OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

AMC Networks and Charter have partnered to create some original content to play in an exclusive first window at Charter’s Spectrum cable business in the US. AMC produces some acclaimed TV shows including The Walking Dead, The Son, and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and the forthcoming, The Terror. The two companies expect the first content co-produced and co-funded through this partnership to premiere on Charter Spectrum in 2018.

Orange France Telecom Q1 saw mobile customers rise to 203.5 million up 1%, pay TV to 8.6 million with 6.9 million in France, up 1.7%, and broadband up 1.6% to 18.9 million lines, with 10.9 million in France. Revenues rose 0.8% to €10 billion in the quarter.

Sirius XM satellite radio in the US has released Q1 numbers, up 8% to $1.3 billion, and net income up 20% to $207 million. Subscribers grew 259,000 in the quarter and it has just acquired a connected car telematics firm Automatic Labs.

Verimatrix announced at NAB 2017 that operator Cincinnati Bell has broadened its deployment of Verimatrix VCAS, to support OTT video delivery to its streaming TV everywhere app, Watch Fioptics. Verimatrix will enable secure premium services to Roku streaming players and TVs, along with set-tops, iOS and Android devices, and future devices using its ViewRight Web client security package.  The Watch Fioptics App is currently available on iOS and Android devices with other devices coming later in the year.

AT&T has said it completed a first wave of fixed wireless internet availability for rural and underserved locations in Georgia. This was part of its FCC Connect America Fund commitment to serve over 400,000 locations by the end of 2017 and over 1.1 million locations by 2020. It offered fixed wireless internet at 10Mbps.

Sweden’s Com Hem Q1 numbers saw revenue rise by 37.7% to 1.76 billion Swedish Krona ($199m). Organic revenue grew 3.5% and the rest is down to it acquiring DTT video service Boxer last year. Net income was the equivalent of $13.6 million. It now has 952,000 unique customers, with broadband on 713,000 (up 3,000 in the Q) and digital TV on 644,000, with 6,000 new TiVo customers now reaching 39% of the Com Hem base.

Nokia says China Unicom plans a live trial of its Virtualized Services Router for broadband services, which will involve 5,000 homes in Shandong province. It will then expand to the other parts of the country when it will include delivery of IPTV services.

US operator Verizon says that the speed of its FiOS Instant Internet service will be increased to near gigabit speeds and rebranded Fios Gigabit Connection. It has a download speed of up to 940 Mbps and uploads of up to 880 Mbps for a standalone price of $70 a month or $80 for a triple play bundle ordered online. It had previously advertised this service at 750 Mbps and says this is available at 8 million homes.

India needs more DTH satellite capacity and the country’s Space Research Organization is promising three new satellites will be launched during the first-half of the 2018 financial year creating up to 68 extra transponders for DTH services.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he won’t close the agency’s investigation into the cable industry’s set-top box dubbed “unlock the box” and begun by his predecessor, because he wants to use the rulemaking to eliminate the pay TV industry’s CabIeCARD reporting requirements. Not only will he let pay TV operators collect an extra $19 billion a year renting outmoded set tops, but he will stop the embarrassment of having to admit they haven’t even allowed the attachment of any CableCARD devices.

It was way back in 2004 that Intertrust pulled off one of the largest patent hauls for a start up in recent years when Microsoft agreed to pay it $440 million to license its technology after a patent infringement legal action over DRM. Now Intertrust, along with Google, will launch PatentShield, a business which lets starts up use Google and Intertrust collective patents to defend themselves, by temporarily assigning patents to use in defense of patent claims.

Dish Network’s Sling TV has released a new AirTV Player promotion to further drive the cannibalization of pay TV subscribers. It is offering the AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for $50 for those who pre-pay for at least 3 months of the Sling TV service, rather than the standard $130 retail price. AirTV Player is WiFi and Ethernet compatible and connects to a TV set via HDMI, users can also connect an antenna to receive OTA signals – providing live pay TV and local channels, plus Netflix, on a Sling TV interface.

Telefonica Vivo has become the official NBA partner in Brazil, offering live basketball games and exclusive additional content to subscribers via a mobile streaming app. The app is available on iOS and Android, with a two tier subscription. The basic service offers one live game a week throughout the season, while the premium package gives full access to NBA League Pass for every live game.

Dutch cable operator Ziggo, owned by Vodafone and Liberty Global, is offering its quad-play households the option to receive double the standard amount of mobile data if they also take a mobile subscription from Vodafone. This is aimed at reducing churn and substantial debt.

Intel has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh on a $4 million research program aimed at understanding how visual cloud capabilities can drive future video experiences – focusing on 5G and other IoT applications. It says visual data is the world’s largest form of data, and viewing experiences such as AR, VR and panoramic video will benefit from future 5G roll outs. The low latency of 5G will find a host of uses, but we feel that delivering video will not be one of them.

TV Everywhere has reached the heights of a 73% “aided awareness” level, after 8 long years since pay TV operators launched their initiatives, according to the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM). The survey also reveals that 56% of cable TV subscribers used their TV Everywhere service in the last six months, which seems like a disappointingly low figure to us.

South East Asian OTT video provider YuppTV has entered the hardware game, with the launch of a streaming device called Freedocast Pro Device. It can attach to a smartphone camera, where the Freedocast Live Streaming Platform allows users to broadcast live videos in HD quality on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, controlled via the iOS or Android app. It says the platform provides cloud transcoding, ABR streaming, analytics, ad insertion, geo-blocking and pay-per-view capabilities.

ZoneTV, a US provider of digital content and brands for pay TV, is using ActiveVideo’s CloudTV StreamCast virtualized cloud technology to expand the reach of its video content to pay TV set tops. The collaboration will see ZoneTV’s line up of more than 20 free and premium channels integrated into pay TV program guides.

Vincent Bolloré has been reelected to the head of the board at Vivendi with over 82% of votes. Shareholders also agreed the distribution of €0.40 a share ordinary dividend with respect to fiscal year 2016.

Electronics supplier RCA has joined the Roku TV licensing program, in which it will use the Roku TV platform to integrate the Roku OS into RCA branded smart TVs in the US in Canada. The smart TVs, set to launch in the coming months, will provide access to 5,000 TV channels and 450,000 movies and TV episodes.

Viacom has launched a new business arm dedicated to creating multi-platform video products, called the Global Product Development Group. The company is aiming to increase global engagement with its brands due to declining interest in the US in channels such as MTV. Its initial priority is to expand its suite of mobile apps, Play Plex, and says it is already in the process of transitioning Viacom’s website to a single web framework.

Altice USA is deploying a more powerful version of the La Box set top and WiFi router that has previously been rolled out in France with SFR. It claims to deliver speeds of up to 1 Gbps, and will include additional features such as an improved UI and voice control.

Sky’s Now TV streaming service is launching in the Republic of Ireland, some 5 years after it first launched in the UK. Package prices will be similar to the UK, albeit for currency differences.