OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Following weeks of speculation, Liberty Global has agreed to sell its Swiss cable operation to local operator Sunrise in a $6.3 billion deal including debt. Liberty Global says the sale completes the rebalancing project, which has also involved the sale of European assets to Vodafone.

Liberty Global’s latest results are also out, showing video subscriber losses of 74,900 in total last quarter, spearheaded by Telenet in Belgium which saw 54,400 video subscribers losses. Revenues were up slightly by 1.2% in Q4 to $2.95 billion, to total $11.96 billion for the year, up 2.2%. Operating income increased 73.2% to $252 million, making it $839 million for the year.

UK broadcasters the BBC and ITV have finally confirmed the two are teaming up in vain to challenge Netflix with a joint OTT video service called BritBox, set to launch in Q2 this year. Early reports say it will cost a competitive £5 a month.

The BBC has also selected Bitmovin this week to encode some of its UHD content on catch up and VoD services.

Following its recent purchase of Pluto TV, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said the company is in discussions with distributors about providing Pluto TV at no cost to broadband-only subscribers. “It’s a tremendously compelling value proposition. It’s an extension of our partnership approach with distributors where we can now provide value across the whole subscriber base. I’ve had conversations with every distributor in the US. They all get it and they’re all excited about it. We’ll see some activity shortly in that regard,” he said.

NBCUniversal says its new streaming service, set to launch in 2020, will have a significant focus on targeted advertising, but it will also launch an ad-free tier for a subscription fee which is yet to be revealed.

The Phoenix Model Market initiative in the US has selected encoding technology from Ateme to drive ATSC 3.0 projects. Pearl TV, one of the founding companies behind the initiative, says it is testing multi-channel HEVC encoding for ATSC 3.0 including UDH and HDR video, immersive audio, DRM, next-generation emergency alerting, Scalable High Efficiency Video Coding (SHVC) and digital ad insertion – using Ateme’s flagship Titan platform.

Video traveling over mobile networks has surged somewhere between 50% and 60% over the past five years, according to a report from data traffic firm Openwave Mobility.

InsideSecure’s Provisioning Platform has been selected by fabless semiconductor maker HiSilicon, to securely provision customer secrets in the manufacturing process.

The Kudelski Group posted revenue for 2018 down slightly to $919.7 million, from $1.01 billion in 2017, impacted primarily by the digital TV segment which incurred a net revenue drop of $72.1 million. It says a comprehensive restructuring program has been implemented, including reduction in costs of $75 million relating to the digital TV business.

Spotify has officially launched in India in four local languages Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Bot attacks on OTT video services reached 8 billion between May and December last year, according to Akamai, highlighting the targeting of credit card details.

Telefonica and Microsoft signed an agreement at MWC relating to adding additional Azure technologies to the Spanish operator’s AI-powered digital assistant Aura. Telefonica will use Azure Cognitive Services to create new in-home experiences and collect data to ultimately improve its network. The two companies say they will form a joint working group to understand how AI and machine learning can optimize the Telefonica network, as well as reduce costs and drive industry transformation.