Harvard International plc today announced a partnership with ANT, a leading provider of software and services for the delivery of digital TV, to design and develop software for the next generation of set-top box (STB) products. These will provide HD DTR (high definition digital television recorder) functionality and enable the delivery of services that combine digital media with broadband internet access using the ANT Galio HbbTV Platform.
Following last year’s strategic review, Harvard has been investing heavily in expanding its technical capability in both software and hardware design, and the agreement with ANT further enhances this core development platform.
The partnership will address the growing demand from retailers and consumers, in both the UK and Australia, for branded and own label STBs, which provide access to new HD TV digital services through products which are well designed, easy to use and affordable.
These higher specification, market-leading HD TV products will be launched in the second half of this year.
Harvard Chief Executive, Mike Ashley, commented:
“Harvard’s partnership with ANT is a further step forward in our development of industry leading digital STB’s. We are pleased with the progress made so far and excited by the opportunities that we see ahead for this venture, and others to follow”.
ANT Chief Executive, Simon Woodward, commented:
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“ANT's unique solution to the TV industry's demand for merged traditional and Internet TV services positions us at the heart of TV industry growth. We are delighted to be working with Harvard in developing a range of high tech, consumer friendly, products which will help redefine the functionality of the STB.”
LocalResponse, the first social advertising platform that aggregates public posts and “check-ins” across multiple platforms to help brands and businesses reach their customers, announces today its acquisition of Philo Media Corporation (Philo), backed by North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham and angels in digital media and entertainment. Philo was a leading check-in service for television before its pivot to Reach.tv, helping television and theatrical studios disseminate advertising to consumers across social media during tune-in.
"We are very pleased to have found a new home to connect the social TV and check-in ecosystem" says Philo CEO David Levy, who will become an advisor to LocalResponse. "We have been consistently impressed with LocalResponse’s product offerings and the team is excited to catalyze the LocalResponse platform"
Cory Bergman over at Lost Remote notes this is probably the first of many Social TV M&A's on the horizon as the highly fragmented space consolidates:
The acquisition underlines the importance of data in the social TV world and the wide-ranging applications of it. Data is the driving force behind many social TV startups — those that create it and others that analyze it — and I think it’s safe to predict many more acquisitions in the months to come.
More from LocalResponse:
“Philo’s pivot into the social advertising space was so interesting we had to take a close look” says LocalResponse CEO, Nihal Mehta. “The Philo engineering team, particularly the leadership abilities of CTO, Jessica Lowe, will help LocalResponse satisfy increasing customer demand and take our platform to the next level.”
LocalResponse recently signed its 25th major advertiser to its brand platform, which helps brands and advertising agencies respond to a consumer in time and place context across social media, and soon across new location-targeted, real-time distribution channels. In July, LocalResponse revealed some results of its first, major brand campaigns, with remarkable statistics, preforming 100 times better than traditional online media buys, including a 60% redemption rate.Add a comment
Civolution , a leading provider of technology and solutions for identifying, managing and monetizing media content has announced the European launch of VideoSync - 2nd Screen - a companion device synchronization solution (shortlisted for multiple awards).
"By launching solutions that bring measurability and consumer engagement to the broadcast space, we're helping media businesses to enhance revenues generated from TV,'' says Alex Terpstra , CEO, Civolution. "The new product launches at IBC are perfect examples of how Civolution's watermarking and fingerprinting technologies can increase profits through tracking and triggering consumer activities."
"...The IBC launch of our VideoSync solution is also highly exciting, as it enables broadcasters and brands to generate new revenues by deepening relationships with consumers. I look forward to demonstrating our full range of interactivity, measurability and content security solutions for the broadcast space at what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting IBCs,'' concludes Terpstra.
Civolution's state-of-the-art content identification platform allows broadcasters, content producers, advertisers and interactive application providers to offer time-synchronized-to-media applications such as ad-(re)placement, live voting, synchronized social TV and content-related overlays. IBC2011 sees the European debut of VideoSync . Based on Civolution's powerful watermarking and fingerprinting technologies, it allows for accurate and rapid synchronization of interactive content. Civolution will demonstrate some exciting enhanced TV applications and 2nd screen applications for the iOS and Android-based portable devices at IBC 2011. VideoSync enables 'write-once, play anywhere' type of application models, supporting live broadcast as well as pre-recorded content synchronization. These applications allow for enhanced consumer experiences, improved user engagement and open up exciting new business opportunities.Add a comment
The advantages of Android-based set-top boxes with NetUP.tv application installed
A video demonstrating the NetUP.tv application working on Android-based IP set-top box can be seen here.
NetUP Middleware server
The NetUP IPTV Middleware server has no major changes. Clients using NetUP Middleware with previous generation of IP set-top boxes have no need to purchase new Middleware server or new software. NetUP Middleware is compatible with Android based set-top boxes since 1.7 version.
