Interactive TV News Round-Up (IV): Shazam, Sky, Channel 4, Topshop, Facebook, Verizon FiOS TV

--Shazam to Enable ACR-Powered Second-Screen Interactive TV on Any Show and Any Channel in US
--Sky in Wide-Ranging Multiplatform Distribution Agreement with Channel 4
--Topshop-Facebook Live, Interactive Video Project Proves Successful
--Report: Verizon Beginning Closed Trial of FiOS TV Live-Streaming App

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on our upcoming TV of Tomorrow Show event, TVOT NYC Intensive (December 10th in New York City), we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format:

  • Automatic content recognition (ACR) specialist, Shazam, said Monday that it has now surpassed 250 million users globally and announced that it has expanded its Shazam for TV second-screen service in the US to support TV programming on any channel at any time of day. "Now, Shazam fans can use the app as a 'TV companion app' with any TV show in the US to access cast details and photos, music in the show, celebrity gossip, trivia, celebrity tweets, and links to additional information, plus the ability to instantly share and comment on the show or episode on Facebook and Twitter," the company states in its press materials...Starting today, when people in the US use the Shazam App while watching television, they have a fast and easy way to access: 1) Featured music--Shazam has leveraged its rich music history and its 20+ million track database to identify the music featured in whatever people are watching. 2) Cast information--the app will list the cast featured in the program, guest stars, as well as other shows they've been in. 3) Trivia--fans can learn more about their favorite program and even read about the occasional goofs with the trivia feature in the app. 4) Celebrity buzz--gives fans all the latest gossip about the show and the stars in it. 5) Social sharing--live Twitter feeds as well as commenting in the app makes it fun to talk with your friends about what you're watching. 6) More information--convenient links to show-related information at IMDb, Wikipedia, and the official site for the show. Additionally, different types of programming will feature different results. For instance, sports events will include stats, scores and schedules instead of cast information...In addition to expanding Shazam for TV, Shazam is also enhancing its social features for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android devices. When Shazamers activate the Shazam Friends feature in the app, they can see what their Facebook friends are tagging, and now they will be able to make comments about their friends' tags in the app. Additionally, with the activation, people's tags will appear on their Facebook profile in their timeline, enabling people to discuss with their friends in Facebook what they are watching or listening to. For people who download Shazam for the first time, they will see the 'Login with Facebook' message when they open the app for the first time. Users can also change these Facebook sharing preferences in the Settings section of the app. Social sharing via Twitter and Google+ is also available. These new sharing features will be released in the coming weeks with additional features to be added in the coming months, including being able to Like tags." Said Shazam's chief revenue officer, Doug Garland: "Over the last year, Shazam has been testing and learning what works by building dozens of custom interactive second-screen experiences for select television shows and events like the Olympics on NBC, 'American Idol,' the Grammys, and the Super Bowl, as well as other live and scripted programming across sports, reality, dramas, comedy and awards shows. We've applied what we've learned to our newly expanded service, and will continue to work closely with our network partners and show producers to build special, unique second-screen experiences for their tent-pole television events and many of the most popular shows on TV." Added CEO, Andrew Fisher: "According to industry studies, 86% of smartphone owners use their mobile device while watching TV and, with our expansion into television, we've seen a surge of activity due to recent Shazam-enabled events such as the NBC Olympic broadcast, where more than one million people tagged the closing ceremony, as well as the US Open tennis grand slam event on CBS earlier this month. We think that broadening our television service and offering more comprehensive social features will continue to drive activity and engagement."
  • Sky and Channel 4 have signed a new agreement that will see a range of the terrestrial broadcaster's linear channels and its 4oD VOD service available across Sky's digital platforms. "With content being added to both Sky's TV on-demand service and Sky Go, and with new high-definition (HD) channels launching onto the Sky platform, millions of Sky homes will enjoy greater control and flexibility over where, when and how they enjoy the best of Channel 4," the companies state in their press materials. "The agreement, which builds on Sky's leadership in HDTV, TV-on-demand and viewing on-the-go, includes: 1) 4oD launching on Sky's TV-on-demand service. Sky's on-demand service will expand to offer hundreds of hours of recent and classic Channel 4 shows--including complete series of its iconic franchises--all available to watch at the touch of a button. The service is available to the more than 5 million homes with a Sky TV subscription, a compatible Sky+HD box and a broadband connection. 4oD is the UK's most successful commercial video-on-demand service, based on long-form video requests, and this new partnership with Sky will enable even more viewers to access Channel 4's legendary comedy, drama, factual and entertainment shows, whenever they want. When 4oD launches on Sky's on-demand service early next year, Sky customers will be able to access catch-up content from all UK terrestrial networks, in addition to a wide variety of pay TV broadcasters, creating a comprehensive on-demand library and giving customers even more control and flexibility over their viewing. 2) Channel 4, E4, More 4 and Film 4 to be added to Sky Go, Sky's online and mobile TV service. Channel 4's linear channels, together with a range of archive content from 4oD (excluding movies), will be added to Sky Go, providing Sky customers with multiplatform access to live and on-demand TV on-the-go. Channel 4 will become the first terrestrial network to be added to Sky Go, joining Sky's wholly owned channels as well as a selection of other leading broadcasters including Disney, ESPN, Turner, Nickelodeon and British Eurosport. Sky Go--which is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, selected Android Smartphones, Xbox 360, PC and Mac--is currently used by more than 2.7 million Sky customers. 3) Two new high-definition channels, Film4 HD and More4HD, to join Sky+HD. Following on from the launch of Channel 4 HD and E4 HD, both of which first launched to UK viewers through the Sky platform, two further channels will become available to Sky's 4.3 million high-definition customers for the first time--Film4 HD and More 4 HD. This will complete the HD roll-out of Channel 4's core channel portfolio, which began in 2006 when Channel 4 became the first commercial public service broadcaster to launch an HD service. This means that Sky homes will be able to access 66 HD channels, further extending Sky's HD leadership. Sky+HD is Europe's most comprehensive and popular HD service. As part of the new agreement, Channel 4 will also receive viewing insight from Sky. Through Sky IQ, Sky's customer intelligence division, the broadcaster will receive insight and analysis on viewing of Channel 4's content on TV, online and on mobile. The insight will include aggregated and anonymous demographic information in addition to viewing figures to help Channel 4 further understand its audiences, supporting its Viewer Engagement strategy. Channel 4 will have ownership of all advertising inventory around its content available across Sky platforms, enhancing its successful digital and on-demand partnerships with clients and advertisers."
  • UK retailer, Topshop, says that its live streaming video coverage of its September 16th "Topshop Unique Spring Summer 2012 London Fashion Week" event (see the article published on, September 13th) was viewed by over 2 million people from 100 countries. The coverage featured interactive and social elements that were developed in partnership with Facebook. Mashable's Lauren Indvik has more.
  • Verizon is sending out invitations for a closed trial of a live-streaming iOS app for its FiOS TV service, according to a report in Engadget.
North America