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18 June 2020

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Short-form video struggler Quibi is on track to sign up 2 million subscribers by the end of the year, missing its 2020 subscriber target of 7.4 million users by a country mile, according to a WSJ report. Quibi has called the findings “inaccurate”. However, Quibi is apparently and belatedly considering a strategic U-turn away from being mobile-only, by entering talks with Roku and Amazon to develop apps for streaming devices, according to a separate Variety report.

ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has rather naively coined the future version of its CBS All Access streaming platform a “super service” – for which it plans to trial run this summer before rebranding next year. Super, in Bakish’s view, will be justified by a broader original content slate and distribution with its own ad-supported Pluto TV offering.

 

Play Suisse, the new OTT video service launched last week by a coalition of Swiss pubic broadcasters, is using the Kaltura TV Platform, including the Kaltura Operator Console which will enable SRG SSR to manage its large content catalog, metadata, multi-language translations and captions. Swiss public broadcaster SRG SSR selected Kaltura based on its supplier relationship with subsidiary Swiss-TXT since 2016, after assessing Kaltura’s operational quality and completing a PoC phase.

After alarm bells started ringing last week, US cableco Wide Open West has confirmed that its IPTV service WOW! tv+ still exists.

Controversial NBCUniversal advertising boss Linda Yaccarino has called for the industry to go further than just shifting to a calendar-year upfront, as proposed by the Association of National Advertisers recently. She has suggested an open marketplace that requires new alliances, partnerships, business models and even some strange bedfellows.

Bitmovin’s encoding technology and Dalet’s Ooyala Flex Media Platform have together tackled OTT video delivery and preparation for Australia’s National Rugby League. The two vendors plan to scale NRL content into new markets, while augmenting revenue opportunities with better visibility across production and distribution.

Charter Communications has been handed a compensation-seeking memorandum by Windstream, alleging that Charter poached subscribers through opportunistic advertising after Windstream filed for bankruptcy recently. Windstream is seeking $19.9 million in damages.

Orange’s Business Services division has infiltrated the Italian market via a contract with local broadband company Open Fiber, granting OBS access to Europe’s third largest FTTH network to offer digital applications including cloud and analytics services to business customers.

Kenyan operator Safaricom has confirmed a bid for a telecoms license in Ethiopia, one of the world’s few remaining monopoly markets where over 100 million people are served by a single provider – state-owned Ethio Telecom.

Riot Games has gone with remote video production capabilities from Blackbird to produce frame-accurate content from live streamed esports events. Blackbird boasts that content can be posted rapidly to social channels once created.

Comcast’s FreeWheel has won a multi-year contract at US broadcaster Nexstar Digital. Deploying its Strata platform, FreeWheel has integrated access points for Nextar’s video and OTT inventory, allowing ad agencies to discover, customize and access its entire digital ad inventory.

AT&T is in discussions to sell its gaming arm, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, for an estimated $4 billion, according to CNBC. Sources reportedly cite Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive Software as companies pondering an acquisition.

French OTT video offering Molotov has entered the B2B arena, offering its technology to third party streaming services. The new branch, Molotov Solutions, says it can create, manage, host and edit linear and non-linear platforms, across subscription, ad-supported and transactional models.

After the launch of HBO Max caused much confusion among users, AT&T has taken the sensible decision to close the HBO Go app, the TV Everywhere option for its premium network. HBO Go will shutter by the end of July and AT&T will also rebrand the HBO Now app and desktop portal to just HBO.

Over a million subscribers at Vodafone Germany are now running DOCSIS 3.1 Touchstone TG3442 gateways from CommScope, supported by the vendor’s E6000 CCAP technology.

 

Nagra has helped bring down a Spanish illegal IPTV streaming network serving over 2 million paying subscribers, in collaboration with La Liga, DFL, Nordic Content Protection, and The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Hosting 50 pirate servers across Europe, the pirate network was offering thousands of live channels and VoD titles and had generated profits exceeding €15 million.

Norwegian virtualized media vendor Nevion has completed the first step of the EU-funded 5G-Virtuosa project exploring 5G and virtualization in broadcast production. Using Nevion’s Service Operations Center in Poland, the company integrated multiple vendor products in an IP-based studio from Mellanox, Logic Media Solutions, Sony, Telestream, Stagetec, TAG Video Systems, Meinberg, and Germany’s Institute for Broadcasting Technology. The project faced delays due to Covid-19, but representatives now say the project is on track to research 5G remote production.

Media processing vendor Telestream has launched Lightspeed Live Capture C2, a new two-channel version in the product line for enterprise-scale workflows such as news and professional sports, which rely heavily on remote production and editing capabilities.

Zixi has ported its Broadcasters software on Microsoft Azure, allowing media and entertainment companies to distribute video over IP using Azure.

Starzplay will now show on the Rakuten TV OTT platform across Spain, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

Roku is jumping on the bandwagon, preparing for its own newfronts on June 22. Roku hopes new features for advertisers, such as regionalized ad-pulling if state legislation changes, will draw attention.

Group M’s programmatic arm, Xaxis, is making moves in the creative side of advertising, launching a creative hub, called Xaxis Creative Studios (XCS). XCS will make creative assets that can harness Xaxis’ AI-powered programmatic data platform, to help brands integrate creative assets into data-driven online campaigns.

Gilat Satellite Networks’ CEO argues that the industry has reached an inflection point, and that satellite communications providers are now able to provide mobile backhaul at the strictest SLA levels. This could radically shake up the fixed network marketplace.

The FCC has rejected calls to delay the upcoming C-band auction. ABS Global, Empresa Argentina de Soluciones Satelitales, Hispamar Satellites, and Hispasat say the 3.7GHz sale will unfairly benefit larger satellite operators, which are eligible for proposed relocation payments.