“As an integrated part of Red Bee Media, TV Genius will now have the ability to quickly grow its content discovery platform while maintaining industry-leading relevance”, said Tom Weiss, CEO of TV Genius. “The personalised EPG, social TV, and companion applications are changing the way we watch and interact with TV in significant ways. The TV Genius team is excited to be joining Red Bee Media to help create new consumer experiences for existing and new customers around the world.”
The strategic acquisition will blend Red Bee Media’s rich metadata services with TV Genius’ content discovery technology to bring a synchronised viewer experience across live and on demand TV with accurate search, personally relevant recommendations and enhanced TV guides across multiple platforms and devices. The deal demonstrates Red Bee Media’s commitment to providing clients with market leading end-to-end solutions to maximise and monetise content and establishes Red Bee Media as the UK’s first media management company to provide both broadcasters and platform operators alike with a holistic content discovery proposition.Add a comment
Curiosity and rumours are trickling around Digital Spy Online over some new licenses that have been issued by Ofcom in the UK to Reach TV for Connect, Stream and Vision. All are listed as data services, and appear to be sub-categorised as follows:
The was very little mentioned at the Reach TV website (before it was quickly taken down according to sleuths at Digital Spy) and that has piqued the interest of the community and the team here at Appmarket.tv
And there's more... a link to perhaps another lead?
MHEG now on screen...... Looks like some kind of IPTV service???? Web address www.visiontvnetwork.co.uk
The screenshot above begs the question... a World of Channels? On one channel? Where does this lead? More questions than answers right now, but leads to the conclusion that there could be some kind of new MHEG meets IPTV play of sorts going on here - if there's multiple channels on one channel as seems to be indicated by the information culled by the sleuthing efforts of the community at Digital Spy!Add a comment
"Zeebox" is the new project of Anthony Rose, the technologist who built KaZaA and BBC iPlayer, and Peoplesound founder and ex EMI SVP Ernesto Schmitt as CEO, is due to go live in October as reported by PaidContent.org. They raised $5MM from unidentified investors.
What Zeebox is
Zeebox is a real-time system for social TV viewing and for engaging deeply around those shows that depends on recognising sofa-based second screens as the place for innovation. The -free-Zeebox app for the iPad is a TV guide that displays what your Facebook and Twitter friends are watching. If users have connected TVs they can use the app as a remote control.
Zeebox's contextual power
"But this “second-by-second” approach is the fabric of more than just Zeebox’s social interaction. Using both commercially licensable broadcast metadata and frame-by-frame analysis of live TV pictures and audio, Zeebox will apparently understand exactly what is on the TV screen at any given moment (“just as Google (NSDQ: GOOG) spiders the web”), in order to serve up all manner of related material on the handheld app.
As example, Schmitt shows how, whilst Tom Cruise is interviewed on Top Gear, the app will auto-display “infotags” for spoken topics (say, “Ferrari 458”, “Abu Dhabi”, “Sebastian Vettel” and “Tom Cruise” himself), as Cruise is speaking. Each topic becomes an in-app link to a corresponding piece of online content, on Wikipedia, IMDB, iTunes Store or whatever.
The method involved is Zeebox’s “secret sauce”, the subject of a pending patent application, but it’s called automated content recognition (ACR), a field with several vendors including Civolution."
Great to read it has this contextual power to enrich the TV content in a two-screen way besides the social context. In this article I wrote how contextually enriched video and WebTV create immersive experiences.
Both Rose and Schmitt dislike the gamified approach of Getglue and Foursquare, they automate it through audio fingerprinting to offer a full automatic experience.
Rose's ambitions: “There’s a shitload of technical work that needs to be done. Getting there is non-trivial. We want to go to the moon.”
Looking forward to see how this evolves towards consumers but also the market.
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Despite being the largest advertising medium (Forrester projects TV marketers will spend $76 billion on advertising in 2011), TV still lags in its ability to measure anything deeper than basic tune-in. Over the past eight months, we have been covering how recent innovations in TV measurement are making TV ads more targeted and accountable. Forrester clients can read our earlier reports on measurement that discuss media measurement across digital and traditional channels and the future of set-top-box data for TV measurement.
We reported earlier on AppMarket about Bluefin Labs' advanced technology that makes a direct, real-time correlation between shows and ads that audiences are watching on TV and what the audience is saying via social media. A few weeks back they released a new product, called Bleufin Signals that "establishes social media engagement metrics for TV shows. The product analyzes billions of public social media comments and millions of minutes of TV data each month and interprets them into actionable metrics like response level (the volume of comments for a given TV program) and response share (a program’s share of social response during its specific airing time). TV networks will now be able to quantify social media engagement on their programs and drill down deeper than simple tune-in."
What could this kind of rich cross-platform analytics mean for the TV value chain?
