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Ashley Highfield was the king of new media at the BBC. Now, in his first interview since joining Microsoft, he tells Ian Burrell of his plans to make MSN the home of online television

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Nintendo have announced that it plans to deliver video-on-demand to internet-enabled owners of the Wii gaming console. The service will commence in Japan in spring but the Telegraph reports that it could be rolled out globally by the end of the year.

Why blog this? As increasing numbers of connected hardware devices enter the living room instead of being relegated to the bedroom, the opportunities for VOD and richer interactive content increase.

Facebook announced today a number of notable upgrades to their video portion of the social network. Following behind YouTube’s recent upgrades to their display, Facebook announced today that they’ll be supporting high resolution – up to 720p – to go along with higher quality audio codec support. Perhaps even more important, though, is the addition of remote embedding capability.

Why blog this? Facebook has to date been a very closed network, but with new additions of Facebook Connect, and the ability to embed higher quality video, the massive social network becomes far more practical to be used as a cross platform tool for projects involving social activity. Facebook can now provide the social hub, but through allowing content hosted on their platform to also exist on other sites (authentication, and video), its reach will grow exponentially. From a user perspective, this is fantastic, allowing people to put their content wherever they wish, but have a central point of control.

[via Mashable]

Only 9% of people find overlay video ads to be intrusive and detract from their overall viewing experience, according to a report by ITV.

ITV are testing various ad formats for placements within their video content. Overlays seem to be more popular (or rather less unpopular) than pre-roll ads, and have a 5% CTR – way higher than pre-roll.

The broadcaster has partnered with Keystream to test the new technology on the ITV Local Your News channel, with uSwitch and FreeSat as the first advertisers to trial the new approach.

Why blog this? It is a fine balancing between interuption and click-thru rates when it comes to inline video advertising. Already a number of platforms who allow innovative approaches to inline ads are springing up, and broadcasters and content distributors are eager to try them out. ITV is already discussing the user of inset advertising using technology which allows adverts to be placed on surfaces within content, which can of course be dynamically changed per market.

Google announced recently that YouTube will now allow video publishers, no matter who they are, to bid for sponsored placement for their videos on the site. The program will be based on Adsense technology and is essentially just that – paid search results for user published videos.

YouTube Sponsored Videos is our new advertising program that enables all video creators — from the everyday user to a Fortune 500 advertiser — to reach people who are interested in their content, products, or services, with relevant videos

Read the full article here, but YouTube are offering $100,000 for an upload which is half decent.

If you’re an Onion fan, you’ll know what to expect here.

A whole load of interesting articles came flooding in this week already. Here’s a review of two key ones today:

Online Video Not Killing TV, Says Nielsen – well that’s a good thing!

The new report from the media analysts at Nielsen found that video viewing across all three screens – TV, Internet, and mobile – increased from last year. As of the third quarter 2008, the average person in the U.S. watched approximately 142 hours of TV in one month. In addition, people who used the Internet were online 27 hours a month, and people who used a mobile phone spent 3 hours a month watching mobile video.

It looks like viewing is up regardless of medium – there’s surely something interesting in that from a content production perspective.

Youtube gets fat

We’re expanding the width of the page to 960 pixels to better reflect the quality of the videos you create and the screens that you use to watch them. This new, wider player is in a widescreen aspect ratio which we hope will provide you with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience. And don’t worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in this new player.

You can’t have failed to miss the Youtube Live event which is taking place today. If you read even one single tech blog, or use Youtube, you’ll have seen the chatter everywhere.

Celebrities, Web celebs and major artists, including the mad scientists from the Mythbusters crew,, Lisa Nova, Michael Buckley, and Joe Satriani will be joining the celebrations, and YouTube will be offering three live streams direct from its Live channel.

Why blog this? Youtube moving into live streaming is an additional string to the monetisation bow, something they’ve yet struggled to really find models beyond simple adserving and partnership deals. It also puts Youtube into the broadcaster space, allowing them to compete with a wider range of other services. It will be interesting to see the next steps they take to push this service with commercial partners.

home on sofa

Further to our couple of recent posts on simultaneous backchannel activity, a new Ofcom report provides data to support that almost three quarters of internet users do so whilst watching television.

Why blog this? The combined use of interactive tools and broadcast content is so prevelant, any justification for closer interaction with your audience is hardly needed. Your audience IS online, and are interacting, just perhaps not with your content. There has always been a real opportunity here anecdotally, but here are some figures to back it up.

via [Big Picture]

the iplayer

Spotted over someone’s shoulder this morning in the Metro on the train to work, and followed up on the site, BBC are to start simulcasting their main channels online.

BBC One and BBC Two will be streamed live – just as BBC Three, BBC Four, CBBC, CBeebies and BBC News are already broadcast on their channel websites.

Director of BBC vision Jana Bennett said this “completes our commitment” to make channels available online.

The streaming will launch on November 27.