Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Clikthrough, AOL, Cliffs Notes, Comcast, EBIF, Xcalibur

--Clikthrough Teams with AOL and Cliffs Notes to Make Shakespeare Interactive
--Comcast's Hess Urges CTAM in New York Attendees to Take Advantage of EBIF
--Comcast's Schwartz Discusses MSO's Connected-TV Plans, Ongoing Xcalibur Trial

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.

  • San Francisco-based interactive video specialist, Clikthrough, contacted [itvt] earlier this week to let us know about a project it has just completed for AOL and Cliffs Notes Films that sees it powering interactive, animated Cliffs Notes-versions of six Shakespeare plays. "I am proud to announce that Clikthrough has just launched an incredible six-video animated series with AOL and Cliffs Notes Films," CEO Abe McCallum wrote in an email. "The animated series are six of Shakespeare's most well known plays and are a tribute to the new movie 'Anonymous' coming out, which questions Shakespeare's credibility as the writer of these plays. The videos are all interactive, taking you deeper into the stories of 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'Macbeth,' 'Hamlet,' 'Othello,' 'Julius Caesar' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'...We would like to thank the visionary team at AOL, Mark Burnett Films, and Coalition Films for all their hard work in bringing this project to life: Sean Carey, Luke Wolter, Josh Faure-Brac, Joe Costelo, Travis Burgess and the many others." The videos can be viewed here.
  • Cable operators may only have a decade to deploy EBIF-based interactive TV advertising and programming before EBIF is superseded by more advanced technology, Comcast's SVP of advanced business and technology development, Mark Hess, told CTAM in New York attendees Wednesday. "You've got a decade or more to make money on this platform," Hess said. "Let's get off of it, and start working." FierceCable's Steve Donohue has more.
  • In related news: Comcast is looking to bring VOD to connected TV's, OTT set-tops such as the Roku Player, and Sony and Nintendo game consoles (in addition to the Microsoft Xbox 360--see article in this issue), the MSO's president of converged products, Sam Schwartz, told CTAM in New York attendees Thursday, during the Leslie Ellis-moderated panel "What's Connecting on Connected TV's?" However, he cautioned that Comcast plans to make its VOD service available only on a limited number of consumer electronics platforms. Schwartz also discussed Comcast's ongoing 1,000-household trial of Xcalibur, a tru2way-based hybrid-TV user interface that features a range of Internet-connected apps, and that is slated to launch nationally next year. Multichannel News's Todd Spangler and Light Reading Cable's Jeff Baumgartner have more.
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