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MULTIMEDIA: SmartVideo and Microsoft to cooperate on TV broadcasting
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 10.01.05 - 13:17:55 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 7932x
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SmartVideo Technologies announced landmark distribution agreement with Microsoft and content agreements with NBC Universal and the Weather Channel as well as with ABC News to stream On Demand and Live TV News programming over Smart Phones.

Richard E. Bennett, Jr. president and CEO of SmartVideo Technologies, Inc. unveiled on January 6. landmark agreements that will allow SmartVideo to deliver high-quality television broadcasts from NBC Universal and The Weather Channel to cellular-internet enabled mobile devices ("Smartphones") using Microsoft's WindowsMedia Mobile technology. For the first time, consumers with Smartphones will be able to view live television anywhere, anytime on Pocket PC, Mobile PDA and Smartphone mobile devices.

First, as part of its new Marketing and Cooperation Agreement with Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft has agreed to distribute SmartVideo's live television programming lineup to consumers through its WindowsMedia Mobile Portal. SmartVideo was also invited by Microsoft to become part of the software giant's MCX Partner Pavilion and showcased the new service at CES 2005 last week.

Second, SmartVideo Technologies has secured licensing agreements with NBC Universal and The Weather Channel to offer their content as part of the SmartVideo TV programming lineup. The agreements with NBC Universal and The Weather Channel are the first of their kind content-delivery agreements secured by SmartVideo.

The cellular phone business is ready for explosive growth; more than 22 million television-enabled Smartphones are in use currently around the world, with projections by the ARC Group market research firm that the number will grow to 250 million by 2008. Poised to capitalize on increased Smartphone consumer adoption, SmartVideo offers technology that enables fluid motion, fully synced live video and audio broadcasts, making it the only such service able to be called television in the true sense. Just as important, the company's Content Delivery Network (CDN) protects the content owners intellectual property as well as manage the geographic rights associated with syndicated television, which is extremely critical for content providers.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) signaled its belief in SmartVideo's ability to deliver top-quality broadcasts by making its content accessible globally through Services will include the streaming of live TV, on-demand video and audio on devices using Microsoft Mobile software. SmartVideo's live and on-demand content will be available for Windows Mobile-based Smartphones and Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs beginning January 6, 2005.

The portal ensures that consumers who visit the site have a convenient and easy way to access a rich media experience on their mobile devices. With Windows Powered Smartphones, subscribers to the SmartVideo service now can watch and enjoy a diverse choice of high quality live and on-demand television on their handsets, with subscription packages starting as low as $12.95 per month. SmartVideo expects to announce additional content distribution relationships in the early part of 2005 that will bring sports, entertainment, cartoons and music videos to subscribers, along with content specifically targeted for the financial community, families, children, the Hispanic community, and teenagers.

"We are very excited to see a mobile television service built using Windows Media and Windows Server technology become a reality for Windows Mobile-based devices," said Michael O'Hara, general manager, service provider business, Communications Sector, Microsoft. "We look forward to working closely with SmartVideo to deliver these new services and solutions to mobile users and operators alike.

"Working with Microsoft, SmartVideo has developed consumer-focused products and services, and will continue developing services for deployment on Windows Mobile-based devices. We are delighted to be working with Microsoft to deliver an exceptional viewing experience to mobile users around the world," Bennett said. "The market potential is enormous and our collaboration with Microsoft will enable us to tap into that huge opportunity."

In addition SmartVideo and ABC News announced on January 6 alos that ABC News will provide live news coverage and video on demand via cellular Smartphones to SmartVideo subscribers. SmartVideo President and CEO Richard E. Bennett, Jr. and ABC News Digital Media Group senior vice president and general manager Bernard Gershon announced this at CES 2005 as well.

Mobile phone subscribers will now have access to ABC News Now, a 24/7 streaming news channel, and daily on demand video from ABC News, including reports from "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" and "Good Morning America." SmartVideo is the only company in the world that can deliver state-of-the-art, high-quality live television at an average of 15 frames per second to low bandwidth devices operating on today's existing 2.5g cellular network. This collaboration is an innovative way of delivering news to millions of people worldwide.

"ABC News Now is the first news channel built for digital distribution. As more mobile consumers rely on cell phones for news and information, teaming with SmartVideo brings the breadth and depth of our on demand content and ABC News Now, with the latest, live developments in domestic and international news stories, to the ABC News audience anywhere, anytime," said Gershon.

"I am extremely pleased ABC News has recognized the significant value we bring to the table," Bennett said. "Our ability to deliver a dynamic, high quality viewing experience over cell phones will further enhance the public's growing dependence on their cell phones for news and information. It has become increasingly important for people everywhere to have access to news as it is happening, and SmartVideo has the perfect medium to deliver it."

The agreement was negotiated by Media Consulting Associates (MCA), Los Angeles, for SmartVideo.

As part of its above announced marketing and cooperation agreement with Microsoft Corporation, SmartVideo Technologies will develop consumer-focused mobile video products and services for operators and end users of Windows Mobile-based devices. The portal ensures the more than 9 million consumers who visit each month have a convenient and easy way to access a rich media experience on their mobile devices. With Windows Powered Smartphones, subscribers to the SmartVideo service now can watch and enjoy a diverse choice of high quality live and on-demand television on their handsets, with subscription packages starting as low as $12.95 per month.

Cheers ~ Arne

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