A behind-the-scenes look at skimmed-over iTV ad apps
Packet Vision Inc. and Ensequence were both hiding in the shadows of two news releases announced last week, the first in Juniper Network's E120 BSR introduction, and the latter in the interactive Bravo "Top Chef 3 Miami" launch.
Packet Vision has joined Juniper's J-Partner Solutions Alliance Program to offer its targeted, addressable and interactive advertising solutions as part of a bundle of services geared toward the IPTV industry. Juniper is the company's first partnership.
The combo will enable telcos, broadcasters and advertisers to leverage targeted, next-gen ads. Packet Vision's service enables IPTV operators to sell, manage and insert local ads into linear TV channels, either across their whole subscriber base or targeted at specific geographic or demographic groups.
The best characteristic of Packet Vision's PV1000, says Richard George, Packet Vision's general manager for North America, is its unique proprietary switching engine.
Packet Vision's PV1000
As of now, the company is not focusing on VOD advertising, but it is focused on basic ad insertion for Tier 2 and 3 IPTV operators in the U.S. "Operators have to walk before contemplating a marathon," George says.
Toward the future, George says, "We are actively exploring relationships to bring our expertise in advertising, and our niche specialty in the advertising domain, to other areas."
Meanwhile, Ensequence is the mastermind behind the interactive capabilities of Bravo's "Top Chef 3 Miami" show. The Portland-based company has a variety of software products for a variety of platforms, including STBs, DVRs and cell phones.
Bravo’s "Top Chef 3 Miami"
Ensequence has announced deals with both Cox and Comcast, and several others will be announced this year. The company supports cable standards—its technology can work with pretty much any digital STB—and in a year from now, Ensequence CEO Dalen Harrison says the technology will be in millions of homes. And the technology is also backwards-compatible.
What makes the company stand apart from its competitors is that not a single one can claim cross-platform service like Ensequence can, Harrison says. "We're the only ones that can publish to all the cable standards and the satellite platform with a single product. Cable thinks that's huge. It's important to them to have a scalable solution."
The company can do every type of iTV application out there, from advanced advertising all the way to telescoping. Harrison says broadcasters and networks are now realizing that interactive capabilities are an integral piece of the pie.
Additionally, considering that the operator and content provider are working together, Ensequence's technology can provide data on where iTV viewers go, how long they stay and if there is a transaction.
—Traci Patterson, Web/News Editor - CED, Editor - xOD Capsule
Comcast forms unit to create local VOD content
Holiday Troop Greetings
Comcast Cable's Eastern Division has formed a local video-on-demand (LVOD) team that's been given the responsibility of developing exclusive, local and original content for its 5.4 million customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
Comcast's plan is to expand its "Get Local" category of On-Demand content by more than 200 percent over the next two years to reach approximately 20,000 unique programs.
The new LVOD team will be led by 25-year industry veteran and Eastern Division Vice President of Programming Michael Ortman, with day-to-day operations managed by Noah Kodeck in the new position of director of local video-on-demand programming and production.
TiVo DVR users can order movies from Amazon.com
TiVo Inc.'s DVR users are now able to order movies off of Amazon.com directly from their TVs.
Amazon Unbox on TiVo
The new "Buy on TV" feature allows owners of TiVo Series2 and Series3 broadband-connected DVRs to search, rent and purchase titles from Amazon's video library with their remote control.
In March, the two companies teamed up to deliver Amazon's Unbox service to TiVo set-tops, but orders had to be placed on a computer through Amazon's Web site.
Broadband viewing up but not affecting traditional TV
Nearly 75 percent of American Internet users watched an average of about two and a half hours of online video in May, according to a comScore Video Metrix report.
The month saw Americans viewing more than 8.3 billion video streams, with Google sites accounting for 1.8 billion (21.7 percent), of which 1.7 billion were streamed from YouTube. Fox Interactive Media placed second with 680 million streams (8.2 percent), followed by Yahoo! sites with 387 million (4.7 percent).
But a six-month study commissioned by CTAM, using information provided by Nielsen Entertainment and Nielsen Connect, found that traditional TV ratings are minimally, if at all, affected by broadband video viewing.
The research indicated that online video usage supplements traditional TV viewing overall. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed indicated that watching video over broadband Internet increased their TV viewing time, as opposed to 13 percent who indicated that it decreased their traditional TV viewing.
JV operators rolling out Pivot brand
Cox Communications has launched Pivot-branded mobile phone service in its New England market, which serves Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut, and Bright House Networks has added the quad-play service in central Florida.
Cox already provides the service in San Diego, Oklahoma and Arizona. Comcast and Time Warner Cable have already begun their rollout of the service.
The Pivot brand, provided through Sprint Nextel, is now available in more than a dozen markets, and the service is expected to reach 40 metropolitan areas this year.
Charter adds VOD content to homepage
Charter Communications Inc. has launched Charter.net, an enhanced homepage for Charter High-Speed Internet customers.
