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28 April 2022

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Five years ago this week…

Netflix seized a massive content opportunity in China, licensing its original content to iQiyi, one of the country’s top video services. While leading Western OTT platforms had struggled to enter the massive streaming market, Netflix had found a lucrative source of extra pocket money via the back door. Both Netflix and iQiyi have encountered a slump in subscriber numbers as of late, with iQiyi’s monthly active user count falling by one million users over the past two years.

For the best part of 10 years, Faultline has been predicting the future of Turkish mesh WiFi expert Airties as an acquisition prospect. Private equity has finally pounced on Airties, with Providence Equity Partners paying an undisclosed amount. We hope to update readers with a deeper assessment of what this means for the future of Airties, once the dust has settled from NAB.

Charter Communications is paying $900 million over several years to Comcast, for licensing the Flex video platform and hardware. The announcement describes a 50/50 joint venture on developing a TV OS, targeting a 2023 launch to offer 4K streaming devices.

QoE video analytics vendor NPAW has released a NaLa at NAB, a natural language-based video insights search tool bringing advanced data analysis capabilities to handle complex search requests based on common-speech questions.

Sinclair Broadcast has committed to media processing and monitoring specialist Telestream in a big way, with an agreement for all existing products and services across Sinclair properties benefitting from unlimited usage of Telestream Cloud Services.

Nordic pay TV heavyweight has signed up for Synamedia’s OTT ServiceGuard and multi-DRM services to tackle anti-piracy.

 

TvStartup, which is not a start-up at over 10 years old, has launched its new Video CMS Software at NAB 2022, describing it as the next level of its OTT platform.

Netflix has tried to pick itself up off the floor with Categories hub menu feature on the left side of its connected TV UI. The categories are led by a top three genres that are curated according to each user’s watch history.

In an attempt to rival the likes of Apple TV and Amazon Fire, Virgin Media has launched its Stream IPTV platform and device. Stream will be available to Virgin Broadband subscribers for an activation fee of $44, with customers then paying for channel packages and OTT services directly through the platform, with 10% credit given back on any purchases made within the platform.

At 17 million homes, DTH has the largest market share (45.7%) of TV infrastructure in Germany, according to a new report from Kantar. Cable ranks second in Germany, at 15.6 million homes (42%), while IPTV is third at 3.3 million (8.6%). 1.3 million DTT households bring up the rear, with a shrinking market share of 3.6%.

A provisional political agreement has been reached on the landmark Digital Services Act (DSA), which looks to sharpen the defined responsibilities of online platforms when informing users about how their data is monetized. The European Council (representing all 27 member states) and European Commission have reached agreement on the act, which is expected to come into force in 2024.

With Xbox announcing the intention to launch in-game ads last week, it was only a matter of time before Sony responded. The company now says it is experimenting with ads in free-to-play PS4 and PS5 games.

Just one month after launch, CNN has shut down its $300 million streaming service CNN+ to make way for the strategy of its new owner, Warner Bros. Discovery. It is expected that the content destined for CNN+ will eventually be folded into the DiscoMax OTT cocktail.

TikTok has rolled out two tiers of interactive add-ons for in-feed ads. Standard add-ons will encourage clicks and conversions from users, while Premium add-ons will offer greater brand awareness with larger, pop-out displays.

Xandr has announced a new data framework that allows customers to activate their preferred viewership or engagement data currency for linear campaigns. Looking to serve the fragmentation in measurement currencies, Xandr’s new tool has been launched in collaboration with 605, Comscore, EDO, Samba TV, TVision and VideoAmp.

 

Canada’s Telus has unveiled its Stream+ offering, which bundles Apple TV+, Discovery+, and Netflix in a single $25 CAD offering. Telus commissioned a study that found almost half of Canadians use three or more streaming platforms, and 90% would bundle if they could. In the US, HBO Max is joining Verizon’s +play aggregation platform too, alongside Netflix, Peloton, and Disney+. Verizon lost 292,000 wireless subs, however, so these bundles should brace against churn.

TikTok has completed an experimental broadcast of a soccer match, using the smartphone-native 9:16 aspect ratio. The match between Real Sociedad and Real Betis reached an audience of 506,000 viewers, and required a production crew of 30 people. This was the first La Liga match to be broadcast in the new format.