As elaborated in this article on Appmarket.tv, two core aspects that are impacted by real-time and cross-platform communication and analysis are TV content and TV advertising pricing:
By analysis conversations and behavior around and about a specific show or series or network, organizations can learn what viewers are about. Netnography is the branch of Ethnography that analyses the free behaviour of individuals on the internet that uses online marketing research techniques to provide useful insights. Social media insights are a powerful set of insights.
By having a better insight and moreover a continuous understanding of the viewer target audiences, TV content can be tuned and refined, increasing relevancy and quality as seen from the specific target audience. Advertisers with branded content can adapt their offerings better to their audience, ongoing.
TV Advertising pricing
TV advertising pricing is the effect caused by better adapted content, the relevanter content-target audience is, the more premium fees can be asked. Both are symbiotic and well executed provide a virtuous cycle of quality content, pricing and a viewers which are listened to.
Value chain and strategy impact
But the impact of analytics and data goes further than that. It influences, enriches and informs business strategy and the value chain. By understanding relationships between platforms, content, audiences and brands, TV organizations can incrementally adjust their strategy and/or execution. Besides that, a more efficient and effective value chain is created by listening and adapting to that what is understood from data.
CMO.com has referred to data-driven marketing, innovation can be added by opening the organization's activity directly and indirectly to external stakeholders through the use of social media (and other data sources), its data and technologies for the purpose of competitive advantages. Data enables, and a big challenge is to create understanding and extract actionable insights from all of it to compete.
More data will be created, more will be interconnected, increasing the richness of the data, but simultaniously challenging organization to react to it.
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Tata Sky has launched a new Social TV app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that convert these devices in an universal remote control.The app offers program listings for TV channels, and users are able to share what they're watching on Facebook and Twitter. Ryz Media will provide the platform for the application. Initially the app is introduced on Apple devices and it would be launched on Android devices later.
For an extensive read on the experience of the app, have a read on Medianama where the interface, functionality and checking in are discussed.
"The Tata Sky Mobile Access App is a natural integration of TV entertainment with these smart devices allowing subscribers to not only control their TV and set-top boxes with their smart devices, but also make their content choice based on what their friends and family are viewing. This is the first-of-its-kind functionality offered by any DTH service provider in India."
"We are honored to provide Tata Sky a platform allowing viewers to interact with, socialize, search and share TV content they are watching. Our platform allows service providers to roll out a fully customized and integrated solution in an extremely short time frame and at an unprecedented roll out cost".
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Is this the next step in Social TV? From contextual enhancement and enrichment to being an intrinsic part of the content. I like the idea, and this would be marketers' heaven, devoted attention to and co-creation of the content and experience. This is how Hollywood acts as an open business platform for personalized prosumed experiences.
The INSIDE page on Facebook says:
Inside consists of film, videos and social media interactions. These pieces will live organically on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But you can also see all highlights and films in one place at http://www.theinsideexperience.com/, as events happen.
Intel and Toshiba present a Social Film experience, from the director of “Disturbia,” starring Emmy Rossum and You.
Christina is a tough, resilient, 24-year old girl. She’s been trapped in a room. She has a laptop. And she needs your help to get out.
Have a look at the website of INSIDE.
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“More and more, TV watching is becoming a two-screen experience, where viewers are engaging with another device while watching TV,” said Sean Casey, founder and CEO of SocialGuide. “SocialGuide and its apps make it easier for TV viewers to decide which shows to watch, while also allowing them to interact with friends, fellow fans, cast members and athletes as they watch their favorite programming. The real opportunity for a social experience around TV happens as TV airs, and we’re excited to extend our website’s capabilities to mobile devices in order to make the two-screen experience even better.”
SocialGuide’s Social Programming Guide (“SPG”) ranks programs in order of their real-time social popularity as they air. This provides users with a new TV discovery tool and a refreshing alternative to the traditional electronic programming guide (“EPG”), which requires users to scroll through a randomly ordered list of networks and programs. In addition, when a user inputs their cable or TV provider information, SocialGuide provides the localized channel information, defaulting to the High Definition channel number for digital subscribers. With data showing that 50% of TV viewers do not watch their HD channels on their systems, this provides another useful benefit for users. SocialGuide’s genre filter allows users to quickly filter trending shows by categories such as series, reality show, movie, sports, or news.
The SocialGuide app also provides TV watchers with a new social companion to enhance their TV watching experience. For any program with social activity, SocialGuide provides filtered social streams so that users can follow along with the social conversation about that program. In real-time, users can monitor the social comments from “Everyone”, or all the social TV comments about that particular program. SocialGuide also surfaces a “Friends” stream so users can chose to see only what their social friends and followers are saying. And for thousands of programs and sporting events, SocialGuide has programmed the official social accounts for the stars and athletes, allowing users to enjoy what the “Cast & Team” has said about that program. Users can also easily share what they are watching with their friends and send their own comments to Twitter or Facebook directly from the SocialGuide app.
Pricing and Availability
SocialGuide is a Free download and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category.