The new site not only allows users to access e-mail, search the Web and read breaking news ("the basics"), but it offers full episodes and sneak previews from entertainment channels such as IFC, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1.
comScore tracks more than four million unique monthly visitors to Charter.net.
Oberon Media to snap up PixelPlay
Oberon Media announced today it intends to acquire PixelPlay in order to round out its iTV portfolio.
PixelPlay gives Oberon another piece of the puzzle that it needs to offer multi-platform casual games across the three screens of TV, cell phones and computers. Oberon also recently purchased I-play as part of its three-screen gaming strategy.
The Oberon gaming platform for cable and satellite operators will allow advertisers to launch interactive games across all three screens while allowing game developers and licensors to increase their presence across multiple platforms by working with one company.
Yahoo! keeps slipping, vows to rebuild
Yahoo! experienced an 8 percent increase in revenue, to $1.7 billion, from its second quarter last year to its second quarter just completed, but profits over the same period were down 19 percent, to $185 million.
One basic problem is that display advertising, traditionally strong, is beginning to slip, the company explained. Google is simply beating Yahoo! at nearly every turn. Co-founder Jerry Yang, who last month replaced Terry Semel as CEO, said he intends to re-evaluate every facet of the company and overhaul whatever is necessary.
Meanwhile, Yahoo!'s acquisition of Right Media is now complete. Yahoo! has acquired the remaining equity interest for approximately $650 million.
NewSite gets Amazon exec as CEO
News Corp. and NBC Universal have appointed Jason Kilar, a key executive at Amazon for nearly a decade, to CEO of their online video JV.
Kilar wrote the original business plan for Amazon's entry into the video and DVD market, and he ultimately led the unit as general manager and VP.
The site, dubbed NewSite, will debut later this year with thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips from networks and film studios.
AdoTube has app for YouTube-ish sites
Adotube.com's AdoTube Interactive In-Stream Media Player technology allows anyone—from a blogger to a large video sharing site owner—to integrate an interactive, opt-in ad message into a video stream without disrupting the viewer experience.
While watching a video, viewers would see a "roll-over mouse" message, which is a part of the video player, in the corner of the video screen. When the mouse rolls over the area, an interactive, demographically targeted ad appears.
"We have taken the video-watching craze and made a way for everyone to profit from it," said Leo Grzhonko, president of Adotube.com. "No matter who you are, with our technology you can make money from online videos."
• Level 3 to acquire Dublin-based Servecast
An operating subsidiary of Level 3 Communications Inc. has acquired Servecast, a Dublin-based provider of live and on-demand video management and streaming services for broadband and mobile platforms. Level 3 paid approximately $45 million in cash for the company.
Servecast offers publishing and distribution tools for video rights holders, enabling customers to manage, protect, deliver, and track online audio and video content. The company's platform complements Level 3's existing portfolio of content delivery capabilities.
• AT&T taps Sun Microsystems for U-verse TV service
AT&T will use Sun Microsystems' Sun servers and modular arrays for its IP-based video service, AT&T U-verse TV. AT&T will also deploy Sun StorageTek storage arrays, which will provide continuous access to the U-verse TV VOD library.
• TiVo appoints industry-savvy CMO
TiVo Inc. has appointed Clent Richardson to CMO. Richardson previously held the CMO position at Nortel, where he led the company's worldwide re-branding initiative. Prior to that, he served as chief sales and marketing officer for T-Mobile U.K. and VP of worldwide developer relations and worldwide solutions marketing for Apple Inc.
• Logitech unveils remote control for PC
Logitech has introduced its Air Rechargeable Cordless Air Mouse, a versatile laser mouse that works on the desk and in the air.
The TV remote control-like device allows users to navigate the computer.
• Online video ads get customized
Visible World will collaborate with SpotXchange to enable advertisers and agencies to customize online video ads for specific demographics, geographic locations, market conditions and other real-time data.
SpotXchange will leverage Visible World's video targeting and versioning technology to enable ad content to be customized to deliver optimized messages based on data such as zip code, temperature or weather conditions, stock prices and mortgage rates.
• IGA raises $25M in round of funding
IGA Worldwide Inc. has raised $25 million in Series B funding. GE/NBC Universal's Peacock Equity and KTB Ventures led the round, along with existing investors Easton Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Intel Capital and DN Capital.
The financing enables the company to strengthen its position in the video game advertising market, but it faces tough competitors in Microsoft and Google.
• Collet joins Synacor as VP for information technology
On Monday, Synacor named Dallas Collet as its VP of information technology. Prior to Synacor, Collet served in a number of management IT roles for Hewlett-Packard and completed his tenure at HP directing a Global IT Architecture group.
• Nielsen scraps Web page view rankings, reported by the Associated Press.
• TiVo elevates ads to ratings universe, reported by the New York Post.
• Creepy new app registers human emotions during advertisement viewing, according to