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--emuse ITV App for "Australia's Next Top Model" Wins ASTRA Award
SpotCrime, a Baltimore-based start-up that bills itself as "the largest independent data and news company mapping crime worldwide," has launched an interactive TV application in DirecTV's TV Apps app store (http://tvapps.directv.com). The app provides DirecTV viewers nationwide with near-real-time crime data, including listings of local crime incidents and a map of that local criminal activity.
Electra Entertainment--a company that was founded in early 2003 by Static 2358 founder, Jasper Smith, and former Gemstar-TV Guide CTO, Jonathan Drazin (note: Smith serves as its CEO and Drazin as its CTO; its chairman is former BT and BSkyB director, John Swingewood)--said Monday that it has secured a deal with the UK's largest retailer, Tesco, that will see it distributing its Trove hybrid interactive TV technology on standard- and high-definition Freeview-ready (note: Freeview is the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform) TV sets, set-top boxes and DVR's which will be available in Tesco stores starting this June.
In a posting on its corporate blog, Tuesday, over-the-top-TV specialist, Boxee, announced that it is partnering with Twilio, a company that offers a service which allows developers to add SMS and calling functionality to Web applications, to launch a developer contest dubbed the "TV Meets Telephony Hack Challenge."
--Imira, Enne Team on Interactive TV Series for Children
--MySpace, Fox Inviting Viewers to Audition for New Roles in "Glee"
--"Sims" Creator, Will Wright, Said to Be Teaming with Current TV on Interactive TV Series
Multiplatform music programmer, Music Choice, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that its new 24/7 interactive music video network, SWRV, has generated 500,000 viewer interactions in 750,000 homes since its launch last month. According to the company, 54% of those interactions were via the Web (http://www.swrv.tv) and 46% via the phone.
--3View to Begin Taking Orders for New Hybrid Freeview HD DVR
--TiVo Premiere DVR's Now Available in Retail
--Pirelli Launches Intel Atom CE4100-Powered Hybrid Set-Top
Geneva-based set-top box/digital TV technology provider, Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB), said Tuesday that it will soon introduce its i-CAN Easy HD hybrid set-top box in the UK. According to the company, the device--which represents its first UK consumer product and which is designed for use with Freeview HD, the newly launched HDTV service of the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview--will be available in stores in time for the soccer World Cup (begins June 11th), and will provide access to over 50 standard- and high-definition channels, together with access to programming catch-up services.
Rovi (formerly Macrovision--for more on the company's name change and the repositioning it heralds, see the interview with Rovi chief evangelist, Richard Bullwinkle, that was published on itvt.com, July 16th), on Monday announced the availability of its Personal Media Manager solution, a software application that it bills as enabling consumers to "clean" or update the entertainment data residing in their media libraries, as well as to stream and share music, videos and photos stored on devices on a home network.
Social media specialist, Demand Media, said Tuesday that its Pluck social media platform has been selected by UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, to enhance viewer engagement with the show, "This Morning," before, during and after its broadcast. The company also said that ITV plans to deploy the platform on ITV.com to add social elements to the shows "Loose Women" and "Coronation Street," and to the Web site's soccer section in time for the 2010 World Cup.
Softel, a UK-based company that claims to have over 25 years of experience in providing ancillary data solutions--including solutions for interactive TV, opt cuing/ad insertion, subtitling and captioning--to leading broadcasters and service providers across the world (note: the company recently revealed that it was powering Showtime Networks' new HD EBIF application--see the article published on itvt.com, March 24th), on Tuesday launched a workflow technology, dubbed ScheduleSmart, that it says uses proprietary heuristics and algorithms to determine the optimum point in the workflow at which to bind captions, subtitles and other ancillar
--Services Include Video Mosaic, VOD, Startover TV
GoBackTV, a company which has developed a platform--dubbed RetroVue and targeted at smaller cable operators--that delivers switched multicast and unicast IPTV content to IP set top boxes across a traditional hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) cable plant via standard DOCSIS 1.1/2.0 and 3.0 cable modems, using CMTS-Bypass technology, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that Wilmington, Vermont-based Duncan Cable TV has selected the RetroVue platform to power new, interactive services. "We want the same new services as the large operators, but we have fewer customers over which we can spread the cost," Duncan Cable TV owner, Cliff Duncan, said in a prepared statement.
The BBC has announced the line-up of content that will be available through its red-button interactive TV service through April 16th:
Discovery Communications has launched an iPhone/iPod touch application for the cult Discovery Channel pop-science show, "Mythbusters" (note: the show, hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, conducts experiments to test the validity of popular myths and urban legends; it claims to have tested over 700 myths via 2,300 experiments that saw it, among other things, setting off 711 explosions and destroying 104 vehicles).
--Interactive TV-Focused Media Agency Claims to Have Grown Staff by 30% over Past Year
Strategic media agency, Media Storm (note: last fall, the company, which claims to have produced interactive TV applications for over 350 campaigns, announced the formation of a new division, called BOLT, focused solely on developing and implementing advertising campaigns that use interactive TV, addressable advertising and VOD platforms--see the article published on itvt.com, October 8th; the company was also recently selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as its media buying agency of record--
In a posting on its corporate blog last Thursday, Netflix's VP of marketing, Jessie Becker, announced that the company is "in the final phase of getting ready for the launch of streaming" to the Nintendo Wii games console (note: the Wii is currently the most popular games console in the US).
--CBS Reported to Be Working to Ensure its Online Video Offerings Support HTML5/iPad
In time for the April 3rd launch of the Apple iPad, broadband video platform providers, Brightcove and Ooyala, have both announced HTML5-based solutions that support delivery of online video to the new tablet device.
Multiscreen media measurement and research company, Rentrak, announced last week that it has signed a deal to provide Canadian motion picture distributor, Alliance Films, with VOD measurement services via its OnDemand Essentials service. Alliance's recent VOD offerings--which are available on such major Canadian pay-TV platforms as Cogeco Cable, MTS, Rogers Cable, SaskTel, Shaw Cable, Telus and Videotron--include "Inglourious Basterds," "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," "Four Christmases" and "Coraline." According to Rentrak, the Alliance deal means that it "continues to build its leadership position in providing measurement services" for the Canadian VOD market, where it claims to have seen a 19% increase in on-demand content usage between 2008 and 2009.