Interactive TV News Roundup

-- Virgin Media Sees Increased Demand for TiVo Service

-- British Streaming Video Service SeeSaw Shuts Down

-- Zeebox Targets Connected TVs with iPad App

-- MSG Varsity Launches Apps for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

  • Top UK cable operator Virgin Media said its increased marketing efforts focused at distributing TiVo DVRs and broadband entertainment service to subscribers is paying off. The company ended the third quarter with 162,900 TiVo customers, more than quadrupling its TiVo subscriber base during the period. Growth is continuing during the fourth quarter, with Virgin reporting that it counted 222,000 TiVo subscribers as of Oct. 26. While many customers are upgrading to TiVo service, the DVRs -- which integrate Web video content -- are also helping the company sign new customers. It said about one third of its TiVo subscribers are new Virgin Media customers. 
  • SeeSaw, the British streaming video service that delivered content from BBC Worldwide, Channel 4 and Channel 5, has shut down after less than two years of operation. Seesaw founder Arqiva sold the majority stake in the company to San Francisco's Criterion Capital Partners in July. SeeSaw offered no explanation for why it pulled the plug on its broadband video service. The company posted this short message on its Web site: "Thanks for your support, but SeeSaw is no longer available." The SeeSaw shutdown comes less than one week after Netflix announced plans to launch a streaming video service in the UK during the first quarter of 2012. 
  • Zeebox launched a social TV app for Apple's iPad that is focused on letting viewers use the tablet to navigate and share content through connected TVs. The company, founded by former BBC head of digital media technology Anthony Rose, may differentiate itself from social TV rivals by allowing users to buy products related to the content they are watching. "Zeebox is a free app that's with you on your laptop or iPad, while you watch your TV. It knows what you're watching, right now. Not only that, it shows you what your friends are watching. It can give you more information about what you're watching, instantly. It lets you buy and download relevant stuff. It can tell you what shows are most popular, in real-time. It's like a quiet, cool, well-connected and unbelievably clever companion, right there on the sofa next to you," Zeebox writes in a description of the app on its Web site. 
  • MSG Varsity launched apps for Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch which allow subscribers from network parent Cablevision to view live high-school sports on the mobile devices. The customizable app lets subscribers view photos from games, in addition to scores, game highlights and stories. Cablevision customers that order both its digital cable and high-speed Internet service can watch live video from MSG Varsity through the app.