Interactive TV News Round-Up (VIII): Shazam, ITV, Technology Strategy Board

--Shazam, ITV in Exclusive Partnership for ACR-Powered Second-Screen Interactive TV Advertising
--UK Government Agency Launches Interactive TV Prototyping Contest

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. Due to the volume of news generated by the NAB Show last week, we anticipate that it will take us a few more days to catch up: so if your company has sent us a press release or briefed us on an announcement, and you don't yet see your news covered in this issue, please bear with us.

  • Automatic content recognition (ACR) specialist, Shazam (note: the London-based company is best known for offering a mobile application that consumers can use to identify music, as well as unlock supplemental content associated with TV shows--a process it calls "tagging"), has announced a partnership with commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, that will see the latter become the exclusive UK distributor for Shazam functionality in the UK broadcast advertising market. "Under the terms of the deal ITV Commercial will be the exclusive UK sales force offering advertisers the chance to have their traditional 30-second TV spots Shazam-enabled for the first time," Shazam states in its press materials. "Viewers who have Shazam installed on their smartphones, currently more than 10 million in the UK, will be able to use the app to interact with the enabled adverts to enter competitions, get additional information about a brand or product, view additional special content or download free music. The partnership follows the success of Shazam for TV in the US, where it has revolutionized the viewing experience of some of America's most popular television shows and events such as 'American Idol,' the Grammy Awards and the Super Bowl, where more than half of the advertisers in this year's big game chose to Shazam-enable their ads." Said ITV's group commercial sales director, Simon Daglish: "Shazam's audio-recognition technology is at the forefront of the second-screen movement which is transforming the way consumers interact with content including advertising. This exciting and exclusive partnership means that ITV is able to offer customers a real first for UK media and allow brands to innovate their spot campaigns and connect directly with audiences on a large scale."
  • The Technology Strategy Board, a UK government agency tasked with encouraging innovation by helping fund prototype development, contacted [itvt] last week to let us know about an interactive TV prototyping contest it is running, in collaboration with a range of companies and organizations including Rovi, Virgin Media, Lionsgate and Fremantlemedia. The goal of the contest, according to the agency, is to encourage the development of "new, commercially viable prototypes for the connected-screen environment." The contest consists of eight challenges, each of which has a potential award of £30,000 and also offers the winner the opportunity to work with the challenge's patron. The agency describes the challenges as follows: "1) To develop a new type of synchronous (with live broadcast) second-screen app, in collaboration with FremantleMedia. 2) To develop a new type of asynchronous (non-live) second-screen app, in collaboration with Hat Trick Productions. 3) To develop an online control center to help blind and partially sighted people operate their TV, in collaboration with RNIB. 4) To present a prototype which demonstrates how a TV show or DVD can interact with a physical toy, in collaboration with Zodiak Active. 5) To show a prototype of a tool which can help National Geographic develop shows for multiple platforms more easily. 6) To work with Rovi Corp's data API's to showcase how that data can be used with alternative input technologies like speech or movement recognition. 7) To present a method to Virgin Media for helping their channel partners better amplify their brands and maintain their curatorial voice. 8) To showcase prototype ideas to Lionsgate on how to drive consumer marketing and awareness around new releases or between releases...In addition," the Technology Strategy Board's press materials continue, "there will be two separate awards of £30,000 each in two of the above categories subject to the patron's discretion. The total awards available will therefore be £300,000." More information on the contest is available here.
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