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1 August 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Liberty Global has completed the sale of its German and Central European assets to Vodafone in a deal which is not over the finishing line just yet as Deutsche Telekom plans, alongside cable industry associations and some smaller MSOs in Germany, to vehemently campaign to block the deal. As a result, Vodafone becomes the largest owner of gigabit-capable network infrastructure in Germany – the very reason for the backlash despite a concession agreement with Telefonica Deutschland.


Remember Facebook’s Portal video streaming communications device which the social media firm unveiled to laughable initial reviews last October? Well, Facebook is back at it this week, approaching the likes of Disney and Netflix for partnership deals pending the launch of an all new TV chat device, according to a report from The Information. The OS for this new set top-esque device will be based on a heavily modified AOSP build, much like Amazon’s Fire OS, according to Android TV Rumors.


TiVo saw second quarter revenue climb 2% year on year to $176.2 million, while operating income hurtled 244% to $12.6 million. TiVo cites a license expansion with Canadian operator Shaw Communications to include its patent portfolio, as well as securing its first social media customer, as key moments from the quarter. TiVo is in the throngs of splitting its Product and IP Licensing businesses into two separate independent companies.


Liberty Global’s Belgian operator Telenet lost 14,600 video subscribers in Q2, dropping to 1.9 million. However, over 1.7 million of these have now upgraded to its higher ARPU enhanced video services, although 6,900 of these enhanced subs fled in the quarter.


Apple TV reported double digital revenue growth in the second quarter of 2019 although exact figures were not broken out. It says the video division, boasting a content library of over 100,000 titles on iTunes, along with accessories sales, helped boost services revenue up by $1.3 billion year on year to $11.5 billion, while Product revenue fell from $43.1 billion to $42.35 billion on slow iPhone sales.


Two Indian OTT video providers, Zee5 and ALTBalaj, are planning an ambitious original content initiative in a bid to take on Netflix for quality original programming. The duo will churn out 60 original titles to be shown on both their respective SVoD platforms.


US non-profit OTT video platform Locast is facing a daunting lawsuit from the big four broadcasters ABC, CBS, NBCU and Fox – alleging that it violates copyright by retransmitting programming without permission.


Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat reported sales down 5% to €1.3 billion for the full year period, with its core video business taking on only minor damage by satellite standards, sliding 1.9% year on year to €864 million. Mobile connectivity was the only division to grow revenues, up 4% to €80.4 million, while fixed data and fixed broadband also experienced declines.


Analytics vendor StreamMetrics claims it has launched the world’s first audience measurement product dedicated to esports streaming. StreamMetrics says it integrates proprietary data from monthly market surveys with network data and API data from social media platforms, incorporating metrics including age, gender, location, device type, and even income and ethnicity across massive audiences.


UK ISP Openreach has laid out a plan to build FTTP network infrastructure across 36 new locations over 12 months. Today it reaches over 1.5 million homes and aims to reach between 3 million and 4 million premises by March 2021 and onto an ambitious 15 million by mid-2020s.


Satellite transponder costs have soared on average 60% according to the World Teleport Association (WTA). It puts the dramatic rise down to teleport operators buying lower volumes of transponder leaseholds from satellite operators, where the strongest growth in annual commitments of less than 100 MHz.


Voice-activated smart home devices will reach 555 million units by 2024, growing from 105 million by the end of 2019, according to Juniper Research. An influx of voice devices from Chinese manufacturers will drive growth, while over 90% of voice assistants will be used to control smart home devices.


Indian pay TV behemoth Dish TV gained 209,000 subscribers in Q2, growing to a base of 23.9 million. Subscription revenues climbed to $119.9 million for the quarter, driven by growth in multi-TV households and increasing urbanization.


Spotify’s paid subscriber base swelled by 8 million in the second quarter to 108 million, while the ad-supported monthly active user base grew 29% year on year to 232 million and by 15 million in Q2. Revenues were up 31% year on year to €1.7 billion with premium subscriptions accounting for 91%, itself growing 31% also, while ad revenues grew 34% to €165 million.


Video processing SoC supplier Netint Technologies has unveiled the Codensity EdgeFusion E408 which puts video processing power and SSD technology on one compact integrated system for deployment at the network edge. It says video streaming providers, application developers, cloud data center operators, and edge networking companies can improve the economics for their video storage, processing, and distribution requirements.


CBS has rubbed salt in the wounds of AT&T by inking a new multi-year distribution deal with Altice USA, including allowing the operator to offer CBS’ streaming service Showtime as well as standard stations.


US public broadcaster PBS has signed a carriage deal for its member stations on YouTube TV – marking its belated entrance into the OTT video space. The agreement covers live, on-demand and DVR content access.


Microsoft Azure has unveiled a roster of new media and entertainment tools, including Render Hub for creation and management of hybrid cloud rendering environments, including integration with Thinkbox from fierce cloud rival AWS. Elsewhere, new Azure NV-series VMs have been given a Nvidia GPU boost to support and remove visualization workloads, with larger memory and hyper-threading meaning VMs churn out double the number of vCPUs.


Qualcomm and Tencent Games have signed a MoU to cooperate on the optimization of projects covering mobile games based on Qualcomm Snapdragon devices – including cloud gaming, AR/VR, and 5G gaming use case developments.


Netflix and AWS have joined the Academy Software Foundation, a group dedicated to promoting open source software – most recently the OpenTimelineIO tool developed by Pixar.


Ukrainian DTT operator Zeonbud has tapped Dutch security software vendor Irdeto to encrypt satellite channels via Astra 4A.


MAM vendor Imagen has won a content management and distribution deal at German content distributor Progress, deploying the Imagen SaaS video management platform for a library of 17,000 movies.