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  1. #1
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    Default Sat news 06.10.2006


    Al Gore's Current expands to UK with Sky

    BSkyB is to launch a UK version of Al Gore's US viewer-created TV channel, Current. Former US vice president Gore signed an agreement with Sky CEO James Murdoch which will see Current secure its first presence outside America, a key step in its strategy to build an international media brand.

    Current launched last summer, pioneering the use of user-generated content for a TV network. Under the agreement with Sky, Current will tailor its content for viewers in the UK and Ireland within a channel carried on Sky's digital satellite platform.

    Viewers will be able to submit their video segments via Current's web site and if selected for broadcast they will be shown here and in the US. Aimed at young adult viewers, Current offers short-form factual programming in sequences known as "pods". Each pod explores issues such as technology, fashion, music and videogames, the environment, relationships, spirituality, politics, finance, and parenting. Around 30% of Current's US content is created by viewers.

    Gore said: "We are grateful to be working with BSkyB in our first international venture. This is a big step in fulfilling Current's mission of sparking a global conversation among young adults.

    "Bringing our viewer created content model to the UK and Ireland will give millions of young viewers the opportunity to not only watch, but also to create, television programming that is relevant to them. We're excited about being able to unleash the creativity of young people in the UK and Ireland, enabling them to share their stories with their generational cohort here and around the world."

    Murdoch said: "Current TV is bringing the web's sense of empowerment to television for the first time. It has a uniquely collaborative approach to working with viewer producers that stands out among other platforms for user-generated video. As a first step towards Sky's own moves in this fascinating field, we're pleased to help give a voice to millions of young people throughout the UK and Ireland."
    Salut Prieteni!


  2. #2
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    Default

    Ofcom restates Freeview take-up figures

    Media regulator Ofcom has revised down its estimate of the number of UK households watching digital terrestrial television (DTT) on their main sets. In June Ofcom's digital TV uptake report said nearly 7.1m homes had Freeview on their primary television set by the end of March.

    Ofcom says that estimate was largely based on sales data, but as the market matures and DTT boxes are increasingly purchased to convert second and third TV sets in the homes, Ofcom is now using a GfK survey of 18,000 homes to assess digital take-up. Using that methodology, Ofcom says 6.39m homes were Freeview-only in Q1, a figure that rose to 6.4m at the end of June.

    Ofcom is continuing to use subscriber data released by BSkyB and ntl to determine digital satellite and cable take-up, so its Q1 figures are unchanged at 7.69m and 2.79m respectively, and 7.75m and 2.84m at the end of Q2. Ofcom estimates the number of homes watching digital TV via an ADSL connection fell by 3,545 in the second quarter to 45,000.

    That takes the total number of UK digital households to 17.7m (70.2%) by the end of June, a rise of 168,155 on the first quarter.

    Other key findings:

    * The three months to the end of June 2006 was the fourth consecutive quarter in which sales of DTT equipment (either set-top-boxes or televisions with built-in DTT tuners) exceeded the million mark. DTT sales, at 1.2m for the quarter, were up more than 70% on the same period in 2005.
    * DTT services are now viewed on 19.4% of the UK's 60m television sets, compared to 17.6% in the previous quarter.
    * The number of households viewing DTT services on their primary television set now stands at 6.4m, up 0.2% since Q1 2006. The number of secondary sets used to watch DTT services has more than doubled in the past year and now stands at more than 5m.
    * Digital satellite television remains the most popular digital television platform on primary television sets in UK households. In total 33.4% of UK television homes either subscribe to BSkyB's television services or receive free-to-view satellite services.

    Last month Freeview said latest figures from market research group GfK suggested 1.1m Freeview set-top boxes and TVs were sold in the second quarter of 2006, leaving Freeview the primary source of digital television in 7.8m UK households.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    BT signs music video deal with Sony BMG

    BT Vision, the hybrid digital terrestrial and broadband-download TV service due to launch in coming weeks, has signed an on-demand music video deal with record label Sony BMG. BT said videos would be available for download from November via the BT Vision Download Store, offering film, TV and music downloads to PCs and Microsoft-compatible portable devices.

    Under the agreement BT Vision customers will have exclusive early access to many of Sony BMG's newly released videos. The Sony BMG label is home to artists including the Foo Fighters, Jamiroquai, George Michael, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Bob Dylan. BT Vision already has music agreements with Warner Music, VPL, i-concerts, NBD and Eagle Rock.

    Dan Marks, CEO of BT Television Services, said: "We are delighted to be in business with one of the world's leading music entertainment companies. This is an important deal for BT Vision and allows us to offer our customers access to a broad range of music videos many of which will be exclusive to BT Vision for a period of time from their release. It confirms that BT Vision will become one of the places that music fans will come to see and hear the artists they love, whenever they want."

    Meanwhile, BT Vision is building a transactional platform for its service, offering brand owners the opportunity to sell products to viewers via their TVs.

