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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Huawei’s ejection spree continues, as reports have emerged about British Telecom planning to strip the 4G network of its mobile subsidiary EE of all Huawei equipment. It comes 12 years after BT and other operators in the country agreed to distance Huawei from their core networks, although apparently EE relied more heavily on the Chinese vendor than most, prior to its acquisition by BT in 2016. Huawei’s enhanced packet core technology has been cited as the victim of a switch out expected to take between 18 months to two years. The news has been widely seen as a precursor to Huawei missing out on 5G network buildouts in the UK, following its banishment by the US, Australia and New Zealand on security grounds.

Swisscom has selected the Ericsson Expert Analytics platform to enhance its big data business, by providing insights into OTT applications being used by the 5.3 million subscribers on its 4G service in Switzerland. Swisscom says it will be able to monitor and proactively optimize its service level performance and take actions on any issues it sees.

Telia Estonia has tapped Ateme’s Titan encoders to compress and package its “next generation OTT offering” – hinting at an upgrade to either its Minu.TV OTT VoD offering or its multiscreen IPTV service Telia TV, or both. Ateme says its Stream algorithms maintain content fidelity at minimum bitrate, enabling Telia to extend the reach of its HD profiles to the most remote households, with Titan able to run on any COTS or virtualized server.

TV unit sales across Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa all experienced double-digit year on year declines as of the end of Q3, according to IHS Markit, although global TV shipments were flat.

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom wants to make BT the universal broadband service provider for the UK, with the exception of the Hull area for which it has nominated telecoms firm KCOM after finding it to be the only applicant to meet all the criteria. The legislation, first introduced in March, gives eligible homes and businesses the right to request a “decent” broadband connection. Ofcom has said other operators can still come forward for consideration and the consultation will close in mid-February 2019.

Brazilian operator Oi is using equipment from Nokia to meet demand for both fiber connectivity and mobile network coverage and capacity. Nokia is supplying its radio access, IP and optical transport and fixed broadband services, as part of Oi’s recovery plan.

United Group, an operator covering countries in South East Europe, is securing up its new EON pay TV service with security from Kudelski Group’s Nagra unit, specifically the Conax Contego product, developed for support and integration of all major distribution technologies. United Group says EON is the first 4K Android TV hybrid deployment to arrive in the Balkans, offering 12,500 titles within Video Club, plus live sports in 4K, 7-day catch-up and access to the Google Play Store. United Group serves four markets: Serbia (SBB), Slovenia (Telemach), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Telemach), and Montenegro (Telemach).

The Swiss security specialist has also signed a long-term collaboration deal with Pepper IoT, a provider of a service delivery platform and tile-based framework to enable the launch of scalable IoT products. Pepper IoT’s multi-tenant platform will use the Kudelski IoT Security Suite, designed to simplify IoT security.

The SCTE and ISBE have been awarded their first US patent, called System and Method for Energy Consumption Management in Broadband Telecommunications Networks via Adaptive Power Management, which provides a framework for aligning network energy consumption with network usage. The two engineering societies say this is the first in a series of patent applications submitted, intended to leverage input from operator and vendor members.

French radio network RMC, a subsidiary of Altice’s NextRadioTV, has launched its OTT RMC Sport TV app on Sony PlayStation 4, using an SDK from local supplier Wiztivi. Subscribers to SFR’s fixed line, mobile or OTT services can access up to 11 live RMC Sports channels, making use of smooth streaming technology.

Hulu is on pace to surpass 23 million subscribers by the end of the year, according to CEO Randy Freer, speaking at the Business Insider conference, after reporting 20 million during the summer. Freer also said the Live TV service gained 10x the number of subscribers DirecTV Now picked up during Q3, meaning it gained 490,000 subscribers.

Comcast has now rolled out the Amazon Prime Video app to Xfinity X1 set top users, available in 4K HDR with voice remote integration.

Video sharing site Dailymotion, owned by Vivendi, has announced a syndication partnership with A+E Networks, bringing short-form highlights from the networks History, Lifetime, A&E and Biography to Dailymotion’s platforms globally.

AT&T and Hulu are plotting to run ads when live or on-demand content is paused on their respective streaming services, according to Variety, speaking to Hulu’s VP and Head of Advertising, Jeremy Helfland, and VP of Product at AT&T’s Xandr Media, Matt Van Houten. Both companies intend to roll out pause ads sometime next year and will most likely be met with a torrent of complaints and possibly even a spate of subscription cancellations.

Harmonic has been awarded a US patent titled Dynamic Allocation of CPU Cycles in Video Stream Processing, which defines technology that dynamically adjusts CPU cycles for cloud-based video processing based on complexity of information.

Liberty Global has tapped an addressable TV advertising platform from US firm Cadent, providing it with an open framework supporting multiple workflows. Cadent says the cloud-based product enables the delivery of different targeted ads to households during the same program, on behalf of broadcasters and content providers. Virgin Media in the UK will be the first to deploy the platform.

Italian FTA broadcaster Mediaset has deployed Freewheel’s ad management platform and Comcast’s separate online video management platform, using the technologies to launch a series of new apps for Mediaset Play.

 

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has described negotiations to launch in China as a “frustrating distraction” and said China will have to change its ways if Netflix is ever to launch in the country.  “You can really spin up your wheels trying to get a lot of programming sold into China and then for no rhyme or reason, the show gets blocked or kicked out,” he said at a UBS conference this week.

SPI International has expanded its deal with Telekom Serbia to include VoD services, inclusive of its subsidiaries Mtel in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Some 150 localized movies and 200 thematic titles are now available to subscribers, with SPI providing at least 5% of new titles every month.

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