Internet TV player Veoh adds three high-profile investors
Veoh Networks has added three new investors—Goldman Sachs and two former Viacom execs—as the company furthers its VeohTV offering and pursues new content partnerships.
The execs are former Viacom and MTV Networks CEO Tom Freston—with his startup Firefly3—and Jonathan Dolgen, the former chairman and CEO of Viacom Entertainment Group. Previous financial backers include Time Warner Investments, Shelter Capital Partners, Spark Capital and Michael Eisner's Tornante Co.
"As Internet television is becoming an increasingly large part of viewers' media experience, it's important for traditional and new media companies to work together to deliver the most engaging content possible," said Steve Mitgang, CEO of Veoh. "These new team members, along with our existing advisors, will help us build the bridges between historic and emerging media business models that are necessary to drive even more innovation and greater variety in Internet television."
Veoh's Series C funding round closed in August, bringing in $25 million in financing. And the company's user base continues to grow, with 18 million unique users counted in August—a 307 percent increase compared with the 4.4 million the company started with when it launched in February.
In June, the company launched the beta version of VeohTV, an application with a single interface that acts as a video browser and DVR for finding, viewing and managing online video. The downloadable software app "combines the breadth of the Internet with the simplicity of traditional TV," the company said.
With Veoh's cable-like channel guide, viewers can browse by channel or search by keywords for videos, and then they can either stream the videos directly from the host site or download permitted videos and watch them at a later time. Viewers can also connect their computer to a TV and watch the videos in their living room.
The video content can be from major television networks, such as Fox and CBS, or it can be independently produced content available on sites such as YouTube, Google Video and MySpace.
The company's portfolio also includes Veoh.com, a video hosting and sharing site with more than 70,000 content publishers—from Paramount Pictures and Lions Gate to PBS and National Lampoon.
And today, Veoh launched an NCAA Football channel, featuring an “NCAA Football Custom Highlights” sportscasting app that allows fans to create and share their own college football online video highlight reels.
—Traci Patterson, Web/News Editor - CED, Editor - xOD Capsule
DirecTV's three-screen service managed by TandbergTV system
DirecTV's forthcoming multi-platform on-demand service—covering set-top, Web and mobile content—will be enabled by the WatchPoint Workflow System from Ericsson's Tandberg Television unit.
WatchPoint is a workflow management system that streamlines and automates the creation, management and distribution of media assets in multiple formats (such as MPEG-4 AVC HD and SD, Windows Media and Flash video) to various platforms.
It is based on an open, extensible architecture, which enables it to integrate with multiple internal and external systems including in-house proprietary, third-party and other TandbergTV products. TandbergTV said its system can adapt to customers' existing workflow processes, and that it scales in volume and complexity to support new and expanding service offerings.
Nielsen shuffles executives around
The Nielsen Company has shuffled three senior executives' roles within the company,
effective Oct. 1.
Catherine Herkovic will become SVP and managing director of national television client services.
Kevin Svenningsen will become SVP and managing director of local television client services, taking over Herkovic's previous job. Svenningsen previously held the position of SVP of sales and marketing for the Nielsen Agency's Broadcast and Syndicator Service (NABSS).
And Tom Ziangas will become SVP of Nielsen Sports. He was previously the SVP of national television client services.
The Vudu spell hits the online store
Vudu Inc.'s set-top is now available for purchase at the company's online store. The STB offers more than 5,000 movie titles from major film studios and independent and international film distributors.
The set-top—which retails at $399—requires no PC, software downloads, or cable TV or satellite subscription. Consumers pay for each movie on an as-you-go basis, with no subscription or activation fees. Prices for one-time movie rentals range from 99 cents to $3.99, and prices for purchased movies range from $4.99 to $19.99.
"We expect Vudu to provide a significant boost to the video on-demand market—which we estimate will hit $3 billion in annual revenues by year-end 2010," said Kurt Scherf, VP and principal analyst with Parks Associates.
Navic launches new interactive ad service
Navic Networks has unveiled a new service that enables TV viewers to request (via their remote control) that digital coupons and product information be sent to their mobile phone through an SMS message.
