Peel gets a USD 50 million investment from Alibaba

Peel Smart Remote

Peel released the news that Alibaba invested a serious amount of money this spring in the global smart remote companay. With the USD 50 million from the e-commerce giant, the total investment in Peel totals to USD 95 million.

Alibaba was already one of the investors in Peel. But because of the IPO, the investment was kept quite until after the listing.

According to Peel, Alibaba is acting like a traditional investor but it does make sense that both companies are going to work together as well, for instance on certain e-commerce solutions for TV using Peel for recommendations and ordering.

One other area Peel might move into is connected home / smart home. With the Peel remote it would be possible to control all connected devices in houses.

Is Apple using your TV to enter your house?

Apple TV with HomeKit

With the acquisition of the NEST, Google found a way to enter your home. The NEST could become a platform and a future hub for a connected or smart house. Apple did not have such an entry point yet, but might have found one. The latest beta-release of the Apple TV software includes support for HomeKit.

The Apple TV will use CloudKit to store and access the necessary information of the devices and iCloud Keychain to store paired keys making it possible to remotely access your Philips Hue lights from the office or any other device that supports HomeKit and is connected to the Apple TV.

This could boost the development of a whole new range of connected devices for the smart home. The question now is whether Apple is going to develop these new products as well.

Tight integration with Comcast turns Twitter into a TV remote control

Twitter NBC

We have known for sometime that Twitter is taking TV very seriously as users are already using Twitter heavily during linear programs and advertisers and networks are looking for ways too tap in these massive twitter streams. Today Twitter announced a deal with Comcast promising a tight integration that will go beyond chatting.

During shows like The Voice, Twitter users will see a “See it” button in NBCUniversal tweets about this show. Clicking on the button will open a Twitter card and, if you are already a Comcast pay TV subscriber (Xfinity), even give you the opportunity to watch or record the show directly from your set top-box, computer of mobile device making it a almost some sort of social remote control.

Not clear yet is if tweets from ordinary users talking about a show will contain the “See it” button as well. That might create even a bigger impact.

If this is a success, other networks might join and making watching TV a new experience. Especially if not only networks, but also VOD and Streaming Services like Netflix are included. One other thing that would be great is a sharing option that allows a Twitter user to invite another Twitter user to watch the show via a tweet.

Google Play now serves Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, The Wire and more

The Wire

In a surprise move, Google has negotiated a deal with HBO, offering seven popular series via Google Play. This means that the series have to be bought per episode iTunes style instead of just watching what you want for a fixed fee like Netflix is offering. The price for a normal episode is between USD 1,99 and USD 2,99 with an extra surcharge of a dollar for HD. And more series will be added as Google states this is only the beginnning of their partnership with HBO. For now, Google will offer Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Girls, Boardwalk Empire, Veep, True Blood, and The Wire.

It is such a surprise since Google seemed to be focussing only on access so far. Google TV and Google Chromecast are both Android based solution that offer a broad range of online video on your television provided by third parties. And YouTube of course. But so far, Google was rather absent on the content market.

Since the Spotify model seems to be the winning model, the shows have been aired elsewhere before and the deal only allows US citizens to buy the episodes, it is not that big a revolution. Yet. Let’s just see what is going to happen in the near future. Google has finally released a Spotify competitor for music. And they do have a very valuable asset with YouTube. Maybe this is just the beginning and is Google about to take on Netflix. Time will tell.

Nielsen TV Twitter Rating is going live today

Nielsen Twitter Rating

The rise of global hit series and the need watchers feel to chat with friends during linear programmed television has brought us start-ups like GetGlue but also a lot of buzz on Twitter and Facebook. With Twitter going public, the need for growing revenue streams is increasing and one of the area’s it finds promising is TV. For that reason, they bought analytics companies and created a joint venture with the traditional TV tracking company Nielsen. Together they will measure both the number of tweets mentioning a specific show and the number of Twitter accounts that reach this tweets. This data is important to both TV networks and advertisers as they are looking for new ways to measure reach and in the end will effect the price of commercials. The service is called Nielsen TV Twitter Rating and will go live today.
But this is only the beginning. Don’t be surprised to see promoted tweets showing up from the same advertisers as on TV. Maybe even with extras or attempts to have the audience engage. Stars or community managers might join the conversation making the show even more appealing to the audience.
But also more targeted promoted tweets will arrive to your timeline during a show as Twitter knows obviously a lot more about you than only what you are watching.

