SeaChange Incorporates Jinni's Search-and-Recommendation Engine into its VOD Platform

--SeaChange-Owned eventIS Rolls Out New VOD Backoffice Suite with UPC Broadband

VOD, IPTV and advanced advertising technology provider, SeaChange International, announced Wednesday the launch of a new VOD search and navigation tool for cable and IPTV operators that is powered by technology from Jinni, a company that offers a semantic search-and-recommendation engine which it says is based on content genetics and user psychographics (note: the company, whose CEO is Mike Pohl, formerly president and CEO of nCUBE, a pioneering VOD technology provider that was sold to C-COR--which was itself subsequently sold to Arris--back in 2004, recently formed a partnership with OpenTV--see the article published on itvt.com, August 12th). According to SeaChange, the new tool is optimized for set-top boxes, but can also be accessed via the Internet and Web-enabled mobile devices. Jinni bills its recommendation engine as a "viewer taste-based" solution that leverages semantic technology to help viewers choose what to watch. SeaChange says that it will introduce the Jinni interface running on its TV Navigator middleware platform in its booth (Stand 1. E30) at the IBC show in Amsterdam later this week, and that the solution will be available for deployment early next year. "VOD libraries are growing at a breakneck pace and the sheer volume of titles is making it increasingly challenging for subscribers to find the content they want, much less doing so quickly and efficiently," Simone Sassoli, SeaChange's VP and general manager of global telecoms and middleware, said in a prepared statement. "Bringing the power of Jinni's search and recommendation capabilities to the set-top box with an incredibly rich and easy-to-use interface is a significant development for VOD and one that can immediately impact usage rates."

According to SeaChange, the combination of its middleware and VOD platforms with Jinni's extensive database of movie and TV titles and semantic content tags will enable viewers to search for titles based on parameters such as a film's or program's "experience" (mood and tone) and story (plot elements, structures and style). The company says that the solution will enable a "more intuitive and mood-based discovery process to generate personally relevant results and recommendations." Viewers will also be able to search their operators' VOD libraries using Web-enabled PC's and mobile devices, SeaChange says, and the titles they select for viewing will automatically populate a "favorites" folder that is accessible on their set-top box-based program guide.

In related news: eventIS, the Dutch developer of VOD and linear broadcasting software that was recently acquired by SeaChange (see the article published on itvt.com, September 2nd), announced Wednesday the roll-out of a new VOD backoffice suite with cable operator, UPC Broadband, in Austria and Hungary, with a roll-out in Poland slated to take place later this year. According to eventIS, the solution is part of its converged Service Delivery Platform (cSDP), and extends UPC's existing EPG functionality with true VOD, enabling what the company describes as a "fully integrated service based on mature, proven software." The solution also provides UPC with an "evolution path" towards convergent, multi-play service delivery, eventIS says, offering content on multiple devices at home and on the move.

According to eventIS, systems based on the backoffice suite are already live with UPC Austria and UPC Hungary, and a third system will go live with UPC Poland in November. "eventIS is proud to be working with a leading cable network operator like UPC Broadband," eventIS president, Erwin van Dommelen, said in a prepared statement. "Their vision that 'this amazing but often complex digital world should be for everyone' aligns perfectly with our vision of personalized TV, available anytime and on any device. Through our VOD backoffice suite, we're helping UPC streamline and bring added flexibility to its backoffice processes, so it can continue to offer its customers an easy-to-use, cost-effective and exciting service for years to come."

According to eventIS, the new backoffice suite is based on its Prodis asset and product management system and its Traxis transaction manager. The company says that customers can add a number of optional modules to these core components, in order to create a backoffice system tailored to their specific needs. The suite is easily scalable, allowing networks to add large numbers of new subscribers without requiring additional hardware, the company claims, and has built-in redundancy for all system components, so that service providers can maintain a complete service under any conditions. eventIS also says that the suite features open interfaces, based on standard metadata specifications. This, it claims, is especially useful for companies such as UPC Broadband that use a multi-vendor platform architecture. eventIS also bills the suite as offering "a great deal of flexibility to handle new developments in the industry," thus allowing operators to future-proof their offering and deliver such services as time-shifting and start-over TV.

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