OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Online platforms like YouTube and Twitter will be forced to remove copyrighted material deemed to breach IP property, following a change to the law by the European Union this week. It will mean installing expensive upload filters and while supporters of the reform say it will protect rights holders, opponents say independent creators could be harmed. The agreement also applies to Google News, which must now sign licenses with publishers to show articles.

Wireless working group the IEEE made a contentious decision this week by allocating 6 GHz WiFi bands for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) use only, much to the dismay of mobile operators. WiFi chip maker Quantenna believes the decision will lead to improved quality and capacity by avoiding interference from legacy devices.

UK machine learning firm Zoo Digital has signed up to content security standards group The Trusted Partner Network (TPN), a directory of vendors who have undergone a security assessment in line with its standards. TPN is a joint venture between the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and the CDSA (Content Delivery & Security Association).

Market researcher IHS Markit has let buzzword syndrome get the better out of it, pulling an exorbitant number out of thin air to ensure reports sell like hot cakes. It reckons blockchain revenues will reach $462 billion by 2030, driven by uninspiring projects like cross-border payments, share trading and syndicated lending.

Epix Now, a D2C streaming service from the US TV network, has launched in the US – featuring its full catalog of programming. Epix Now costs $5.99 a month and is available on iOS, Android and Apple TV devices, with Roku and Amazon Fire TV to follow soon.

Telefónica has been in discussions with sports streaming service Dazn about a carriage deal for the Spanish operator’s Movistar Partizado and Movistar Liga de Campeones channels, when Dazn makes its debut in Spain this year. It comes after competition watchdog the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia forced Telefónica to make the two sports channels available to competitors.

Telefónica has also lauded the integration of Netflix into its Movistar+ interface as a game changer, with over a third of new Movistar+ subscribers signing up to a package which includes Netflix.

Netflix has surpassed 5 million subscribers in France, overtaking first-placed pay TV operator Canal+ which has 4.75 million subscribers, according to news outlet Le Figaro. Netflix has gained 1.5 million French subscribers since April 2017, while Canal+ lost 233,000 pay TV customers in the same period, it notes.

CuriosityStream, the ad-supported nonfiction VoD service created by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, has raised $140 million in funding, involving Stifel Investment Banking as sole placement, along with new investors Blum Capital Ventures and TimesSquare Capital Management. CuriosityStream claims over 1 million subscribers and aims to raise its library from 2,000 titles to 3,000 titles by the end of 2019, including exclusive originals in 4K UHD.

Amazon has commissioned over 20 new and returning Prime Original Series for the production in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, Japan and Mexico.

CDN behemoth Akamai boosted Q4 2018 revenue up 8% to $713 million, driven primarily by the Cloud Security Solutions segment which grew 36% to $185 million. The Web and Media & Carrier divisions also performed solidly, growing 9% and 8% respectively. International revenues rose 20% to $279 million, while domestic US revenues were up 2%.

Chinese internet giant Tencent has pumped $300 million into social media site Reddit, a highly contentious move among loyal Reddit users due to China’s association with censorship. A number of additional investors were involved in the round, including rapper Snoop Dogg, along with VC firms Sequoia, Fidelity and Quiet Capital.

Comcast’s audience measurement platform FreeWheel has extended its deal with Nielsen to include the Nielsen DMP (Data Management Platform), enabling FreeWheel Markets to analyze, build and target advanced audiences across connected TV, OTT and digital video.

Japanese telco Jupiter Telecommunications (J:COM) has selected connected security specialist Verimatrix, recently bought by Inside Secure, to supply its Verspective Intelligence product for powerful business intelligence capabilities. Verimatrix says Verspective’s dashboards and visualization tools enable J:COM to make informed decisions about audiences, content, consumption and overall service performance.

Arris subsidiary Ruckus Networks has rolled out a new edge-to-core network product, the ICX 7850 switch, delivery high-density aggregation for 10GbE, 25GbE, 40GbE, 50GbE, and 100GbE using existing customer investment in fiber cabling, making it suitable for large, secure enterprise edge networks in education, government and enterprise settings. Ruckus says the pay-as-you-grow design enables enterprise-scale networks to keep pace with advances in wireless technologies – such as WiFi 6, IoT and LTE.

Red Eléctrica, the Spanish telecommunications infrastructure company-come-utilities firm, has acquired a majority 89.7% stake in satellite operator Hispasat for €949 million ($1.07 billion). Hispasat serves Spain and Portugal, where it claims the number one spot for satellite infrastructure, as well as Latin American markets where it claims to be fourth-placed.

Vodafone Deutschland is carrying out 5G-based TV trials with public broadcasterWDR, testing live sports and feature-length films for broadcast to homes, mobile devices and even moving vehicles. The project will run until 2020.


WarnerMedia will launch its new SVoD service in beta mode during the Fall of 2019, according to Turner Entertainment chief creative officer Kevin Reilly.