News Round-Up: Broadband TV and OTT
--"Interactive Episodes" of "Doctor Who" Reviewed (Video)
--Hulu to Begin Testing Subscription-Based Service Next Month
--NCAA in 14-Year, $10.8 Billion "March Madness" Deal
--Revision3 Launches Interactive TV Cooking Show
--Roku Begins Offering NBA Game Time
--Vudu Offering "Avatar" with Extras, 28 Days before Netflix
--YouTube Quietly Expands its Movie Rental Line-Up
The [itvt] editorial team will be on the road this week and next, so we will be covering most stories in round-up/summary form, and we anticipate that there will be some additional interruptions of our regular news publishing schedule beyond that. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our readers. Here is a round-up of interactive TV-related news pertaining primarily to the broadband TV/OTT space:
- Earlier this month (see the article published on itvt.com, April 12th), the BBC announced plans to offer four original "interactive episodes" of its long-running scifi series, "Doctor Who." Entitled "Doctor Who--The Adventure Games," the "interactive episodes" are downloadable computer games for PC and Mac that will allow players to assume control of The Doctor and his human sidekick, Amy, as they embark on new adventures that complement the latest season of the TV series. The Guardian has now published a review of the first "interactive episode," which is entitled "City of the Daleks." In addition, a companion video report is available here.
- Hulu plans to begin testing a subscription service called Hulu Plus next month, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. The company will continue to provide users with the five most recent episodes of certain high-profile shows (e.g. "Glee," "Lost" and "Saturday Night Live") free of charge, the Times reports, but viewers who want to watch additional episodes of those shows will have to pay $9.95 per month to access a more comprehensive collection.
- The NCAA last week announced a new 14-year, $10.8 billion TV, Internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System for the Division I Men's Basketball Championship ("March Madness). "Under the new rights agreement," the NCAA explains in a press release, "NCAA March Madness on Demand, the Emmy Award-winning video player that provides live streaming video of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, will continue to be launched from NCAA.com and CBSSports.com. Turner has also secured the rights for any Time Warner digital property. The player will be operated and developed by Turner and have enhanced digital rights allowing the NCAA to deliver content for multiple Turner and Time Warner platforms." Paid Content has an interview with David Levy, president of Turner Sports, in which he provides more detail on the deal's new/interactive media elements.
- Revision3 last week announced the premiere of "Food Mob," which it bills as "the first truly interactive cooking show." According to the company, the show's host, professional chef Niall Harbison, will "interact with his viewers via Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other social media channels by answering any and all embarrassing food or preparation questions from men looking to step up their culinary game."
- Roku has announced that the NBA Game Time service has now launched on its service.
- Vudu, the OTT platform provider whose pending acquisition was announced by Walmart earlier this year, announced last week that it is offering the movie, "Avatar," complete with extras. The company will have a 28-day advance release window on the digital delivery of the movie over rival streaming video provider, Netflix, Greg Tarr reports in TWICE.
- YouTube has quietly expanded the line-up of movies and TV episodes available for rent in its YouTube Store. Rentals are priced between $0.99 and $3.99 and rental fees are paid via Google Check-out. The expansion of the Store's line-up follows a trial in January that saw YouTube offering $5.00 rentals of a selection of movies from the Sundance Film Festival. ReadWriteWeb has more.