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16 July 2020

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Ahead of NBCUniversal’s unveiling of Peacock this week, all the headlines pointed to how the freemium streaming service would be absent from Roku and Amazon devices. Peacock shares common ground here with HBO Max, having also reached stalemate in negotiations with the two streaming stick heavyweights as they reportedly demand egregious terms for distribution deals. There was also early confusion among Android users as Peacock was nowhere to be seen in the Google Play store in the early hours of the platform’s US debut, but this has since been resolved. As for content, Peacock launched with over 13,000 hours of content on the free tier, almost double what NBCU initially said would be available on an ad-supported basis.

In more progressive Roku news, the company has added Swedish developer Accedo to its Preferred Developer Program in Latin America, giving Accedo access to beta firmware and Roku’s engineering and partner management teams. The program is about opening up local publishers in the continent to developers that can build lower cost Roku channels.


Velos Media, one of three HEVC patent pools, has signed up troubled media company Technicolor for a single license comprising patents from six technology companies Qualcomm, Ericsson, Sony, Sharp, Panasonic and BlackBerry. Velos Media now has 35 licensees on its platform.

In case anyone had forgotten (we had), Ateme has decided to let everyone know that it is still involved in the European Broadcasting Union’s development of the open, royalty free conditional access encryption standard BISS-CA (Basic Interoperable Scrambling System), introduced in 2017. While not much appears to have changed, it just so happens that Ateme has been working with EBU subsidiary Eurovision Services, which Faultline covered for the first time in a standalone article this week. Ateme has supported Eurovision Services in BISS-CA tests including public key concatenation and inbound watermarking to increase content protection.

Broadcast production software provider latakoo, which Faultline interviewed a few weeks back, claims it has experienced a 293% upswing in minutes streamed on its cloud-based platform during June 2020, as well as a 172% spike in minutes uploaded and a 127% increase in files uploaded.

AWS has released Amazon Interactive Video Services (IVS), based on the same technology powering Amazon’s Twitch live streaming platform following customer demand to use this technology on their own services such as sports, education, retail, and fitness. AWS IVS allows mobile and web video app developers to build interactive live streaming experiences in minutes without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.

Discovery is rolling out an ad tech platform to unify audiences across linear and digital called OneGraph, which will work with the Discovery Engine to give marketers an analytical tool for monitoring cable TV viewers across addressable linear and TV Everywhere.

In a dramatic escalation of events, authorities in Saudi Arabia have revoked the license of Qatari-based broadcaster beIN Sport and slapped it with a $2.7 million fine for allegations of forming a monopoly. beIN has been aggressively pursing actions against Saudi Arabia which is the home of pirate sports channel beoutQ, which has siphoned countless $millions from the industry.

US ad tech firm Mediaocean has bought ad-focused data science company 4C Insights for an undisclosed sum. 4C Insight’s audience data, analytics and ad planning capabilities will complement Mediaocean’s ad planning offering, which currently serves over $150 billion annual media spend globally. Mediaocean is now valued at around $2 billion.


US broadband operator Ritter Communications has tapped Harmonic’s CableOS virtualized cable access platform and CableOS Central analytics suite for video delivery, data and voice. DOCSIS 3.1 support is central to the deployment, providing a virtual CMTS with Remote PHY for Arkansas-based Ritter to build a flexible and scalable broadband architecture with increased network quality, alongside CableOS Central for always-on cloud management to improve the user experience.

New TiVo has reached an important contract extension since completing the takeover by Xperi, securing CommScope’s signature for media-related patents on Arris pay TV set tops including the Arris-made TiVo Edge DVR.

A+E Networks UK is migrating its full 30-channel lineup to the Amagi cloud platform hosted on AWS infrastructure. Amagi CloudPort now handles broadcast workflows and managed playout services for EMEA channels, which the India-born broadcast and OTT technology provider says it switched to its main facility in a matter of weeks.

Russian telco VimpelCom (Beeline) has rolled out Nvidia’s GeForce Now technology for its Beeline Gaming service to extend reach to PC gamers with incompatible system requirements. A subscription to the cloud-based Beeline Gaming app costs RUB999 ($14.10) a month, with access to 500 games at additional costs.

The Kaltura Video Technology Marketplace, offering automated localization of video into multiple languages via machine translated subtitles, has welcomed cloud-based video captioning vendor SyncWords. As a result, Kaltura’s Reach video AI captioning framework has integrated SyncWords to help customers automatically translate captioned media – reducing costs and reaching new markets.

Ten of SPI/Filmbox’s channels have arrived at Bulgarian telco Net1, including FilmBox Arthouse and FightBox.

US entertainment outfit Cinedigm has boasted how Q2 2020 was the strongest second quarter performance in more than five years. Digital content revenues surged 34% year on year with Amazon and Apple platform purchases boosting sales.

