Here are some recent developments in the television business culled from New York Television Week and other activities over the last month.
Interlude is a storytelling technology venture with former CBS and Xbox senior executive Nancy Tellem among its leaders. It has developed an immersive video process using the popular "choose your own adventure" format of books. At various points in a video, several options as to what happens next appear on the screen. When the viewer chooses a preference, the video automatically follows without a break in the action. Interlude's promotion for MTV's “Scream” this summer impressed Next TV Summit attendees when displayed there. At the moment, the system works with PCs, smartphones or tablets. However, the push for compatibility with smart TV sets or devices like Chromecast and Apple TV is on, and smart TV maker Samsung's decision last week to invest in the company could accelerate things. This kind of TV venture has been flaunted before (remember ACTV?). This could be the one the public gets to use in mass fashion.
The Electric Jukebox
The Electric Jukebox is the first smart TV plug-in device connected with a specific genre of content. Going on sale a few weeks ago online, Jukebox gives users access to a wide assortment of streamed music by category or specific artist 24/7. The device costs $229, with one year of access to its content for free (valued at $60). Some of the music is accompanied by still shots or graphics provided by Getty Images and other sources. Music videos may become a feature in the near future.
Master Channel is a platform for launching TV or online networks involving music talent and other sources, coming from former MTV and Revolt senior programmer Andy Schuon.
Maker Studios and New Form Studios
There has been more movement by Digital NewFront participants and related firms into TV series work. Under Disney ownership, Maker Studios has Disney Channel and ABC Family/Freeform pilots under review and an executive team developing series for other places. New Form Studios, the Discovery Communications joint venture with Imagine Entertainment for short-form Web series, believes some of their work will turn into linear TV.
There is at least one more scripted series coming from Pop. The network will soon go forward with a satire on late-night TV, according to network president Brad Schwartz.
Layer3 is the self-described "next-generation cable company" out of Denver. At NYC Television Week, CEO Jeff Binder said his venture "wants to bring all sorts of things to bear," including Internet of Things-type services on the TV screen. The full launch scenario is expected to be unfurled before the end of the year.
Hemisphere Media Group
Hemisphere Media Group is an independent distributor of Spanish-language networks to cable and satellite (WAPA America). Alan Sokol, Hemisphere's CEO, says his group of channels will develop and present U.S-originating telenovelas and anthology drama series over the next year that can be offered throughout Latin America.
Macro is the new diversity-oriented TV and media programming venture created this winter by former top William Morris Agency talent rep Charles King. He's attracted venture capital and angel investors for this project, committed to launching a wide variety of multicultural content produced by people of color. An announcement on the first round of series and media initiatives could come later this month or next.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!
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