OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Netflix has signed what is thought to be the world’s most expensive children’s content deal, buying rights to Roald Dahl works for a fee in the region of $1 billion, according to sources of The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix plans to make multiple animated series based on 16 of the celebrated author’s titles, including Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, The BFG, The Twits, George’s Marvellous Medicine and The Enormous Crocodile.

YouTube will be dropping the paywall for its premium original programming as of next year, shifting to its tried and tested ad-supported model, in a strategy the company has coined “Single Slate”.

Sling TV has added nine Discovery networks and a few thousand VoD titles to its national and Spanish-language services. However, HBO and Univision channels remain dark due to parent company Dish Network’s ongoing dispute.

Instagram is employing an AI to describe photographs to visually impaired readers using object recognition technology, but only for photos without user-added descriptions, known as alt text. The idea is a recipe for disaster.

The CEO of UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, Sharon White, has urged the country’s public service broadcasters to get a move on and form the catch-up platform they have long spoken about, speaking at a conference in London this week. “Netflix, which now has $5 billion of net debt, was able to spend almost $8 billion on content last year – more than twice the combined spending by PSBs on UK shows. I remain convinced that collaboration is vital to the success of our industry,” said White.


UK dynamic ad insertion firm Yospace says it has successfully demonstrated how combining a reduction in ad load with addressable advertising can improve viewer engagement for broadcasters offering OTT video, particularly for millennials. Yospace developed its Non-Linear Startover (NLSO) technology to allow users to rewind live content mid-stream, and ad breaks are then reduced in length meaning viewers can catch up with the live action. But size doesn’t matter, Yospace assures, as precise per-viewer decisioning means broadcasters can command a premium for advertising. Belgian broadcaster Medialaan is the first to use the technology.

French middleware developer Wyplay has won a deployment for its Android software on the latest Huawei-made V6 set tops from Belgian operator Proximus. The V6 runs Wyplay components including IPTV player, integrated with CAS using TEE/SVP, plus the DVR stack, and custom UI with Wyplay’s graphic engine – working closely with Huawei on software integration services. The IPTV devices, which have been in field test since early 2018, include features such as Netflix, YouTube, BeTV, and Radioline, 4K HDR resolution and picture-in-picture of live TV. Wyplay has powered the previous four generations of Proximus’ Linux-based set tops.

With the support of Finnish cybersecurity firm F-Secure, the FBI has taken down a cyber-criminal organization responsible for nearly $30 million in fraudulent ad revenue, by using botnets to manipulate internet traffic from 1.7 million IP addresses. Coined 3ve, the online gang was found to spreading two different botnets, Kovter and Boaxxe.

Small satellite manufacturing and launch services will generate $37 billion in revenues by 2027, during which time 6,500 smallsats will launch, according to research firm NSR. Constellations will make up more than 70% of the total market, where communications will be the dominant bread bringer.

Quality of experience monitoring company Witbe has launched QoE Snapshots, a new product for testing digital services to make performance information available to the market – aiming to provide a global overview of digital services with multiple configurations and in various environments. However, Witbe warns, “These QoE Snapshots should not serve as benchmarks, nor as ranking of operators by service, or by device.”

Portuguese operator NOS has selected Nagra’s Anti-Piracy Services to battle broadcast and streaming piracy of live Benfica matches, the Lisbon-based soccer club. Nagra says the technology combines deep intelligence about global pirate networks with real-time monitoring, takedown and litigation services, on-the-ground expertise and forensic watermarking technologies.

Telco standards body ETSI has released a new specification to optimize the performance, efficiency and scalability of new services proposed for 5G, such as networking slicing or ultra-reliable low latency communication.

German electronics group Rohde & Schwarz has acquired UK-based graphics and playout developer Pixel Power for an undisclosed fee. Rohde & Schwarz plans to expand its broadcast playout business, using Pixel Power’s software-based IP products which it says enables dynamic content to be delivered more efficiently for linear TV, mobile, online and OTT/VoD – with 31 years’ experience.

Blackbird, the cloud-based workstation experience from Forbidden Technologies, has been chosen for video editing purposes by law examination firm Barbri, with Microsoft Azure providing content storage and processing. Using Blackbird Forte, Barbri’s media production team can edit and add graphics to training videos.

Romanian TV brand Allview is launching its own brand of Google smart TVs in December, with Android TV and Google Assistant, claiming to be the only brand in Europe to have a signed a contract with Google in this regard.

Nokia has signed a super-secret patent license agreement with Chinese consumer electronics maker Oppo.

Shorts International, producer of short-form movies, has launched the ShortsTV network in India in partnership with Tata Sky, which has about 15 million active DTH subscribers.

Seoul Semiconductor has upped its patent infringement litigation case against US retailer Fry’s Electronics, alleging that 19 of its patents have been infringed upon, covering backlight lenses, backlight modules, LED chips, LED packages, phosphors and its package-free Wicop technology.

TV tracking platform TV Time has signed a subscription agreement with its first advertising agency, Ocean Media, for its cross-platform measurement platform TVLytics.

Unified Patents, which describes itself as a deterrence entity, has filed a petition against HEVC licensing platform Velos Media, regarding a patent Velos bought from Qualcomm last year. Unified claims the patent is unpatentable.

Blockchain-enabled video entertainment marketplace BitMovio has announced partnerships with two new content providers to bring sci-fi and fantasy TV content to its platform, which went into private beta in September. These are Arrowstorm Entertainment and Electric Entertainment.

New Zealand’s intelligence agency has taken a leaf from President Trump’s book of technology by blocking a request from telco Spark New Zealand to test 5G equipment from Huawei, on national security grounds. Neighboring Australia made a similar move earlier this year, amid reports from the Wall Street Journal accusing US officials of urging allies to blacklist Huawei.


Sprint is teaming up with Qualcomm and HTC to develop a mobile smart hub running over 5G next year. “This innovative product will allow customers on the go, at work or at home to enjoy Sprint 5G on multiple devices with incredibly fast connectivity for content sharing, mobile gaming, entertainment and so much more,” said Sprint CTO John Saw, providing the only details to so far be revealed.

French video technology vendor Netgem has launched a new streaming device, the NetBox 4K, as well as a new personalized mobile TV app bundled with Freeview for the UK market. The service comes with over 50,000 hours of content and 100 live channels, with catch up content from all the major broadcasters, plus SVoD access. It works essentially like a Google Chromecast type device, streaming via a mobile device to a connected dongle over WiFi but accessing content via one app instead of many. It also comes with a PVR and costs £149 ($190).

Mobile AR is more important to the XR industry than VR or any form of smart glasses, according to a survey by Digi-Capital and AWE, referring specifically to Google ARCore and Apple ARKit developer software.