Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): EBU, HbbTV, Flingo, Fox, Red Hot Chili Peppers

--EBU Members Offered White-Label HbbTV Apps for Olympics, Eurovision Song Contest
--Flingo Raises $7 Million to Expand Device Footprint, ACR Infrastructure
--Fox, Red Hot Chili Peppers Launch Interactive Videos

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced last week that its members will be offered generic HbbTV applications for deployment during the Olympics and the Eurovision Song Contest (note: HbbTV is a pan-European hybrid-TV initiative that aims to harmonize the delivery of broadcast and broadband content through connected-TV devices). "Three 'white label' interactive applications will be provided free to participating EBU members to customize generic content for entertainment, news or sport," the organization states in its press materials. "The applications from EBU members ARD/IRT and commercial partners Dotscreen and Abertis Telecom will provide a basic level of hybrid interactivity to promote the adoption of HbbTV, which combines traditional viewing with the added value of the Internet and smart device applications. Through the adoption of HbbTV, consumers will be able to access new services from online providers including catch-up TV, video-on-demand (VOD), interactive advertising, personalization, voting, games and social networking, as well as program-related services such as digital text and electronic program guides (EPG)." Said EBU director general, Ingrid Deltenre: "More than 20 EBU members have agreed to collaborate to unlock the full potential of hybrid TV for a European roll-out of the technology in 2012. Underlying this co-operation is the shared conviction that only high-quality creative content can breathe life into the promise of hybrid technology--and only a flexible, cross-border approach will make it happen quickly." In other HbbTV news: 1) Systems integrator, Divitel, has announced that it has delivered an HbbTV system to Dutch broadcaster, SBS. "The HbbTV system supplied by Divitel is the first production playout system that goes live in the Netherlands and thus fits into the strategy of SBS to use HbbTV as the standard for hybrid solutions," the company states in its press materials. "SBS earlier announced their plans to start offering HbbTV services from Q2 2012. The broadcaster has asked Divitel to reflect on the growth path, and for thinking how to evolve this new technology standard." 2) Orca Interactive and its parent company, Viaccess, have announced plans to showcase HbbTV solutions, along with an end-to-end "TV Everywhere" solution, at CSTB 2012 in Moscow this week (February 7th-9th).
  • Flingo, the connected-TV app company co-founded by BitTorrent co-founder Ashwin Navin, said Tuesday that it has raised $7 million in Series A funding from August Capital. "Flingo's smart-TV software seamlessly integrates streaming video, dynamic advertising and broadcast TV and is currently available on 7.8 million screens, in 118 countries worldwide," the company states in its press materials. "August Capital's David Marquardt, the sole venture investor and 30-year board member of Microsoft, and Howard Hartenbaum, a founding investor in Skype, will join Flingo's board of directors. The funding will be used to expand Flingo's device footprint as well as its automatic content recognition (ACR) infrastructure, which identifies thousands of broadcast network programs around the world in real time. Once identified, Flingo's SyncApps technology can immediately bring contextually relevant content directly to the viewer's TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Flingo recently announced that its social-TV framework enables one-click sharing to Twitter and Facebook from broadcast TV. The new framework will soon be available on A+E Networks' History and A&E channels. This means that you are never more than one click from sharing with your friends what you're watching, and no longer have to search for hashtags, or the official Twitter account or Facebook page while watching TV. In addition to social features, broadcasters can make their programming more interactive using the SyncApps platform...Flingo enables an ecosystem where media companies, artists and brand sponsors converge on consumer hardware platforms to give viewers a more engaging and personal TV experience. Flingo is available on smart TV's and devices from leading manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Vizio, Sanyo, Insignia, Western Digital, and Netgear."
  • Fox has teamed with Israeli interactive video specialist, Interlude (note: for more on the latter, see the article published on itvt.com, May 5th, 2010), to launch a choose-your-own-adventure interactive music video for "Hey Girl," the theme song of its comedy series, "New Girl." The video, which stars "New Girl" lead actress, Zooey Deschanel, and features all the show's cast, is available here. "With over 950 variations of the video, fans decide how they want the cast to party," Fox states in its press materials. "Will they go-go dance or have a pillow fight? Will they perform in a flash mob or a chorus line? Will they be dressed in hula skirts or togas? Upon completion of their first video, users can experience a new music video over and over again, each time choosing a different path. Fans can share their music videos with family and friends through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Additionally, keen-eyed users can search throughout the video for hidden content that elevates the party to even more outrageous levels of fun. Also at fox.com, fans can watch exclusive 'behind-the-scenes' footage of the making of the innovative video...The 'Hey Girl' music video was produced by Fuzzbuster Films. Joe Earley (president, marketing and communications, Fox Broadcasting) and Dean Norris (SVP, marketing and special projects, Fox Broadcasting) are the executive producers. Golareh Safarian, (VP, production, special ops, Fox Broadcasting) produced the video and Jay Lehrfeld directed the video...Fox partnered with digital media company Interlude to create the interactive elements of the music video, offering users a unique, next-generation online video experience. Interlude's proprietary technology platform allows viewers to become co-directors as the video plays, making decisions about the video's course in real time. The video never pauses and the experience is seamless. The result is a shareable, personalized version of the video created from hundreds of unique possibilities. Founded by Israeli rock musician Yoni Bloch, Interlude's technology has been used to create interactive movie trailers, music videos, advertisements and branded webisodes for Universal Studios, Microsoft, Nokia and Old Navy. Interlude's first music video in the US, 'Keep Your Head Up,' by Andy Grammer, received MTV's 2011 O Music Award for Most Innovative Video."
  • In related news: The Red Hot Chili Peppers have launched an interactive video for their new single, "Look Around." The video--which is embedded below--appropriately lets viewers look around (i.e. use controls to pan 360-degrees left and right, switch between the different "rooms" in which each bandmember is playing, and zoom in and out) and also click on various hotspots to discover additional content.

Region: 
North America