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18 July 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Just one year after the IP video vendor was spun off from Ericsson, MediaKind’s CMO has jumped ship. Arun Bhikshesvaran, an Ericsson veteran joining the company as an engineer back in 1995, has been poached by telecoms technology supplier Radisys to take the CEO role. MediaKind is yet to announce a replacement and refused to comment when contacted by Faultline Online Reporter. Trouble in paradise at the Mediaroom spin off? We’ll do some digging at IBC.

Sinclair Broadcast’s ad-supported streaming service STIRR has achieved 1 million downloads since launching in January, with an overwhelming 76% occurring on connected TV devices including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

CBS is threatening blackout action against AT&T, claiming unfair carriage terms. The blackout would affect DirecTV, DirecTV Now and U-verse services, losing CBS broadcast stations across 17 states.

Video optimization specialist SSIMWave will make its IBC debut this year, showcasing its SSIMPlus VoD Monitor Inspector product which delivers frame-by-frame and pixel-by-pixel analysis of video content – predicting and scoring perceptual QoE by mimicking human vision.

US satellite communications firm LTN Global has acquired metadata and playout company Crystal with the aim of offering mission-critical ad insertion, digital watermarking and monetization tools. Crystal’s AdConnect product has been rolled out by 100+ linear networks to allow ad inventory owners to sell addressable ads on any platform. Crystal wasn’t always working with addressable ads in the OTT industry, it came from controlling ground transmission and video ingest for the satellite industry – injecting commands into video links. Fast forward 30 years and the technology is much the same except Crystal looks more like Gracenote, claiming to be the world’s most knowledgeable company in the realm of SCTE (Society of Cable and Telecommunications Engineers) markers.

ISPs serving rural areas of the US will receive $563 million of FCC funding over the next decade to bring broadband access to some 220,000 rural premises. The small print states that ISPs must built out to 40% of the required homes and businesses within three years, with an additional 20% each year until completion by year six.

The acquisition of Britain’s largest satellite firm Inmarsat by a private equity consortium is under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

IP broadcast video contribution service provider Aria Networks has partnered with satellite services firm Telespazio and remote productions vendor Speedcast on a three-way offering. The joint product will use Aria Networks’ redundant video contribution over IP gateways integrated with the Speedcast Media Network and Telespazio video teleports – enabling media companies to securely contribute and deliver SD, HD and UHD video services with efficiently, flexibly and at a faster time to market.

Salto, the broadcaster-backed French SVoD project, is considering concessions to receive regulatory approval, according to local outlet Les Echos. Such concessions would apparently include placing a 40% limit on how much non-movie content can be supplied exclusively by the three broadcasters – France Télévisions, TF1 and M6.

An opportunity coined the “smart set top market” has been invented and given a valuation of $2 billion by 2024, rising at a CAGR of 8% from 2018. A report from market research firm Arizton says voice assistants, smart apps and AI will drive smart set top innovation, while contradicting itself by saying operators are being forced into providing cloud-based non-linear and on-demand services due to the rise of OTT video usage outside of set top environments.

Swedish telco Tele2 streamlined the business during the second quarter with divestments in Eastern Europe through the sale of a stake in Kazakhtelecom and by cashing in €220 million for its Croatian assets, with the aim of focusing on its core Swedish market. Tele2 bought cableco Com Hem late last year for €2.65 billion.

Finnish operator DNA Oy is selling its DTT pay TV business to competitor Digita Oy for an undisclosed sum and will be officially transferred in January 2020. DNA will continue to operate as a sales partner to Digita.

Vodafone has given its GigaCube wireless mobile router a 5G fixed wireless access flavor, offering a 90-meter WiFi range and up to 1 Gbps download speeds. Offered only in the UK for now, the MNO is marketing a $31 a month deal with $103 upfront fees getting you 100GB of monthly data allowance.

Netflix has tripled its South Korean subscriber base within the past year, rising from 630,000 in June 2018 to 1.84 million active users at the end of last month, according to local news reports.

Indian SVoD platform Zee5 is close to inking a significant streaming deal with Amazon which will involve Prime Video adding 100,000 hours of local content. The Economic Times of India reports that revenue sharing discussions are underway as well as looking at whether Zee5 content should be available as in-app or app-in-app formats.

Hotstar, another Indian streaming trailblazer, has once again broken its own world record for concurrent live streamers, recording 25.3 million viewers during the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final showing India versus New Zealand last week. This beat Hotstar’s previous record of 18.6 million concurrent viewers.

Audience measurement guru Nielsen has shifted its on-premise processing servers powering the core National Television Measurement service to AWS cloud infrastructure – improving the scalability and flexibility of measurement data services delivered by Nielsen.

The English Premier League soccer franchise increased its cumulative programming audience outside of the UK by 11% to 1.35 billion for the 2018/19 season, according to data from Nielsen Sports. That figure rises to 3.2 billion when factoring in home fans, itself an increase of 6%. Nielsen notes that international growth was driven by Brazil and South Africa which have benefited from new FTA service launches.

Location-based VR start-up The Void has received a $20 million investment from Lupa Systems, a holding company founded by former 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch. The Void’s ventures involve ticketed VR experiences at events such as movie theaters and the US firm has also teamed with Disney and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab for VR projects.

Hulu has reignited its 4K flame but with a few caveats – subscribers can only view Hulu original content in 4K format on 5th generation Apple TV and Chromecast Ultra devices. Hulu also said it had no plans to support HDR and pointed the finger at ISPs for poor broadband speeds.

Qualcomm Technologies’ new Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform is purpose built for speed to support gaming, mixed reality, multi-gigabit 5G and AI experiences. The 855 features a Qualcomm Kryo CPU Prime core clock speed at up to 2.96 GHz and the Qualcomm Adreno 640 GPU offers a 15% performance increase. It also comes with an AI Engine capable of handling 7 trillion operations a second.