Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

25 June 2020

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Tencent’s rumored share grab in iQiyi was clearly a red herring, as the Chinese internet giant has gone ahead and acquired another OTT video platform iflix for an undisclosed sum. Founded in Malaysia, iflix has picked up an estimated 25 million to 30 million SVoD subscribers across Southeast Asia.

 

Amazon is upping the ante in live TV by developing a dedicated live TV feature in Prime Video for 24/7 live linear streaming. Job listings from Amazon gave away the surprise, as spotted by Protocol, seeking software engineers specifically for OTT linear streaming.

 

CDN software specialist Broadpeak has joined the new 3Ready Entertainment Ecosystem from multiscreen vendor 3SS. Broadpeak brings its S4Streaming server-side ABR technology to the party, coming pre-integrated with the 3Ready Android TV front-end UX framework.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock has reached a major deal with Google to make the ad-supported streaming service available on Android and Android TV devices, with users set to receive free access to Peacock Premium for a limited time, after which it will cost $4.99 a month.

 

Business challenges related to the pandemic, along with a sustained decline in DVD sales, have forced Technicolor into filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in a US court. The company’s restructuring plan includes €420 million in new financing through equitizing up to €660 million in debt.

Altice Europe has sold its remaining stake in Altice USA to an unnamed broker dealer, with Altice USA itself purchasing 3.6 million shares for $85 million.

 

New features have been added to Harmonic’s VOS SaaS suite. For the VOS360 live streaming platform, updates include geo-redundancy, multi-CDN and caching, support for Google Ad Manager and FreeWheel ad management platforms, and support for Apple’s HLS protocol. Meanwhile, the VOS360 Channel Origination and Distribution Platform has received reduced infrastructure costs with what claims to be the world’s first statmux support in the cloud, as well as playout automation partnerships with Aveco, Sony’s Crispin and Florical. Finally, VOS Cloud-Native software has been given a performance boost with Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, a new range of encoding configurations, plus the ability to deploy broadcast statmux capabilities and CAS vendor integrations on the same stack.

US media conglomerate Meredith is rolling out a suite of ATSC 3.0 technologies from Triveni Digital at TV stations KPDX and KPTV in Portland, Oregon. The deal includes the ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway scheduler, GuideBuilder XM ATSC 3.0 Transport Encoder, StreamScope XM ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 combo Analyzer, and StreamScope CM Verifier software application.

G-Core Labs has opened yet another new point of presence for its global CDN network, adding Madrid to its map. Hosted in the Spanish capital, G-Core customers will get access to dedicated and virtual servers, promising 10 Gbps minimum speeds with no traffic limitations and DDoS attack protection.

Comcast’s outlook for its second quarter performance is poor, projecting around 500,000 video subscriber cancellations – more than doubling over Q2 2019’s cord cutting tally.

Charter is practically begging the FCC to bring forward conditions by two years, relating to how OTT video traffic is delivered over its networks. Charter is legally unable to provide data caps on network traffic, as per the small print in the operator’s 2016 merger of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, unlike rival operators which can place data usage restrictions freely.

Sky and struggling sports streamer DAZN have shared German Bundesliga soccer rights totaling a bargain €4.4 billion, saving over €200 million due to less competition from Eurosport and Amazon. Sky will show 200 matches a season while DAZN will stream 106.

Sky has also reached an important distribution deal with Discovery in Europe, prolonging the distribution of Discovery channels to Sky platforms in the UK, Ireland, Austria, and Germany.

Swedish media outfit Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) is pooling its streaming resources with Finnish pay TV operator Elisa, bringing together original Viaplay productions with Elisa’s Viihde portfolio. It means subscribers of Viaplay Films & Series and Total services will receive Elisa Viihde Aitio, while Elisa customers will get the Viaplay Films & Series package. In addition, Amazon Prime Video has arrived on Elisa’s Viihde service, making it the first Finnish operator to integrate the streaming app.

Nokia has nabbed a big contract for the National Broadband Ireland (NBI) FTTH project, for which the vendor is supplying 100% of the active equipment including Passive Optical Network systems, an IP routing aggregation network, and a full management platform.

Norway’s Norigin Media has unveiled AdScan, a new AI-based tool for detecting and marking ad breaks in catch-up TV. AdScan can overcome problems with identifying SCTE-35 markers when transcoding catch-up content, due to EPGs not being synced properly.

Disney+ has dropped its seven-day free trial period ahead of a few big releases set to arrive on the new streaming service.

Japanese giant SoftBank is expected to rake in a tidy $20.4 billion from selling two-thirds of its stake in T-Mobile US, reducing its stake in the telco from 24.6% to 8%. Deutsche Telekom – TMO’s largest shareholder – will get first dibs, agreeing to acquire a 10% stake.

Netflix has breached the 200 million global subscribers milestone, gaining 15.8 million new customers since the beginning of the pandemic, according to research from Comparitech.

California-based media processing and quality monitoring vendor Telestream has launched its new GLIM remote media player – built to remotely handle features including ingest QC, engineering, master control, news, and post-production. Telestream says remote employees waste hours every day downloading mezzanine grade media files for playback, while many production applications require transcoding pre-upload, so GLIM allows automatic playback from a browser interface without delays from transcoding and uploading.

The return of live sports has spurred Caribbean-based sports channel SportsMax, owned by Digicel, to deploy Harmonic’s VOS360 Live Streaming Platform – powering transcoding, packaging, origin, CDN selection and time-shift.

Taiwan-based manufacturer Foxconn, one of Apple’s key manufacturing partners, plans to ramp up investments in India after having to close certain sites in the country due to Covid-19.

Apple has confirmed more details about its expanded HomeKit integrations with Apple TV, with its HomeKit Secure Video transport protocol being the basis to broadcast video from smart home devices to be displayed on Apple TVs. This would allow a camera or video doorbell to push video to the TV screen. It will also make device automation suggestions.

PubMatic has announced the launch of OpenWrap OTT, a header bidder feature built on Prebid that centralizes 100% of direct and programmatic demand while preserving a seamless viewer experience. OpenWrap should increase fill rates six-fold over tag integrations. FreeWheel has a similar tool.

 

Following the newfronts, Disney is amalgamating all its ad tech units from disparate networks under one roof as the Advertising Platforms team. This furthers the announcement at the newfronts that buyers will be able to purchase programmatically across Disney’s inventory.

IAB’s Tech Lab is shutting down DigiTrust, which it acquired in 2018. One of the first industry initiatives to get ad tech vendors collaborating on reducing the amount of syncs needed to load an ad-supported webpage, DigiTrust has recently been sidelined by the Open ID Consortium and The Trade Desk’s ID Initative, among others.

Sirius XM has acquired Simplecast, a podcast management and analytics platform. Simplecast will be integrated into Sirius XM’s programmatic exchange subsidiary, AdsWizz.

Emarketer is expecting upfront spending to decline by 27% this year to $14 billion due to the media standstill caused by the pandemic.

YouTube has debuted a new direct response ad format, making ads more ‘shoppable’. Such video ads will host a browsable feed of products that link to product pages, a feature notably similar to Facebook’s recent Shops commerce toolkit, although the latter keeps the user within site.