Your browser is not supported. Please update it.

10 June 2021

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

The Supreme Court upheld the FCC’s Open Internet Ruling against an appeal, maintaining that an ISP should be considered a Title II ‘common carrier service’, rather than Title I ‘information service’. Although there was a lot of dissatisfaction, Faultline felt that this decision was best for both sides of the political landscape. Big business lovers could take comfort in the knowledge that Title II steadied the landscape for further operator consolidation for both fixed line and cellular broadband, but champions of small business could sleep easy knowing that conglomerates could not starve start-ups of internet access. The NCTA and ACA had come out swinging against the ruling, while a previously nervous Netflix applauded the outcome.

 

Technicolor Connected Home claims to have deployed 20 million RDK broadband gateways globally since its RDK-B journey began in 2016. Given that RDK Management recently celebrated the milestone of 80 million devices, this would appear to mean that Technicolor accounts for a lopsided 25% of all RDK-B device shipments. However, with RDK Management known for fudging its device count, who knows.

A new Media Transformation product from CDN provider Lumen (formerly CenturyLink) brings video encoding into the company’s edge and fiber network portfolio using cloud-based video software from MediaKind.

US operator TDS Telecom has rolled out new hardware from Evolution Digital running Android TV Operator Tier, using the eStream 4K device, upgrading from Arris set tops on which the TiVo-based TDS TV+ platform is offered.

In a bizarre turn of events, the U-verse TV service – which AT&T is in the process of palming off to private equity ownership – ranked number one among US pay TV platforms in the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index, improving its score by 6% since last year’s report.

The proposed merger between French media giants TF1 and M6 Group is, in a shock to no one, under investigation by the country’s anti-trust watchdog.

Nokia has inked a three-year WiFi contract with Orange Jordan to deploy some 100,000 WiFi Beacons across the Middle Eastern country. Nokia’s Beacon devices use mesh WiFi technology and boasts software capable of automatically resolving interference and connectivity issues.

Zixi’s Software-Defined Video Platform (SDVP) has been made available globally as-a-service. The ZaaS broadcast infrastructure aims to enable media companies and service providers to quickly ingest and distribute live video over any IP with ultra-low latency.

DRM provider Intertrust has expanded its already well-established APAC footprint with a deployment of its ExpressPlay DRM cloud service at Sky New Zealand, to protect the OTT video service Sky Go.

V-Nova plans to demonstrate hyper-spectral imaging from Polar orbit using its VC-6 software library, which will be integrated into the SpaceCloud computing platform from automation firm Unibap, with support from in-orbit transportation company D-Orbit. The satellite is scheduled to launch before the end of this quarter.

 

Vivendi has entered discussions to sell 10% of Universal Music Group to Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, a blank check company, valuing UMG at €35 billion.

Sling TV is the latest live video streaming service to add a Watch Party feature, including video and text chat while viewing, as well as player controls for when viewing on-demand programming.

Video production equipment seller Ross Video has acquired Primestream, which provides software supporting live and file-based content workflows for broadcasting live or pushing OTT.

For a monthly fee of $3, Twitter Blue will grant users the ability to undo tweets and bookmark tweets, as well as Reader Mode for making it easier to read long threads of tweets.

Nordic telco Telia has bundled Netflix and C More into a 5G unlimited data mobile bundle costing SEK499 ($60) for the first year and SEK659 ($80) for year two.

Latin American OTT service VIVOplay has partnered with Setplex to offer an infrastructure and content package for tier 2 and 3 ISPs across the continent. While VIVOplay serves up high-quality licensed content, the Setplex Nora suite handles everything from video encoding and transcoding to multiscreen app development, CDN, security management, and real-time analytics.

Brazilian SVoD service Telecine Play has deployed an updated version for Samsung Smart TVs, following development with Swedish firm Accedo. An adaptable UI can be continually customized post-launch by Telecine, while Accedo says its range of professional services and Quality Assurance quickly delivered the update.

Haivision has launched an update to its Makito X4 low latency video encoder, delivering up to 25% lower latency by using advanced slice-based encoding techniques. HDR and WCG encoding support for video contribution has also been added for enhanced video quality, as well as frame-accurate multi-stream delivery for remote broadcast challenges.

The French Competition Authority (FCA) has fined Google $268 million for abusing its position of influence in the online advertising industry. The FCA found that Google gave preferential treatment to its DFP ad server and SSP AdX listing platform, meaning that the company’s rivals and publishers suffered as a result. Google has made commitments to making its advertising tools more accessible for competitors, which are binding for the next three years.

The European Commission has announced plans to investigate Facebook’s advertising practices to find whether it has gathered advertisers’ data to compete against them in classified ads. The Commission will also inquire into whether Facebook’s Marketplace ad service is unfairly tied to the social network. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority also plans to investigate Facebook’s online dating service.

Android mobile users will be able to opt-out of being tracked by advertisers from late this year, in tandem with a Google Play services update. Although similar to Apple’s SKAdNetwork in that it gives mobile users control over their personal advertising identifiers, Apple’s initiative automatically opts-out users, so the new move from Android will likely retain a few more IDs.

Pluto TV is launching across LG smart TVs in France and Spain, expanding the AVoD platform’s European footprint beyond the pre-existing markets of Germany and the UK. The roll-out includes all LG TVs running WebOS that were manufactured since 2016.

South Asian streamer Eros Now is expanding its licensing agreement with Xfinite’s AVoD platform Mzaalo, as part of a wider strategy to find new revenue streams for the platform. Eros STX Global Corporation, Eros Now’s parent, will be entitled to a minimum guaranteed cash payment of $42 million over the remaining four-year license term, and has already received $18 million since the partnership began in 2018.

Tubi has signed an exclusive content deal with Cohen Media Group, earning 80 film titles in the process. Although featuring some big name stars – Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, to name a few – they are largely C-list titles.

Days ahead of its WWDC, a job listing from Apple slipped up and mentioned ‘homeOS,’ a hitherto unknown platform that suggests Apple has a bunch of new smart home devices on the way – including Siri integrations on non-Apple devices. Given its small but stable traction with some smaller operators, there could be some interesting developments on that front.

Facebook has acquired United 2 Games, a developer known best for creating the Crayta collaboration platform built on top of Unreal Engine 4. This looks like a move to build more games that are friendly towards the Facebook Gaming streaming platform, which notably includes games you can play inside that portal.

Details of Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 888+ SoC have emerged, thanks to leaks. It appears that a new Adreno 665 video processing unit (VPU) and Adreno 1195 display processing unit (DPU) are what we are most interested in, but there’s no confirmation of AV1 support yet.

HBO Max users on Apple TV were taken aback by a recent update for the app, which saw HBO ditch the tvOS API in favor of a homegrown player. The app is now a buggy mess, it seems, with broken Siri integrations, and the loss of playback control capabilities.

TIM has partnered with Eutelsat, to offer satellite broadband to landline customers in areas of Italy that are outside the current fixed-line footprint. The service will reach up to 100 Mbps, they say, and will be using Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite, and installation is being offered free of charge.