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26 August 2021

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

In a final act of desperation, Canadian operators Rogers Communications and Shaw recruited UK software house ThinkAnalytics to power the recommendation engine for their jointly-owned SVoD service, Shomi. Despite its owners’ mission, Shomi was failing to present a serious challenge to the dominance of Netflix in Canada, which became the giant’s first territory outside of home soil in 2010, where it had since amassed 5.2 million subs compared to Shomi’s 250,000, at the time of writing. Rogers and Shaw were banking on ThinkAnalytics to lift Shomi’s UX to new heights, but alas, it was not enough. Following an announcement in September 2016, Shomi folded just two months later.

 

 

One unconventional perk of smart TVs is that – in the event of theft – these devices can be remotely killed. This is what Samsung has resorted to following the looting of a warehouse in South Africa, triggering the electronics giant to activate the TV Block app which is installed as standard. Once a smart TV is connected to the internet, this app will ping Samsung servers and initiate a cross-referencing against serial numbers of missing hardware – with any match triggering total caput for all TV functions.

Nordic-based Allente, which serves up TV to some 1 million subscribers, has joined an exclusive club of pay TV operators to complete the integration of the Google Broadcast Stack for its hybrid Android TV Operator Tier set top. The six-month project involved Nagra, 3SS, Broadcom, and Kaon Media.

Evoca, the US hybrid video platform harnessing ATSC 3.0 technology, is using Android TV set top hardware from CommScope. The VIP7802-ATSC has been coined Pilot, although that doesn’t appear to signal that this is a pilot project. It will be offered to broadcasters and partners in Evoca markets from early 2022.

US media group Nexstar has inked a deal with sports betting odds and stats provider SportsGrid, to create the SportsGrid Network – a channel dedicated to sports wagering and fantasy sports.

Liberty Global’s Plume-powered intelligent WiFi initiative is expanding to 2 million VodafoneZiggo subscribers in the Netherlands and some 850,000 at UPC Poland. Plume’s smart WiFi pods pair with the mobile app for easy installation, while Plume’s adaptive WiFi software and AI algorithms optimize the adaptive mesh WiFi network for switching between frequencies and selecting optimal APs.

Also in Poland, the ongoing dispute between the Polish government and Discovery has escalated, as the country’s president, Andrzej Duda, may effectively banish Discovery and all its properties from the country by making amendments to broadcast legislation.

Orange Slovakia has rolled out an Android TV set top from CommScope, aiming to pounce on changing viewing habits by introducing access to third-party OTT video services.

Vizio has received a patent infringement lawsuit from consumer electronics maker Maxell, hailing from Japan. The allegations relate to a patent on displaying content from sources including USB, wireless adapters, and digital broadcast signals, as well as a separate patent on image upscaling and other image processing technology.

Connected home data provider Veego Software has raised $13 million in its Series A financing round, led by Magenta Venture Partners. The Veego Data Platform claims to detect and rectify streaming issues before they occur, by measuring engagement with web-based devices and ranking QoE in a contextual method of consumption and connectivity requirements unique to each device.

UK-based silicon supplier Imagination Technologies has crushed its first half 2021 performance, growing revenues by 55% over the previous year to $76 million. While Imagination inked some digital TV deals in the six-month period, its two most lucrative sectors for GPUs are automotive and smartphone, in which it holds a 45% and 37% share, respectively.

Sports-first streaming platform fuboTV has added the factual Curiosity Channel and the Curiosity Stream VoD services, for US and Canadian viewers.

 

Hulu original titles are now available in HDR, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision on compatible Roku models, Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Apple TV 4K, Vizio TVs, and Chromecast Ultra.

 

LTN Global is expanding its Live Video Cloud video routing platform to allow efficient content sharing and distribution capabilities for tier 1 sports and news organizations. Content creators can now map their content distribution requirements, providing numerous customized feeds from a single program transport stream (SPTS) according to various geographical, language-based and business rules.

Advertising analytics and rights management platform Extreme Reach is the latest ad tech firm to partner with connected TV specialist BrightLine. Advertisers working with Extreme Reach will have access to Brightline’s streamlined workflows for pushing live and interactive CTV ads, as the latter’s distribution channels will be integrated within the former’s independent ad server and ad management technologies.

Double Verify is expanding its 2019 partnership with Twitter-owned MoPub, and will now provide its full range of ad fraud protection and reporting for mobile app campaigns across the MoPub Marketplace programmatic exchange.

TVSquared clearly thinks political advertisers are the next big spenders on attribution, as it has tapped ad intelligence firm AdImpact for its real-time metrics on political connected TV campaigns. AdImpact will offer data on reach, frequency, and incremental reach, and is projecting that $1.5 billion of political ad dollars will be spend on CTV for the 2022 US elections.

User-generated SVoD platform OnlyFans will ban adult content on its website from October 2021, despite opposition from many users who argue this makes up the majority of content on the site. The London-based website generated over $5 billion over 2020 and hosts over 2 million creators and 130 million users.

Expanding on its recent decision to offer the Apple TV 4K box to Magenta TV customers, Deutsche Telekom has announced it is also going to be offering an alternative remote control from Universal Electronics. Notably, it lacks Apple’s trackpad. In the US, T-Mobile just added a one-year subscription to Apple TV+ to its Magenta plans, suggesting a rather cozy relationship on both sides of the pond.

The Chinese box office seems to be turning its back on Hollywood titles, while outperforming its 2018 and 2019 revenues. Chinese titles scored $3.9 billion in H1 2021, while the US studios earned only $700 million – down significantly from $1.8 billion in 2018 and $2.1 billion in 2019, respectively.

Russia’s OTT market achieved revenues of $297.3 million in the first half of 2021, representing a growth of 24%, according to Russian outlet TelecomDaily. However, this is down significantly from the previous 2021 growth expectation of 50%. AVoD’s share declined further, from 22.5% to 18.5%, as SVoD services expanded.

 

SSIMWave has joined the SRT Alliance, and announced a new viewer experience measurement service that uses the Secure Reliable Transport protocol. It claims new unparalleled visibility into cloud-based distribution, not afforded by older approaches.

 

Intel has brought its chiplet architecture to its Xeon range, having previously debuted the packaging process in its Stratix 10 FPGAs. The fourth-gen Xeons are codenamed Sapphire Rapids, and Intel also announced that its new consumer-facing GPU family will be branded as Arc – powered by its Alchemist SoC. A challenge to both AMD and Nvidia, it comes as the latter faces new regulatory scrutiny in its attempt to acquire Arm.