OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Not too long ago, Ericsson was waxing lyrical about the tremendous growth in its BSS business, and now the Swedish vendor has initiated a $700 million write down of the division as part of a restructuring process. Specifically, Ericsson says its new Revenue Manager product was a complete flop and had to be written off in order to focus on its Ericsson Digital BSS platform, which will pave the way to ending BSS losses – along more with more job cuts – to hit targets in the Digital Services segment by 2020.

T-Mobile US continues to break records. The uncarrier added a personal best 2.4 million subscribers in Q4, bringing its 2018 total to 7 million net gains – to end the year on just under 80 million subs. That makes it 23 consecutive quarters hitting over 1 million net subscribers additions.

The WiFi Alliance has unveiled its WiFi 6 certification program for devices using 802.11ax technology, arriving in Q3 2019. The WiFi Certified 6 branding will ensure devices meet industry standards for interoperability and security.

Following last week’s misery, Apple has slashed its iPhone production plans by 10% for the first quarter of 2019 due to lower than expected sales. Reportedly, the production cuts apply to XS Max, XS and XR models.

Netflix smash-hit movie Bird Box has recorded 45 million viewers worldwide since debuting on December 21, according to data from Nielsen’s SVoD Content Ratings report, which of course now includes VoD measurement. This puts the post-apocalyptic title second only to series two of Stranger Things in terms of viewership.

Twitter has signed a strange live streaming deal with the NBA, involving the distribution of only the second halves of 20 games from Turner’s TNT cable network, but not as a replacement. While the games will broadcast as normal on TNT, viewers on Twitter will be able to vote on a single player for a camera to follow, using a mobile device as a complementary second screen to the main action. Sky Sports in the UK attempted a player cam for soccer matches many years ago and it was shuttered rather quickly, we recall.

SK Telecom and Sinclair Broadcast have partnered to sign an MoU with Samsung’s US automotive technology subsidiary Harman, to combine efforts into building an automotive platform based on the broadcast standard ATSC 3.0. The plan is to bring HD terrestrial TV broadcasting to vehicles, alongside HD map updates and V2X certificate management.

Dish Network is building Google Assistant into its Hopper family of broadband-connected receivers, including the Joey and Wally models. Via the Dish voice remote, users can control smart home devices and request news or weather updates, extending the existing relationship struck in July 2018 which required users to pair a Hopper with a smartphone, speaker or other device supporting Google Assistant.

The German video market is now ranked fifth largest in the world by annual spend, rising 6% annually to reach approximately €9 billion ($10.4 billion) in 2018, according to Futuresource Consulting’s Video Insights report. A combination of proliferating SVoD services, a growing acceptance of TVoD, and a robust pay TV market is on course to drive consumer spend to over €10 billion by 2022, it states.

UK-based video platform provider Simplestream has added a download for offline viewing feature to its VoD in a Box product, as well as Chromecast integration. It says the features are already being used by customers History Hit TV, NextUP Comedy and Marquee, at no additional cost.

Mapping expert Here has added Amazon Alexa to its navigation and location services, with the digital assistant coming pre-integrated with its new automaker product Here Navigation On-Demand. Here describes the partnership as “a true voice-first car navigation experience that keeps users focused on the road while enabling Alexa to deliver personalized guidance when and where it’s needed most.”

Swedish app store specialist Accedo revealed its Partner Program at CES, a place to collaborate on technology, business and marketing for the wider industry, set to launch officially in the coming months. Accedo says its One video experience platform provides easy access to integration points for partners.

Pay TV revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa will rise 42% to $7.7 billion by 2024, gaining 16 million subscribers in the process, a growth of 61%, indicating lower ARPUs, according to Digital TV Research. In 2018, just three companies accounted for 93% of the region’s pay TV subscribers. Multichoice ended the year with 14.34 million subscribers on its satellite DStv and DTT GOtv platforms, while Vivendi’s Canal Plus satellite service and Easy TV DTT platform had a little over 4 million, and StarTimes/StarSat had 7.75 million.

Charter Communications has launched its Spectrum TV app on Apple TV devices, offering new and existing Spectrum TV and internet subscribers an Apple TV 4K as part of the monthly subscription with single-sign on. This feature automatically detects a Spectrum connection and signs users into the Spectrum TV app on Apple TV automatically, claiming to be the first US cable operator to offer the feature.

Telefónica has tapped Nagra for its Security Services Platform, to manage the Nagra Connect client which secures the Movistar IPTV service. The Kudelski Group company will secure 4K UHD content in countries where the operator has rolled out its newer set tops, providing Telefónica with a single, 4K-ready content protection system capable of securing multiple device types. Nagra says the deal is the first case of the Nagra SSP and Connect products being deployed together with a telco provider in an IPTV environment.

French SVoD service CanalPlay from France’s Canal+ is set to relaunch this spring, dropping its price down to €10 a month and possibly rebranding the service, according to French outlet Les Echos. It comes as CanalPlay plummeted from 800,000 to 200,000 subscribers, as revealed by the company’s CEO Maxime Saada last year. Although Saada has since denined the rumors.

Hulu impressed in 2018 with a 48% increase in subscribers, its best year ever, to reach the 25 million subscriber milestone. The advertising arm was also a resounding success, growing its user base by 50% year on year to grow revenue for the year by 45% to almost $1.5 billion.

Huawei is suing mobile R&D outfit InterDigital for alleged violations of license patents relating to 3G, 4G and 5G technologies, Reuters reports.

WiFi chip maker Quantenna got a slew of announcements out early doors at CES. Belgian operator Proximus selected Quantenna’s QV860 chipset for its Dual Band Repeater, while Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS) tapped the QV840 chipset for its new GPON gateway. Over in Malaysia, telecoms operator Time dotCom opted for the QV860 in its WiFi Booster mesh extender, which is based on the AirTies Air 4830.

Disney and Verizon used CES to reveal the two companies have entered discussions on a 5G connectivity deal for media and entertainment at Disney’s StudioLab.