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27 May 2021

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Viacom appeared in a state of stasis, with its recently deposed ex-Chariman, Sumner Redstone, seemingly still dragging his heels as a growing cast of voices called for the media giant to embrace the internet and streaming. Redstone’s daughter, Shari – a 20% shareholder in Viacom’s parent company National Amusements – was the latest to add to the critique of a tired giant stuck in its ways. Viacom had been anti-internet since its $1 billion legal action against YouTube when much of its prized content found its way onto the website in its early years, and its only involvement in OTT had been selling content to other services, as well as launching the Voot AVoD service in India. This stasis was made more apparent by Viacom’s media cousin leading the way with CBS All Access, leading for many to call for the two to merge once again. After nearly four years of bickering, the merger was officially announced in August 2019.

 

Better wrap up warm down at the beach bar for this year’s IBC, as the Amsterdam show will now be taking place on December 3-6.

 

Amazon has sealed an $8.5 billion scoop of MGM, with the price tag dropping by about half a million dollars from last week’s rumors. Amazon spent about $11 billion on content last year, so buying the studio is a big statement of intent.

 

Picking itself up from the disappointment of being outbid by TiVo for the assets of MobiTV, Amino has made alternative acquisition arrangements, picking up Danish middleware vendor Nordija for an undisclosed amount. The deal has been done via Amino subsidiary 24i Media, aiming to drive 24i’s TVaaS business and improve scalability. Nordija brings in annual revenues of some $4.5 million, so Amino still has a way to go to reach its target of $250 million in four years.

The SRT Alliance has passed 500 members after Lumen Technologies (née CenturyLink) became the latest member of the low latency streaming protocol club.

Sky’s SME100 support scheme for small businesses has made a return, offering its AdSmart addressable TV platform free to 100 SMEs as part of a £2 million ($2.8 million) pandemic relief package.

 

Telefónica has tapped MediaKind’s Aquila-On-Demand product for asset processing for the Movistar+ on-demand OTT and IPTV content – handling transcoding, packaging and delivery as well as unifying the graphical user interface with the VoD controller.

HBO Max will launch in Latin America and the Caribbean at the end of June, with plans starting at just $3 a month.

Ateme transcoders have been implemented in the Huawei Cloud Elastic Cloud Server (ECS), a platform for content and service providers to access scalable cloud servers and an application environment for streaming live events.

Dutch systems integrator Divitel plans to add blockchain technology to its managed video distribution operational processes, working with a blockchain enterprise firm called Ledger Leopard.

 

V-Nova has given an update on its LCEVC licensing terms. SVoD services below 100,000 subs are exempt, and the fees are capped at 50 million subs. The average price per sub ranges from $0.001 to $0.012. For AVoD, Monthly Active Users (MAUs) are the metric, and services below 600,000 MAUs are exempt, with the cap coming at 300 million MAUs, with the same average price. TV Everywhere will use a similar model to AVoD.

Viasat has received a license to operate as a commercial satellite ISP in Nigeria. The Nigerian Communications Commission has granted the permits for three earth stations in motion (ESIM) licenses, covering the 28 GHz Ka-band. Some 15,000 people are being connected as part of an initial trial, and 2022 should see Viasat launch its next-gen ViaSat-3 constellation.

Liberty Global has announced a new initiative with Digital Colony, which will create Atlas Edge Data Centres – a new venture that will target edge computing workloads for enterprises. It comes as rumors suggest Comcast’s Sky is about to jump ship from Openreach to Virgin Media for its wholesale broadband needs. A good week for Liberty.

Wanda Group has confirmed that it has exited its position in AMC Theatres, ending an interesting period where a Chinese firm headed one of the largest global chains. AMC’s share price has soared recently, on the back of the Reddit-fueled rally that also lifted GameStop.

Tencent’s live streaming platforms, Huya and DouYu, reported Q1 revenues of $740 million, which looks like a pretty solid result for the China-centric service. Of course, Tencent is currently the target of Chinese regulator scrutiny, but its videogame wing has reported some 365 million MAUs.

Russia’s VoD market grew 66% last year, which has dramatically increased the interest in Roskino’s 2021 Key Buyers Event. The firm, which promotes Russian video content to global distributors, has signed up over 500 international executives, and will screen some 400 titles from 119 Russian companies.

Roku appears to be hiring for smart home positions, looking to develop its own devices and create integrations with third-parties. Given Roku’s footprint in set tops and dongles, and its plan to swell its smart TV share, the firm has a solid footprint to build out from.

Just as OneWeb passed the 200-unit threshold, and showed off a new beam-hopping satellite design, the European Union’s internal market commissioner has said that Eutelsat has jeopardized its involvement in the EU’s LEO project – after Eutelsat took a stake in OneWeb.

With Apple’s iOS 14.5 finally going live two weeks ago, there are early signs that advertisers are unsatisfied with the new Tracking Transparency framework that phased out the mobile Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) and are bringing in its high-walled replacement, SKAdNetwork. According to the Post-IDFA Alliance, between 63% and 83% of iPhone users have opted out of being tracked, meanwhile ad spend on Android is up 21%.

LA-based ad tech vendor VideoAmp has raised $75 million in funding, with $50 million in debt financing from Capital IP Investment Partners laying the groundwork for an additional $25 million. Clearly keen to grab some headlines, the ad optimization and cross-media measurement company has also nabbed some ad tech royalty, in the form of The Trade Desk’s former CFO, Paul Ross. VideoAmp has grown 700% over the past five years, and is hoping to rapidly accelerate this growth in the near future.

Samsung has announced its largest ever M7 Smart Monitor, at 43 inches. It features a 4K UHD display that is being pitched as both a work-from-home monitor and an entertainment hub, and supports three voice assistants in Bixby, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. This, along with a new range of M5 Smart Monitors, will feature the company’s proprietary AVoD Channel, Samsung TV Plus.

Romania’s Digi Sport has secured extending the broadcast rights to La Liga for another three seasons. Digi Sport holds broadcast rights to most of the top soccer leagues and tournaments in Europe, including the UEFA Champions League, Serie A and Bundesliga.

 

SPI International has launched Filmstream, an ad-supported digital movie service on the Rakuten TV platform, in 42 European markets. Viewers will be able to watch Filmstream on the Rakuten TV app on Samsung and LG smart TV devices.