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25 July 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Virgin Media will rollout gigabit broadband this year following successful trials, promising to connect over 1 million UK users by the end of 2019 and pledging to provide gigabit speeds across its entire network of 15 million connections by the close of 2021. The UK operator, owned by Liberty Global, cited 8K video streaming, cloud gaming and VR applications as reason for its aggressive gigabit build out, for which Arris is a key supplier of DOCSIS 3.1 equipment.

Amazon’s debut virtual reality app has arrived with Prime Video VR – available on Quest, Go, Rift and Gear VR headsets all manufactured by Facebook’s Oculus. Prime Video VR is available free to Prime subscribers in the US and UK, although just 10 titles are available upon launch initially.

Telefonica’s Movistar Play OTT service reached 1.2 million subscribers in Latin America at the end of Q2, an increase of 59%. Pay TV numbers in Spain were up 4% to 4.1 million, while the IPTV service in Germany saw a small gain of 31,000 subs. However, Latin America saw satellite pay TV losses of 594,000.

US sports OTT video service fuboTV has expanded its fubo Sports Network to Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels powered by the smart TV platform from Xumo, an OTT content provider. It marks the first time the live TV streaming service has developed a channel for distribution off its platform.

Mesh WiFi products are present in 11% of US homes while 22% use a WiFi network extender, according to Parks Associates. Research notes that 30% of connected device owners report a loss of connectivity, with the majority blaming routers.

Video asset management platform provider Vemba has been acquired by US firm Frankly Media to strengthen its OTT video management and cloud playout system for broadcasters. Frankly says the acquisition complements its 20-year history of powering multiscreen workflows, by streamlining video syndication across content partners, and delivering live video channels with dynamic ad insertion for growing OTT audiences.

One Media, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast, has inked a deal with Indian software-defined radio supplier Saankhya Labs to speed up the development of wireless networks for offloading OTT and live video traffic. Saankhya Labs’ platform will use radio nodes co-located with existing cell towers and end user devices to dynamically shift video traffic onto “one-to-many” DTT networks – using 5G and ATSC 3.0 technologies.

A year after commencing its investigation, the FTC has smacked Facebook with a $5 billion fine for user privacy violations and also used the ruling to impose a new compliance regime to prevent Facebook and its apps from abusing personal data, for the next 20 years.

Facebook also posted its Q2 results this week, growing revenue 28% to $16.9 billion. Daily active users increased by 8% year on year to 1.6 billion while monthly active users also climbed 8% to 2.4 billion. Mobile ad revenues represented 94% of total ad revenue in the second quarter, rising from 91% in the same period last year.

Media conglomerate Vivendi could sell its 50% stake in Universal Music Group this weekend, after appointing several investment banks, according to Reuters.

Live VR streaming start-up LIV has received $1 million funding from a group of investors including Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and Beat Games CEO Jaroslav Beck. LIV specializes in optimizing in-game experiences for VR viewers and enabling content creators to share experiences.

French ISP Free wants to block the launch of Salto, the joint OTT video platform in the works between French broadcasters. Free dramatically described the combined effort as creating a “cartel” which will ultimately have a stranglehold on content.

MPEG’s working group has called for more clarity around licensing terms after upgrading the next-gen VVC and EVC codecs to Committee Draft status.

OTT video offering Vidgo will launch this summer in time for the new NFL season, offering two English and two Spanish packages.

Asia Pacific streaming trailblazer iflix has secured a funding round “well in excess of $50 million” led by investment firm Fidelity International, with involvement from existing investors Sky, Catcha Group, Hearst and EMC. Funds will be put towards growth ahead of a potential IPO.

French encoder vendor Ateme says it developed and trialed a watermarking proof of concept at the recent Women’s World Cup tournament in its home country. It says it used BISS-CA, an upgraded version of the BISS ((bidirectional/serial/synchronous) protocol with dynamic rolling keys for encryption, to help broadcasters battle content pirates. Ateme ran a three-day trial whereby BISS-CA managed the In-Band assets and added forensic watermarking to mark each decoder output so that after transcoding broadcasters could determine the origin of a leak.

Video software outfit Kaltura has kitted out its Zoom video communications plug-in with automatic ingest and transcription for easy search and discoverability across its products.

Live video encoding and playback provider nanocosmos will demo its nanoStream Cloud at IBC, using the H5Live Player for delivering ULL live video with low-latency playback of about 1 second.