Interactive TV News Round-Up (VII): S&T, Magna Systems, Synacor, Cable One, thePlatform

--S&T, Magna Systems Develop and Install Upgrade to Freeview Australia EPG
--Synacor Powers "TV Everywhere" Services for Cable One
--thePlatform Launches "TV Everywhere" Suite, Enabling Customized Content Packages and Promotions

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.

  • Strategy & Technology (S&T) and its Australian partner, Magna Systems, said Tuesday that they have developed and installed a major system upgrade to the EPG system for free-to-air digital TV service, Freeview Australia. According to the companies, Magna provided local support and systems testing for the installation, while S&T provided new, customized versions of its software. "The Freeview EPG, which has been on-air since July 2010, provides eight-day listings for all Freeview channels as well as integrated PVR support with series links and accurate recording," the companies state in their press materials. "Freeview's EPG system is the most complex MHEG application system delivered outside of the UK, managing schedule data presentation as well as integrated PVR booking, series links and accurate recording, for multiple broadcasters across multiple states and time zones." Said S&T managing director, David Cutts: "The upgrade was commissioned by Freeview to improve the performance and user experience of the EPG with modifications to the MHEG receiver application and relocation of the schedule data processing to a single data center. The TSBroadcaster2 carousel systems at all the broadcaster playout centers have also been upgraded to support new features. HWW, Australia's leading provider of TV metadata, which collates the schedule data from all networks, have also assisted with consolidation of similar program schedules for different markets."
  • Synacor, which provides "TV Everywhere" services and Web portal software to such companies as Charter Communications, CenturyLink and Grande Communications, said Thursday that it has been tapped by triple-play provider, Cable One, to provide a new consumer-facing Web site and "TV Everywhere" services for the latter's subscribers. "Synacor will power Cable One's new consumer-facing Web site, giving subscribers access to content, services and news from a central, customizable hub," the company states in its press materials. "With Synacor, Cable One subscribers will be able to access their social networks, email, news from outlets like CNN, and tens of thousands of video assets whenever they want...Synacor's white-label TV Everywhere solution includes video aggregation, mediation, and single sign-on authentication, as well as backoffice integrations with cable operators' rights, ID, and billing systems. Synacor's exhaustive metadata allows consumers quick and seamless access to content that's most relevant to them, ensuring an easy and enjoyable search and discovery experience."
  • Comcast-owned white-label video publishing company, thePlatform, on Thursday unveiled a new set of features which it says will enable operators to create new and customized "TV Everywhere" content packages and promotions, and to extend the value of their current TV subscription packages across more devices. "At the core of today's announcement are two new features of thePlatform's mpx video publishing system, Subscription Packages and Subscriber Groups, which can be variously combined to create entirely new entertainment experiences for consumers," the company states in its press materials. "Subscription Packages are collections of content, defined by the operators, such as those that mirror their basic, extended, or premium channel TV line-ups, which can be viewed on devices beyond TV's. thePlatform's new TVE features allow operators to easily and dynamically create highly customized extras or subgroups of content packages around genres, TV series, actors, holidays, and much more. These extra content packages can draw from much larger content catalogs than are currently available on linear TV or video-on-demand (VOD) catalogs, in order to be viewed on tablets, PC's, or other IP-connected devices. Subscriber Groups enable operators to segment customers, based on a wide range of operator-defined filters, such as their paid TV subscription package, geography, acceptable content rating, device type, content viewing preferences, and more. Within thePlatform's system, subscribers can belong to multiple Subscriber Groups, and can be offered a variety of Subscription Packages to create highly tailored offerings. Both new features are now available for free to mpx customers, and are in early trials with multiple TV operators around the globe...The key technical underpinning for today's announcement stems from thePlatform's advancements with metadata management," the company's press materials continue. "Metadata has historically been used to enable better content discovery, search and recommendations. Now, operators will be able to leverage metadata to set new business policies that take advantage of their vast content libraries, to create better services for their subscribers. thePlatform's mpx system includes a central repository for metadata surrounding a video including categories, keywords, tags, asset types and more. This collection of data enables operators to easily create dynamic filters via mpx's intuitive console to create any combination of Subscription Package. Once a package is defined, specific viewing rights can be assigned with enforcement by stream encryption or a DRM such as Microsoft PlayReady or Adobe Flash Access. This same repository enabled thePlatform to improve the efficiency of its previous TVE solutions for operators. For example, thePlatform's TVE solutions previously relied on a series of manual channel mapping exercises with linear-TV channels, which can now be streamlined within mpx using metadata policies...Potential use cases that could be enabled by thePlatform's new TV Everywhere features include: 1) Kids Programming: A family that subscribes to premium TV packages could receive an extra bundle of free online viewing for all past episodes of their kids' favorite shows, to watch on their tablets or game consoles. 2) History Buff: A subscriber that loves history-oriented programming could be provided a new online bundle of documentaries, offered during specific time windows, such as significant dates in US or World History. 3) Holiday Promotions: Operators can create video collections of TV shows or movies with holiday themes, like Valentine's Day or Halloween, tailored for different generations, and offer them at various times throughout the year. 4)Teenage/Premium Movie Channel: A teenager whose household subscribes to a premium movie channel, could receive restricted online viewing based on ratings, but could be offered an alternative set of more content choices based on personal interests, like an affinity for wizards, superheroes or vampires. 5) Sports: A subscriber to premium sports programming, with an affinity toward boxing or mixed martial arts, could be provided video collections of specific athletes' bouts online. 6) Movies: Subscribers to basic TV packages who regularly order pay-per-view movies on TV, could be given a free pass to view multiple premium movie channels on their home PC for two weeks, as an incentive to upgrade to a premium subscription package."
North America