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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

In an unlikely turn of events, CBS and Viacom are reportedly making progress towards a merger agreement with a deal expected as soon as the end of June or early July, according to sources familiar with the matter. But the volatility of both sets of executives remains a fundamental factor in potentially derailing negotiations once again.

 

German broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL are combining resources to build an addressable advertising platform to control automated booking of TV and online video ad slots – independent of the ad duopoly of Google and Facebook.

 

Vivendi has successfully submitted a €2.1 billion bond to fund the acquisition of France’s M7 Group by the Italian mass media firm’s subsidiary Canal+. The bond comprises three tranches with maturities of three, six, and nine and a half years. M7 Chairman Marc-Antoine d’Halluin described the deal as potentially “transformative” for M7’s content ambitions, speaking at the Anga show this week.

It comes as M7 rolled out a new UHD package for cable and IPTV network operators featuring Insight UHD, Love Nature 4K and Fashion One 4K, claiming to be the largest UHD package on German cable.

 

SK Telecom has successfully trialed an in-vehicle HD TV broadcast using the ATSC 3.0 standard in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast and Harman. The demo combined ATSC 3.0 with 5G technology, with the South Korean operator claiming 4 times clearer screen quality, while using an addressable system to show different ads on each of the vehicle’s three screens.

 

Telefónica has unveiled a shiny new OTT video service under the Movistar brand in Spain. Movistar+ Lite costs €8 a month, with a healthy selection of sports content covering 20 competitions, plus more than 4,600 fiction series and access to 350 entertainment programs.

Pay TV revenues are projected to plunge 14% to $177 billion by 2024, equivalent to the market value in 2010, according to Digital TV Research. Figures were calculated by taking subscription fees, pay-per-view movies and TV episodes from 138 countries.

French middleware developer Wyplay has released what it claims to be “the most exhaustive Android TV offering on the market”. Wyplay’s bold description of comprehensiveness stems from encompassing five key components from the client to the back-end, covering Premium, Frog, Apps Manager, UX Manager and Analytics Manager. The offering is complemented further with Wyplay’s range of professional services, including Consulting, Program Management, SW Customization, Qualification & Acceptance and, finally, System Integration – all-in-all delivering a platform to meet the needs of the most demanding TV operators.

Wyplay also struck a partnership with fellow French vendor Viaccess-Orca this week to develop a pre-integrated end-to-end TV platform aimed at minimizing complexity for operators. It says the main features include cross-device applications, relying on the ReactNative framework, a UX management tool, a rich TV platform available on-premise or in the cloud, personalization capabilities, analytics and ongoing support for Android TV. Shame the press release is unnecessarily complex while failing to convey the real essence of the collaboration.

Austrian network operators Kabelplus and Salzburg AG have both selected IPTV set tops from Ocilion, secured by Verimatrix. Ocilion’s new P400 line of 4K hardware supports OTT, FTTH or hybrid delivery formats, integrated with the Verimatrix client supporting DRM for IP, IP/DVB-C and OTT.

Internet TV platform Pluto TV, now part of Viacom, is coming to Cox Communications’ Contour TV Everywhere streaming service.

Norwegian operator Telenor has deployed a WiFi Amplifier powered by WiFi’ON technology from France’s SoftAtHome, which automatically selects the best network frequency within the home gateway. Using the MQTT protocol for real-time data transfer to the operator, the new WiFi Amplifier enables faster software updates via Telenor’s Skynet system.

Harmonic has added a new low-latency mode to its CableOS virtualized cable access platform, enabling double throughput performance using 1-RU Intel servers with a 100 Gigabit Network Interface Card and virtual segmentation with network-wide QoS capabilities. Harmonic says the upgrade ultimately helps operators break out of the cycle of waiting for and purchasing expensive and quick-to-be-obsolete custom hardware-based CMTS platforms.

WiFi silicon maker Quantenna has teamed with China-based IP set top supplier Tatung Technology to deliver a smart mesh WiFi extender called the IRIS SMC-5550 – serving as an all-in-one extender, voice-controlled smart hub and Bluetooth speaker. Based on Quantenna’s Spartan architecture, the device features beamforming, far-field recognition, and noise cancellation.

Digital access system vendor ATX Networks has enhanced its MD16 bulk media distribution gateway with a new OTT streaming blade to enable streaming video experiences anywhere within the commercial enterprise facility on any device. The MD16 OTT is targeted at apartments, universities, hotels, hospitals and other commercial premises.

Amazon Prime subscribers in Canada will soon get access to the services’ Channels option featuring NBCUniversal’s hayu, Starz, Nickelodeon and StackTV.

NASCAR is tapping machine learning and AI techniques from AWS to launch a new racing series called This Moment in NASCAR History, using automation tools to collate archived content. The mammoth project involves migrating NASCAR’s 18-petabyte archive to AWS infrastructure, where the cloud giant will apply its Rekognition image analytics technology to automatically tag video frames with metadata, for example the driver, car, time, sponsors – thereby making the process of searching and selecting specific tags a whole lot easier.

Revenue from podcast advertising surged 53% last year to $479.1 million in the US, highlighting the rise of dynamically inserted ads which accounted for 48.8% of all ad revenue, rising from 41% the previous year, according to the IAB. Findings are based on survey responses from 22 companies, so clearly not representative of the entire US podcast market.

French video streaming technology vendor EasyBroadcast has made an investment in African digital music service WAW Music, which has signed 10 million tracks with Universal Music and plans for Orange to head up distribution. EasyBroadcast has also built the Android and iOS apps for WAW Music, and handles the transcoding platform, CMS and analytics dashboard for the streaming service.

London-based live virtual production firm Future Group has announced its Pixotope graphics technology powered the virtual studio and AR platform for the recent Eurovision Song Content. Pixotope pits itself as the only system on the market offering native rendering with WYSIWYG editing in the Unreal Engine.

US FTTx technology vendor Clearfield has added a new training program to one its campuses to train the technicians required to support fiber roll outs, as well as 5G and FWA services. The Fiber Optic Association-approved Certified Fiber Optic Technician training scheme is a three-day workshop intended to serve as a foundation for a technician’s fiber knowledge – whether for the inside or outside plants or the access network.

 

Deutsche Telekom’s MagentaTV service has arrived on Amazon Fire TV courtesy of Swedish app store developer Accedo, powered by the Accedo One platform.

Twitter has acquired a UK-based specialist in detecting and stamping out fake news online using machine learning algorithms, called Fabula AI. The start-up says its patented geometric deep learning algorithms are used to authenticate sources of information circulating on social media.

YouTube has expanded the coverage of Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings on its mobile app to an additional 26 international markets to total 34. It gives media buyers and sellers expanded access to age and gender demographics for YouTube mobile app users, plus other data like reach and frequency.

Swedish telco Tele2 has agreed to sell its Croatian business to United Group for €220 million, subject to regulatory approval.

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