OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Roku device shipments surged 40% during Q4 2018, accounting for a 28% market share of streaming devices, just one percentage point behind market leader Amazon, according to a sample of US households conducted by WiFi software specialist Plume. Google Chromecast accounts for a 15% share while Apple has 18% and Plume notes that nearly one-third of all Plume US households now have a streaming device connected to their WiFi network.

Orange added 445,000 TV subscribers across its footprint last year to total 9.55 million, including 182,000 gains in its core French market, where it now has 7.04 million subs, and 90,000 in Spain, totaling 716,000 on IPTV and satellite. Total fixed broadband returned to growth with 19,000 net adds in Q4 2018, which Orange says was boosted by soccer packages and solid fiber sales. In France, the broadband subscriber base was up by 225,000 year on year to 11.7 million, of which 2.6 million are on fiber, increasing by 188,000 in Q4. Total group revenues rose 1.3% year on year to €10.8 billion ($12.25 billion).

Arris reported relatively flat sales of $1.79 billion for the fourth quarter and $6.74 billion for the year, while net income recovered at $44.5 million in Q4 and $113.7 million for the year. The CPE business clocked in a shade under $2 billion in sales for Q4, up marginally by about $10 million year on year, while the Network & Cloud division fell by about $60,000 to $536.8 million.

Italian broadcaster Rai claims to be Europe’s first to demonstrate 8K technology with footage recorded at a recent Open Access conference, according to the company’s director of technological strategy. Rai aims to use 8K during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Super WiFi is the latest marketing ploy from Vodafone, soon to launch a new cloud-based service in Europe starting with Spain. The offering includes up to three WiFi extenders and a cloud management platform and that’s about it for information, with Vodafone yet to release pricing or availability details.

Charter Communications is bundling the Spectrum TV Essentials video streaming service with its Spectrum Internet offering to encourage broadband subscribers to take TV too. The IP-delivered Spectrum TV Essentials will launch by the end of March, showing some 60 channels for $14.99 a month.

After dropping out of acquiring assets from Liberty Latin America, cellular operator Millicom has agreed to buy Telefonica’s mobile operations in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama for a $1.65 billion fee. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close within the second half of this year. Telefonica has now sold off all its Central American assets following the sale of its businesses in Guatemala and El Salvador to America Movil last month.

Sports-focused OTT video service fuboTV is diversifying its lineup somewhat with a deal to license networks from Viacom, including Comedy Central, BET, MTV and Nickelodeon.

CBS is using a data analytics platform from startup firm Canvs to process natural language comments using a proprietary AI, applying the system to its full programming roster following the introduction of Canvs to automate the coding of open-ended responses to surveys last quarter.

YouTube now accounts for 35% of all global mobile internet traffic, a full 20 percentage points ahead of the next hungriest OTT video service Netflix, according to the Mobile Phenomena report from Sandvine. Instagram was the second highest for traffic in North America, Latin America and Europe, while Facebook took second place in Asia Pacific, and in the Middle East Snapchat took second spot.

Polish mobile operator Play has launched a trial of the streaming service Play Now TV to pay TV subscribers using TV Box hardware. The six-month trial period will offer the Plan Now TV Box package free of charge, offering live channels and VoD content, costing €4.62 a month thereafter.

Russian OTT service TNT-Premier, part of media firm GazpromMedia, has ditched Huawei’s video platform, citing a “massive equipment malfunction” instead developing its own replacement software ready to roll out by the end of the year. Higher than expected demand is likely at fault, with Gazprom-Media reporting the service was viewed 3.9 million times in its first month, a volume some 100 times higher than anticipated.

Com Hem customers can now pay their mobile contracts in the same bill as TV and broadband following the Swedish operator’s merger with Tele2, claiming to be the first in Sweden to do so. Existing Com Hem subscribers are being offered double mobile data upon signing up for mobile services, starting at just $9.30 ($10.60) a month.

Streaming software vendor Net Insight now supports the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) specification to its Nimbra product, enabling customers to exchange content with others using RIST. Net Insight is open sourcing the implementation to accelerate adoption.