MediaKind denies switch out as Ateme wins Orange Spain

Orange Spain electing for Ateme and local systems integrator Optiva Media for encoding duties might well signify first blood at the expense of MediaKind, with its Envivio encoders known to be a crucial installment at the European operator.

On the surface, this looks like the worst possible start for the newly formed Ericsson spin off. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. However, MediaKind’s CMO Arun Bhikshesvaran has since assured Faultline Online Reporter that the Orange Spain contract is intact. “Our business relationship is directly with Orange Spain and is on a strong footing with ongoing expansion across the portfolio. It is also clear that Orange Spain has not directly contracted Ateme as the contract is with Optiva. We certainly feel that the momentum is on our side,” he said.

Despite asking for specifics, Bhikshesvaran could not elaborate on MediaKind’s business relationship with Orange Spain nor on the supposed expansion plans. The way we see it, Ateme and Optiva have slipped into the precise deployment Envivio was/is contracted for – transcoding of on-demand content for OTT delivery to mobile devices.

Another possibility is that Harmonic, the incumbent encoder supplier at Orange France, has already nudged much of Envivio from the mobile video delivery equation at Orange Spain, while Ateme and Optiva Media have been brought in to power “a new video platform for its on-demand content”.

By this, Ateme does not mean an all new VoD service, but that its Titan compression software will form the new technological foundations for the existing Orange TV Cine y Series (Cinema and Series) service and thereby aid the service’s expansion to more viewers and more devices. The premium package is available free to existing pay TV subscribers, or €9.95 a month for non-subscribers, also available on mobile devices as a TV Everywhere option. It has around 10,000 assets with some 4K titles available.

If there are indeed remnants of Envivio handling file-based transcoding for mobile video delivery at Orange Spain, then the days look numbered as Ateme has clearly taken over newer on-demand responsibilities. At such an early stage in its new journey, we would prefer to give MediaKind the benefit of the doubt but, given the current bread crumbs of evidence, it is difficult to see the situation in any other light than an impending switch out. We have implored MediaKind to persuade us otherwise by providing a few simple details about its deployment at Orange Spain, unfortunately this will have to wait until the suitable representative is available.

Playout specialist Overon was one of the main contractors for the multiscreen service and supplied the head end at Orange Spain some years ago, serving as a reseller which is how we believe Envivio encoders arrived at Orange Spain – which Bhikshesvaran neither confirmed nor denied.

So, while MediaKind swears the Orange Spain contract is safe and sound, it still means, at the very least, the Spanish operator has chosen to hand a contract to a rival over giving MediaKind more responsibility. This does not bode well for MediaKind’s Mediaroom IPTV accounts at tier 1s including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, CenturyLink, Telefonica, Singtel, Swisscom and Bell Canada.

“We are delighted to support Optiva Media in its development strategy by providing them with our solutions and our expertise. This new partnership demonstrates the innovative and excellence of our solutions and our ability to quickly deploy high quality VoD services,” said Anais Painchault, Director Ateme.