AT&T U-verse TV Debuts Havoc's Linear 'Social TV' Channel

AT&T has launched the linear "social television" channel from action sports and indie music programmer Havoc that lets U-verse TV subscribers vote on the videos that appear on the screen in real time via Twitter.

Havoc 247 is the first linear service from the company, which started in 2004 as one of the first video-on-demand networks. The linear feed provides a mix of music and sports culled from Havoc's library of short-form VOD content, with specific blocks for genres such as metal and punk, hip-hop and reggae, sports and movies.

In addition to the interactive-playlist feature, the network provides live Twitter and Web feeds from artists, athletes and other select sites along the left-hand of the screen.

Viewers can chat on-screen through Facebook or Twitter (by tweeting a message with the hashtag #havoctv), though the company noted that comments are screened for profanity and appropriateness before they appear on the Havoc 247 service.

Havoc 247 is delivered as a standard MPEG-4 stream -- it doesn't use any of the interactive features of U-verse.

Last month AT&T dropped MTV Networks' Urge music channels, while it added an interactive application for Music Choice as well as the SWRV interactive music video service.
The SWRV linear channel provides interactive programs, including SWRV
Takeover, which lets viewers create their own playlist consisting of
three videos and comment on others' sets as well.

Havoc is pitching the linear service to other distributors as a way to engage younger viewers who don't necessarily see TV as their primary source for media consumption.

"We're bringing the world of social media to the TV," Havoc executive vice president and co-founder Matt Muir said. "It's a way to make TV relevant to the demographic that we cater to."

Almost three-fourths of U.S. consumers multitask while watching TV: 42% are online, 29% are talking on cell phones or mobile devices, and 26% are sending instant messages or text messages, according to Deloitte's 2011 "State of the Media Democracy" survey.

As of mid-April, Havoc 247 is available on channel 1490 as part of U-verse TV's HD tier, which is an additional $10 per month beyond the regular video subscription price.

According to Havoc, it can deliver the same linear TV feed online to PCs and to devices such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and tablets with no app required.

Havoc's VOD service is available in 33 million homes, through deals with 30 cable operators.