A year ago, Faultline Online Reporter ran the headline “Vodafone-Liberty German merger – over Bundeskartellamt’s dead body” – a sentiment the European Commission is rumored to be leaning towards as Reuters reports the regulator is writing Vodafone a letter warning of anti-competitive practices as a result of buying Liberty’s German and Eastern European assets for $22 billion. There is so much history around the mergers to date, that surely no one can assume that merging Vodafone’s Kabel Deutschland and Liberty Global’s Unitymedia will be trouble free. A final regulatory decision is penciled in for June 3 after Vodafone digests and responds to its regulatory warning.
Amazon has tapped BT Sport and TV production company Sunset+Vine to produce the 20 English Premier League soccer matches which Amazon won the rights to air next season. Over two weeks in December 2019, Prime Video will live stream the matches at no extra cost to Prime subscribers in the UK.
Google was fined a hefty €1.3 billion by the EU this week after being found guilty of anti-competitive practices in online advertising, relating to blocking publishers from placing rival ads to Google on their pages, among other misdemeanors. But following an even bigger €4.3 billion fine by the EU in July 2017 regarding pre-installed Android apps, Google has this week decided to push a notification to inform Android users in Europe that they can choose a web browser other than Chrome and a search engine other than Google.
Swiss security specialist The Kudelski Group has recruited blockchain security and smart contract auditing firm Hosho to extend the reach of the Kudelski Blockchain Security Center – saying the partnership will make both companies’ skillsets, services and IP available to help organizations better secure their use of blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Security vulnerabilities cost blockchain companies more than $2 billion in lost or stolen capital in 2018, according to Hosho, which claims smart contracts are the most critical component of a blockchain company’s technical ecosystem.
Dynamic ad insertion enabler Yospace says it will showcase new features for optimizing yield from programmatic demand, low latency live streaming, MPEG-DASH, CMAF and data security at the upcoming NAB 2019. Yospace will demo its new premium server side ad insertion capabilities, showcasing how to scale programmatic for major live events with low latency, as well as how to merge monetization across live and VoD, while also protecting viewer data and the content itself.
UK-based Zoo Digital, a supplier of subtitling and dubbing software, is launching ZooStudio at NAB 2019 – a cloud-based tool for simplifying localization for content owners, while increasing vendor collaboration and reducing supply chain wastage. ZooStudio is designed to address the challenges of OTT distribution, by enabling content owners to have all their vendor suppliers working together in one cloud ecosystem – delivering dubbing, subtitling, metadata localization and media processing delivered either by Zoo Digital itself or in combination with customers’ vendors of choice. In short, ZooStudio provides a centralized system for ordering, tracking and managing all the services required to create localized content packages.
Korean telco KT and live IP technology vendor TVU Networks have stuck it to main rival SK Telecom by achieving a UHD broadcast over KT’s 5G enterprise network in what the two claim is a world first, a few months after SKT announced a claim to the world’s first live TV broadcast over 5G using its T Live Caster broadcasting technology. KT first trialed 5G services at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last month and says it also broadcast a live K-pop concert on its IPTV service Olleh TV. The latest UHD broadcast was delivered through set tops and mobile devices using KT’s 5G network, expecting full-scale commercialization in April.
Facebook-owned VR firm Oculus has begun phasing out its flagship Rift headset as the new Rift S slides in. The Rift S features external cameras on the VR headset itself meaning no additional trackers are required – implying the Rift S could be a sort of VR-AR hybrid.
The NBA has launched a YouTube channel dedicated to fans in sub-Saharan Africa, bringing two live matches a week for the rest of the season, as well as original and archived programming in collaboration with Africa-based content creators.
Video platform provider Kaltura has integrated the 3Ready front end from German multiscreen developer 3 Screen Solutions (3SS) into its Kaltura Targeted TV product. 3SS is known for its adaptable UI and says the combination with Kaltura’s Cloud TV machine learning capabilities will help content owners, broadcasters and network operators to launch customized, branded IPTV and OTT multiscreen services faster than previously possible.
Streaming as a service platform provider DaCast has selected SmartSight analytics from MediaMelon as an upgraded analytics system for its live and VoD OTT capabilities. DaCast says that by switching to MediaMelon analytics, it can provide customers including Nokia and AMD with the ability to dive deeper into streaming infrastructure – by collecting real-time data to the session level, offering multi-channel alerts, providing content and subscriber insights, as well as configurable dashboards.
Brazilian live broadcasting services provider Casablanca Online has tapped the Kyrion encoder and decoder from French firm Ateme, based on its fifth gen Stream compression engine, to support increasing demand for high-quality video processing.
Disney has closed its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which CEO Bob Iger described as an “extraordinary and historic moment.”
Panasonic has rolled out the HbbTV Operator App in Germany, allowing viewers to access the HD+ platform through its OLED UHD smart TVs.
Red Arrow Studios subsidiary Gravitas Ventures has launched the streaming service Gravitas movies in the US, rolling out globally this summer. A catalog of 1,000 movies will cost just $4.99 a month, available on Android smartphones, Android TV, Comcast Xfinity X1, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Time spent gaming online has increased by almost 20% in the past year, with the global average rising to more than seven hours a week, according to the State of Online Gaming report from CDN provider Limelight Networks.
Netflix hit 11.2 million subscribers in Australia as of the end of February, growing its user base by 25.2% in a year, according to Roy Morgan Research. Meanwhile, homegrown SVoD service Stan has increased its reach by 45.2% in a year to 2.6 million Australians.
Indian DTH companies Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV are reportedly exploring a mega merger, surprisingly soon after Dish TV completed its merger with Videocon d2h. Surely this cannot pass regulatory muster, with the merged entity creating a behemoth guarding a 63% share of India’s DTH market with a combined 38.6 million subscribers. The proposed move is a retaliation to disruptive operator Reliance Jio buying controlling stakes in cable TV companies Den Networks and Hathway Cable.
Video processing SoC developer Pixelworks has partnered with Qualcomm to offer its visual display calibration system as a software service for devices based on the Snapdragon 855 chipset – enhancing the appearance of HDR content on mobile devices.