Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): PlayJam, Vestel, The CW, Mark Burnett, Youtoo, zeebox

--PlayJam in Deal to Distribute its ITV Games on Vestel Connected TV's and Set-Top Boxes
--The CW Launches iPad/iPhone/Android App with Next-Day Full-Episode Streaming
--Mark Burnett's One Three Television Takes Ownership Stake in Social-TV Network, Youtoo
--zeebox Taps Time Warner Cable Media Executive, Jason Forbes, to Head US Operations

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 games company, PlayJam, said Thursday that it has signed a deal with Vestel that will see it distributed on the latter's connected TV's and set-top boxes. "Vestel, a major player in the consumer electronics industry, will add the PlayJam Games Channel to its extensive product line-up of televisions and digital set-top boxes, of which the company has a manufacturing capacity of 15 million and 10 million units respectively each year," PlayJam states in its press materials. "The games channel will be accessible from the front page of the user interface and sit alongside VOD and music streaming services. PlayJam's Games Platform provides developers with a rich set of API's to enhance, monetize and distribute content across all key smart-TV platforms worldwide, driving increased revenue and customer loyalty through core features such as cross-network tournaments, leaderboards, real-time mass-participation events, virtual currencies and recommendations. PlayJam recently launched its beta development program that will bring titles from the likes of GameHouse, Slingo, Alawar, Playrix, Relentless, First Star and Puzzler to Vestel smart-TV devices from Q2, 2012. Earlier this month, the company demonstrated its companion remote-control application for iOS and Android smart devices at Casual Connect in Hamburg, enabling developers to design bespoke, branded remotes for their titles played on smart TV."
  • The CW has launched an app for iOS and Android that offers full-episode streaming of its primetime series. The app, which can be downloaded for free on cwtv.com, also offers photos and previews, as well as social-media integration, allowing users to share what they are watching via Facebook and Twitter. "Full episodes of The CW's primetime shows will now be available on the app and on CWTV.com at approximately 6:00AM ET on the morning after broadcast on the network [note: Variety's Andrew Wallenstein has some analysis of The CW's recent decision to reduce the window in which its content becomes available online from three days to eight hours]," the company states in its press materials. "As on CWTV.com, the most recently aired five episodes are available on the app, and it is fully advertiser-supported. The CW App features social media capabilities, allowing users to share photos and video links with their friends via Facebook and Twitter, and also connects fans to The CW's Facebook pages as well as the Twitter feeds for The CW, its stars and producers. The app also includes video interviews, behind-the-scenes looks and previews of The CW's primetime series. Users can also view a schedule of upcoming episodes and set reminders for when they can watch their favorite shows live." Said The CW's EVP of marketing and digital programs, Rick Haskins: "With the launch of The CW's new mobile app and moving to next-day streaming on all platforms, we remain in perfect sync with our young audience who want to watch and connect with our shows whenever and wherever they are. Both of these steps are an important part of our overall strategy and ongoing evolution as we remain the network of the digital generation."
  • One Three Television, the production company of high-profile reality-TV producer, Mark Burnett, has expanded its partnership with social-TV network, Youtoo (note: the latter has its origins in the AmericanLife TV network--for more on the company and its relationship with Burnett, see the article published on itvt.com, September 27th), by taking an ownership stake in the company, and says that it plans to integrate Youtoo's technology into new series it produces. "The technology will allow viewers to be on TV, to share their reactions to show content with other viewers, and to play along with the programs," One Three Television states in its press materials. "Using Youtoo's breakthrough technology, viewers can upload a video and be on TV within minutes or compete with other viewers, in a few simple clicks. Burnett and Youtoo's CEO, Chris Wyatt, plan to introduce the technology to the major TV networks as a way to deepen audience engagement by building fan loyalty, and attracting new audiences...In September 2011, Youtoo launched its technology development platform, Youtoo TV, and the companion social network, youtoo.com. Since launch, the company has broadcast over 50,000 people on TV and created more than a dozen applications that bridge the divide from television, social networking and gaming. Mark Burnett's digital production company VIMBY (Video In My Back Yard) produced 250 short-form programs for the Youtoo TV launch, which is broadcast to 177 of the top 200 cable television markets." Mark Burnett has also formed a partnership with social-TV start-up, ACTV8.ME, which recently resulted in the launch of a second-screen app for the reality show, "The Celebrity Apprentice" (see the articles published on itvt.com, January 3rd and March 8th).
  • zeebox, the second-screen social-TV company that was co-founded by former BBC iPlayer chief, Anthony Rose, has appointed Jason Forbes to head up its US operations in advance of a planned US launch later this year. "Jason joins zeebox from Time Warner Cable Media in New York where he was senior vice president," zeebox states in its press materials. "As head of their Strategy, New Products and Marketing units, Jason was charged with defining, prioritizing and enabling new ventures and capabilities across agencies and advertisers at the national and local level. This included launching Time Warner Cable Media's Enhanced iTV product suite, new ad-supported on-demand channels and marketing services. Jason also led the development of their Data Intelligence suite, which offers cross-platform audience viewership and insights to advertisers using set-top box and third-party data. Prior to joining Time Warner, Jason spent 10 years with Capgemini in Europe and the US, in his last role as VP and GM of strategy and transformation for Capgemini's media practice, consulting clients including Warner Bros., MTV, CBS and News Corporation in business transformation...zeebox is currently finalizing its launch partnerships with key industry players in preparation to launch its consumer service across the US TV landscape during Q2. A key part of Jason's role will be to build up zeebox's US team and operations, and to develop close partnerships across leading distributors, programmers, agencies and advertisers. Jason will be based in New York City. Since launching in October 2011, zeebox has led innovation in the market of social-TV apps, uniquely enabling consumers to discover TV content through their extended social graph, to follow their favorite celebrities' TV viewing, and to automatically get more information about the programs they're watching. Zeebox knows what consumers are watching, and engages them with relevant content and ecommerce opportunities in sync with live TV."
Region: 
North America