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13 January 2022

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Xumo was shooting for the stars, announcing that it would be deployed in up to 25 million homes by the end of 2017. This was a grand claim from a company that had just 29 employees, but the OTT platform and recommendation software firm’s confidence was boosted by a recent deployment deal with Hisense at the time. However, momentum soon faded with Xumo’s monthly active user count around the 10 million mark by the time Comcast acquired the company in early 2020.



NAB President Curtis LeGeyt is optimistic about NAB 2022 going ahead as planned in April this year following his time at last week’s CES. “All signs indicate that we are going to be in a much better place from a health and safety perspective as a country in April. We are pacing very, very well in terms of both exhibitor and attendee interest in our show,” LeGeyt commented. He cautioned that NAB’s vaccination requirement will be consistent with what CES has done, while he described the new West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center as offering opportunities for a more “innovative” show floor layout, whatever that means.

Verimatrix has sold its NFC patent business to semiconductor company Infineon Technologies for just under $2 million. Revenues from NFC licensing have been inconsistent to say the least, bringing in sales of $3.9 million in 2019, then $0 in 2020, followed by $16.2 million in Q2 2021 alone – making the $2 million price tag look very suspect. The US-French security vendor was hopeful of a potentially lucrative NFC patent deal with Apple which never came to fruition, while Verimatrix has also faced a costly patent litigation case in China recently.

DAZN is closing in acquiring the BT Sport wing of British Telecom. The sports streaming service is prepared to front $800 million for the deal, according to Reuters.

Licensing administrator Access Advance has welcomed 28 new licensor members to its VVC Advance Patent Pool, for the H.266 video codec which was standardized in summer 2020.

The long-rumored satellite TV mega merger between DirecTV and Dish Network is back on the cards, according to investment research firm Lightshed. Zero points for originality.

Intema by MTS AI, an investment division of Russia’s largest telco MTS, has unveiled its official accelerator program – offering $100,000 per project for AI-based start-ups, with some lucky candidates able to apply for an additional $500,000.

Discovery has become a minority owner of the advertising joint venture OpenAP, operated by Fox, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS. OpenAP expects the deal to push more publisher-driven ad sales through the platform, projecting half a billion this year.

T-Mobile USA has made an intriguing acquisition in the in-vehicle infotainment space, buying Octopus Interactive, which operates screens in taxis from Uber and Lyft to serve up geotargeted ad campaigns.

V-Nova has developed a video compression app integrated with space logistics firm D-Orbit, designed to identify, select, and efficiently compress high-quality video of relevant information for space missions.

The dedicated CNN+ news streaming service, launching later this year, has secured its first distribution partner with Comcast.

Video quality assessment specialist SSIMWave has signed up to the AWS Independent Software Vendor Accelerate Program – a co-selling initiative.

Media security vendor Intertrust ExpressPlay has also joined the AWS Independent Software Vendor program to drive adoption of the ExpressPlay DRM cloud service.

New York-based fuboTV breached 1 million subscribers in Q4 2021, while growing its annual revenues from $4.3 million in 2019 to $614.5 million in 2021. The sports streaming service’s explosive growth has not protected its share price, however, as the market sees fuboTV as overvalued and punished its stock by 35%.

Eighth-placed US operator Atlantic Broadband has rebranded to the trendy name Breezeline. Owned by Canada’s Cogeco, the new company plans to launch a new cloud-based video platform, Breezeline Stream TV, in early 2022.

Broadpeak has officially announced that TIM is using its Multicast-ABR offering, after Faultline accidentally beat it to the punch, supporting streams from DAZN in Italy. DAZN’s Serie A football rights coup exerted considerable pressure on the Italian broadband market, and M-ABR is a salve for that hurt.

SpaceX has 145,000 Starlink subscribers, which is only up some 5,000 since November, according to what a CNBC investigation had unearthed at the time. SpaceX has cited silicon supply chain problems as the source of the delay.

Google has confirmed that there are 110 million monthly active users (MAU) for Android TV and Google TV. This is up from the 80 million reported in May 2021. There are now over 250 partners, globally, including 170 pay TV operators – up from 140 in 2019.

Ting Internet has struck a deal with Colorado Springs Utilities, to become the anchor tenant in a new city-wide fiber network that the electricity, gas, and water company plans to build. Construction is due to begin in Q3, will pass 200,000 addresses, with service starting in 2023.

Qorvo has simplified its WiFi 6E silicon design with the first wideband front end module for CPE, covering spectrum between the 5.1 GHz and 7.1 GHz bands. This means that operators can use just one module to access all reaches of the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands, rather than two, reducing the board space required for WiFi 6E upgrades, and improving overall performance, capacity and flexibility.

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive, famous for heavyweight titles such as Grand Theft Auto, has acquired mobile game developer Zynga for over $11 billion – one of the largest ever acquisitions in the sector. It is expected that Zynga’s cohort of developers will help Take-Two expand its IP to mobile, while also launching new titles in the format.

Hypercasual mobile games – titles that aim to acquire users at low cost for advertising – have seen their advertising costs stay down following the release of iOS 14.5 and 14.6, according to research from Moloco. This flies in the face of the many warnings that Apple’s new privacy policy was a death knell for mobile advertisers

Apple says developers have generated around $60 billion in App Store sales in the past year, marking a new yearly record.

RTL Group has sold its stake in VideoAmp, a rising star in video measurement, for $104 million. RTL Group has invested $14.5 million in VideoAmp since 2015. This is in line with RTL’s wider strategy of streamlining its core business, which saw the company sell ad tech outfit SpotX for $1.17 billion last year.

There are reports that French SVoD service Salto has less than 300,000 paying subscribers 15 months after first launching – a far cry from the platform’s original target of one million subs within its first year.

Spotify has introduced call to action (CTA) cards as a new form of podcast advertising, available on the company’s original and exclusive podcasts in the US. This aims to make up for the various shortfalls in audio ads regarding interactivity and brand retention.

The FCC has launched the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers eligible households up to $30 a month towards internet services, growing to $75 a month for those on qualifying tribal lands.

G-Mana’s plug and play server-side ad insertion (SSAI) offering is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. G-Mana enables SSAI for linear, live, or VoD content.

Huawei is reportedly pouring endless amounts of money into China’s silicon production, while Intel is on the back foot in the country, having called out human-rights abuses in the Xinjiang province. Two of China’s greatest rivals in the region are currently virtually attending the Taiwan-Japan Economic and Trade Conference, which looks set to solidify ties between the two countries in terms of silicon production.