Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): BBC Sport, BBC iPlayer, BlackArrow

--BBC Sport App for Connected TV Launched
--Global BBC iPlayer Secures Rights to its First Ever Sporting Event
--BlackArrow's Advertising System to Provide Programmers with More Dynamic Ad-Insertion Options

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 BBC on Wednesday announced the launch of a BBC Sport app for connected TV's, which it says will allow viewers to access its interactive coverage of major sporting events via the BBC Red Button service. "The BBC's Red Button service has been important to BBC Sport ever since the first experiments with multi-court coverage of Wimbledon," Aaron Scullion executive product manager for BBC Future Media, wrote on the corporation's BBC Internet blog. "Since then, interactive TV coverage of sport has expanded to events such as the World Cup, Six Nations and the Olympics. The new BBC Sport service builds on that legacy and adds new features and options, including true on-demand video clips for the first time. At first, the app will be available via the red button on the Virgin Media TiVo platform. This brings the service into over 500,000 homes, and provides Virgin Media TiVo viewers with access to a BBC Red Button service for the first time. Later in the year, a wider range of devices will offer the service...Right now, the application focuses on Formula 1. At any time, you can watch key moments from recent races in video, as well as the entirety of the BBC's live F1 coverage. This includes full coverage of the practice sessions (which are not broadcast on BBC One), simulcasts of qualifying heats, together with multi-feed coverage of the race itself (including our on-board camera and 'driver tracker' options). The BBC's coverage of the F1 season begins on Friday 13th April...For fans of other sports, more coverage of this year's major events--Euro 2012, Wimbledon and of course, the Olympics--will be added...I'm also pleased to announce that today the BBC News connected-TV service [see the article published on, June 20th]...becomes available to Virgin Media TiVo homes for the first time. The service makes up-to-date video news reports available to viewers 24 hours a day, together with a full range of text articles from the BBC News Web site. The BBC News and Sport apps will continue to be made available on other connected-TV devices, and as mentioned above, Sport in particular will be launching on a wide number of devices in advance of the Olympics. More details will follow later in the year."
  • In other BBC news: The corporation's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, said Wednesday that the Global BBC iPlayer has secured the rights to its first ever sporting event: the annual boat race on the River Thames between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. "This year's event is available now to subscribers of the Global iPlayer in Australia, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg," the BBC states in its press materials.
  • Dynamic ad-insertion specialist, BlackArrow, has announced new capabilities for its BlackArrow Advanced Advertising System that it says will enable service providers to work with programming networks to expand the sale, placement and measurement of dynamic ad insertion on both IP and traditional pay-TV platforms. "The BlackArrow enhancements, Ad Router technology and a Business Suite of software tools, allow service providers to offer programmers an expanded menu of options to control and manage their ad inventory," the company states in its press materials. "The new products enable the use of third-party ad systems, or the BlackArrow Campaign Suite, for fulfillment of programmers' national ads across a service provider's multiple platforms. Moreover, the enhanced BlackArrow system enables pay-TV business models and affiliate agreements that already exist between service providers and programmers to be extended across new video delivery platforms. The Ad Router, a component of the BlackArrow Decision Suite, is designed to reside at the operator's data center and control and mediate all real-time advanced advertising workflows, including ad routing requests that are based on various platforms and inventory owners. The Ad Router allows operators to send national and local ad avails to different ad decision services (ADS), enabling programmers and local sales organizations to use their existing campaign tools for real-time ad fulfillment. The Ad Router also can route ad requests from different platforms to different ADS's, streamlining cross-platform consistency for operators in business policies, reporting and measurement. The BlackArrow Business Suite enables programmers to manage metadata and avails, or placement opportunities, against their content. Programmers can specify how ad loads change through programming windows, such as the key C3 measurement timeframe; can gain visibility into asset availability at the operator plant; and can dynamically remove or replace 'baked-in' ads in on-demand content without having to re-pitch assets...Currently commercially deployed and in trials with major operators, the Ad Router and Business Suite are compliant with SCTE 130 and other standards, leverage existing multi-vendor ecosystems and support both IP and QAM infrastructures from a single deployment. As a result, service providers can keep operational costs low, while retaining control of privacy information and important data flows."
North America