Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): SeaChange, Rogers Communications, Sky, S&T, icueTV

--SeaChange Powers Dynamic VOD Ad Insertion for Rogers Communications

--Sky Launches "Sky Store" Transactional VOD Service, Replacing Sky Box Office

--S&T, icueTV Demo Integration via EBIF-Based "Click-to-Text" App for Political Donations

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.

  • Multiscreen video software company, SeaChange International, said Tuesday that it is helping power dynamic VOD ad insertion, during mid-roll breaks, for Canadian MSO, Rogers Communications. According to the company, Rogers is the first North American MSO to roll out mid-roll dynamic VOD ad insertion. "As one of the systems integrators supporting Rogers, SeaChange added its Advertising Decision Manager to Rogers' multi-vendor environment, which is based on SeaChange's open video backoffice and video servers," SeaChange states in its press materials. "Dynamic mid-roll insertion of ads and pre-roll insertion of content promotions, triggered by SCTE-130 cues, began last month. Dynamic insertion will be implemented across Rogers' cable markets later this year. SeaChange's open Advertising Decision Manager brokers ad-placement requests from the backoffice to the Advertising Decision System (ADS), instructs the video servers on which playlist to use, and then reports all of the playout data to the ADS for traffic and billing...Rogers launched its VOD operations with SeaChange software and systems in 2000. Today SeaChange's backoffice and disk- and flash memory-based video servers deliver approximately a half-billion streams annually to Rogers subscribers who have access to thousands of hours of on-demand television programs, movies and other content. Rogers' in-home subscriber experience is based on SeaChange's VODlink set-top box client software. The operator also uses the SeaChange AssetFlow Management System, which automates the workflow and lifecycle of content going into the on-demand service." Said SeaChange's general manager of advertising, Aseem Bakshi: "Rogers demonstrates the advantages of running an open video environment to enable multi-vendor collaboration and new opportunities like dynamic ad delivery. Over 50 million cable subscribers have access to on-demand services, representing vast untapped potential for targeted promotions and advertising in North America. The ability to do advertising and promotions is vital for increasing customer satisfaction and driving more content into on-demand services, and also helping content owners to capitalize on their commitment to non-linear delivery."
  • BSkyB has replaced Sky Box Office, the movies-on-demand service on its Sky Anytime+ VOD platform, with a new transactional VOD service, called Sky Store, that offers a larger (1,000+) selection of movies to rent. "Want to watch new blockbusters such as 'Immortals,' 'Paranormal Activity 3' and 'The Three Musketeers' at the same time as they are released on DVD?" the company asks in its promotional materials. "Or perhaps you're a fan of the classics, in which case titles such as 'When Harry Met Sally,' 'Jurassic Park' or 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' will also be available to rent, with a selection of films available from just 99p. What's more, by Easter, Sky Anytime+ will be available to all Sky+HD homes with a broadband connection, across all broadband providers. This means more than 5 million Sky homes will soon be able to access the service, building on the 1.2 million Sky Broadband homes that already use Sky Anytime+...Sky Anytime+ is available to all Sky TV customers with a compatible box at no extra charge and also provides access to a wide range of on-demand content in line with their subscription, including movies, entertainment, documentaries and drama 'box-sets.' Sky Movies Box Office will still be available for those Sky customers who do not have Sky Anytime+. This will offer a more limited range of the latest movies on the live channels from £3.49 per title. Sky Store will be supported by a comprehensive advertising campaign in broadcast and online media during March. All Sky TV customers can rent titles from Sky Store on laptops via Sky Go."
  • Strategy & Technology (S&T), a provider of technologies for interactive TV production, playout, reception and monitoring, and icueTV, a provider of ITV fulfillment platforms, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that they have been using CableLabs' Winter Conference this week to demo integration between the S&T TSBroadcaster carousel streamer and the icueTV fulfillment platform. The demo centers on a "Click to Text" political campaign donation app from icueTV. "The demonstration will show how the S&T TSBroadcaster enables the icueTV fulfillment platform to provide instant electronic fulfillment of an interactive application," the companies state in their press materials. "The partnership provides both icueTV and S&T the ability to deliver a complete, end-to-end solution for interactive television applications. S&T will use the TSBroadcaster to stream the scheduled icueTV application and the TSMonitor to watch and interact with the application via embedded FourthWall Media user agents. S&T's TSProcessor will be utilized to analyze the ETV enhanced stream. icueTV will demonstrate a scheduled delivery of a response to a political campaign donation promotion from a set-top box to a smartphone using its 'Click to Text' application. How it works: The application will appear as an overlay on the advertiser's television commercial prompting interaction with the set-top box remote control. A mobile phone number will be entered on the screen, then once confirmed, a text message will be electronically delivered to the smartphone with the link to the campaign promotion and Web site. Meanwhile, all viewer interactivity stays within the program the viewer is watching and does not take the viewer away from the program. icueTV's proprietary Enhanced Television System, 'ETS,' is EBIF-compliant and is built in an open architecture format that is fully compatible with all set-top boxes and 'over-the-top' applications." Said icueTV founder and CEO, Michael Huegel: "Recent announcements aside, ITV is alive and well. Our relationship with S&T will create a true, end-to-end solution for MSO's and advertisers. That is a real value proposition."
North America