Interactive TV News Round-Up (I): AdoTube, Avail-TVN, Liberty Global, Canoe Ventures, Softel

--AdoTube Forms Production Unit to Help Brands Take Advantage of Interactive and Social Video
--Avail-TVN to Provide Managed Services for Liberty Global-Owned VTR and Bazuca
--Canoe Ventures Taps Softel to Deliver its National Interactive TV Solutions

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.

  • In-stream video advertising technology provider, AdoTube, contacted [itvt] earlier this week to let us know that it has launched a full-service in-house video production unit, called A2O Productions, which it says will help brands and agencies to easily create custom branded content that will take full advantage of the interactive and social features of online video. An example of an interactive video created by the new unit for Malibu Rum can be viewed here. "A2O Productions collaborates with brands and agencies to help connect advertisers with the lifestyles and interests of their target audience," AdoTube states in its press materials. "Working directly with producers and A-list talent through exclusive partnerships with music labels and various sports, TV, and movie celebrities, A2O creates online campaigns such as original Web series, viral videos, and live concerts to help brands engage viewers beyond the 15- to 30-second pre-roll. The content is activated and distributed to its intended target audience using AdoTube's advanced technology and in-stream advertising network...A2O Productions is headed by Vincent Lambino, vice president of branded entertainment, who previously served as AdoTube's vice president of sales. Vincent has an expansive career that covers TV, online media, and branded entertainment at companies including Clear Channel Online,, Ripe TV, as well as, AMC and Women's Entertainment." Said Lambino: "With the rapid rise in demand for online video inventory, we formed A2O Productions as a way to help brands make the most of their buys. By creating engaging content in this inherently social medium, brands can extend their media buys with earned views and create a deeper connection with their target audience."
  • Avail-TVN said Wednesday that Liberty Global-owned companies, VTR and Bazuca, have selected it to provide managed services--for VTR's VOD platform and for Bazuca's OTT video service. "VTR, Chile's largest multichannel television provider, offers video, broadband Internet, and telephony services to more than 1.1 million customers in Chile," Avail-TVN states in its press materials. "Bazuca, Chile's largest online entertainment company, provides access to OTT video content to 360,000 customers. Under the agreement, Avail-TVN will provide encoding, asset management, metadata, content acquisition and licensing, and rights management for both VTR's VOD platform and Bazuca's OTT platform...Avail-TVN recently announced AnyView, a fully managed multiscreen video service that uses adaptive bitrate technology (ABR) to ensure a seamless, high-quality viewing experience over connected consumer electronic devices. With ABR and Avail-TVN's unique 'through the (service provider) network,' VTR and Bazuca will be able to deliver a consistently high level of video and audio quality to authenticated subscribers in their living rooms, and on multiple connected devices, while reducing streaming expenses.
  • Softel, a provider of technologies for interactive TV playout, subtitling and captioning, MPEG stream processing and multiplexing, opt and ad insertion cuing and Teletext, said Thursday that it has been tapped by Canoe Ventures as a technology partner for the delivery of its national ITV solutions. "Today, Canoe's national ITV platform reaches more than 22 million advanced-use digital cable households across multiple operators," Softel states in its press materials. "Canoe's Request for Information (RFI) product, delivered with the support of Softel's solutions, recently received a prestigious Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Innovation Award. Softel has worked closely with Canoe since 2008 to provide expertise on ITV playout and to deploy Softel's MediaSphere platform. MediaSphere enables rapid development and deployment of ITV applications including Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) and for all other major interactive formats. The MediaSphere system has been deployed at multiple programmers to playout EBIF applications in support of Canoe's RFI campaigns, and the system will support in-program interactivity via Canoe's Polling and Trivia products...Softel's MediaSphere ITV playout platform has a long history of success, with numerous local and national applications deployed. MediaSphere is in daily use in North America by more than 20 major operators, programmers and developers. Encompassing the complete interactive application lifecycle, Softel's MediaSphere ITV platform is an integrated suite of complementary solutions that enable the delivery of rich viewer experiences. The system enables parallel playout of multiple middleware applications (such as EBIF and tru2way) from a single unit, providing compatibility with all major US and international interactive standards. MediaSphere is tightly integrated and proven with other leading solutions." Said Canoe CTO, Joel Hassel: "Softel is constantly evolving its platform to answer the complex technical challenges presented by interactive television. The company has also demonstrated a commitment to working closely with other ITV ecosystem suppliers to deliver full interoperability, and its in-depth knowledge of US deployments is extremely valuable." Added Softel CEO, Sam Pemberton: "We are proud to have been selected by Canoe Ventures for their enablement of the largest ITV platform ever created nationally in the US. Softel's MediaSphere already supports the OpenCable Content Definition Format (CoDF) specifying the universal distribution of ITV applications, and it is ready to deliver the next generation of highly evolved interactive applications. We look forward to participating in many more innovative ITV deployments with Canoe Ventures."
North America