Vid-Biz: Starz, OverDrive, Heroes

Libraries Can Download Starz Content for Free; arrangement brokered by Ohio-based OverDrive, which provides public libraries with digital content. (paidContent)
Orca Partners With Yuxing for Integrated IPTV Set-top Boxes; the pre-integrated IPTV box will offer HD, MPEG-4 and CPVR and is based on Orca’s SUI SDK. (emailed release)
Heroes Gets a Microseries; Sprint sponsoring a small spin-off that will span TV, online and mobile (learn more about Heroes transmedia storytelling from former show producer Jesse Alexander at NewTeeVee Live). (MediaWeek)
DISH to Use Invidi Ad Technology; company’s Advatar technology targeted, addressable national advertising. (Multichannel News)
Manage Netflix Queues on Your iPhone; i.TV launches app that integrates with the movie rental service and provides Wikipedia links for more info. (i.TV Blog) For more, you can also check out our sister publication The Apple Blog.
iTunes Creates Bargain Bin; buy movies like Terminator 2 and St. Elmo’s Fire for under $5. (VentureBeat)
TVNZ Picks up Sorority Forever; Television New Zealand putting the Jessica Rose web series up on-demand. (Variety)

The Truth about ARGs: Tales from the Masters

How does a huge, monolithic and somewhat old-fashioned public broadcaster get the attention of a generation that gets its TV moments via YouTube and BitTorrent? How about a big conspiracy, completely with allegations that the broadcaster is manipulating the public and possibly cooperating with a powerful secret society? That’s exactly what unfolded in Sweden when the publicly-owned SVT network started its participatory drama The Truth About Marika in the fall of ’07. Marika producer Christopher Sandberg stopped by the American Film Institute’s Digifest in Hollywood this week and shared some rare insights into the drama that received the International Interactive Emmy for being the best interactive TV service earlier this year.
The Truth About Marika was only one example presented at Digifest that merged new media with oldteevee through alternate reality games or similar approaches that transform viewers into participants. Former Heroes producer Jesse Alexander talked about his experience with online storytelling, and the alternate reality game specialists from 42 Entertainment explained how Trent Reznor has used their services to promote his music. The common thread of these presentations: Letting your audience become part of the story has its dangers, but it can also be very rewarding.
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Vid-Biz: Yahoo, The Office, Bebo

Yahoo Series Makes Sweet Music; featuring big-name musicians, Nissan Live Sets generates roughly 4 million streams per month. (Variety)

Universal Using Mobile to Promote DVDs; studio providing clips from DVD bonus features of Heroes and The Office across Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. (Video Business)

Bebo Appoints Head of Original Productions; Kelly Brett worked on KateModern for a year and had previously worked for the BBC, Sky and ITV. (release)

Next2Friends Live Now on Windows Devices; UK-based mobile video streaming service now available on the Motorola Q series and the Samsung Blackjack II. (Mobile Entertainment)

Attack of the Show Producer Heads to Late Night; Gavin Purcell to be co-producer on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show as the series preps its Internet debut. (Variety)

Getting Interactive for the Emmys

If you’ve been wondering, “Where has Liz G. been goofing off, and why is she neglecting this site?” — I haven’t been playing hooky, I promise! I spent most of the day yesterday at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, judging the Primetime Emmy awards for interactive media. It was a really cool experience watching the finalists and meeting a great group of there to jury the entries — about 60 people from the digital content creation and distribution sphere. After the whirlwind trip — flying to L.A. for the day and just barely making the flight back home last night — I want to collect some of my thoughts and tell you all about the fascinating content I saw.

I was assigned to the fiction category, which meant watching the five finalists and rating them on eight different factors like user experience, creative achievement, and “enhancing the fiction scenario.” When they say interactive, it doesn’t just mean digital — it means viewers getting involved in manipulating, experiencing and contributing to the content themselves, so the presentations were more site demos than linear content.

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Vid-Biz: Bees, 12seconds, Coma

Haagen Dazs Hearts Bees; ice-cream maker’s viral video campaign has been viewed more than 2 million times online. (MediaPost)

12seconds Launches APIs; first three partners are TweetDeck, Blippr and Phreadz. (VentureBeat)

Crackle Kicks Off Coma; Sony-branded web series stars Michael Madsen and George Hamilton. (MediaWeek)

Paramount Offering Blu-Ray Rebates; studio will offer $10 to consumers who upgrade certain titles like Transformers to the high-def format. (Variety)

Remix Heroes; Metacafe creates mashup tool for fans to mix, match and manipulate video clips. (Metacafe)

Vid-Biz: SAG, ABC, NBC

Studios, SAG Still Clashing Over Clips; studios want to pay a flat fee to use clips of old TV shows and films online rather than bargain with each performer. (Reuters)

ABC Unveils New Ad Measurement Tool; to combat lower ratings and ad dollars shifting to the more-trackable web, the network created “Advertising Value Index,” which lets advertisers choose criteria that’s important to them. (The Wall Street Journal)

NBC Revving Up More Webisodes for Primetime Shows; mini-Office series will follow Kevin, mini-Heroes will focus on the discovery of a new villain. (MeeVee Blog)

What’s Up With the AT&T CDN? Company announced it was getting into the space back in December, but nary a peep has been heard since. (Silicon Alley Insider) (UPDATE: Streaming Media has the skinny. AT&T to spend $70-$80 million on infrastructure, hopes to have 400Gbps of capacity online by the end of 2008. (Streaming Media)

Clear Channel Partners with StudioNow; deal will help smaller advertisers put video ads on Clear Channel’s web sites. (MediaWeek)

Chinese Lip-Syncers Premiere Third (!) Movie; Ha! Ha! Ha! stars the “Back Dorm Boys,” who rose to fame by lip-syncing the Backstreet Boys. (The Hollywood Reporter)