ICT integrator Qvest Media has acquired UX design and communications concept firm dimensional, to further its experience in UI development, cloud applications and digital asset management. Customers of dimensional include ProSiebenSat.1 Media, SES Platform Services, RTL Group, Avid, Vizrt and Arvato.

CBS All Access and CBS Sports have become the exclusive homes of major European soccer tournaments following a landmark multi-platform deal between ViacomCBS and governing body UEFA.

Sony has seized a minority stake valued at $250 million in Epic Games, developer of online video game Fortnite and games creation tool Unreal Engine.

US service providers Vast Broadband and Vexus have both selected global streaming TV platform provider MobiTV to managed OTT video content using the MobiTV Connect product. Serving some 7,500 between them across South Dakota, Minnesota, Texas and Louisiana, Vast Broadband and Vexus are rolling out a MobiTV app-based streaming video service with customizable UI, voice control, 4K and HEVC support, cloud DVR without replacing legacy set tops.

SES is now managing playout and distribution of over 50 linear channels and VoD content for BBC Studios and its subsidiary UKTV.

French operator Free, part of Iliad Group, has unveiled a new Android TV-based 4K set top with Dolby Atmos support. An MU-MIMO WiFi 5 router and associated WiFi APs with mesh networking support have been introduced in tandem with the new set top.

US fiber infrastructure and cell tower operator Crown Castle is the latest victim of Elliot Management’s infamous hairdryer treatment. The activist investor says Crown Castle’s fiber strategy has grossly underperformed but has warned against a sale of fiber assets, calling this infrastructure an “attractive asset class.”

vMVPD FuboTV has raised a further $20 million to take its total funding to $46 million.  FaceBank, which FuboTV merged with earlier this year, secured the dough through a deal with Credit Suisse.

Sky Q has been given a facelift with a new expanded view UI, intuitive smart buttons, improved discovery and something called sports centers. The UK operator’s pay TV platform update is designed to show a third more content when browsing.

Zoom is heading down the hardware-as-a-service route to kit out conference rooms in the US with video technology on a monthly subscription basis, inking partnership deals with manufacturers DTEN, Neat, Poly and Yealink.

Swedish streaming specialist Net Insight has released a new SaaS version of its ScheduALL portfolio called Evolution, an enterprise resource optimization kit targeted at broadcast and production teams.

Zixi, the broadcast-quality video IP software, is now available on Harmonic’s VOS360 Live Streaming Platform, enabling workflows to be created at all stages of the media processing and delivery chain – receiving content from the source and transferring to the cloud before sending to end user devices.

El Salvador-based ISP Flynet has integrated a multi-DRM system from France’s Viaccess-Orca for live OTT channel delivery, supporting Widevine, PlayReady and FairPlay.

Synamedia landed a deal at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) while Faultline was taking its summer break, selecting the vendor’s video network portfolio to migrate from SDI to IP-based infrastructure as part of a broadcast center relocation. CBC/Radio-Canada is relying on Synamedia’s virtualized Digital Content Manager to virtualize the entire video head-end across encoding, statmax and packaging, and the PowerVu Professional Receiver for transitioning distribution systems.


Ad tech platform Unruly has furthered is brand protection capabilities by partnering with DoubleVerify, a software platform for digital measurement. DoubleVerify’s fraud filtering solution will be applied pre-bid to the UnrulyX marketplace.

Verizon Media has launched a Brand Story format for advertisers, while Google has just launched its 3D Swirl interactive ad format.

YouTube has created a new metric to allow creators to gauge a better understanding of how to monetize content. Rather than CPM, the new acronym is RPM (revenue per mile). RPM will show a creator’s total revenue, and the split between advertising and other revenue streams. YouTube has also allowed analytics and measurement firm OpenSlate back on its YouTube Measurement Program. OpenSlate backed out in April when it refused to sign a requisite contract, on the basis that it would blunt its ability to report on channel-level brand safety. Clearly the two have made amends.

It seems the ad boycott is starting to impact how Facebook tackles sensitive and political issues around the globe. The company has just announced it is considering completely banning political ads in India for the upcoming election, hoping to sidestep the many difficulties it has faced in Western politics. Some worry this could suppress voting. Clearly this has made TikTok nervous. Although less established, the relative newcomer has amassed 800 million users, and is clearly worried that with this ubiquity will come controversy. The company has taken a leaf out of Facebook’s book, and has just offered $100million to SMBs in ad credits to rebuild brands. If it gets caught up in any political controversies, corporations won’t be able to boycott to troubling extents so long as SMBs make up a large proportion of their ad revenue. TikTok has also just made its self-serve Ad Manager platform globally available.