OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Online video specialist Brightcove has extended its deployment at New Zealand FTA broadcaster TVNZ to bring the TVNZ On Demand service to Google Chromecast devices. Brightcove is supplying its streaming services and server side advertising insertion technology to the TVNZ On Demand service, to expand availability of the service beyond iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox and Samsung Smart TVs. TVNZ says it reaches over 2 million New Zealanders every day across its broadcast channels and websites.

The global content protection market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of almost 5% between 2017 and 2021, according to a report from market research firm Technavio. The study lists DRM, CAS and watermarking as the three major types of content protection – with DRM dominating the market with close to 45% share of global content protection last year.

Amazon has rolled out a new feature enabling users to tie Fire TV with the Echo smart speaker, making searching for content easier using voice. For example, asking “Alexa, watch The Grand Tour on Fire TV” or “Alexa, show me comedies on Fire TV” will automatically pair the Echo device with Fire TV and bring up the relevant content. Users can also control content playback and Amazon says it will soon let users view live video feeds from supported smart home cameras from Fire TV. Smart home camera support works with devices from Ring, Arlo, Nest, Ezviz, Vivint Smart Home, Amcrest, Logitech, and August.

Israeli virtual reality content network Inception has landed a $15 million Series A funding round led by RTL Group, giving the European entertainment company a 15% stake. Inception combines proprietary technology with exclusive content formats to deliver VR experiences via its app, including original programming created with publishers, channels of thematic content and curated 3rd party content. Inception launched in October last year and the app supports Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, iOS, Android, Google Daydream and HTC Vive headsets, with Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality and Sony PlayStation VR coming soon.

Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo has published a technical paper entitled ‘Big data for data journalism, enhanced business analytics and video recommendation at Globo.’ The paper has won it the IBC Conference Prize for explaining how TV Globo is processing large volumes of data to carry out its business goals – using data hosting and processing in the AWS cloud to demonstrate advantages and introduce new skills into operational areas to manage analytics. “What makes the paper particularly interesting is that the authors talk about three very different applications: using public data to drive the news agenda; using business analytics to understand audiences; and using machine learning to recommend content to consumers,” said Dr Paul Entwistle, who led the team of peer review experts.

TV remains the most important influencer in all stages of the purchase funnel and for all age demographics, including millennials, according to a study conducted by market research firm GfK and broadcast trade group TVB. A survey of 3,000 consumers showed that 62% cited TV as the strongest driver of brand awareness. Local broadcast TV news is the most trusted source with 81% of the votes, while social media was the least trusted with 40%. Putting out reports like this just pretends that TV has no hurdles to climb over.

Media measurement company comScore has signed an agreement with Media Management Inc. (MMi) to add comScore’s local TV measurement to MMi’s Circle Audit auditing system. The pair say the partnership will help advertisers and agencies evaluate and verify deliverables and provide an additional choice for validation of their media purchases.

Indian pay TV operator Videocon d2h added 130,000 subscribers in the second quarter to pass 13 million, giving it a total pay TV subscriber base of 13.04 million. Revenues for the period came in at $121.3 million, up from $119.8 million in Q2 last year. Profit was down from $424,000 last year to $188,000.

HBO came under attack from hackers this week, who claim to have taken 1.5 terabytes of data including scripts and future episodes of hit series Game of Thrones. The culprits have posted unaired episodes of Ballers and Room 104 online and threatened to release more material, including the full script for the 4th episode of this season’s Game of Thrones, scheduled to screen on August 7th in the US. HBO said in a statement, “We immediately began investigating the incident and are working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms. Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold.”

RCS&RDS has been accused of money laundering by The Romanian National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). The DNA has indicted the Romanian and Hungarian cable operator, owned by Digi Communications, in connection with bribery and money laundering, along with its subsidiary Integrasoft and member of the RCS&RDS board Mihai Dinei. If found guilty, RCS&RDS may have to give up two real estate assets valued at approximately €3 million, which are connected to the charges.

The BBC and Microsoft have collaborated on an experimental version of BBC iPlayer which enables viewers to sign in using unique voiceprints. The AI technology reportedly recognizes and processes individual characteristics of a person’s voice, including tone, modulation and pitch, and matches this with a sample stored in the cloud and the final decision to grant access or not is then decided by AI algorithms. We automatically pictured a man screaming at his laptop to please play the goddamn TV.

Amazon has beaten Sky to live UK tennis rights, winning a five-year deal, valued at around £10 million a year to broadcast the ATP World Tour – the company’s first major live sports contract outside of the US. In 2018, Amazon Prime Video will be the exclusive provider of tennis tournaments outside of the four main grand slams.

Hybrid broadcast broadband standards group The HbbTV Association has rolled out its latest test suite, version 9.2, to support the certification of devices coming to market next year for all versions of the HbbTV standard. Its test suite can be used by any organization at an HbbTV test center or directly by member companies.

LG Electronics has announced that its new V30 smartphone will be the first to feature a plastic OLED FullVision display, to be unveiled at the Ifa trade show in Berlin next month. The V30 has a six-inch OLED display and the inclusion of FullVision means the body of the phone is smaller than the V20. It has 1440 x 2880 resolution and LG claims its OLED technology has an operational response time ten times faster than LCD and also supports HDR10. We assume that being plastic this device will not break so easily and as a result almost everyone who has ever had to pay for a cracked screen will opted for the V30.

German electronics group Rohde & Schwarz will be showcasing its recently launched Prismon monitoring and multiviewer product for broadcast streaming media, at IBC 2017. It says Prismon offers a single-device system for automatic, convergent monitoring of broadcast and streaming media content transported in networks. It supports SDI, SMPTE 2022-1/2, SMPTE 2022-6, AIMS/SMPTE 2110, ASPEN, HLS and DASH transport standards as well as media formats such as MPEG 2/4, HEVC and TICO.