Twitter acquired Social TV analytics start-up Trendrr

Twitter TV

As it has been mentioned here a few times before, Twitter is a very prominent social platform to discuss TV. Or more specific, live television, meaning traditionally scheduled broadcast. People still like to watch a program at the same time and they do like to talk about it. This conversation happens for a big part on Twitter and Twitter knows this. Since TV is still very important for advertisers, Twitter is very interested in finding ways to capitalise on this. And so is Facebook.

Over the past year or so,  Twitter has been building a TV department by appointing a special tv head of tv (Fred Graver) and taking over several companies (like Blufin Labs). Just the other day, one of the products that came out of this department was the TV Trend box. In the battle with Facebook to become the ultimate TV platform Twitter and Trendrr today announced that Trendrr will be acquired.

Trendrr is an analytics company specialised in tracking and analysing real-time conversations about TV shows. They announced the acquisition themselves on their blog. A purchase price was not disclosed.

The future of TV according to Kevin Spacey

“Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in at a reasonable price and they more likely pay for it than steal it.” That is in short what Kevin Spacey thinks tv should give to people in order to survive. Spacey also predicts that any differentiations between platforms will disappear saying that “the device and the length are irrelevant, the labels are useless” meaning that the more or less artificial difference between a TV show or film will disappear.

It seems that Spacey is not on only a good actor but also a true visionary when it comes to streaming content.

Kevin Spacey shared his thoughts in the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival on on 22 August 2013


Twitter is showing Trending TV shows at the top of your timeline

Twitter TV

According to Techcrunch, Twitter is testing a new TV-functionality. A link to a popular TV show will appear on top of your timeline as a Twitter Card. The card will show the name of the show and related information about the show and related tweets.

Twitter has become the most prominent place for discussing TV shows and has been working on new features to benefit from this success for a while now.

The discovery of this new functionality was made by an intern at NBC called Anthony Geranio (ASG). I guess he  must be thrilled about the story being picked up Techcrunch.

After failing to get T-Mobile USA, DISH now wants to merge with Sprint


Dish Network Group (DISH) seems to be desperately looking for a partner. Last week, Bloomberg brought the news that DISH had approached Deutsche Telekom informally about a merger with T-Mobile USA. However, the Germans decided to go through with the deal with MetroPCS.

Today, Dish launches a counter offer for Sprint. With a cash and stock offer of USD 25.5 billion, they claim to offer a much better deal than Softbank. Apart from the financials, chairman Charlie Ergen explains on a special website, that the combination provides a much better fit.

The combination of DISH and Sprint would create a telecom and Pay TV company with over 60 million subscribers. Clearly DISH sees great synergy in this deal and is therefore willing to pay a rather big premium. The question is of course if customers do see the logic. Surely, we will see more and more streaming video on mobile devices, but consumers will have different reasons for choosing a mobile operator than for a pay TV package.


Social TV Awards 2012: The winners

Skatta Social TV Awards 2012

The  Social TV Award show was held the 27th in London. The company behind the event, Skatta, a London based supplier of Multi-Platform Television & Content Distribution, claims it to be the first Social TV Awards, but that is certainly not true as I have seen other Social TV Awards before, for instance the one from Social TV Summit. So I guess they mean it is the first British Social TV Award as both Skatta and the winners are based in the UK as far as I can tell.

Skatta has come up with 12 categories to describe the most important area’s of Social TV. Although one can disagree with the categories and the winners, it is good to have an overview. So here it goes:

  • Technology with Branded Content Award: New Look – ‘Padequin’, ‘Blippar App’ & ‘Body mapping technology’
  • Live Streaming Award: Heat Magazine NTA Red Carpet, BAFTA Awards
  • Broadcast Journalism Award: The One Show
  • Media Crossover Award: Bauer Media
  • Entertainment TV Show Award: Strictly Come Dancing – (BBC1)
  • Best TV App Award: BBC iPlayer
  • Use of 2nd Screen Social Media: The Xtra Factor (ITV2)
  • Drama and Soap Award: My Mad Fat Diary – Sharon Rooney
  • Viewing Device Award: Samsung
  • Music Award: Nicole Scherzinger – ‘Boomerang’
  • Social TV Entertainer of the Year: Simon Cowell X Factor USA (ITV2)
  • Online Video Award: Adele ‘Skyfall’