Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII): TOLN, UMG, TVplus, Disney, Universal, Comcast

--TOLN Partners with Universal Music Group to Bring Music Purchases to Online Soap Operas
--ACR Company, TVplus, Powers Second Screen Experience for Disney's "The Lion King"
--Universal Abandons Plan to Release "Tower Heist" Three Weeks after Theatrical Release

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.

  • The Online Network (TOLN) contacted [itvt] last week to let us know about a new deal which, among other things, will see it enabling ecommerce on its online versions of the soap operas, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live." TOLN "has partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG) license music exclusively from UMG's record and publishing companies to new episodes of 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live,' when both series launch online after their run on ABC ends," the company states in its press materials. "The licensing deal with UMG allows TOLN to provide compelling recorded music and songs, and artist cross-promotion and integration, to a powerful new audience. Through the mutually beneficial relationship, UMG has the ability to tap the broad reach of two of the market's most popular soap operas as well as new platforms for artists to explore promotion and ecommerce...The agreement also includes an ecommerce integration that will allow fans the opportunity to purchase the music used in episodes of the soaps, and access other exclusive content only available online. Earlier this year, [TOLN parent company] Prospect Park announced a multi-year, multiplatform licensing agreement with Disney/ABC Domestic Television Group to continue production of both the 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' soap operas through TOLN, its new online network. In addition, Prospect Park will offer other episodic programming to consumers via online formats and additional emerging platforms including Internet-enabled television sets."
  • ACR specialist, TVplus, recently contacted [itvt] to let us know about a new deployment of its technology. "As you guys may recall, TVplus has a partnership with Disney Home Entertainment," a company spokesperson stated in an email. "We power the Disney Second Screen experience with our Audio Sync technology, and have already released titles for 'Bambi' and 'Tron.' This week, Disney has released another title, 'The Lion King.' The Second Screen application can be used in parallel with the Blu-ray/DVD. The application tracks along with moments in time in the film, offering deeper engagement by providing a number of interactive elements on the second screen. The application includes such items as original drawings and artwork, interactive games, Fun Facts about the animated feature, and production videos. The Lion King Second Screen app is free to viewers, and is available on the iPad, Mac or PC... Additionally, Disney will be releasing more titles this fall and the next film scheduled is 'Pirates of the Caribbean.'" A demo video can be viewed here.
  • Universal on Wednesday announced that it has abandoned a trial of premium VOD that would have seen it releasing the new movie, "Tower Heist," on VOD to Comcast subscribers in Atlanta and Portland, Oregon just three weeks after the movie's theatrical release. The company was facing a boycott from major theatrical exhibitors, including Cinemark and National Amusements. "Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future," the company said in a prepared statement. TheWrap's Brent Lang has more.
North America