Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII): Vimond, Vizrt, Weinstein Company, Zappware, MPP Global

--Vimond Expands Application Suite for Multiscreen Video Delivery
--Vimond, Vizrt Tout "Improved Integration" of their Online Video Platforms
--The Weinstein Company to Launch VOD Label
--Zappware in tCommerce Partnership with MPP Global Solutions

Due to the large volume of news generated by the IFA and IBC trade shows--and 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.

  • Online video platform provider, Vimond (note: like Vizrt, the company is a spin-off of Norwegian national broadcaster, TV 2), contacted [itvt] Monday to let us know that it has added various new components to its Vimond Applications Suite for multiscreen Web and device apps. "Based on the Vimond Online TV platform, the expanded Application Suite is a complete set of tools for managing and delivering TV services to IP-enabled devices," the company states in its press materials. "The suite now boasts a variety of client applications for iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), Android, and Windows phones to add to its renowned Sports Center Application based on Microsoft Silverlight. With the Vimond Application Suite, users can easily extend their streaming video services beyond desktop computers to reach subscribers viewing on any suitable connected device. The Vimond Application Suite enables a centralized workflow that lets online media providers make services available for viewing on any IP-enabled device owned by a subscriber. After downloading the appropriate client app for each device from their device app store, subscribers can watch content from a Vimond-powered service anywhere they choose, using the same username and password to log in to the service across mobile devices, a connected TV, or a computer. The service provider's full range of content, including live TV channels, video-on-demand, and interactive services, can be made available to all devices from the same easy-to-use Vimond workflow...The full Vimond Application Suite consists of Web-app templates that broadcasters can use to develop services; client apps such as the Vimond Sports Center Application developed using Microsoft Silverlight; and apps for iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), Android, and Windows phones. The company plans to support HTML5-based Web apps in the future."
  • In related news: Vimond and its sister-company, Vizrt, plan to demo "improved integration" between their respective online video platforms in Vizrt's booth (Hall 2, Stand A31) at IBC 2011. "Vizrt has partnered with Vimond to integrate its online publishing software with the Vimond Video Platform to offer broadcasters tools to control access to broadcast-quality video-on-demand, and easily monetize content," the companies state in their press materials. "By leveraging the Vimond Video Platform, the Vizrt online publishing workflow provides video publishers the ability to offer 'Hulu-like' Web sites and generate revenue through subscriptions, pay-per-view, and advertising. Its modular architecture offers sophisticated tools and controls, from ingest and encoding, through conditional access to business-intelligence reporting...The Viz Media Engine automatically transcodes and optimizes video for display on laptops, tablets, and smartphones on the market. Together with Vimond's unique video player, it also supports dual 2D and 3D display capabilities, handing broadcasters the option of putting their 3D content on connected Blu-ray consoles, connected TV's, etc...Vimond control servers, which are core elements of the Vimond Video Platform, work in conjunction with Viz Media Engine transcoders to take advantage of a multitude of frontends, all 100% customizable. The video portals can be built on HTML5, Microsoft Silverlight smooth streaming, Flash, etc." Said Vizrt CTO, Petter Ole Jakobsen: "While many broadcasters recognize that offering premium online video services offers tremendous potential for generating new revenue streams, they need a solution that will make the process easier for them. This integrated Vizrt/Vimond platform solves their most pressing problems, such as transcoding video for optimal display on all the devices out there, controlling end-user access to that video, and obtaining payment for the service."
  • The Weinstein Company (TWC) has announced that it has teamed with Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to create an as-yet-unnamed VOD label that will distribute new films and other specialty entertainment across multiple new and traditional platforms. Quinn and Janego will serve as co-presidents of the new label, which will be based in New York. "Quinn and Janego were among the first in the film industry to explore the potential of emerging digital platforms and were in the vanguard of developing new strategies for alternative distribution during their tenures at Magnolia Pictures, where they were senior vice president and head of legal and business affairs, respectively," TWC states in its press materials. "In 2005, Magnolia became one of the first distributors to implement the day/date releasing, premiering Steven Soderbergh's 'Bubble' and Alex Gibney's 'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room' simultaneously in select theaters and on DVD...The new label makes TWC the first studio to premiere select titles across multiple platforms via immediate-access digital and traditional media and will bring TWC's unique, high-quality films to larger audiences than ever before. As co-presidents, Quinn and Janego will develop content and distribution strategies that move beyond the on-demand model, with a goal of establishing the new label as a marquee destination. Quinn and Janego will oversee acquisitions, productions and distribution of label content. Both will report to Harvey and Bob Weinstein and David Glasser in New York. Quinn and Janego will be on-site at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival to begin scouting titles for the fledgling label. It is anticipated that the label will release its debut title in the first half of 2012."
  • Zappware and MPP Global Solutions have announced a partnership which they say will enable them to provide "cutting-edge advanced interactive television services for broadcasters and content owners looking to monetize digital content around the globe. MPP Global Solutions, the leading provider of payment services and ecommerce solutions to the media and entertainment industries and Zappware, a leading developer of off-the-shelf and custom-designed end-to-end interactive digital television solutions, will now prove a dominant force in driving the monetization of digital content through ecommerce-powered apps and video-on-demand services for connected TV's, tablets and smartphones," the companies' press materials continue. "MPP Global Solutions' advanced ecommerce payments platform, eSuite, is built on three core pillars providing full integration with multiple payment types such as credit and debit card, direct debit and mobile billing. Multiple payment methods such as pre- and post-pay micropayments, subscriptions and real time, and payment channels including Web, mobile and connected TV. The predicted growth in connected TV's will open up new revenue streams as more and more consumers switch on their TV to gain the 'full Internet experience' of viewing, streaming videos, shopping and networking. Zappware delivers a range of off-the-shelf and custom-designed end-to-end solutions for electronic program guides (EPG's), video-on-demand (VOD) portals, personal video recording (PVR) applications, and red-button applications, featuring their iView Application Delivery Platform in the backend with which MPP's payment engine has integrated. Zappware's multiscreen solutions have been deployed with numerous operators in Europe." Said Zappware CTO, Koen Swings: "This fantastic partnership with MPP will help provide a crucial bridge between interactive TV solutions and integrated ecommerce payment platforms. Driving the delivery and monetization of content from the leading content owners and broadcasters across Europe is an exciting proposition, and one which we are well placed to deliver."
North America