OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Comcast shed 29,000 video subscribers in Q4 to make it a void of 370,000 subs in total for 2018, more than doubling its losses from the 151,000 cord cutters it incurred in 2017, to end the year on just under 22 million video subscribers in total. This caused video revenue to slip by 1.6% to $5.6 billion, while cable networks revenue increased by 8.9% to $2.9 billion thanks to improved content licensing and distribution deals. Total cable communications revenue, which video and internet both fall under, was up 5.2% to $14.1 billion, boosted by broadband gains of 258,000 in the fourth quarter.

Video and audio hardware supplier MuxLab has released its new 4K AV over IP Transmitter, supporting HEVC, making it easier to stream 4K AV anywhere. It says distributions of virtually matrixed displays and massive video walls supporting multi-views can be created, boasting low bandwidth requirements with less than 200ms latency when streaming.

Thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD panel shipments grew by 6.4% to 755.8 million units globally, according to IHS Markit. TV panels accounted for 288.8 million, up 9%, followed by notebook PC panels at 185.2 million, up 3%, monitor panels at 150.2 million, up 7%, 9”+ tablets at 99.1 million, up 6.4%, and other applications at 32.4 million, up 28.6%. LG Display led the area shipments of large display panels, with a 21% share last year, followed by China’s BOE (17%) and Samsung Display (16%).

YouTube TV has landed in 95 new markets in the US to reach 98% of the country, at a crucial period ahead of the Super Bowl. Launched in April 2016, YouTube TV costs $40 a month for 60 networks and unlimited cloud DVR storage.

Sharing passwords for video services is a regular practice for 53% of adults aged 36 to 50, according to an Amdocs survey, while 71% of consumers between 14 and 21 admit watching a platform they don’t pay for. Additional data from the survey of 1,000 US respondents, showed that 76% aged 22 to 35 regularly access more than one subscription video service.

Japanese internet giant and soon-to-be mobile network operator Rakuten has selected the TM500 Network Tester product from US manufacturer Viavi, to support its cloud-native mobile network. Features include uplink MIMO on two layers; downlink 8×8 MIMO; 4×4 MIMO support; two downlink carrier aggregation at 120 kHz and 240 kHz; millimeter wave support; and support for multiple UEs on 5G.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia is building a dedicated R&D hub geared towards using emerging technologies to create new media experiences, focusing on 5G, gaming and mixed reality. Its first partner will be the NBA and the center will be based in New York.

Huawei will unveil its first 5G smartphone, featuring a foldable design, at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona next month. The handset will feature a 5G modem chip and the Chinese vendor will also unveil a core chip designed specifically for base stations.

The average North American household used 2.75 OTT video and pay TV services as of 2018, an annual increase of 26%, according TiVo’s latest Video Trends Report. Netflix was selected as “essential” by 52.7% of respondents, the most of any service, followed by YouTube at 45.9% and cable TV at 39.5%.

Vodafone Germany has expanded its deal with Dutch software company Metrological to bring integrated apps and premium OTT content to its GigaTV platform. Through the Metrological Application Platform, it can pull in third-party streaming services, including niche content and localized apps, without users having to leave the TV experience. Metrological says its back-office gives Vodafone Germany the ability to anticipate the changing content preferences of their TV viewers instantly and efficiently.

A new DTT plan has been approved by the Spanish government, meaning broadcasters will have to vacate the 694 MHz to 790 MHz band to make way for 5G services, instead shifting over to the 470 MHz to 694 MHz band. In addition, all broadcasters must migrate to HD before 2023.

The National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee issued a statement to the Welsh government this week, fearing the country will be left behind in 5G unless efforts are stepped up. It believes neighboring England has a less stringent planning regime, suggesting the Welsh government should increase its current proposition of 25 meter-high masts in non-protected areas of the country, to 30 meters.

Programmatic ad buying platform Beeswax has raised $15 million in Series B funding, led by RRE, Foundry and Amasia, bringing its total funding to $28 million. Beeswax’s flagship product is a Bidder-as-a-Service tool, which enables advertisers to reach customers across and outside networks, such as for existing customer Twitch. “The flexible infrastructure provided by the Beeswax platform allows us to deliver custom, high-quality, dynamic ad units, further nurturing the already loyal Twitch customer base and driving our business,” said Brian Christmas, Director, Advanced Media Services at Twitch.

NBCUniversal has signed a multi-year deal with media measurement group Comscore effective immediately, shifting all stations owned by NBC and Telemundo to Comscore’s linear TV currency, which includes local mobile and desktop insights.

Swedish operator ComHem has soft-launched its new mobile service on the network of Tele2, its new parent company, claiming to reach 99.9% of the country’s population.

CBS All Access claims last weekend was its busiest to date for new subscriber sign ups, crediting the NFL and Star Trek, although it did not dish out exact figures.