that makes TV instantly shoppable, will be competing in the Shopper Marketing category. Additionally, Zazum and the other selected start-ups will be exhibiting in Innovation Alley on the ad:tech Expo floor, where $8 billion in buying power will be perusing the exhibits."
North America