Nielsen Responds to comScore Rating Plans

Nielsen Responds to comScore Rating Plans

Nielsen responded to the plans announced by comScore to roll out cross-platform measurement this year by saying its ratings are the only ones available now and represent the gold standard for the industry.

“Nielsen has the only total audience measurement, comparable across all screens, available to the market now. All of our data is fully representative of the U.S. population, and we deliver truly independent measurement,” said Megan Clarken, president, product leadership for Nielsen, in a statement. (Clarken is a member of the 2016 class of Multichannel News Wonder Women.)

comScore said it would begin offering its cross-platform measurement in time for the upfronts and have syndicated ratings available when the TV season starts in the fall. In January, comScore acquired Rentrack, giving it set-top box data about TV viewing, which it is combining with its online measurement.

Read more at broadcastingcable.com.

Comcast Will Credit Subs Impacted by Recent Outage

Comcast Will Credit Subs Impacted by Recent Outage

Comcast apologized for a brief video service outage on Monday (February 15) and said the operator will issue a credit to any customer who requests one.

“Unfortunately, we did not live up to expectations around 100% reliability with your TV service,” Kevin McElearney, Comcast’s SVP, network engineering, wrote Tuesday in this blog post. “We’re sorry for that, and we will be crediting customers. Just reach out to us, and let us know you were impacted, and we’ll credit you, no questions asked.”

The outage, which lasted about 90 minutes for most customers, affected the MSO’s VOD service, most broadcast and local channels, as well as some cable networks.

Regarding the cause, McElearney said Comcast discovered it was due to a “configuration error in a network device” that supports the MSO’s live video network.

“Our national video infrastructure is fully redundant, and our back-up systems normally operate successfully when unexpected issues happen,” McElearney explained. “This specific issue caused national cable channels to reroute, which resulted in a service interruption….We know exactly what went wrong and have fixed the issue and put in place technical measures to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

Court Tosses Some TiVo Ad Patents

Court Tosses Some TiVo Ad Patents

In a rare legal setback for TiVo, a New York federal judge ruled this week that three patents TiVo Research asserted against TNS Media Research, including TiVo’s “holy grail” targeted-ad patent, are invalid, Law360 reported.

Per the report, U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin found that they were invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice standard, which takes aim at abstract ideas that aren’t eligible for patent protection.

“We are reviewing our options with respect to the patent ruling, but the other important claims in the suit, including trade secret theft and breach of fiduciary duty remain unaffected by this ruling,” TiVo said in a statement.

Per the report, the TiVo patents at issue are No. 7,729,940 (Analyzing return on investment of advertising campaigns by matching multiple data sources); 8,000,993 (Using consumer purchase behavior for television targeting); and 8,112,301 (Using consumer purchase behavior for television targeting).

Despite this apparent legal setback, TiVo, historically, has had success defending its intellectual property. TiVo, which filed a suit against Samsung last fall focused on four patents, has previously settled other disputes with Motorola Mobility/Google, Cisco Systems, Time Warner Cable, Dish Network, AT&T and Verizon.

ComScore Reveals Plans to Roll Out New Ratings

ComScore Reveals Plans to Roll Out New RatingscomScore CEO Serge Matta: Cross-platform ratings will be available available in time for the upfronts CREDIT: Beet.TV

Following the completion of its merger with Rentrak, comScore laid out its aggressive plans to introduce new measurement products over the next few months.

Speaking on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts, CEO Serge Matta said the company plans to produce cross-platform measurement that will include TV, OTT and digital viewing by early April, in time for the TV upfront buying season.

That data will be produced monthly and will include information about incremental reach produced by each platform.

The company said it also expects that by fall it will have a new syndicated cross-platform ratings product. Those numbers will be available daily, like the current TV ratings from Nielsen. The combination of comScore and Rentrak is being seen as a potentially serious competitor to Nielsen.

Read more at broadcastingcable.com.

Fox Sports, NextVR Strike Five-Year Pact

Fox Sports, NextVR Strike Five-Year Pact

RELATED: ‘Virtual Reality — Ready for a Closeup’ Webinar, Feb. 24, with Andrew Trickett (Merge VR) and Tony Mugavero (Littlstar), moderated by Next TV editor Jeff Baumgartner

NextVR, a company that specializes in live-action virtual reality broadcast technology, said it has inked a five-year partnership with Fox Sports to collaborate on VR coverage of a range of sporting events.

Financial terms were not announced, but the deal comes on the heels of recent VR tests Fox Sports and NextVR conducted for some of Fox’s boxing and NASCAR coverage, as well as last year’s U.S. Open golf tournament.

Fox and NextVR said the new agreement will include VR-enabled, live broadcast sporting events. Last month, they teamed on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) matches, and will next focus on Sunday’s Daytona 500.

