iWidgets Renames Itself “Transpond,” Signs on Lifetime and CNN

You had to know this was going to change; it just screamed “blindly milking the web 2.0 fad.” On Monday, iWidgets is announcing it’s trading in its name for something a little more adult: “Transpond.” And the fact is, while what the company is doing might be trendy, it’s not the flash in the pan its original name projected.

Though Transpond sounds a little air-traffic-control at first hearing, the name matches what the San Francisco startup wants to do: send and extend content. Transpond makes applications for social networks, and alongside the name change, it’s also announcing support for the Palm Pre and, coming later this summer, the iPhone.

The draw of the company’s web-based software is that media publishers can easily build applications that are automatically customized for the growing array of platforms on the web and phones. It distributes video as well as features like polls, quizzes and games meant to engage users. Transpond calls its tools “Write Once Engage Everywhere.”

Transpond isn’t putting a new coat of paint on an unused product. Rather, it has had legit customers for much of its existence. Its first client was CBS, and it later added Revision3. Today it’s announcing Lifetime and CNN are customers as well. Transpond raised a $4.1 million Series A round from Opus Capital and University Venture Fund in February. The company hasn’t proved that its method of content distribution is the next big thing, but it’s off to a good start.

Vid-Biz: Take180, 3-D TVs, CEOs

Take180 has 9M Views Since Last Fall; Disney-owned studio formally launches with three participatory web series: My Date, I <3 Vampires, Electric Spoofaloo. (release)
3-D TVs Could Account for 10% of Global TV Sales by 2011; but only if industry agrees on autostereoscopic standard, according to Screen Digest. (release)

Digital Media CEOs Worth Less
; Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer lost $6 billion and Netflix’s Reed Hastings is the lone gainer on paidContent’s chart of how digital media CEOs’ holdings changed in 2008. (paidContent)

Reckitt-Benckiser to Shift $20M to Web from TV
; major advertiser had measured-media budget of $475 million last year, with less than $1 million on the web; now employing video ad networks to get cheap CPMs. (AdAge)
iWidgets Signs Revision3; will distribute Diggnation via Facebook application. (release)
ExtendMedia Names Tom MacIsaac CEO; was previously on startup’s board as partner at BlueRun Ventures, prior to that was CEO of AOL-acquired Lightningcast. (emailed release)

Entertainment Tonight Comes to the iPhone
; get your celebrity news on the go with application developed by Rhythm New Media. (emailed release)

Video Distribution Startups Funded: iWidgets, Mixpo

iWidgets, a social network syndication service that has CBS as its first customer, just raised $4.1 million in Series A funding from Opus Capital and University Venture Fund.

This is the round we mentioned in an earlier post, which had been in the works for a while but was apparently delayed by the economy tanking this fall. The tiny San Francisco-based company has made a web-based platform that spits out customized applications for Facebook, MySpace, iGoogle and others.

CEO Peter Yared told us he’s especially focused on syndicating video because video publishers need better distribution and consumers are willing to sit through video ads.

Also today, local video ad platform Mixpo announced a $4 million Series B round of funding from Madrona Venture Group, GrowthWorks Capital and Yaletown Venture Partners. This was a down round for Seattle-based Mixpo, which raised $6.5 million from the same three firms in 2006.

Meanwhile, local video ads competitor Jivox announced an affiliate program that lets larger publishers white-label its service and smaller publishers get paid for referring advertisers. In an email, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company named Mixpo as the competitor it was directly targeting with the move.

iWidgets Brings Content to the People

iwidgetscsiWhen you’re an itty-bitty company and your first big customer win is CBS (s cbs), you turn a few heads. And so it is with iWidgets, which makes video applications that are customized for the likes of MySpace, Facebook, iGoogle (s goog) and other social networks. Now that they’ve landed CBS, they’re working to bring on more TV broadcasters, as well as online video producers, as clients.

Syndicating your content or web site to social networks generally requires either hiring a developer who knows the inner workings of writing code for each site, or going with a one-size-fits-all widget provider. San Francisco-based iWidgets simplifies the process with a drag-and-drop web interface that spits out custom widgets.

CEO Peter Yared’s pitch goes something like this: Traffic to destination sites across the Internet is tracking downward. Everybody’s spending their time on social networks instead. If you’re in the content business, you need to deliver your stuff to where the people already are. So CSI, for example, has nearly 450,000 fans on its Facebook page, where an iWidgets app of top clips is front and center.

Read More about iWidgets Brings Content to the People

Vid-Biz: Scientology, FOX Sports, Couric

More than 4,000 Anti-Scientology Vids Receive Takedown Notices; the American Rights Counsel LLC issues notices (whether or not the group is affiliated with the Church of Scientology is unknown), temporarily suspending many accounts. (EFF Deeplinks Blog)

FOX Sports President Not So Into Streaming; despite the big year for sports online, Ed Goren is cautious and concerned about what online video will do to TV ratings. (Broadcasting & Cable)

Katie Couric Letting Loose Online; CBS’s embattled Evening News anchor finding fun in her job though online video news extras. (LA Times)

YouTube Kicks Off Journalism Contest; vid site partners with the Pulitzer Center to invite aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not get coverage in the mainstream media. (YouTube Blog)

Babelgum Re-Ups Its Online Film Festival; Spike Lee will once again be jury chairman for this contest. (Variety)

iWidgets to Syndicate CBS Shows; partnership will allow users to watch full episodes of shows like CSI directly from social networks. (release)

Metallica Launches YouTube Promotion; the Napster killers have put together a collection of videos of bands covering Metallica songs. (Listening Post)