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28 November 2019

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Netflix wants to give back to the cinema industry it has helped destroy. New York’s last remaining single-screen cinema has been saved by Netflix cash this week, after the SVoD giant took a long-term lease in the 581-seat Paris Theater to show special Netflix screenings and other events. Naturally, the cinema scene has voiced a mixed bag of reactions to the move.

Disney+ is reportedly onboarding in the region of 1 million new subscribers a day, totaling some 16 million mobile app downloads, according to app research outfit Apptopia. Disney is seeing strong demand for its $12.99 a month triple bundle of Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN+, according to the research, while standalone Disney+ costs $6.99 a month – raking in $5 million through in-app purchases in its first fortnight.

AWS had a prosperous Thanksgiving week. The cloud computing titan was promoted by German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 to serve as its primary cloud provider, involving a hefty migration process of operational and business services over to AWS infrastructure. More interestingly, ProSiebenSat.1 will use the AWS machine learning clout to introduce a new advanced analytics platform to accelerate the delivery of a new product. ProSiebenSat.1 claims a footprint of 45 million households across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

AWS also secured the signature of the Seattle Seahawks this week. The NFL team will rustle up deep analysis of game footage in the hope of improving tactics and operational efficiencies – relying on AWS compute, storage and database infrastructure. Using deep learning techniques, AWS Rekognition video analysis technology will be used to identify and track players, combined with Amazon SageMaker to train and deploy machine learning models.

Putting the Comcast abandonment behind it after the cable giant recently replaced it with Epix, US network Starz has expanded its standalone streaming efforts to include the UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico. Back in March, Starzplay, available in 20 countries across MENA, reached the 1 million subscribers milestone, growing at an impressive rate of 300% in a year.

Standards group DVB has set out specifications for standardizing substitutional advertising within linear broadcast. DVB-TA (Targeted Advertising) is the first public technical publication and the next stage is to work on the signaling part of the specs.

During the recent production of the League of Legends World Championship Final, gaming behemoth Riot Games has revealed it used the Virtuoso software-defined media node from production vendor Nevion in the remote production process. In doing so, Riot Games claims it was one of the first to use the new JPEG XS low latency compression standard.

Video will feast on 76% of mobile data traffic by 2025, ballooning by about 30% a year in that time from 38 exabytes a month to 160 exabytes a month, according to Ericsson. The vendor’s new Mobility Report concludes that 5G will drive and accommodate much of this growth, projecting a rather lavish 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions by 2025.

OTT sports service DAZN is on the verge of 8 million subscribers across its 9-country footprint, leaving rival ESPN in the dust on 3.5 million paid subs, according to SportsPro Media.

Video streaming services could suffer as the majority of cash is slurped up by content creators, squeezing margins to dangerous levels as a result, according to some Wall Street analysts. This will ultimately mean a “big shakeout” whereby only the best-positioned OTT video offerings survive.

The US has ranked 68th out of 100 countries in a streaming video quality report from mobile analytics company Opensignal, scoring the lowest among the G7 countries. Based on 94 million measurements from over 37 million devices, Opensignal put this down to US carriers struggling with the combination of enormous mobile video consumption and insufficient new spectrum. It also criticized carriers for worming their way out of responsibility by capping mobile video resolution.

Eight in ten broadcasters are lagging streaming services due to their hesitance in adopting cloud technologies as part of personalized ad strategies, according to French encoding vendor Ateme. However, only 26% of broadcasters are currently looking into offering personalized services. Clearly, there are countless factors to why broadcasters are falling behind in the streaming wars and so Ateme’s conclusion is just one of many.

Remember ActiveVideo, the famous technology business jointly acquired by Charter and Arris in 2015 for $135 million? Well, it has just reemerged with a deal at Cable Bahamas, where ActiveVideo is powering a new set top UI with improved navigation and discovery across live and on-demand content. ActiveVideo is best known for putting set top functions in the cloud, combining its CloudTV platform with set top and cloud integration software from Zodiac Systems, along with a management platform and client presentation engine from Minerva. Cable Bahamas has branded the offering RevgoPlay and it suggests a mobile version will follow.

Fox Sports has already emptied its commercial ad inventory for February 2020’s Super Bowl LIV, the first time in five years that all ad slots have been sold well in advance. Fox’s in-game 30-second ad slots cost north of $5 million a pop, while pre and post-game slots can still cost up to $3 million.

ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery have added the premium offering Joyn Plus+ to their joint video streaming venture, costing €6.99 a month for 61 linear channels.

French service provider Free has expanded its Netflix frenzy by integrating the SVoD service on its Mini 4K set tops, building on existing Netflix support on the high-end Freebox Delta and Feebox devices, but missing the legacy Freebox Revolution set top.

Comcast will hike its Broadcast TV fee steeply from $10 a month to $14.95 a month as of December 18, while the Basic TV package will rise from a monthly fee of $30 to $35.

UK-based independent ISP Zen Internet has launched the EveryRoom service, rolling out a Fritz!Box router and repeaters from German hardware maker AVM for £7.99 ($10.30) a month. Zen EveryRoom aims to tackle the problem of one-third of UK households experiencing WiFi dead zones somewhere in their homes.

Media asset management (MAM) firm Tedial has certified CMS provider Ebantic as an Advanced Developer and the two vendors are working on two projects in Spain – one for the management and distribution of content for Fox Network and another for the content and sales management platform for Mediapro Studio.

CBS and Viacom are due to close their merger saga next week on Wednesday, December 4.

Genvid Technologies, developer of an SDK for monetizing streaming platforms, has raised $27 million in a Series B funding round to bring its total amount raised up to $47 million.