The service is offered as an extension to Navic's addressable ad solutions, which enable viewers to request that an advertiser contact them or send them information via e-mail or standard mail.
With the new service, advertisers can reach consumers with interactive overlays during 30- and 60-second linear ads, or within interactive ad destinations. Navic's HyperCast Network can then be used to access usage information and assess the success of each campaign.
J:Com taps OpenTV's browser for VOD launch
J:Com went with OpenTV's Integrated Browser as its standard browser for this month's launch of next-generation VOD and interactive services.
J:Com, Japan's largest MSO, has offered its VOD service since the start of 2005, using browsers from multiple vendors to support its interactive TV services. However, in order to provide a common user interface and functionality, J:Com picked OpenTV's solution for all of its interactive and digital TV services, including VOD. All of J:Com's STBs will be equipped with OpenTV Integrated Browser and VOD client software.
Meanwhile, Dentsu Inc. will acquire an equity stake in a consolidated subsidiary of Jupiter Telecommunications Co. (J:COM) - Jupiter Visual Communications Co. (J-VC) - and the two companies will jointly develop new advertising and media advertising techniques.
J:Com offers iTV and VOD services to its nearly 3 million subscribers. Dentsu is a Japanese advertising agency with more than 6,000 clients. Japan's advertising market is second only to the U.S.
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• Time Warner invests in online ad specialist ScanScout
Time Warner Inc. has made an undisclosed investment in ScanScout, whose technology expands video ad opportunities for advertisers and publishers.
ScanScout's technology provides brand protection to ensure that advertisers' brand messages will only be seen alongside the most appropriate content. The company also offers an incremental means for publishers to monetize their content, and it makes the consumer experience user-initiated by serving contextually relevant ad units only when users self-select.
• Concurrent, Scaberia, 3Vision team up for European on-demand
Concurrent, Scaberia and 3Vision are partnering up to offer technology and content solutions for on-demand services in Europe. Oslo, Norway-based Scaberia is an international innovations and technology consultant, and 3Vision is a Switzerland-based content, strategy and marketing consultant.
"Scaberia and 3Vision have defined a strategy-merging technology and content, which provides a comprehensive, end-to-end solution for on-demand to our customers," said Gary Trimm, president and CEO of Concurrent.
• TiVo available in Mexico City through Cablevision
Beginning today, Mexico's Cablevision is offering TiVo DVRs and TiVo service to its digital cable subscribers in Mexico City. Cablevision has a subscriber base of more than 525,000 for digital cable TV and more than 120,000 for high-speed Internet in the Mexico City metropolitan area.
The TiVo service is being offered as a package, with a monthly charge covering both service and box rental. TiVo said this will mark the first Spanish language version of its user interface.
• HandHeld launches online ad network Zvue
HandHeld Entertainment Inc. has launched Zvue Networks, an online video advertising network. Zvue will provide pre- and post-roll video ads, in-stream flash overlay ads, banner ads and other alternative media ads, and advertisers will have access to specific psychographics.
With the closing of the proposed acquisition of eBaum's World Inc., Zvue will become the sixth-largest online video provider in the world. The network is expected to serve more than 24 million daily unique visitors per month and nearly 3.5 billion page views and video streams annually by the end of 2007.
• U.S. mobile ad market on the up-and-up
The U.S. mobile ad market has a promising future, according to The Kelsey Group, and the increase of GPS handset devices and the popularity of the iPhone are just two factors that show this.
The mobile and search markets are linked, the company said, and market share in one could affect the other. The company expects that when Microsoft pushes hard into mobile, Google will attempt to regain its dominant search position.
• Cable takes a ratings hit, according to Business Week.
• Set-top box makers still waiting for customers, according to CNET Networks.
• Google Mobile to start running AdWords, according to Searchenginewatch.com.
Company: Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB)
Regional President, ADB Americas: Michael Hawkey
Claim to fame: ADB supplies digital STBs across all TV transmission platforms, including cable, IPTV and satellite.
Recent news of note: At IBC 2007, ADB teamed up with T-Com Innovations to present a live demonstration of T-Com's interactive Web-on-TV pilot, for which ADB has been selected to supply its ADB-3810TW STBs.