Ustream to Offer Live, Interactive Coverage of "Avatar" Premiere, Golden Globe Nominations

--Broadband Video Round-Up: Qik, Brightcove, Xfinity, SeeSaw, Seven

Live Internet broadcast service provider, Ustream (note: the company recently announced the availability of a Ustream Live Broadcaster iPhone app in the iTunes App Store--see the article published on itvt.com, December 10th), contacted [itvt] Monday to let us know that it will be powering live, interactive feeds of today's (Tuesday) Golden Globes nominations and tomorrow's (Wednesday) premiere of the new James Cameron movie, "Avatar."

According to the company, its live interactive stream of the "Avatar" red carpet is the result of a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and MySpace, and will be available from 6:00PM Pacific at http://ustream.tv/avatar. It will include live cast and celebrity interviews, and will allow viewers to interact with one another through Ustream chat or through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and AIM (through Ustream's Social Stream service).

The company's live Webcast of the Golden Globe nominations ceremony, meanwhile, will be the first ever of that event, and will also feature interactive/social viewing. It will be available from 5:00AM Pacific at: http://www.ustream.tv/goldenglobes. A list of various other interactive live streaming events that Ustream is powering this week is available here. (Note: As [itvt] was going to press, Ashton Kutcher's production company, Katalyst Films, announced that it will air a live streaming, interactive version of its show, "Katalyst HQ," on Ustream at 8:00PM Eastern on Wednesday. More information is available here.)

In other broadband video news:

  • Live video streaming specialist, Qik, has private-beta-launched a desktop application, called Qik-in-Touch. According to the company, the application "sits in the background and whenever you go live, your friends see it instantly and are able to interact with you through live chat right from the app." More information is available here.
  • NewTeeVee's Ryan Lawler recently interviewed Brightcove chairman and CEO, Jeremy Allaire, who discussed, among other things, TV Everywhere, HTTP streaming and Microsoft Silverlight.
  • Despite a promise last month by Comcast Interactive Media president, Amy Banse, Comcast On Demand Online (expected to be called "Xfinity"), Comcast's initial implementation of the "TV Everywhere" content distribution model, did not launch commercially before Channukah (which began at sundown last Friday). Over the weekend, blogger Dave Zatz discovered a live Web page featuring dual Xfinity-Fancast branding. The page has, however, since been replaced by a page inviting visitors to sign up for the beta trial of On Demand Online.
  • Arqiva--the broadcast transmission company which earlier this year acquired the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range (note: Project Kangaroo was believed to be close to launch, when it was nixed in February by the Competition Commission, an independent public body that investigates mergers, markets and regulated industries at the UK government's behest), and which has announced plans to use those platform assets to launch a new, Web-based, consumer-facing VOD service called "SeeSaw"--has named Dan Watt-Smith, who was previously chief mobile editor at Babelgum, managing editor. He will report to platform controller, John Keeling.
  • Australia's Seven Network will next month launch a catch-up TV service on its Yahoo!7 site. According to the broadcaster, shows available on the service will include "Home & Away," "FlashForward," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," "Desperate Housewives" and "Heroes." Notably, the service's content will be monetized by mid-roll--rather than pre-roll--advertising. "Catch-up TV is a huge opportunity for advertisers to increase their audience reach across both TV and online and we've already had a lot of interest," Seven Media Group's chief sales and digital officer, James Warburton, said in a prepared statement. "To date the challenge has been for advertisers to access enough premium online video inventory, which the new catch-up TV destination on Yahoo!7 will deliver. Our ability to provide advertisers with sponsorship and advertising campaigns across TV and video online is now magnified."




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