OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Google has called in comScore in a deal announced this week, to provide independent brand safety reporting of advertising campaigns on YouTube. This is an absolute first, Google responding to outside pressure to fix a problem, rather than taking two years to write its own software. This is seen as a quick fix by Google to prevent advertising appearing next to hate speech videos or in other inappropriate context. comScore will use what it calls a brand safety engine, part of its validated Campaign Essentials suite, which continuously monitors patterns within text content to identify the brand safety of a given ad context.

SPI International has shelled out for the rights to show 2016 musical romance drama La La Land on its Filmbox service, acquired from Freeman Distribution. The rights cover the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, as part of a bundled movie package.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will apparently be playing no part in the Verizon-owned company which will be renamed Oath, according to Business Insider sources. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will head up the newly formed business arm as the Oath-in-Chief.

French MPEG technology group Vitec has announced that Sacramento-based events arena Golden 1 Center has deployed its IPTV Sports Venue Solution, handling live TV channels, low-latency streaming, and customizable digital signage for over 700 displays in the facility. The solution includes Vitec’s EZ TV platform which provides hardware-based IPTV and signage end points, plus Blade System encoders – allowing Golden 1 Center to manage and distribute up to 16 in-house feeds, 16 unique menu board channels, and 74 TV channels.

Deutsche Telekom is following in the footsteps of T-Mobile US, as the German operator has confirmed plans to roll out the StreamOn offering to give its mobile subscribers free access to video and music streaming services, as of April 19. New and existing customers of the MagentaMobil service will receive zero-rated data for a variety of streaming service providers, depending on the size of the plan, which initially includes Apple Music, Amazon Music and Amazon Video, Napster, Netflix, Sky Go, YouTube, and ZDF, plus more to be confirmed.

Amazon has just paid five times more for rights to stream 10 live Thursday night NFL games, compared to the amount Twitter coughed up last year. Amazon has acquired the non-exclusive rights for a reported $50 million, outbidding Facebook and YouTube. CBS and NBC also hold Thursday night NFL rights and will show five games each on TV and streaming formats.

UK viewer measurement specialist Genius Digital has teamed up with billing company Paywizard to provide pay TV operators with audience insights and churn analytics on their pay TV subscriber bases, which the pair say drive loyalty and growth. The collaboration combines Genius Digital’s audience analytics with Paywizard’s transactional behavior data – to provide a platform which takes into account subscriber data from type of content, type of device, and time and day, from where operators can take actions in an attempt to reduce churn.

French set top software player Netgem recorded 2016 revenues down 6% year on year to €74.3 million ($79.2 million), while increasing gross profit by 7% to €27.5 million  ($29.3 million) for the year.

UK digital video systems reseller Garland has announced that Sky Sports has selected contribution encoders and decoders from Japanese firm NTT Electronics. NTT will support Sky’s distribution of HEVC UHD sports content over IP on its Sky Q set tops. NTT’s UHD products can deliver up to 160Mbps transport stream, with 120ms delay. Sky has been a long-term user of Elemental’s encoding expertise for distribution feeds, so perhaps Elemental is focused less on high bandwidth contribution encoding these days.

Ad measurement firm TVSquared has partnered with Spanish business intelligence group Smartek, to bring TV ad optimization to Spain’s €2.5 billion TV advertising industry. TVSquared says its ADvantage system can improve campaign efficiency, while its Predict product can identify the best TV buy opportunities to optimize spend.

CBSShowtime has launched on Sling TV for $10 a month, offering 8 live channels including HBO, Cinemax and Starz, plus 2,000 on-demand titles, updated weekly. Sling TV has also upgraded its Spanish-language catalog this week with three new networks – Estrella TV, Vme Kids and El Financiero.

Verizon Digital Media Services said it will soon be launching its new OTT video cloud-based content intelligence system (CIS) Xperience Studio. VDMS says Xperience automates and simplifies the production and distribution of content for broadcasters, OTT providers and online video distributors. The CIS can be integrated with third-party vendor systems or with its own platform, which includes the Uplynk Video Streaming service, Edgecast CDN, and Volicon Media Intelligence service.

Spotify and Vivendi-owned Universal Music Group (UMG) have reached an agreement on the distribution of music streaming services, in which UMG will cut its share of Spotify’s revenues to below the current 55%. Spotify must meet the condition that it meets its paid-subscriber growth number, of an undisclosed figure, and UMG will have more influence over which releases are free or paid.

Harmonic’s Spectrum X advanced media server and MediaGrid shared storage system products have been selected by Globosat in Latin America, to support its hybrid IP infrastructure. Globosat used Harmonic for broadcast of a 24-hour UHD channel for the Rio Olympics last year, and is now expanding the deal to include technology for playout and offline content management for IP.