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2 May 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Hulu claims it onboarded 3 million new subscribers from March to April, to total a user base of 28 million, of which 26.8 million are paid. The company also used its upfront presentation this week to showcase a “binge advertising” format in which viewers with a palate for binge viewing will be targeted with ads relevant to their situational binging tastes. “Because of our viewer-first advertising principles, we’re scaling rapidly. We’re offering advertisers the most sophisticated targeting, the largest addressable footprint in on-demand television, robust measurement solutions, and new ad models,” said Hulu’s SVP and Head of Ad Sales Peter Naylor.

AT&T is working to add 5G mobile connectivity to HEVC bonding portable broadcasting technology from portable video transmission supplier LiveU. The plan is to upgrade AT&T’s 4G LTE which is currently used in LiveU’s existing units, where multiple cellular networks are bonded together, to 5G connectivity – aiming to deliver speedier video delivery with lower latency and improved features.

Online video viewership has rocketed 72% in a year, according to Conviva’s Q1 2019 State of the Streaming TV Industry report, revealing that vMVPDs like DirecTV Now and Hulu saw viewership surge 108% year on year. Another key finding, from the analysis of one trillion daily transactions on 3 billion streaming apps across 180 countries, warns of a massive failure rate of streaming TV ads to the tune of 47% of ads failing – signaling a huge risk. As for connected TV devices, Amazon Fire TV captured 18.6% share, up significantly from 11.4% share in Q1 2018, while Roku maintained its long-standing lead of 42.4% share.

French operator Bouygues Telecom has tapped Turkey’s AirTies to supply its smart WiFi software and mesh extenders to broadband subscribers –integrating the technology across existing Bbox gateways. Bouygues will offer subs the Air 4830 mesh extenders powered by Quantenna chipsets.

NBCUniversal’s cross-platform advertising metric CFlight is making its international debut via Comcast’s newly acquired European TV asset Sky. Sky Media in the UK will roll out CFlight in the Fall for capturing live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions on every viewing platform, before expanding elsewhere in Europe next year. Already being used by Viacom in the US, CFlight sources data from Nielsen in the US and BARB in the UK.

A couple of crackpots at the IAB Digital Content NewFronts conference this week reckon Netflix is legitimately preparing to embrace advertising, with one panelist reportedly citing inside information about Netflix currently recruiting advertising-focused staff. Of course, the recruitment could simply be related to Netflix’s own advertising.

Altice USA is chomping down millennial US news network Cheddar for $200 million. Cheddar is available across some 40 million pay TV homes, as well as being available on all the major US MVPDs and free digital services, with a sizable presence in the college community.

Telefónica has plans to launch a new €8 a month OTT video service available outside of its Movistar pay TV footprint, according to Telefónica España’s President Emilio Gayo. He said Telefónica could launch the service as early as June, with a focus on sports and Movistar Series.

British Telecom surpassed Virgin Media to receive the top number of pay TV complaints in the UK during Q4 2018. In broadband, complaints against Plusnet more than doubled as it struggled with a new billing system.

The deadline for a decision regarding the formation of New T-Mobile (TMO + Sprint) has been extended to July 29, allowing extra time to seek regulatory approval.

Intelsat’s IS-29e satellite recently went walkabouts and the company has now reported an unsurprising loss of business as a result. Revenue at Intelsat declined by $15 million in Q1 2019 to $528 million, incurring a net loss of $121 million. Intelsat says it was unable to restore all services on the 29e so made use of a pre-existing agreement with SES to restore these services.

Soccer star Christian Fuchs, who plays for Premier League club Leicester City, has bought 36 acres of land in New York to build a dedicated esports arena. “It’s going to be beautiful; like a football stadium or a gladiator arena. And with my connections in the football industry I can give it good exposure,” said Fuchs, speaking at the SportsPro Live event in London this week.

Korean mobile operator SK Telecom has signed a MoU with Seoul Broadcasting System to collaborate on a new media business based on 5G use cases. The two companies will jointly develop a 5G-based 4K UHD live broadcasting system and conduct trials at sports events, while also investigating opportunities in digital advertising and AR.

Mobile AR games and the rise of VR headsets from 14 million units last year to 51 million by 2022 will help the mixed reality consumer hardware and software space reach a market size of $33.9 billion by the end of 2022, according to Super Data Research, part of Nielsen.

Blockchain-based digital media rights company MTonomy has teamed with media management firm Bitmax to deliver content to millions of cryptocurrency users globally through a TVoD model. Cryptocurrency users can access Bitmax’s video content using Ethereum.

WiFi is celebrating its 20th birthday this week, prompting the WiFi Alliance to make a series of 2019 predictions including that WiFi 6 will reach more APs and consumer products, as well as projecting greater adoption of WiFi Certified WPA3 encryption in home and enterprise networks. The WiFi Alliance will also continue advocating for additional unlicensed spectrum for WiFi in the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands.

German equipment testing giant Rohde & Schwarz has selected Microsoft Azure to host its new monitoring-as-a-service offering, coined It enables broadcasters and content providers to quickly integrate advanced monitoring, analytics and troubleshooting within their content creation and distribution workflows.

Motor sports broadcast firm Al Kamel Systems has deployed the Remote Production System from live IP technology vendor TVU Networks as a key production tool in reducing costs on events by allowing staff to add race graphics remotely.

Rovi stepped up its patent spat with Comcast by filing a suit for unpaid patents in the US District Court for the Central District of California, relating to DVR functions including cloud network recording and whole-home DVR arrangements.

Orange posted Q1 results showing an annual decline of 562,000 TV subscribers across its footprint, dropping to 9.66 million. Its core French market experienced 236,000 TV customer losses, while Spain lost 64,000. The European broadband business, meanwhile, has grown by 282,000 subscribers in a year, totaling 3.3 million as of Q1, while the mobile sector gained 796,000 subs to reach 33.7 million.

Apple saw iPhone shipments plunge 15% year on year, with lower demand in China a key mitigating factor, causing a revenue slide of 5% to $58 billion for the first quarter of 2019. Having recently settled a dispute with Qualcomm, the semiconductor titan revealed it will receive a payment in the region of $4.5 billion to $4.7 billion from Apple, although we understand there may be additional payments.