Cable Show 2009: Ensequence Takes ITV From Cradle To Grave

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Interactive TV vendor Ensequence has put together what it's claiming is a complete workflow-management solution for ITV apps -- from their initial design to the end of their lives.

The firm is pitching the Web-based solution, dubbed iTV Manager, to major MSOs and cable programmers as a comprehensive way to keep track of interactive campaigns and features, said Aslam Khader, Ensequence's chief technology and product officer.

"We realized a year and a half ago that what the market really needed was a solution that addressed the true deployment side of interactive applications," he said. "The complexity of this ecosystem has just exploded exponentially."

The system will operate within the Advanced Advertising 1.0 architecture framework outlined this week by CableLabs and Canoe Ventures, the six-operator cable advertising consortium, Khader said.

"We are looking to be the ITV automation company," he said. "We're not trying to do what the operators need to do."

So far Ensequence has not officially landed any takers for the system, but Khader said his company has been in discussions with MSOs and Canoe about adopting it.

Unlike other approaches, according to Khader, iTV Manager is able to handle "multi-enterprise" workflow at every point in an application's lifecycle. The system addresses the needs of advertising brand managers, ad agencies, cable networks, operators and other distributors, he said.

For example, Ensequence's system could import a Canoe-issued template written to the Enhanced Binary Interchange Format specification, then allow re-versioning of the template for ad agencies to create an ITV campaign. Other parties may be permitted to review and approve the ad before it's played out on a video distributor's network.

"It enables the actual integration with the deployment process," Khader said.

In addition to conforming with Canoe and cable-industry standards, Ensequence is also able to handle interactive TV applications for satellite operators like Dish Networks and DirecTV, as well as telco TV providers like Verizon FiOS TV, according to Khader.

New York-based Ensequence will offer iTV Manager as a hosted service or sell it as software. The Web-based system uses Microsoft Silverlight for the interface and uses a standard relational database on the back-end.

The iTV Manager has been available in an early-access program, with general availability set for June. The pricing varies on how the system is used but Khader said it will carry "six-figure pricing."

"It's not a $5,000 solution," he said. "There's a lot of heavy lifting that goes into this process."

The iTV Manager is integrated with two major broadcast-automation systems, those from Harris and OmniBus Systems, according to Khader.

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