OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

US publisher Gloss Media has selected video advertising platform SpotX, part of RTL Group, as its programmatic ad system supplier to enhance the monetization of its network of digital video screens, targeting female shoppers at over 300 nail salons. Gloss Media serves ads to consumers via connected TVs including content from Popsugar, SheKnows, VH1 and Refinery29 – streamed through custom set tops where SpotX will dynamically insert ads.

Switzerland kept its top spot as the fastest country for streaming Netflix content in July, with local ISPs recording an average speed of 4.28 Mbps, according to Netflix’s own data. Belgium jumped into second place with an average speed of 4.09 Mbps, followed by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in joint third with 3.99 Mbps. Spanish operator Telefonica was the most improved provider last month, rising from 2.06 Mbps to 3.01 Mbps, but remains in eighth place overall.

Delivery firm UPS is developing virtual reality technologies to train its drivers in simulations to demonstrate the challenges of delivering parcels on city streets. The VR training program, built using in-house tech, will launch in nine training facilities and operates using voice commands to identify obstacles.

German video processing firm Avioon will be showcasing its FLICS video transcoding and JOBS file workflow systems at the IBC trade show next month. FLICS can be deployed in the cloud or to on-premise platforms for hybrid operation and it says its JOBS workflow orchestration enables production system engineering with metadata analysis and rules-based decisions for automated movement of video files.

The pay TV market in Greece lost 15,000 subscribers over the last year, the first time the industry has reported a loss since incumbent operator OTE began offering services in 2010, according to news outlet Ekathimerini. Up until the first half of this year, OTE’s subscriber uptake has been offsetting Forthnet’s decline, but piracy is reportedly on the rise. There are a total of 950,000 pay TV subscribers in the country.

Networking equipment vendor Adtran has announced that US telco CenturyLink has deployed field trials of its virtualized OTL 10G-PON (10 Gbps Passive Optical Network) – claiming to be the first deployment of a disaggregated software-defined access solution in the US. Adtran says its open architecture approach is instrumental in creating a simplified service delivery platform with a wide range of access technologies for fixed or mobile connectivity.

WiFi semiconductor maker Quantenna Communications reported record revenue up 42.5% to $47 million for the second quarter of this year, with gross profit jumping 45.3% to $23.8 million. Net income was $169,000 compared to a net loss of $234,000 in the same period last year. The company passed 50 deployments in the quarter and announced a high end GPON gateway product with ZTE featuring its 4×4 802.11ac Wave 2 QSR1000 chipset.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has commenced an investigation into Apple following a complaint filed by US chip firm Qualcomm. The ITC will determine whether Apple has imported and sold certain mobile devices that infringe one or more of six Qualcomm patents relating to cellular baseband processors. Qualcomm has requested a Cease and Desist Order and Limited Exclusion Order to halt further alleged unfair trade practices.

Global revenues for the augmented and virtual reality market are projected to grow by 100% or more annually over the next four years, according to a report from Chinese owned, US market intelligence company International Data Corp. It forecasts total spending on AR and VR products to soar from $11.7 billion this year to nearly $215 billion in 2021 – topped by spending in the US at $3.2 billion in 2017. Canada will see the most rapid growth, followed by Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the US.

Cisco posted revenue down 4% to $12.1 billion for the last quarter, with net income sliding 14% to $2.4 billion. Its Service Provider Video segment performed poorly with revenue decreasing 10%, while its Wireless and Security sectors performed best, rising 5% and 3% respectively.

Finnish firm HMD Global, which develops mobile devices under the Nokia brand, has unveiled its first premium smartphone, the flagship Nokia 8, which will retail in September at €599 ($700). The Nokia 8 Android phone features a 5.3-inch IPS (In-plane switching) LCD screen with Quad HD resolution (1,440 x 2,560) and three 13-megapixel cameras. The device is the first smartphone to feature Nokia Ozo Audio in the 4k video recorder to enhance playback. It runs on a Qualcomm Spapdragon 835 processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.

America Movil’s injunctions against the 2013-14 telecommunications reform have again received support from Mexico’s Supreme Court, reports Reuters. The court ruled that the Mexican telco should not be barred by law from charging competitors certain fees and that the country’s regulator IFT should set the corresponding interconnection rates. Telefonica and AT&T have been allowed to charge America Movil for calls made to users on their networks, but the ruling suggests the two rivals will not have to reimburse the dominant player.

Amazon Germany has bulked up its sports assets with the addition of Bundesliga matches from Eurosport to its Prime Video service for an additional €4.99 a month. Amazon will integrate the Eurosport Player which holds rights to show 45 Bundesliga matches from August 16.

Dish Network has extended its agreement with US business support systems company CSG International to continue handling Dish’s revenue management and customer care support for residential video subscribers. Dish will also expand its use of CSG’s digital services platform Ascendon.

Canadian IPTV software outfit Espial is supplying Portuguese cable and satellite TV operator NOS with DevOps engineering and delivery services to better monetize its video operations for 1.6 million TV subscribers. Espial says it created an RDK to accelerate the deployment of next generation video, applications and user experiences with shared source device level software.

T-Mobile US has started switching on its new 600 MHz LTE network, using the large haul super-premium low-band spectrum it won in the government broadcast incentive auction earlier this year. Sites have been fired up in Cheyenne, Wyoming using Nokia equipment and plans to deploy the network over the next six months, claiming it can compress a project that would normally take two years into this time frame.

Altice USA has commenced the design and construction of its FTTH network in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, claiming it is on track to reach 1 million homes by the end of 2018.

US cable operator WideOpenWest (WOW) lost 16,000 pay TV subscribers and 2,000 internet subscribers in Q2. Second quarter revenue declined $4.9 million to $297.5 million, while net income dropped by $9.2 million to just $5 million. The company completed its IPO at the end of May, raising $356.5 million.

Hindi OTT movie provider Eros Now has teamed up with Opera TV to offer its service on millions of smart TVs, Blu-ray players and set tops powered by the HTML5-based storefront. Eros Now offers full length movies, thematic curated playlists, multi-language subtitles for movies, music video playlists, with regional language filters for $7.99 a month, with 68 million registered users worldwide.

It has been years since we wrote about media streaming software company RealNetworks, which came out this week with a press release announcing a partnership with Beijing-based broadcast network CIBN Oriental Network. RealNetworks says it is enhancing CIBN’s TV and mobile streaming capabilities using its RealMedia HD technology – an advanced codec which claims to have a competitive edge over encoding technologies such as H.264.

Disney’s ABC Network has signed up to Nielsen’s Out-of-Home Reporting Service, providing it with viewing data including ratings for programs and ads aired on the network for live, plus seven days of time-shifted viewing. Nielsen continues to believe that if you are at home and the TV is on, then you are watching the adverts, even though there is a TV on in at least 3 rooms all the time, in US households. So adding out of home means that when you are in a bar with 7 TVs, and they are on 7 different sports channels, you are also watching all of them. This attitude has seen the current crop of digital advertisers unwilling adopt Nielsen measures to compare TV viewing with digital, and will likely mean the end of Nielsen.

Telco Oi Brazil has selected content provider Vubiquity to add 2,500 VoD titles to the Oi Play streaming service, including local content and leading Hollywood titles.

UK network operator EE has become the first service provider to offer a hands-free control option via Amazon Alexa, integrating the feature into its EE TV with its technology partner Netgem, the French set top software specialist. EE says users will receive three recommendations from Alexa in response to a request for content, from the same source that supplies Freeview Picks.