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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Altice in Europe claims to have had it best quarter since 2005, clawing back at least 1 million French customers in the year to date, more than it lost in the previous 3 years. For Q3 it added 166,000 customers, 52,000 in broadband, against a 75,000 loss last year, and 64,000 additions to its fiber base and today has 40% of its French broadband customers on fiber. In the quarter Altice also launched an OTT service RMC Sport and added 114,000 customers. Mobile accounted for 378,000 net additions which compares with just 16,000 last year, which it puts down to having Champions League rights. It says its Portugal Telecom acquisition is also performing well but only added 8,000 net additional customers there, against losses last year. It gained 44,000 fiber customers and 37,000 mobile. However, Altice revenue fell 4.6% year on year and its margin was down too but spent €706 million on capex and a colossal €1.01 billion for the Champions League rights.

Vodafone appears to have launched what it promised to in February 2017, announcing an OTT version of its pay TV service called GigaTV Net, with some news outlets mistakenly believing they had landed an exclusive. But similarly to Deutsche Telekom, GigaTV Net is available only on Vodafone’s Android-based streaming device which costs €49.99 up front. A subscription costs €9.99 a month for the first 12 months, then €14.99 a month thereafter, offering 62 SD live channels and 40 in HD. Vodafone’s own VoD portal is available alongside the Google Play Store. This is built around Cisco technology, which Vodafone has been talking about since 2014.

Mobile industry body the GSMA has launched a cloud-based AR and VR initiative focused on furthering the development of ultra-low latency codec compression, cloud GPU rendering in the cloud, virtualization technologies and simplified interfaces. Announced at Huawei’s 9th Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London this week, initial members of the GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum are China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, Korea Telecom, NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor, TIM, Turkcell, Vodafone, Huawei and HTC. Most of the operators listed here are existing Huawei customers.

UK telco BT and its MNO subsidiary EE claim to have successfully demonstrated the first live broadcast with remote production over 5G, carried over a 5G network in Wembley Stadium and then produced remotely by the BT Sport production crew. EE says the final the EE Wembley Cup, a charity soccer tournament being held on November 25, will be the world’s first live sporting event to be broadcast over 5G using remote production.

Discovery is launching a series of networks it acquired from Scripps Networks as TV Everywhere apps, to join its current line-up of 12 Discovery Go apps. It includes HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network and Cooking Channel.

China’s Tencent Music Entertainment was supposed to IPO in the US at a whopping estimated $30 billion in mid-October, but a report from Reuters claims the music streaming service has pushed back the IPO until next year. A source says Tencent is reluctant to rush, while weak performances of technology stocks has been its previous go-to excuse for the delay.

Over 50% of TV shipments will be UHD and manufacturers will need to bring in next generation 8K TV technology to drive demand, according to Sweta Dash, president of market research firm Dash Insights. She says a large number of screen fabrication plants are being built to supply huge 65” and 75” flat panel displays to TV manufacturers.

WiFi 6 chipsets will ship more than 1 billion units in the year 2022, following a surge after the first commercial deployments arrive next year, writes ABI Research. The research says market adoption will be swifter than 5G network rollouts, which are expected to hit 1 billion devices six years after initial commercial deployments. Smartphones will be the biggest driver of WiFi 6 adoption, although ABI warns significant adoption is not projected until 2020, once the standard is fully ratified and slides into flagship devices.

The #DeleteFacebook trend of 2018 is apparently not reflecting negatively on enthusiasm to work for the social media company, according to its head of media partnerships Patrick Walker, talking to the Broadcasting Press Guild in London. He praised the company’s robust live video product for this feat.

UK bank Barclays has doubled the size of its SVoD investment pot to £200 million ($257.4 million) due to exceptional demand. Designed to assist TV producers, Barclays says it has paid out £100 million ($128.7 million) to production companies since launching the fund 18 months ago.

There will be 650 million internet users in India by 2023, according to the Entertainment Goes Online study from Boston Consulting Group. With rural regions driving half of this growth, OTT video in the country will represent a $5 billion market opportunity by 2023 but, despite promise, the Indian OTT video market currently lacks the penetration and maturity of Western VoD services.

Advertising company RhythmOne has selected the OTT invalid traffic detection and filtration system from anti-fraud firm Pixalate, an ad fraud detection and prevention platform. RhythmOne is integrating the product into its unified programmatic platform for OTT ad impressions, working in conjunction with RhythmGuard to combat invalid traffic across all screens.

Altice USA has launched its new Altice One OS 2.0, featuring enhanced mobility, voice search functionality for YouTube, a cloud DVR via a mobile app, 4K content and live show restart on more than 20 additional networks.

 

Spanish telco MásMóvil has acquired MVNO Lebara España for €50 million cash, which uses Vodafone’s network and has some 420,000 pre-paid subscribers.

LG Electronics is rolling out a speaker with smart display in the US, equipped with Google Assistant and technology from British audio and video component manufacturer Meridian Audio. Made in partnership with Google, the LG XBoom AI ThinQ model WK9 includes a front-facing camera, 8-inch touch display and stereo 20W speakers.

 

Sky Sports has secured a new 5-year licensing deal for domestic soccer rights, relating to all matches with the exception of the Premier League. It paid The English Football League £595 million ($767 million) for the privilege of 138 Sky Bet EFL League matches, 15 Sky Bet EFL Play-Off matches including all three finals, 15 matches from the Carabao Cup including the final, plus the semi-final and final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

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