Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): Alticast, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer

--Alticast Launches Windmill End-to-End Interactive TV "Ecosystem"
--BBC Releases Red-Button Programming Schedule through March 10th
--BBC's Daniel Danker Calls for Simplified Connected-TV Experience

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.

  • Interactive TV software company, Alticast, has unveiled Windmill, which it bills as an end-to-end digital interactive ecosystem for TV operators, that offers support for cable, satellite, digital terrestrial, IPTV and hybrid-TV systems. "Alticast's Windmill ecosystem builds on the company's longstanding expertise in open, standards-based software, providing an intuitive television user experience that spans devices and consumer technologies," the company states in its press materials. "Windmill is built with a set of modular technologies that lets TV operators easily and cost-effectively add advanced interactivity to existing systems while providing new revenue models and future-friendly expandability. As the amount of video content available to end-users increases exponentially, Windmill uses Alticast's new altiView User Experience to provide a natural, well-structured interface allowing easy content discovery across broadcast and over-the-top content, recommendations and an integrated social experience to increase viewership and consumer loyalty. Windmill is built on Alticast's high-performance, reliable altiPlatform middleware core, providing full compatibility with existing systems and pre-integrated support for industry-leading content-protection solutions, including Alticast's altiProtect CAS and DRM and the other major vendors deployed in the market today. The Windmill ecosystem gives operators new ways to monetize TV service, with server-side solutions to support advanced viewership metrics, integrated shopping and advanced advertising." Said Alticast CMO, Thomas Jung: "Windmill is a cutting-edge TV ecosystem that will provide unparalleled customer satisfaction now and in the future, increasing average revenue per user and reducing churn. Windmill's open system architecture maximizes compatibility and minimizes costs for operators." Alticast will be demo'ing Windmill at the Cable Congress later this week and at the CableLabs Winter conference next week.
  • The BBC has released the schedule of programming and interactive content that will be available via the BBC Red Button service through March 10th.
  • In other BBC news: In a presentation at the DTG Summit in London last week, Daniel Danker, the corporation's general manager for programs and on-demand, called for a simplified connected-TV experience, and revealed that the BBC iPlayer receives four times as much traffic from iPads than it does from connected-TV sets, even though there are twice as many connected TV's in the UK than iPads. "The aim of my presentation was to convince the group that if connected TV is going to be successful with mainstream audiences, using a connected TV needs to be no more complicated than channel flipping," Danker explained on a BBC blog. "And I firmly believe that this is achievable; that there's no reason connected TV can't be that simple to use...We know there's an appetite out there for connected TV's. In the last year, iPlayer on the PC grew by 14%. On the tablet, iPlayer grew an impressive 580%. But on the TV, iPlayer grew more than 10-fold. It's early days, and there's far more we can do to make connected TV deliver the fullness of its potential to our audiences, but the trend is inspiring. Today when we change channels we don't think about the technology that lies beneath. But when we use a connected TV, we do. For connected TV to truly delight audiences in the future--to build on the last year's impressive growth--using a connected TV needs to be dead simple. To delight audiences with what connected TV makes possible, we need to make the technology disappear. That's one reason why Red Button services are so successful," Danker continued. "Their simplicity is no accident; it follows years of experimentation. In a connected world, the Red Button can transform into an effortless way to bring what we traditionally think of as Internet services directly to our audience, right on the TV. Users need not even realize that behind the scenes, they've switched between broadcast and broadband technologies...Simply tune into any BBC channel, press Red, and immerse yourself in enhancements around the program you're watching. It will be joined up with broadcast TV, not separate from it. It will combine the breadth of our online content with the simplicity of television."

North America