They said future VR programming from Fox Sports will be announced “soon,” and will be offered on the NextVR portal, which features a section dedicated to Fox Sports. Consumers with the Samsung Gear VR headset can access that content by downloading the NextVR app on any Gear VR-compatible smartphone.

While the business model for VR is still being hammered out, “we know enough about this technology to know that it’s incredibly interesting,” Michael Davies, senior vice president of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, said in a recent interview for this week’s Multichannel News VR cover story (subscription required). “It’s a very compelling way to view sports.”

“We have worked with FOX Sports for over a year to test live, virtual reality programming across several sports,” Brad Allen, executive chairman, NextVR, said in statement. “This wide-ranging agreement is proof that our technology provides an exciting and compelling option to witness great sporting events in virtual reality.”

“It’s all about delivering something new and exciting for our viewers,” added Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, chief operating officer and executive producer. “Virtual reality is the next great frontier in immersive experiences for fans across a wide variety of sports. It’s a rapidly changing technology, and this deal with NextVR positions us to be on the front lines for years to come.”

Evolution Digital Boxes Up NCTC Deal

Evolution Digital Boxes Up NCTC DealEvolution’s hybrid box combines QAM-delivered linear TV with IP-delivered content

Evolution Digital said it has notched a deal to offer a TiVo-powered IP/QAM set-top powered by TiVo to members of the National Cable Television Cooperative, a group that assembled programming and technology deals for many of the nation’s independent cable operators.

Evolution Digital didn’t announce if any NCTC members are on board yet, but noted that it ported TiVo’s software onto its low-cost hybrid platform last summer. Notably, WideOpenWest (WOW) announced a joint development deal with TiVo and Evolution Digital last year that will enable the MSO to offer a blend of traditional linear TV and VOD services and over-the-top content via a new low-cost hybrid IP/QAM device and through Web and mobile apps powered by the TiVo platform.

Today, under “Bravo,” an NCTC platform that acts as an intermediary between tier 2/3 cable operators, co-op members can purchase the TiVo-based Evolution Digital hybrid devices “with full functionality at a lower cost,” the companies said. Those TiVo-powered devices from Evolution Digital are also available to NCTC members that are not operating on the Bravo platform.

Evolution Digital said the hybrid set-tops can also be flipped to support an all-IP platform that supports live TV, VOD and network DVR apps on a unified, TiVo-based platform. Colorado-based Evolution recently introduced an IP video platform called eVUE-TV that stems from its acquisition last year of i-Velozity.

“Our IP Hybrid STB powered by TiVo integrates the operator’s cable channel line-up with the leading OTT services to provide viewers with a seamless viewing experience,” Marc Cohen, executive vice president of sales at Evolution Digital, said in a statement. “Our great relationships with TiVo and NCTC now give operators with membership in the NCTC an affordable option for delivering our leading technology without integration fees, but with all the same innovative features TiVo offers.”

“NCTC is proud to partner with Evolution Digital to give our members another way to offer a superior entertainment experience,” added NCTC CEO and president Rich Fickle, CEO and president at NCTC. “We developed the Bravo platform to allow cable operators access to what their customers are asking for, but at a price point that is accessible for the provider.”

Evolution Digital and NCTC timed the announcement with this week’s Winter Educational Conference in Phoenix.

TiVo’s Cubiware Scores Overseas

TiVo’s Cubiware Scores Overseas

TiVo’s acquisition of Cubiware last year continues to help the company make international strides.

TiVo said Jadoo Digital, a regional cable provider in Bangladesh, is tapping Cubiware’s CubiTV platform a new set-top platform that supports linear TV and video-on-demand, as well as over-the-top content.

Now a subsidiary of TiVo, Cubiware is a Poland-based provider of middleware for cable, satellite and IPTV operators that enables TiVo to run on digital transport adapters and other set-tops that require less horsepower than TiVo’s more traditional platform. The acquisition is helping TiVo to expand in regions such as Latin America, parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“Cubiware has helped us introduce interactive cable TV and OTT services to one of the largest cable TV markets in the world. We are the first operator in Bangladesh to offer multiscreen services to cable TV subscribers,” said Navidul Huq, director Jadoo Digital, in a statement. “Further, Cubiware continues to impress us with their technology that enables us to remain competitive in a highly price sensitive market and lead the TV pay market in Bangladesh.”

“Cubiware has become the leading choice for rapid delivery of advanced set-top box solutions across South Asia which is one of the fastest growing markets in the pay-TV industry,” added Cubiware co-founder Jakub Gorski. “Cubiware is thrilled to support Jadoo Digital’s roll out of pay-TV services for the linear and OTT services they need to stay competitive.”