OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Last week, Israeli start up Sckipio said that its chipset was among the very first to be certified in both CPE and DPU (Distribution Point Unit) categories. It said it achieved interoperability inside Arris and Calix devices. Calix has followed up this week saying that its AXOS solutions are the first to obtain certifications from the Broadband Forum in both CPE and DPU configurations.

Altice USA has raised $1.9 billion in its IPO this week, the largest IPO in the telecoms sector for 17 years. The merged Cablevision and Suddenlink cable operator priced 63.9 million shares at $30 within its range of $27 to $31. It is expected that Altice USA will use its public status to seek bigger acquisitions down the line, potentially targeting Charter or Cox.

Samsung and Major League Baseball have expanded their VR content deal for more than 20 videos exclusive to the Samsung VR app. A new portfolio of VR content will roll out, getting viewers up close and personal with MLB players and providing different views of ballparks.

Soccer-focused OTT streaming service FuboTV has inked a deal with CBS to add cable and broadcast TV networks to its programming, including Showtime, CBS Sports Network, Pop and CBSN. The networks will be available live and on-demand on FuboTV’s Premiere package, while Showtime can be added separately for an additional fee.

Imagination Technologies signed an agreement with Sequans Communications for its MIPS processors on Sequans’ LTE chip platforms this week, then shortly afterwards, Imagination announced that it is putting its entire business up for sale. The UK company said in a statement that it has received interest from a number of parties, following the news in May that it had put two of its three main business units on the market – fueled by Apple’s very public break up with Imagination as its graphics core supplier.

Croatian operator Hrvatski Telekom, owned by Deutsche Telekom, has selected Netcracker’s billing software and business support systems (BSS) to consolidate its legacy billing systems as part of a large scale IT transformation. HT says it plans to use Netcracker to commercialize and monetize its fixed-mobile convergence initiative. It has 408,000 pay TV homes, 2.2 million mobile subscribers, 763,000 broadband connections, and 1 million fixed lines.

IP video software provider Evolution Digital has announced a deployment of its fully managed eVUE-TV IPTV system at Alaskan telco General Communication Inc. (GCI), to go with the deployment of its TiVo-powered eBOX hybrid set top at GCI last year. The eVUE-TV IP VoD platform is now available on the hardware, aggregated with live linear channels, OTT apps, and pay-per-view content, via a TiVo UI and running Conax multi-DRM security content protection.

South East Asian OTT video service YuppTV has entered an alliance with Indian production house Dharma Productions to provide subscribers to its YuppFlix movie platform with blockbusters including Kapoor & Sons, Ok Jaanu, Brothers, and Baahubali. The deal excludes viewers in India.

Satellite services company SES has signed a multi-year agreement with Telenor Maritime to provide high-speed broadband to the fleet of luxury cruise line company Silversea Cruises, via the SES Networks Maritime+ solution. It will offer capacity of up to 150 Mbps on eight ships. Telenor Maritime is the branch of Norwegian telco Telenor which provides telecommunication services across the coast of Norway.

SES also announced that it is in the process of transferring capacity from its AMC-9 satellite, to minimize disruption for its customers, following an “anomaly”. The full impact is still being assessed, but SES says it could dent its full year 2017 revenues by up to €20 million ($22.3 million), in the event that the spacecraft cannot be recovered. AMC-9 provided Ku-band and C-band coverage over the US and Mexico and was launched in 2003.

Audio and voice technology developer Conexant Systems has teamed with Harman International, a manufacturer of connected car systems owned by Samsung Electronics, to build premium end-to-end audio and voice solutions for voice-enabled device makers in the automotive, consumer and enterprise spaces. Conexant is combining its far-field voice input processing technologies with Harman’s connected audio systems – enabling speech recognition and voice control from a distance without disruption from acoustic challenges.

Media marketing data firm Zenith, part of Publicis Media, is using Nielsen’s Local Television Measurement to gain access to local currency TV ratings across all 210 designated market areas, for its media planning and buying process.

Time Warner has struck a content deal with Snap to create shows for the social image sharing app Snapchat over the next two years, with Time Warner providing support from its various networks and entertainment arms. The shows will cover a range of genres, including scripted drama and comedy. Snap has been bringing mobile TV shows to Snapchat users since September last year, including Time Warner’s Turner Networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, the NFL, the BBC, Discovery Networks, Scripps Networks, MGM Television, A+E Networks and Vice.

Nokia says its Bell Labs division has made a breakthrough in using existing fiber networks to transport mobile traffic which could help accelerate 5G. It showed it is now possible to use a commercial NG-PON (next-generation passive optical network) to transport ultra-low latency CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) streams via standard single fiber running between the Baseband Unit and the Remote Radio Head, claiming to be a world first. This development for the fronthaul of radio equipment could help operators reduce cost and power consumption.

Retransmission fees collected by US broadcasters from traditional and virtual MVPDs is forecast to reach $12.8 billion by 2023, growing 18% from the 2016 figure of $7.9 billion, according to analyst firm Kagan. TV station owners are getting higher retrans fees but margins have shrunk due to their affiliation renewal contracts, said Kagan. It projects that reverse retrans fees will grow 34% from last year to hit $2.9 billion by the end of 2017.

Netflix has launched its first interactive title called Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, which allows users to make decisions and shape the narrative of the story. A second episode of the experimental children’s content is set to arrive next month.

Modern Times Group has acquired San Francisco-based web and mobile games developer Kongregate from GameStop for $55 million. Kongregate is best known for mobile games such as AdVenture Capitalist and Animation Throwdown, and it recently passed 100 million mobile downloads.

US broadcasting company Ion Media has bought three new TV stations to bring its total to 63, now operating in 24 of the top 25 markets in the US. The group has picked up WRBU-TV, WZRB-TV and KTRV-TV, subject to FCC approval.

UK competition regulators Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority have submitted Government reports on the £11.7 billion ($14.8 billion) takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox. Secretary of State Karen Bradley has until June 29 to decide whether to initiate a second phase inquiry.

Spain surpassed 5.4 million FTTH lines at the end of April, increasing by 1.7 million in a year, according to data from regulator CNMC, with Telefonica’s Movistar accounting for 58.1%.

Swedish streaming service Magine TV is building an SVoD platform dedicated to Spanish movies called FlixOlé for launch later this month, in partnership with Spanish content rights holder Dinamedia.

The rumored merger of T-Mobile US with Sprint is reportedly supported by Deutsche Telekom in an all-stock deal with Sprint rather than a sale of the business, according to sources close to the board, reported by German newspaper Handelsblatt.

Ericsson has employed the helping hands of financial services firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, to explore a sale of its media solutions business and off-loading its broadcast and media services unit. New CEO Borje Ekholm wants to strip the business of more than $1 billion in unprofitable wireless service contracts.