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17 October 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

SoftAtHome made the most of its favorite trade event of the year, Broadband World Forum, adding to its previous announcements (see main story in this issue) by partnering with WiFi motion analytics vendor Aerial Technologies. SoftAtHome is integrating Aerial into its SDK to bring home intrusion detection and eldercare monitoring to the WiFi ecosystem without additional sensors – by monitoring existing WiFi signal distortions created by human motion to infer activity. It reminds us of Celeno’s Doppler product unveiled back in July, named after the Doppler effect which describes fluctuations in frequency or wavelength, also using WiFi for the purpose of imaging as a replacement for cameras and sensors. The main difference is that Celeno’s technology can also be applied to analytics in front of the TV for personalized content and targeted advertising. Two notable WiFi players aiming to disrupt the sensor hardware market in the space of a few months is an intriguing trend.

In an interview with Synamedia this week (see full story), the self-proclaimed world’s largest independent video software supplier responded to our conclusion that partnering with Telestream for file-based encoding inadvertently revealed weaknesses within the Cisco spinoff’s portfolio. Essentially, unless you are encoding down at the production level like Harmonic does, there is little to no value in VoD encoding anymore, according to Synamedia’s SVP and GM of Video Processing, Julien Signes. “VoD encoding for service providers is a niche application, even MediaKind doesn’t have a VoD encoder,” he stated.

The world’s largest movie theater chain has decided joining the video streaming stampede is a safer bet than competing against it. AMC Theatres On Demand has arrived, offering some 2,000 Hollywood movies to members of the Stubs loyalty program, on a transactional VoD basis once their cinema run has completed. AMC Theatres says some 20 million homes are signed up to Stubs.

French video software supplier Netgem reported Q3 2019 revenue down 28% year on year to €5.7 million ($6.3 million), with managed services surpassing traditional set top activities for the first time. The myVideoFutur cloud-based multiscreen service began being marketed by the Vitis fiber division in France during the quarter, targeting distribution via partner operators in 2020.

Comcast has cut off Starz and replaced it with premium network Epix on certain Xfinity TV packages, helping the operator manage programming costs.

Sports accounted for 26% of global content spend last year, amounting to $38 billion spent on sports rights during 2018, according to Ampere Analysis, almost doubling from 2012. Broadcasters in Europe’s top 5 markets committed 33% of content budgets to sports, compared to 26% in the US.

Belgian operator Telenet is preparing to launch an Android TV set top for the new Tadaam TV and internet package, according to Android TV Rumors. Telenet reportedly cancelled an earlier 5G set top built by Huawei due to the company’s US ban.

Hungary is the latest country to receive Vodafone’s OTT video offering following the telco’s recent acquisition of Liberty Global’s UPC Hungary assets. Vodafone will deliver linear and on-demand content on an Android-based set top, over IP infrastructure to homes without an active internet subscription, according to local reports, and will also offer a mobile app for subscribers.

Meanwhile, VodafoneZiggo has officially activated its gigabit cable broadband service in select Dutch cities, aiming to reach two-thirds of its network by the end of 2020. Ziggo Giga costs €99.50 a month and comes bundled with a premium TV package.

Google’s share of US search ad revenues will drop from 73.1% to 70.5% over the next two years, while the overall US search ad market will grow by almost 18% to $55.2 billion, according to eMarketer research. In the same time, Amazon – which overtook Microsoft in 2018 to become the second largest US ad search platform – will increase its market share by 3% to 15.9%.

Content value management platform provider Mediamorph has been acquired by TV tracking and insights firm TV Time. Mediamorph claims to power two-thirds of all global digital transactional revenue for the film and TV industries – tracking some two trillion TVoD, SVoD and AVoD transactions annually.

OTT and IPTV software vendor Anevia has won a hospitality deployment in Mauritius, powering the Preskil Island Resort using its Flamingo IPTV head-end. The deployment employs a bring your own device approach.

Vivendi has withdrawn its complaint against Spanish pay TV platform Mediaset, following the French mass media firm’s recent court victory over Mediaset. Mediaset had planned to create a new holding in the Netherlands which Vivendi complained would only serve the interest of the Berlusconi family’s Fininvest company.

German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 is contemplating a sale of its US-focused production subsidiary Red Arrow to “double down” on native content production, according to CEO Max Conze, speaking at the MIPCOM event in Cannes.

In results that are surprising to absolutely no one, the SVoD subscriber consensus is that the UI is “more important” than content recommendations, according to Parks.

Google is discontinuing its Daydream View mobile VR headset, three years after launch and a month after Oculus CTO John Carmack admitted days were numbered for the Facebook-owned company’s mobile Gear VR headset. A Google spokesperson told The Verge, “There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset.”

TiVo Plus, which Faultline covered a couple of weeks back in a longer story, has officially launched. TiVo+ is a new video streaming network built to enter the battleground against the likes of Roku. An early review from TechCrunch describes the UI’s content layout as “generic and broad”.

Fox has deployed real-time TV ad measurement and attribution technology from iSpot.tv, aimed at capturing sales funnel activity from TV ad exposures.

Microsoft’s cloud-based streaming service xCloud has begun public testing on Xbox in the US, UK and Korea, with just four preview games available initially.

A US predictive insights platform provider called 7Park Data has arrived in the UK offering cross-platform viewership data across Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Sky Deutschland has bulked up its OTT video service Sky Ticket with 13 additional linear channels and a bunch of new on-demand titles.

O2 Czech Republic is now offering an O2 TV app on post-2016 Samsung smart TVs, which will be followed by LG and Android TV applications next year.