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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Verizon has been confirmed as the mystery counter bidder in the race for US spectrum license holder Straight Path Communications, as the company announced it had accepted Verizon’s $3.1 billion bid over AT&T’s $1.6 billion offer. Verizon will pay AT&T a $38 million termination fee.

The largest owner of local TV stations in the US, Sinclair Broadcast Group, is acquiring Chicago-based media company Tribune Media for $3.9 billion – the latest move in US media consolidation following the FCC’s more lenient stance of late. Nexstar Broadcasting Group and 21st Century Fox had both looked at acquiring Tribune, which operates 173 TV stations in 81 markets.

Vodafone Spain has teamed up with BeIN Sports to be the country’s exclusive operator showing the Champions League final in UHD, taking place on June 3 between Spanish giant Real Madrid and ‘The Old Lady’ of Italy, Juventus. Across the border in France, Altice’s SFR has reportedly secured the exclusive rights for both the Champions League and Europa League finals until 2021 for a fee of around €350 million – a potentially major blow to Canal+ and BeIN Sports. MTG bagged the sought-after rights for Scandinavia until 2021 this week.

Comcast has topped Netflix’s latest ISP Speed Index in the US with an average speed over cable of 3.92 Mbps, which was also the highest speed in the Americas, followed by Verizon’s FiOS fiber network, averaging 3.84 Mbps. Verizon’s DSL network came bottom of the US rankings at 2.7 Mbps, just behind Windstream’s 2.82 Mbps DSL connection in 12th place. AT&T U-verse was in 8th position at 3.59 Mbps. Netflix results show Swiss operator Quickline had the highest speed in Europe at an average of 4.97 Mbps, and Japan’s KDDI Fiber network was the fastest in Asia Pacific at 4.41 Mbps. In the UK, Virgin came out on top at 3.9 Mbps, while Sky had the slowest connection at an average of 3.41 Mbps.

Telenor Satellite in the Nordics has signed a contract extension with Liberty Global’s UPC DTH, which delivers satellite programming to consumers in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. The extension is a long-term multi-transponder deal for UPC’s broadcast traffic on Telenor’s satellite fleet including Thor 5, Thor 6 and Thor 7.

French OTT service Molotov has selected CastLabs’ multi-DRM system DRMtoday for live multiscreen streaming. DRMtoday supports FairPlay, Widevine and PlayReady. Molotov says it surpassed the 1 million user milestone last month, since launching in November 2016.

Set top player access company SmarDTV, part of the Kudelski Group, has announced a win with South African set top supplier Altech UEC, to supply System-In-Package (SIP) technology for Altech’s new HD set top, claiming to be the first FTA digital satellite platform in the country. SmarDTV says its latest SIP technology is based on the newest generation chipsets and facilitates local manufacturing as all key security assets and UI requirements are pre-integrated with the SIP silicon.

Canadian online video specialist Brightcove has published first quarter revenue of $37.6 million, a year-on-year rise of 4%. Gross profit fell to $22.4 million, from $23 million in the same period last year, and net loss rose from $1.6 million in the first quarter of 2016, to $5.1 million in Q1 this year. Brightcove secured contract extensions in the quarter with Conde Nast Japan, Discovery Network Asia, News UK, New York Post, Total Sports Asia, TV Tokyo Communications Corporation, and Young Hollywood.

US ad-supported OTT service Tubi TV has landed a $20 million round of funding led by VC firm Jump Capital, aiming to use the cash to grow its premium ad inventory. Tubi TV content partners include Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures and Starz.

Networking technology vendor Adtran says it is conducting the first public demonstration of the ITU-T’s two latest G.fast technologies – 212MHz and coordinated dynamic time allocation (cDTA) at the G.fast Summit in Paris this week. Adtran adds that the advancements enable the delivery of symmetric gigabit services over a single copper pair, removing the need to bond multiple copper pairs.

Swiss cable operator Quickline has launched a new TV service using CDN technologies from French firm Broadpeak. Quickline TV will deliver more than 400 channels to OTT and IPTV subscribers using Broadpeak’s BkS300, BkS400, and BkS100 video servers, BkM100 CDN manager, and BkA100 video delivery analytics.

Kudelski’s Conax has selected Eurofins Digital Testing to set up a digital testing services center in Hong Kong, providing Conax’s unnamed set top partners with authorized pre-testing and conformity testing services in the Asia Pacific region.

Frontier Communications has renewed its intellectual property license agreement with TiVo – covering TiVo Advertising for set tops and TiVo’s extensive entertainment discovery IP portfolio.

Opera is pledging $100 million worth of investment into growing the digital economy in Africa over the next two years. Opera says its mobile browser is the most popular in the continent, so has clear vested interests in accelerating the growth and adoption of mobile internet. It claims the Opera Mini Browser has tools for lowering data costs and recently celebrated 100 million monthly users in Africa.

US online advertising technology firm Rubicon Project has been tapped by BT’s Digital Advertising arm to build and deliver a data-driven programmatic advertising campaign to over 10 million users across BT’s online platforms BT.com, BTSport.com, and the BT Sport and BT WiFi apps.

Cloud video technology vendor Amagi has partnered with Satellite Telecommunications Network (STN) in Slovenia to integrate the Amagi Skylight cloud-managed broadcast services platform with STN’s satellite uplink services.

Multiscreen platform provider Alticast will be demonstrating a new turnkey platform for pay TV operators and content providers at the Broadcast Asia trade show in Singapore later this month. Alticast says its platform incorporates multiple headend modules for scale across iOS, Android, HTML 5, Windows and more, including UHD and multi-DRM content protection, a business intelligence system for providing key statistics, and resources that manage search and discovery metadata.

UK content consultancy company 3Vision has acquired the distribution rights for 30 international linear channels on behalf of MTN Cyprus, for the Cyprian operator’s new IPTV and TV Everywhere service MTN TV.

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