News Round-Up

--Babelgum Closes Two Offices
--Microsoft's MSN in Broadband Video Partnership with Pact
--Sony Launches PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service in Europe
--YouTube UK Launches "Shows" Page, Featuring Full Episodes from Multiple Programmers
Here is a round-up of some other interactive TV-related stories we didn't have room for in this issue: Broadband video content company, Babelgum , is closing its Dublin headquarters and its Nice office, and consolidating those offices' operations in its London, Milan and New York City offices, according to a report in Paid Content. "This decision allows Babelgum to streamline its approach, improve its cost-effectiveness and ensure its continued growth in future years," the company...

Nielsen to Measure Effectiveness of Advertising on Xbox Live Interactive TV Show, "1 vs. 100 Live"

--Pilot Test Part of Longer-Term Microsoft-Nielsen Collaboration to Measure Xbox Advertising
In a posting on a corporate blog last week, Microsoft 's general manager of marketing and advertising strategy, Mark Kroese, announced that the company is teaming with the Nielsen Company on a pilot test to measure the effectiveness of in-game advertising. The test is launching with the second season of " 1 vs. 100 Live ," the avatar-driven interactive TV version of the Endemol-developed "1 vs. 100" game show format, that Microsoft offers on its...

New Interviews with Sezmi Co-Founder, Phil Wiser, and Microsoft Xbox Live GM, Marc Whitten

--Plus ActiveVideo's Edgar Villalpando on the Emergence of the Connected Car
[itvt] has just published interviews with Sezmi co-founder, chairman and president, Phil Wiser, and with Microsoft Xbox Live general manager, Marc Whitten .

Wiser discusses Sezmi's platform (a set-top box-based offering which the company bills as "combining traditional TV content, movies and Internet video in a single, easy-to-use product and service"), its programming partnerships and its various interactive, social and content-discovery capabilities; the company's monetization strategy and roadmap for the

"Sesame Street" Launches its First-Ever iPhone App, Makes Current-Season Episodes Available on iTunes

Sesame Workshop , the nonprofit educational organization behind the long-running children's TV show, "Sesame Street" (which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary), said Wednesday that it has teamed with design consultancy, IDEO , to launch the first-ever official "Sesame Street" iPhone/iPod touch app .

Entitled " Grover's Number Special " (note: Grover is a furry, blue muppet perhaps best known for his encounters as a bumbling waiter with a long-suffering customer...

Netflix Over-the-Top Service Now Available on Sony's Bravia TV's and Network Blu-ray Disc Player

--Facebook to Launch on PlayStation 3
Video rental company, Netflix , announced Tuesday that subscribers to its service can now instantly watch its streaming movie and TV show offerings on Sony Bravia connected HDTV's, on earlier Bravia models that are compatible with the company's Bravia Internet video link module, and on the Sony Network Blu-ray Disc Player . An OTT partnership between Netflix and Sony Electronics was first announced in July ( see the article published on, July 12th ):...

Facebook, Twitter, and Zune Instant-On HD Video to Launch on Xbox Live November 17th

At the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco last week, Microsoft announced that it will launch Facebook , Twitter , and "instant-on" HD video from Zune on its Xbox Live service, November 17th. "We're delivering some truly exciting social entertainment experiences to our members," Xbox Live general manager, Marc Whitten, said in a prepared statement. "Xbox Live's differentiator has always been our community, and we've already seen a tremendous response to these features in...

Verizon Launches Two More Interactive TV Games in its FiOS TV Widget Bazaar

Verizon announced Wednesday that it has launched two new interactive TV casual games in its FiOS TV Widget Bazaar applications marketplace: Reversi and Chinese Checkers . According to the company, the games, which are offered free of charge, have been rolled out in California and Texas, and will be available in other FiOS TV areas soon. Other free casual games available through the FiOS TV Widget Bazaar (note: they can also be accessed under the...

UK Broadcaster Five Seeks to Diversify Revenues via New Online Daily Bingo Show

--Show Produced by Interactive TV Specialist, Two Way Media
In a move that it describes as part of "a concerted effort to broaden its revenues beyond traditional TV advertising," UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, Five , has launched a daily interactive TV bingo show on its Web site. Entitled " The FreeBingo Show " and produced by interactive TV specialist, Two Way Media, the hour-long show is designed to increase awareness of and drive traffic to a suite of online gaming services operated by Five:...

Belgian Cable Operator, Telenet, Launches Accedo Broadband's Funspot Interactive TV Games

Accedo Broadband --a Stockholm-based aggregator and distributor of interactive TV applications (note: the company, which was founded by telecom and media entrepreneurs, Michael Lantz and Fredrik Andersson, offers a range of applications, but is best known for its games)--announced Tuesday that it has launched its Funspot interactive TV casual games service on Belgian cable MSO Telenet 's digital platform. Telenet, which launched its digital TV service in 2005 and which at last count had around...

Sky Player Broadband TV Service to Be Available on Windows Media Center on Windows 7 in the UK

--Sky Poker Interactive TV Service to Reward Winner of its 200 Millionth Hand
BSkyB and Microsoft announced Wednesday that the Sky Player broadband video service will be added in the UK to Windows Media Center in Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system, enabling live and on-demand over-the-top viewing of Sky's pay-TV content, including movies, sports coverage, entertainment and children's programming and more. Earlier this year, the companies announced a deal to offer Sky Player on the Xbox 360 ( see the article published on May 29th ):...