news digest


Google adds players to target-ad trial

Google has expanded trials for targeted video advertising under the AdSense network it launched last month, adding partners including the NBA, the Wall Street Journal Online and CondeNet's The ads embed video on relevant partner sites. Continuing with the trials are Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, which participated in the previous round.

MSNBC site goes to users for FirstPerson has launched a Web tool that allows users to upload photos, videos and stories for display in an online gallery. On the site, dubbed FirstPerson, online editors will screen and publish the user submissions while visitors can vote on their favorite pictures and video. The launch is the first phase in an ongoing investment by the site to highlight user-generated content.

Scripps nets getting ride on U-verse

AT&T Inc. and Scripps Networks said Monday that they have inked a distribution agreement to deliver Scripps' linear, high-definition and on-demand programming as part of the AT&T U-verse TV channel lineup. Under the agreement, AT&T will deliver the Scripps brands HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country to U-verse customers. The telco also will include HGTV HD and Food Network HD, and Scripps programming will be featured each month in the U-verse VOD library. Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Showtime fare going out via CBS TV unit

CBS Television Distribution is handling the syndication activities for several Showtime series as well as CBS News shows. The news follows the announcement last year that CBS Corp. was combining all of its distribution activities under a single umbrella. The division will handle the distribution of such Showtime series as "The L Word," "Brotherhood," "Sleeper Cell," "Dexter" and the upcoming "The Tudors." In addition, CBS TV Distribution has sold rights to 20 episodes of CBS News' "48 Hours Mystery" to cable network WE: Women's Entertainment.

Sportsman widens net with Comcast pact

The Sportsman Channel, which touts itself as the first and only TV network dedicated exclusively to round-the-clock hunting and fishing programming, has launched in several Comcast Cable markets, including Tuscaloosa, Ala., Huntsville, Ala., Houma, La., and Laplace, La. "With the continued growth of the hunting and fishing industry in the U.S., sportsmen in these markets are sure to find this new addition a hit," Sportsman president and CEO C. Michael Cooley said. The network, which launched in 2003, is in 15 million households on a full- and part-time basis.

Birthday gift: 'Elton' concert set at MyNet

MyNetworkTV said Monday that it has secured exclusive rights to Elton John's 60th birthday concert in the U.S. The two-hour special, "Happy Birthday Elton," will be recorded March 25 during a live concert at New York's Madison Square Garden and will air April 5 on MyNet. The special will feature John's record-breaking 60th concert at the venue as well as celebrity interviews. "Elton is a legendary performer, and we are thrilled give our viewers access to this sensational concert," MyNet president Greg Meidel said. The special is being produced by HST Management and Whizz Kid Entertainment. It will be directed by Emmy winner David Mallet and produced by Malcolm Gerrie, Paul Morphos and Lisa Chapman.