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2 September 2021

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Ericsson surrendered to Google, announcing at IBC 2016 that it would allow Android TV set tops to work with its MediaFirst TV Platform. Many operators had deserted MediaFirst in the three years since Ericsson had acquired it from Microsoft in 2013, when it was then known as Mediaroom, as they felt their multiscreen needs were too urgent to wait for the re-engineered architecture. In linking MediaFirst with Android TV, operators had an additional pathway to access Ericsson’s cloud-based TV services such as 4K-UHD live channels, VoD, catch-up TV and cloud DVR. Ericsson’s Media Solutions division was divested just one year later, resulting in the creation of MediaKind.

 

Chinese electronics giant TCL has plunged into the MPEG-LA’s AVC patent pool as a portfolio licensee member – a move which resolves all legal disputes by patent holders against TCL in Germany.

Locast, the non-profit streaming service delivering local US broadcast TV channels OTT, has been dealt a blow in defending its court case against US broadcasters. A New York federal court has favored a handful of major broadcasters which allege that Locast retransmits TV signals without authorization.

Disney is shifting content from Hotstar to its ESPN and Hulu properties in the US market, including Indian Premier League cricket matches, in a precursor to a shuttering of Hotstar on home soil in late 2022.

HBO Max is now available on Vizio smart TVs in the US, while WarnerMedia has confirmed that the streaming service will make its debuts in Spain and the Nordics this coming autumn.

Polish operator Cyfrowy Polsat has rebranded its pay TV platform as Polsat Box, while the TV everywhere service Cyfrowy Polsat Go has become Polsat Box Go. It has commemorated this with a new 4K set top and a DUO function which gives access to satellite and IP-based TV services.

Polish OTT engineering outfit Redge Technologies has integrated the CryptoGuard Multi-DRM technology into its cybersecurity offering, providing encryption keys for content decryption modules – bringing shortened time to market and reduced costs.

 

Synamedia has worked with Google’s Broadcast Stack to develop pre-integrated UIs, security, business insights and addressable advertising for Android TV set tops, as an extension of the vendor’s Infinite cloud TV platform. With the Broadcast Stack making it easier and faster to roll out Android TV, Synamedia says video services providers can pick and mix from its pre-integrated services or take the entire bundle.

Streaming TV technology provider Wurl has calculated lost revenue based on churn for some top US SVoDs during April 2021. Its research arm Wurl Analytics claims HBO Max lost the most at $33.1 million, followed by Netflix’s $17.3 million, Hulu’s $15.1 million, and Disney+’s $14.7 million.

Verimatrix’s VCAS encryption technology has been selected by US multimedia systems provider International Datacasting Corporation (IDC), to protect sporting events for broadcast customers serving Latin America.

Harmonic’s CableOS Cloud-Native Core Platform is bringing expanded broadband capacity and higher speeds to Filipino operator Parasat Cable TV. It marks a switch out of legacy Remote MAC-PHY technology from Huawei, in place of Harmonic’s standards-based Distributed Access Architecture.

Two months later than planned, Disney’s Star+ streaming service has gone live in Latin America, which will be the only region to receive Star+ both as a standalone service and as a bundle with Disney+.

Zoom’s quarterly revenue eclipsed $1 billion for the first time in Q2 2021, following launches of Zoom Events and Zoom Apps.

Apple has acquired classical musical streaming service Primephobic, and will eventually provide better browsing and search capabilities to Apple Music Classical fans.

Vodafone Portugal has tapped something called an app-aware intelligence platform from US quality assurance vendor Viavi. The Nitro Geo product delivers consumer experience insights and GDPR-compliant data handling to improve the way subscriber complaints are handled by the European operator.

Sales of NextGen TVs are exceeding expectations, according to Advanced Television Systems Committee President Madeleine Noland, speaking at last week’s ATSC 3.0 members event, although no figures were provided.

Since going public, Vizio seems to be on a roll. Following an impressive first set of quarterly results, the company has already closed its 2022 upfronts commitments, raising over $100 million – a fourfold increase year on year.

Ad tech platform QTT is continuing its mission of bridging the gap between digital and linear advertising. It has launched QTT Marketplace, which aims to attract digital-focused advertisers to local and national linear inventory. This makes use of a family of patented technologies to integrate pan-device digital and linear advertising ecosystems.

Video data broker Iris.TV has partnered with one of the last remaining independent AVoDs, Plex. Iris.TV will offer Plex’s advertisers data on contextual targeting – essentially, categorizing content titles by genre and audience – as well as brand safety and post-campaign reporting.

Two mobile app ad tech firms, LiftOff and Vungle, are being merged by their majority investor Blackstone to create a sizable mobile marketing business. LiftOff offers a marketing service for app developers, while Vungle offers in-app advertising experiences. Both are located in California, with offices around the world.

While we wait to see if it acquires Xandr, Indian mobile ad platform InMobi has partnered with Human Security. InMobi will integrated Human’s MediaGuard solution to prevent ad fraud with real-time transparency and protection against bot activity.

 

SpaceX has shipped 100,000 dishes to customers, across 14 countries, representing some $50 million in orders. With 1,800 satellites in orbit, SpaceX’s website is still reporting a 2023 fulfillment date for some areas of the US, and some 500,000 names on the pre-order list.

Russia’s National Advertising Alliance, the main seller of TV advertising, is preparing a 15% to 20% price increase, with the Moscow region up to 30%. New measurement tools seem to be behind the price hike.

Romantis Brazil has commissioned Russian satellite operator RSCC to launch its TV Difusora channel in the state of Maranhao, in the northeast of the country. A new ground-station is being deployed in Uberlandia, with the channel being deployed from the Express-AM8 satellite.

u-blox has issued a statement regarding Ligado’s use of the L-band for 5G-based services. The maker of wireless modules is publicly responding to the FCC’s approval for Ligado operations, claiming that Ligado will be free to transmit at dangerously high levels compared to GNSS devices. u-blox has data to back up the claims, and its objection is notable because most detractors have stemmed from the US defense industry.