Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): France 24, ITU, SCTE, MC (Music Choice)

--International News Channel, France 24, Launching Connected-TV App Globally
--ITU Approves SCTE-Developed Advanced-Advertising Standards
--Multiplatform Music Programmer, Music Choice, Rebrands as "MC"

Due to the large volume of news generated by the recent 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and other factors, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format. We anticipate that it will take us several more days to process all the news from the show: 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.

  • France 24, an international news channel that claims to be available in 235 million households in over 200 countries, said Tuesday that it is launching an application for connected-TV platforms that will be available worldwide. "The new application will enable users to watch France 24 live in its three language versions and also tune into its global on-demand programs (reports, programs, magazines, etc.)," the channel states in its press materials. "Another major innovation is that this application will be 'multiscreen' (mobile, tablets, etc.). It is part of a wider multimedia strategy that enables users to create their own 'basket' of programs, regardless of the type of terminal and operating system they are using. Users will also be able to share all the content made available to them on the social networks using the Twitter and Facebook buttons located on the right hand side of the main screen. A first version of this application is already being deployed by several eminent manufacturers (Philips, Toshiba, Sharp, TechniSat, Boxee) and is available on one HbbTV interactive portal in France (MesServicesTV). France 24 has also signed several agreements with television manufacturers which will integrate the application in the first quarter of 2012: 1) Samsung: the France 24 application will be available on all Samsung connected-television sets, as well as on all its tablets and mobile phones throughout Europe. 2) LG: France 24 has signed an agreement for all LG connected-TV sets in Europe. 3) Toshiba: France 24 is already available in Europe and will be available worldwide in the first quarter of 2012. 4) Panasonic: France 24 has signed an agreement to launch the service on Viera Connect throughout Europe. 5) TechniSat: France 24 is now available throughout Europe on every TechniSat connected-TV set. 6) Loewe, Vestel, HD+/Astra, Setone, Eviado, Kathrein, Hitachi, CGV, ITT, Medion, Peaq (brand of Media Saturn Group), Telefunken Telestar, Finlux, Fantec, Eminent: thanks to a worldwide deal with NetRange MMH, France 24 is now available on these manufacturers' connected devices. 7) Boxee: France 24 has already signed an agreement for deployment in the United States and Canada, and also for Europe in 2012." Said Frank Melloul, France 24's head of distribution and strategy: "This deployment on all connected-TV sets in Europe and the world is a key stage in the expansion of our distribution. Thanks to this new application, France 24 programs will be available on all TV sets sold around the world, thus securing additional influence and new viewers in regions where distribution is not optimum."
  • The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) said Tuesday that the Standardization Sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) has approved eight advanced-advertising technology standards that were originally developed and published by the SCTE. "Named ITU-T Recommendation J.380, the standards describe the communications, control and data structures that allow broadband telecommunications providers to insert digital advertising content into digital program streams for delivery to subscribers in an addressable manner," the SCTE states in its press materials. "The extensible technology allows advertisers and programmers to dynamically send advertising content in linear broadcast, video-on-demand and other content from digital video servers to destinations as defined by the business rules of individual service providers. The J.380 Recommendations were originally developed by SCTE's Digital Video Subcommittee (DVS) Working Group 5 and published as SCTE 130 Parts One through Eight. These standards were approved by ITU-T Study Group 9 (Television and sound transmission and integrated broadband cable networks) and subsequently submitted to the national and industry sector members for final comment and approval."
  • Multiplatform music programmer, Music Choice (note: the company's offerings include the interactive TV channel, SWRV), said Tuesday that it is rebranding as "MC," as part of "a new brand strategy of 'Living Music,'" that also sees it adopting a new logo. "Starting today, consumers of the national music service will see the new mark on all products including music channels, video-on-demand, SWRV and online properties," the company states in its press materials. "The new brand strategy was created by strategic branding firm Siegel + Gale...The newly branded MC will start to offer a more engaging experience hand picked by MC programmers to enhance music discovery via the following products: 1) MC Audio Channels--More than 45 music channels offering hours of uninterrupted listening in every genre. Several of the channels air a daily interactive programming block called 'ShowOff.' Available in 52 million households. 2) MC On Demand--The #1 On Demand Network with 1.2 billion annual views. Popular music shows include 'Live Undefined,' 'Will Call,' and artist profile shows in development include 'Co-Signed' and 'Decoded.' Currently in 51 million households. 3) SWRV--The first and only 24/7 interactive video music network for millennials where they are in control. SWRV offers a full schedule of interactive programs, including 'SWRV Takeover,' 'Level Ten,' and 'Vidications.' Available in 9 million households." According to Music Choice COO, Christina Tancredi, the company will this year "roll out more product features that will allow consumers to enjoy music not only on their TV, but wherever they go."
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