    * A BT spokesman has told The Times that BT Vision had yet to conclude deals offering 'catch-up TV', the ability to watch a missed programme within a certain catch-up period (probably seven days).
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Telenor selects Tandberg for DTT

    Norwegian telco and digital TV provider Telenor has awarded a contract to Tandberg Television to provide technology for the country's transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT).

    Norway's DTT platform will use the MPEG-4 AVC video compression standard, allowing broadcasters to deliver better quality pictures and more channels within the bandwidth of the terrestrial spectrum, and also achieve the eventual transition to high-definition television (HDTV).

    Tandberg will supply its next generation EN8030 MPEG-4 AVC encoders, the new Tandberg iSIS 8000 IP multiplex system and its nCompass control and monitoring. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    "The move to DTT is an historic landmark in Norway and we have selected Tandberg Television as our DTT technology provider," said Torkel Aamodt Thoresen, technical product manager at Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, which will be building and operating the encoding and multiplexing part of the Norwegian DTT network.

    "The company's flexible IP multiplexing technology and its next generation MPEG-4 AVC encoders will enable us to build a DTT network with a flexible digital television infrastructure that can support the introduction of increased channels and new video services," he added.

    Telenor has a one-third ownership of Norges Televisjon (NTV) which holds the DTT licence in Norway; other partners in NTV include the broadcasters NRK and TV2.

    Trials of both standard-definition (SD) and HD digital television will start in January next year. The commercial roll-out of the SD service will commence in September 2007.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Aggregator targets Russians with MoTV

    TV-via-broadband start-up Aggregator is launching its first service todaya Russian language portal called MoTV ('My TV' in English) that Aggregator says "is set to change the TV viewing habits of over half a million Russians living in the UK".

    MoTV (pronounced 'my-oar TV') provides on-demand entertainment, drama, current affairs, films, documentaries, music and children's content. Around 400 hours of programming are available from launch; that is due to grow to an average of 1,000 hours, refreshed monthly.

    Content partners include Amedia, Mosfilm, MTV, National Geographic, nTV and RenTV. Consumers can watch programmes on a non-subscription pay-per-view basis for between 99p and 2.99 per programme. To view unlimited content they will pay 15.99 per month.

    Viewers need a broadband connection from any internet service provider (ISP) and suitable PC or laptop. Programming can be viewed on a PC, or on a TV using a media extender. Aggregator's delivery model allows consumers to download programmes overnight so they do not exceed their ISP's monthly download limits.

    "The launch of this service will provide broadcast-quality television services to the 500,000 Russian speakers in the UK," said Aggregator's co-founder and director of programming Chris Griffin.

    "This is a well-educated, affluent community that has grown rapidly in the UK. From a TV point of view they are woefully under-served by mainstream television platforms. MoTV can ensure that they, and their families, stay in touch with their language and culture while they are living abroad."

    MoTV is the first of several planned service launches from Aggregator, each targeting niche audiences.

    Co-founder and CEO Martin Goswami said: "It seems that many operators currently planning internet protocol television (IPTV) services are targeting audiences who are already well-served on existing platforms. We've looked at that model and rejected it. What we've done instead is to develop packages of the best content available for specialist audiences who are not part of the mainstream pay-TV franchise."

    Griffin added: "Ultimately we are designing a smart, TV-over-broadband platform that drives new routes to the consumer and opens up new revenue streams for content owners. Our service ensures a high-quality viewing experience that is targeted at specific communities and available to anyone with a broadband connection."

    Aggregator announced in July it had won 9m in new funding from 3i, Amadeus Capital Partners and Intel Capital to finance the roll-out of new products and services over the next two years. Next year it intends to integrate broadband programming on PCs with digital terrestrial television, offering consumers a Freeview set-top-box with digital TV recorder. Programmes will be downloaded to the set-top box via broadband.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Sky retracts threat to axe Rapture from EPG

    Following a row over fees for entertainment channel Rapture's EPG service, BSkyB has said it will not turn off the service and will wait for further information from regulator Ofcom.

    Rapture believes that Sky is charging excessively high fees for the supply of EPG and has shared the evidence with Ofcom, claiming that the network has previously charged much lower fees for the same service.

    Rapture MD David Henry said: "We believe BSkyB to be in breach of both the Code of Practice on Electronic Programme Guides and Communications Act 2003, and we have provided evidence to that effect to Ofcom."

    The EPG is the electronic programme guide that allows users to scan available channel offerings and select channels by pointing to specific programme listings.

    Henry added: "We hope that a full investigation by regulator Ofcom will lead to a industry wide agreement on what level of fee is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory."

    Fans of the channel, which broadcasts the BBC Drama Tinseltown, Anime series Mezzo DSA and Full Metal Alchemist, apparently flooded its website with messages of support when the threat to the service was made known.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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