APRICO, Axel Springer and TVBLOB OTT CE device lets consumers build custom TV channels

Friday, September 11th, 2009

World preview at IBC Amsterdam, 11-15 September, APRICO booth 2.C58

EINDHOVEN/MILAN — APRICO Solutions, a leading provider of video recommendation and targeting technology, today announced a deal with TVBLOB, a next generation TV software and service development company, that will result in the world’s first over-the-top (OTT) CE device enabling consumers to create custom TV channels based around their favorite television programs. This unique personal TV experience is enabled by the integration of the APRICO technology and Axel Springer’s EPG and Internet metadata as well as their editorial guidance and targeted advertising services. The integrated solution will be previewed at IBC in Amsterdam this week and will be available to the public in Q4 2009 on the BLOBbox.

The BLOBbox is one of the first real-world examples of truly “blended” television, as it combines traditional and WebTV content with interactivity normally available only on a PC or mobile device. With the personal TV solution by APRICO and Axel Springer (XETRA: SPR.DE) integrated in the BLOBbox, the TV experience for the end user is both familiar and novel: an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) lists available TV channels with program schedules and, upon seeing a favorite program, a click on the remote control triggers the creation of a new “personal” APRICO Channel. The personal TV software immediately searches the Internet, broadcast TV, and VOD (when available) sources for content based around that program and others like it, then combines it all together. The new APRICO Channel immediately appears in the EPG along with the other traditional channels.

“It’s not enough to give consumers access to the Web on TV screens, applications must intelligently combine the strengths of both media”, TVBLOB CEO Fabrizio Caffarelli said. “The biggest challenge that consumers will face as these worlds merge is to find and discover content that is personally interesting – without being overwhelmed by the range of choice. APRICO’s approach cleverly bridges this gap and is able to learn and continually evolve with individual user behavior. It’s true TV intelligence.”

Jeroen Cappendijk, head of APRICO Solutions, added: “We chose to partner with TVBLOB because we recognized that their over-the-top approach and TV ecosystem will help us to expand our TV presence on a new range of OTT CE devices that reach into any geographic market. By integrating our technologies, we aim to help any OEM device manufacturer offer intelligent targeting capabilities that enable a unique attractive user experience that can be monetized through highly targeted VoD and advertising”

“We are delighted to be able to extend the reach of our innovative “watchmi” services with the BLOBbox. The combination of personal channels, unparalleled ease of use, and targeted, personalized and permission-based advertising is a breakthrough in the broadcast and internet entertainment universe”, commented Ned Wiley, Managing Director of Axel Springer Digital TV Guide (ASDTVG).

Developed by TVBLOB, the BLOBbox television ecosystem is comprised of a platform, software and backend services, along with a business approach that mirrors the principles of the Web. The company develops and sells software to CE manufacturers aiming to bring-to-market a range of new CE devices that support unprecedented, blended TV experiences. The first BLOBbox model was introduced at CeBIT ’09 and is available for purchase.

The BLOBbox-APRICO integration will be available as a free update first for Italian customers in Q4 2009.