Panasonic Viera Cast Adding Video On Demand tCommerce To Its Connected TVs

written by: Richard Kastelein

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According to a number of press outlets online including Paid Content, Panasonic is adding a third-party movie vendor, AceTrax, to VieraCast, the connected-TV interface on its TVs and Blu-ray players, in Europe. The VOD service is based in the cloud and has a digital chest system as the new Panasonic TV range has hard-drive capabilities.

In a press release Leslie Golding, CMO of Acetrax elaborated that Acetrax is billing the service as something which is going to take the likes of Sky, BT and Virgin.

“Connected TVs such as Viera Cast enabled Panasonic VIiera TVs will change the way in which customers will buy and consume movies in much the same way as we saw with music downloads. What sets Acetrax apart is its ability to offer Hollywood movies as well as content from local partners across Europe that is tailored and specific to them.”

AceTrax and Panasonic setting their strategy oppositionally to competitors such as Sky Movies and Virgin Media, which require an STB, and from LoveFilm, which run via a subscription model. AceTrax offers both rentals (£1.49-£3.49) and pay-to-own (£4.99-£11.99) on an a la carte basis, direct to the TVs. Titles are DVD - but not HD-quality.

Acetrax - a Swiss company - is a leading European video on-demand (VOD) and digital media company that licenses direct from the major Hollywood studios with a compelling set of international, multi-language digital distribution rights for PC, mobiles, portable devices, Blu-ray and importantly, direct to TV. As a digital retailer, it collects money from end consumers and is leveraging on large CE manufacturers’, carriers’ and consumer brands’ market access and marketing resources to broadly penetrate the consumer market while in return giving these partners a powerful differentiation tool towards their customers. This gives the Acetrax VOD service a reach of several tens of millions “Internet connected devices” p.a. in the next years.

Samsung was the first global brand taking the Acetrax movie service to market and aside from Panasonic, the also have a deal with fthe Swiss International Entertainment Group with the recently launched Xeptune.

Acetrax was established in 2005 by the core team that built the successful Siemens music platform M2Y that powered some of Europe’s largest music download services and now the focus of Acetrax, the claim, is to take this to a next level, offering movies. Providing a fully licensed movie service shipped with manufacturers such as Samsung was one of the main driving forces behind its vision and enabled it to reach the international mass market.

The turnkey movie service is shipped with CE manufacturers leaving them to focus their marketing resources on bringing the service to market. Acetrax’s role is clear, to run the service and ensure it works perfectly with every device it is shipped with. Acetrax provides access to premium video on demand (VOD) movies, TV shows and later in 2009, music concerts from major studios and aggregators including Warner Bros, Paramount, Diva, CLA and music company Eagle Rock to end devices, notably the new VOD enabled mobile phones, portable media players and direct to TVs sold at retail.

Viera Cast has provided access to YouTube, Google’s Picasa Web Album and Bloomberg since 2008. Earlier this month, Panasonic and DirecTV ushered in a new age in the rapid growth of 3D entertainment with the launch of three 3D channels. Panasonic also now provide integration with Skype on Connected TV's back in May when they launched Skype for their new 2010 Viera Cast TV models.


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