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26 November 2015

OTT Deals, Launches and Products

13Telstra owned Ooyala has released an unbundled version of its IQ video analytics product which means Ooyala can chase business, offering analytics, such as content performance and audience engagement, alongside rival systems such as those from Brightcove, Kaltura, thePlatform, Flowplayer and YouTube.

Vodafone Greece will try something it calls Fixed Mobile Bonding where its 4G mobile network and VDSL are both used to connect to a single device in the home, so that if one goes down, the other system is still supplying broadband. When they are both working together, the broadband simply goes faster. There must be a lot of service disruption in Greece. A year ago Vodafone bought control of Hellas Online, which offers fixed connections.

As previously anticipated, this week in the UK, Disney launched its own streaming service called DisneyLife, which, if successful, will launch globally. It costs £10 a month and provides access to Disney films from Toy Story to Pirates of the Caribbean, along with those from its subsidiary Pixar – although more recent successes like Frozen, are not among the films offered. Typical Disney – its content is already available on a series of online services, including Netflix. We predict failure.

KPN in the Netherlands has launched a new TV service called KPN Play. Presumably this replaces its iTV OTT service. It was first announced in April and is available as an app on iOS, Android, or via Google Chromecast or on a smart TV. The Play system has access to HBO content among others.

In Argentina the Federal Court has intervened in a media dispute between Grupo Clarin and the regulator AFTIC , which appears to be doing the bidding of the departing president. It began over Clarin’s purchase of a 49% stake in Nextel Argentina. Initially the regulator rejected the deal warning that if it was pursued the target company would lose its operating licenses. Clarin has been at odds with the country’s departing President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who claims its coverage of her government has been biased. The judge has put a six-month injunction blocking the AFTIC decision, so the case will be reviewed in 2016 by the new government.

Global mapping firm Here is working on a road messaging system for the Netherlands which will deliver motorist data over its LTE-based C-ITS system. Here is working with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the aim is to deliver real time traffic data, to personal navigation systems, to improve road safety and reduce traffic. The C-ITS system will serve as a low latency data exchange, where targeted information about, for example, an accident or black ice – could be communicated to drivers about to reach that spot. So far Here has just agreed to mount a demonstration.

Italian public broadcaster RAI, is investigating whether or not it can, or should introduce a paid SVoD service in Italy. A plan will be put before its Supervisory Committee by the new director general, basically asking the government if it would mind.

The BBC World Service, which provides mostly radio services and some TV, to non-UK audiences, is to get a raise in UK government funding  with an extra £34 million between 2016-17 and £85 million a year from 2017-18. The idea is to raise its audience to the target of half a billion people, and it quaintly believes this will help “uphold global democracy through accurate, impartial and independent news reporting.”

The Open Interconnect Consortium will merge with the Universal Plug and Play Forum, which to date has focused on automating links between consumer electronics. The OIC will adopt the UPnP’s widely used service discovery software, a move likely to bolster the OIC’s position as an applications-layer software stack for the Internet of Things, perhaps putting it ahead of rival consortia like AllSeen and Thread.

Sony said this week that it has now cumulatively sold more than 30.2 million PS4 units worldwide, and confirmed that this made it the  fastest growth in PlayStation hardware history. It was launched first just two years ago.

Hoopla in the US said this week it now has support for delivery on Google Chromecast in its latest Apps for Androi, and iOS, in the US and Canada. Hoopla Digital has access to 400,000 movies, music albums, TV shows, audiobooks, eBooks and comics available for instant streaming or downloading through the simple use of a library card.

Paywizard this week says that it has been chosen by the National Broadcasting Commission of Nigera to support its digital switchover project. It will work alongside UK firm Inview, a broadcast and OTT software and services specialist and use its AgileXtra platform to manage all customer data, subscriptions and billing. This will work by selling each home a voucher for an upgrade and the software will integrate into Inview set top software. Nagra conditional access software will also be used, because Nigeria is looking to introduce a subscription fee for digital TV.

Accedian Networks has won a contract with Telefónica to offer all round network performance assurance on fixed and mobile networks for both business and residential customers. Accedian will provide real-time network performance visibility across Telefónica’s multi-vendor metro and backhaul networks.

Kaltura says it was won a contract at TEN in the US to power its Motor Trend OnDemand subscription SVOD for automotive enthusiasts. It will aos use a front-end from 3 Screen Solutions and be available on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, Roku and mobile apps for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and soon be extended to Apple TV. It will offer live access to 60 events over the year as well.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) formerly the Consumer Electronics Association said that expectations on technology spending, jumped 8.8 points to 92.1 in November, a bigger leap than has been historically seen this time of year. Its 2015 Pre-Black Friday Survey, predicts that 91 million Americans expect to purchase tech or tech accessories during Black Friday Week with 70% of shoppers, shopping online.

Patrick Drahi, founder of French cable and Telecom holding company Altice, has entered into a funded collar transaction, where Goldman Sachs will protect his position from stock market fluctuations up or down – basically he has sold 81 million shares, and these will be used to hedge his position. The effect has been for the share price to drop somewhat.

This week Wepiao, a mobile ticketing platform founded by Weying (WECHAT Movie Tickets), said it managed to raise $235 million in a Series C funding round with investors including Beijing Cultural Assets Chinese Anci Films & Television Fund, other investors included CITICS Prosperity Fund, GGV Capital, Southern Capital, Gopher Asset of Noah Private Wealth Management, New Hope Group, Tencent, Wanda and INLY. Wepiao covered 4,500 cinemas and 90% of moviegoers, had deals with 1,200 theaters, stadiums and exhibition pavilions in its first 18 months and is now involved in original content production too.

Vodafone Spain has a hell of a promotion for Black Friday free pay TV for one year. This would normally costs €12 a month, and the offer is out until December 2nd and includes TiVo service and streaming services, like Netflix. Vodafone recently said in Q3 that pay TV customers increased by 77,600 to reach 902,000.

Still on Spain, the regional cable operator Euskaltel has launched a 25.3 million share issue to raise some €255 million to help pay for its €1.19 billion acquisition of R Cable (previously known as Mundo-R).