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26 May 2022

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

The European Parliament approved a draft law that geo-blocking, the act of offering an online content service in just one European Union (EU) country, would be scrapped in early 2018. Coupled with laws to end mobile roaming charges in the EU, the OTT industry looked set to flourish in Europe. Nonetheless, content creators argued that the removal of geo-blocking would weaken the financial value of content, while pay TV operators feared a small spate of cord cutting for consumers with multiple properties across the EU.

Just seven weeks since snapping up UK-based recommendations specialist The Filter, 24i Media has a new product to show for it. Many vendor acquisitions don’t bear fruit after seven months, let alone weeks, so we have to commend the speedy integration efforts of 24i, while casting a cautious eye over how this rapid integration celebration sugarcoats those inevitable M&A teething problems.


Mongolian pay TV operator Univision, owned by Unitel Group, is using French firm Viaccess-Orca to deliver, secure and personalize its IPTV service. Univision has deployed VO’s Service Delivery Platform, TV Business Analytics, Content Discovery and Personalization, monitoring, customizable TV apps, multi-DRM and Secure Video Player.

Gracenote has got into FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) with a new Streaming Channels Data service, targeted at content discovery platform providers wanting to tap into metadata for the schedules of linear streaming channels.

European broadcaster RTL has contracted 3 Screen Solutions (3SS) for the job of developing apps for its kids multiscreen entertainment app, called Toggo, available in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


Rakuten is planning to launch Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services in Japan by the end of December, using both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum. With some 400 MHz of mmWave spectrum rights to use, Rakuten’s CEO claimed the dual-band in-home CPE will be an elegant design, which feels like the absolute bare minimum these days.

Hisense has unveiled its first Fire TV unit, using Amazon’s OS. At $529, the 50-inch 4K panel is lit using ULED and some quantum dottery, supports Dolby Vision HDR. Hisense has previously used Android TV, and having both operating systems in the lineup might suggest that licensing agreements have changed, as Google attracts more anticompetition scrutiny.

Viture has raised $2.9 million on Kickstarter, more than Oculus managed, for its $500 micro-OLED AR glasses. Promising to create a virtual 120-inch screen, an optional neckband-encapsulated Android 11 computer provides mobile capabilities. The glasses will take any USB-C video input, and app support for Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBOMax is confirmed. The tech looks impressive, and while there is a chance this is the beginning of the AR revolution, Apple’s developer conference looms large.

Qualcomm has officially unveiled the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, its newest flagship. It supports 8K capture in HDR10+, as well as HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. However, the major news is that there is no mention of either AV1 or VVC in the codec support. This is contrary to a round of speculation seen in February, which expected the 8+ to include AV1 – a major upset, if Qualcomm has not simply fouled up the datasheet.

Amazon is intensifying its LEO testing, securing FCC approval for a prototype earth station that will be polled by drones to examine the system’s performance. Meanwhile, a SpaceX user managed a 300 Mbps download rate in Wisconsin, although was apparently the only user in that cell. The Ookla test results also showed a 250 Mbps result in rural Germany, but the biggest delta came from California, where a user swung between 299 Mbps and 1.23 Mbps.

Nielsen’s monthly TV viewing gauge reported that HBOMax hit 1% of US TV viewing for the first time. Netflix scored 6.6% of the share, in April, with YouTube on 6.1%, Amazon Prime Video on 2.5%, and the Others section scoring 9.2%. Notably, Disney’s Hulu scored higher than Disney+, with 3.3% to 1.7%. Total streaming hit 30.4% of total TV time, according to the beleaguered Nielsen.

TikTok has begun testing in-app games, starting in Vietnam. Parent company ByteDance already has this feature inside its DouYin service, the China-centric predecessor to TikTok, and so it seems all but a certainty that games will arrive for the billion-plus TikTok MAUs.