Rogers Invests In Interactive TV Startup Aiming at Smart TVs

TV Interactive Systems Relaunches as Cognitive Networks, Names Collette CEO
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The venture-capital arm of Canadian cable and wireless operator Rogers Communications has invested $2.5 million in automatic-content recognition service provider TV Interactive Systems, which is relaunching under the name Cognitive Networks.

Michael Collette (pictured above), a longtime executive in U.S. cable telecommunications and interactive TV, has been named Cognitive’s new CEO. The company said it has relocated its headquarters from New York to San Francisco “to tap into the talent pool and partnering opportunities in the Bay Area.”

Cognitive Networks says it will partner with Internet-connected TV set manufacturers to enable content providers, advertisers and others to provide interactive TV features. The company’s ACR platform lets smart TVs identify programming to enable transactions, information requests, personalization and other capabilities.

According to a Cognitive Networks representative, Rogers is currently not a customer of the startup.

In a statement, Rogers Venture Partners managing partner Michael Lee said, “Cognitive Networks' innovative technology has the potential to both change the way that consumers watch television and the ways that advertisers can connect with those viewers. It’s rare to find a tech company making such great strides in the marketplace at such an early stage.”

Collette was previously CEO of PhyFlex Networks, a broadband access solutions provider whose assets were acquired by Ciena. Prior to that he was CEO of embedded software developer Ucentric Systems and worked at ITV middleware provider OpenTV and cloud-based interactive TV technology provider ICTV (now ActiveVideo Networks).