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23 July 2020

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

AT&T bled 886,000 premium TV subscribers in Q2 2020, shrinking its total video footprint further to 17.7 million, while AT&T TV Now shrank by 68,000 subscribers to a low point of 720,000 – totaling a net loss of 954,000 video subs. If it wasn’t for gains on AT&T TV offsetting DirecTV losses, the picture would have been a whole lot worse, which Faultline will report on in greater depth next week after AT&T’s earnings call takes place later today. The WarnerMedia segment took a hit from Covid-19, as revenues tumbled 22.9% year on year to $6.8 billion for the quarter, from total revenue down 8.9% to $40.95 billion. In fact, revenue was down across the board for AT&T, including the Mobility division. The Android-based AT&T TV service also apparently drove broadband attach rates, despite AT&T experiencing a broadband net loss of 102,000 subscribers in the second quarter.

 

Harmonic has won another customer for its CableOS virtualized access technology, with LATAM operator Millicom opting for the hybrid centralized and distributed access architecture – using a combination of Remote-PHY nodes and shelves for flexibility. Millicom, which operates mainly under the TIGO brand, has recruited Harmonic as the basis for building a cloud-based wireline broadband architecture.

Orange has acquired the entire 75 Gbps of available capacity from Eutelsat’s Connect satellite – to bring high-speed satellite broadband to remote regions of France without fixed broadband, from January 2021. It comes in the same week that local news reports said Orange Poland is putting 50% of its fiber network business up for sale, which is valued at approximately €1 billion ($1.16 billion).

Meanwhile, Orange subsidiary Viaccess-Orca has won a deployment for its secure video player at Hong Kong’s PCCW Media for VR content – in the same breath as announcing that the VO player now supports VR and 8K video delivery over 5G networks. Securing PCCW’s new immersive VR experiences, VO’s Secure Player supports HLS, MSS, DASH and CMAF formats, plus integration with VO’s proprietary DRM and all major DRMs.

 

Netflix has denied reports of an imminent exit from Turkey, which circulated as a possible retaliation from the SVoD platform against backwards Turkish regulator RTÜK which ordered the quashing of an upcoming TV show featuring a homosexual character. Netflix ended 2019 with 1.5 million subscribers in Turkey.

Project Moonshot, the ad impact measurement project from data insights giant Kantar, has signed up integrations with Google and Pandora, among others. Kantar says 9 out the top 10 digital publishers and 15 of the top 20 apps are in the advanced testing stages for the platform – which aims to represent 95% of global digital ad spend.

Following widespread reports that Japanese operator SoftBank wants to sell ARM, Nvidia has been floated as a company showing acquisition interest in the semiconductor business, according to Bloomberg.

Nordic Entertainment Group plans to take its Viaplay streaming service to 15 new markets by 2025, building on positive momentum that saw it gain 206,000 subscribers in Q2 2020 to total 2.7 million subscribers. However, Viaplay was impacted by the absence of live sports in the last quarter as sales tumbled 13% to around $300 million.

CDN provider Limelight Networks experienced a 28% revenue spike in Q2 2020 to $58.5 million, citing strong demand from existing customers but a slowdown in new business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Second quarter net sales at Swedish live streaming specialist Net Insight sank 16.1% year on year to $11.9 million, while net income tanked to $0.2 million from $1.3 million a year earlier. The Media Networks division accounted for $10 million of total net sales, while Resource Optimization brought in the remaining $1.9 million, down 17% and 11.3%, respectively. Despite a poor financial performance, new CEO Crister Fritzson cited several major new deals for 100G IP media network infrastructure, as well as deals for Aperi’s IP-based and virtualized assets which were acquired by Net Insight earlier this year.

Shareholders of troubled French firm Technicolor have approved a €240 million ($278.2 million) financial restructuring plan. Some $110 million will be allocated for refinancing a loan by Technicolor USA, while around $160 million will be lent to a subsidiary called Tech 6 for the purpose of financing short-term liquidity needs.

Streaming and broadcast TV technology supplier Amagi has powered the launch of food media network Tastemade on the new Peacock platform. NBCU’s Peacock runs a linear channels feature, similar to Roku, allowing brands like Tastemade to distribute content and generate programmatic ad revenues. Amagi’s cloud broadcast platform is behind the creation of linear channels, equipped with program scheduling, advanced dynamic graphics, and IP-based delivery to free ad-supported platforms.

Altice France has recruited start-up Wildmoka to create a feature for automatically converting horizontal TV images into vertical formats better suited for smartphone viewing. Called Live Vertical, it doesn’t sound revolutionary but still claims to be a world-first and has rolled out on the news channel BFMTV.

 

APAC streaming service Viu, part of PCCW, has inked content licensing deals with Korean broadcasters SBS and KBS.

New York-based API-first SaaS video infrastructure provider Zype has made its OTT video software suite available on the Google Cloud Marketplace. This includes CMS, CRM, encoding, playout, content delivery, and video connectors,

Access Europe, part of the Japanese mobile web browser pioneer, has released v2.8 of its NetFront Browser BE to bring pre-integrated entertainment services to TVs, cars and other consumer devices. The update brings the open source Chromium 80 core to the fore for access to the latest browser security features missing in other smart TV and automotive browsers, according to Access Europe.

Smart home product providers Gamgee and Tenda have teamed to offer a combined hardware and software services offering to operators – to manage WiFi, users, devices, parental control, content filtering, customer support, security, and more.

Disney is the latest major media company to join the Facebook ad boycott, dramatically slashing its ad spend on the social media platform, according to the WSJ. Disney was reportedly the ad largest spender on Facebook in the first half of this year.

Vodafone Spain is the country’s first operator to include the Eurosport Player app, owned by Discovery, into its pay TV platform.

SES has filed a $1.8 billion claim against Intelsat’s bankruptcy proceedings case, in response to an alleged breach of contract. The pair had originally agreed to split the control of the C-Band Alliance and its assets, but Intelsat enraged SES when it began asking for changes to the ‘accelerated relocation payments’ from the FCC. This is all a bit messy.

 

SpaceX has won FCC approval for its in-home WiFi router and motorized satellite dish designs, which are needed to track its Starlink constellation as it moves through the sky. It has recently launched its tenth batch of satellites, and will shortly start its beta program, in Northern North America.

 

Viasat has been awarded a $19.9 million funding package to provide rural broadband connections in Pennsylvania, over a ten year period. This is the fourteenth round of funding from the 2018 Connect America Phase II auction, which has paid out nearly all of its $1.48 billion pot.

California based ad-buying platform The Trade Desk has partnered with the UK’s Channel 4. The Trade Desk will be joining a handful of demand-side platforms (DSPs) already providing programmatic inventory to the channel. Advertiser P&G has just completed the first trial of the technology, which is said to provide transparency over ad order and age-specific advertising rules.

 

Scotland’s primary FTA channel STV has signed a deal with Comcast’s ad tech arm FreeWheel. FreeWheel’s MRM platform will be used to monetize STV’s content OTA, online and on-demand – totaling 3.5 million viewers.

 

Mobile game studio Huuuge Games has purchased Dutch interactive ad company Playable Platform. Huuuge Games has created mobile games titles such as Trolls Pop, Traffic Puzzle and Stars Slots.