Interactive TV News Round-Up (III): Coincident TV, MTV, Comcast, Canoe Ventures, Current TV, Delivery Agent
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been on the road the past few weeks, we are covering recent news in round-up/summary form. Due to the volume of news we are covering in this issue, our summaries are somewhat more abbreviated than usual (note: extensive background information on most of the companies and technologies covered in this issue can be found by using itvt.com's search functionality). We apologize for any inconvenience to our readers: our regular daily news coverage will return shortly.
- Coincident TV has announced that it has been tapped by MTV to create an interactive video experience for the latter's online program, "$5 Cover." "Using Coincident TV's technology platform, MTV.com can efficiently and effectively build episodes of '$5 Cover' that bring the entire Web into the video experience," the company states in its press materials. "Viewers can link to all artists' Web sites, check out behind-the-scenes footage from the show, watch interviews with the artists and creative teams, and share, embed and post favorite clips onto Facebook and other Web platforms--all without ever navigating away from the original episode they are watching at MTV.com."
- Comcast is currently testing a new hybrid-TV service, known internally as "Xcalibur" and to test participants as "Xfinity Spectrum," the Wall Street Journal reported last month. "Under the new system, which is being tested in Augusta, GA, content flows through a set-top box that combines features of the Web with those of a digital video recorder, according to people familiar with the matter," the Journal reported. "Users can watch and search a smattering of Web video through their televisions and search across live, on-demand and recorded programming. The service...doesn't let participants freely browse the Web, though they do have some basic connections to social networks to comment on television shows, the people familiar with the matter said." More information on the Pace-built, quad-tuner DVR that powers the new hybrid-TV service is available in documents which Comcast has filed with the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology and which were first brought to light by the publication, Wireless Goodness. The documents include sketched "screenshots" of the device's user interface which indicate that the service will, among other things, offer various applications, including apps for Facebook, Twitter and Pandora, and for local weather and traffic.
- In other Comcast news: The MSO has announced that it "doubled the amount of movies available On Demand that were released the same day as the DVD in 2010, bringing customers more than 200 'day-and-date' movies [that] year alone." The company also says that in 2010 its VOD service reached a total of 18 billion views since its launch in 2003.
- Heavy Reading analyst (and TVOT NYC Intensive moderator), Craig Leddy, has authored a report entitled "Your Ad Here: Cable's ITV Ad Platforms Open for Business." Among the report's findings: when Canoe Ventures added interactive TV polls to ads, unaided recall of advertised brands increased by 167%. Light Reading Cable's Steve Donohue has more.
- Current TV has announced that "Bar Karma," its new interactive TV series created by "The Sims" creator, Will Wright, and Worldwide Biggies CEO, Albie Hecht (see the article published on itvt.com, October 17th), will premiere February 11th and will be previewed in a primetime half-hour special airing January 20th. "With the help of Wright's Storymaker application, viewers will, for the very first time, have the chance to inform a show's characters, storylines and even brand integrations before a series debuts," Current TV states in its press materials. The Storymaker app--located at http://www.current.com/studios--can now be accessed via a newly launched iPhone application.
- Tcommerce specialist, Delivery Agent, recently teamed with Discovery Communications (note: Delivery Agent handles all Discovery's direct-to-consumer commerce operations) to enable the latter's "initial foray into interactive television"--sponsorship of the Santa Tracker app on AT&T's Microsoft Mediaroom-powered U-verse TV platform. "With Santa Tracker, U-verse TV customers can play games, vote in the 'Naughty or Nice' poll, listen to sing-a-long holiday songs, and on Christmas Eve, they can track Santa's travels around the globe," Delivery Agent states in its press materials. "AT&T and Delivery Agent developed and produced for Discovery the full-featured interactive marketing program on Santa Tracker which enables children and parents to use their remote control to play on-screen holiday games and view videos of prizes that include products from the vast selection of toys available at DiscoveryStore.com."