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14 October 2009

Deals, launches and products

Software giant Oracle has suddenly, surprisingly come up with a new set of software tools for tracking intellectual property licensing. Co-incidentally it made a $17.5 million investment this year in an LA firm Sophoi which developed these tools, and then went bust. The software has emerged under the title of Oracle Media Intellectual Property Management and it’s Oracle’s first push into the content value chain for media and entertainment companies.

Ireland based conditional access company Latens got its first start in life rounding up IPTV services in Scandinavia and retrofitting CA on existing set tops, and it’s at it again, this time creating a solution for resale with cable and DTH companies in India. In Scandinavia the operators were threatened with loss of their content licenses unless they could get CA working at short notice, whereas in India it’s more likely that they are currently denied high value content and if they can add this, might get it. Latens says that its software based CAS has been integrated with local supplier GoDB Tech’s middleware platform for cable and DTH operators.

Cable operators in Europe will collectively cross the 20 million customer mark by the end of the year and get close to 21 million customers says Cable Europe this week. The industry employed 84,000 people by the end of 2008 up 43% over five years. Counting supplier jobs that number rises to 178,000. Cable Europe produced these figures to underpin a meeting with Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Society and Media, where they will call for more efficient copyright clearance in Europe and state aid for broadband being allowed once more.

Korea’s fledgling new multicast IPTV service (it used to be illegal for ISPs to offer broadcasts of any description), has now reached 1 million, nine months after the launch of services from Korea Telecom, South Korea Broadband and LG Dacom. The number should reach 1.5 million by the end of this year, and 2 million in early 2010.

Carphone Warehouse in the UK gave a second quarter trading update this week, re-iterating all existing financial guidance for March 2010 and saying it was experiencing growing momentum at its VoIP TalkTalk Group, with 77,000 net new broadband subscribers not counting those acquired from its Tiscali purchase. It also said that Tiscali would deliver 62,000 less broadband subscribers than it had previously indicated and that it was on track to demerge its operator services from it retail arm which would become Best Buy Europe. This will happen at the end of March 2010.

A report in the London Financial Times based on chatting with senior BT Vision executives showed that the telco will not hit its goal landing even 2 million IPTV customers by December 2010, which was the low end of its estimate. So far the hybrid catch up VoD terrestrial TV service has 433,000 customers, but the company now plans to offer it as a part of a triple play ‘ TV, VoIP and Broadband. Duh! About 4 years too late, and why not as a quad play with its MVNO, which runs on Vodafone’s network. It looks like BT Vision sales have either peaked already or are slowing down fast.

Nokia has landed a win for its Windows 7 Booklet with AT&T and with retailer Best Buy and the device will be offered for $300 when also sold with a two year AT&T data contract, instead of the existing $810 price before subsidies. The deal is said to be only an introductory offer. The Booklet will be sold at all Best Buy locations in the US plus 50 Best Buy Mobile stores and should arrive in stores by mid-November and online orders can be taken from October 22. The deal will including leaving the store with the Booklet working and connected, so there’s no frustrating home set up or attempts at unhooking it from the network.

Intel reported a 15% year-on-year growth in its Atom netbook processor and associated chipsets, as it announced a strong third quarter that boosted confidence across the hi-tech sector. The chip giant and major technology bellwether beat expectations as it saw strong recovery in its core businesses, with notebook and PC chips outperforming even Atom. Third quarter revenue was $9.4 billion, ahead of analyst forecasts, up15% on Q2. Year-on-year, revenue was down 9% reflecting the weakened, but recovering economy. Net income was $1.9 billion, up from Q2’s $400 million net loss and Intel raised its sales guidance for the current fourth quarter to $10.6 billion.

New research just published by Music & Copyright magazine reveals total distributions of performance rights collections went up by 16% to $1.5 billion in 2008, up from US$1.3 billion in 2007. Recorded music sales continuing to fall in most developed nations, and Europe is the largest region for performance rights, accounting for 72% of the total.