OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Universal Music has partnered with VR content provider Within to develop concert footage in virtual and augmented reality formats, where users can experience being on stage with performers. Within’s CEO and co-founder, Chris Milk, has experience directing music videos for Johnny Cash, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, Green Day and U2. Within supports major headsets including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR and Google Daydream. The start-up has raised $56.6 million from investors including 21st Century Fox.

Google’s subscription streaming service YouTube TV is landing on smart TVs, games consoles and other streaming devices. The app will initially be available on the Nvidia Shield, TV sets running Android TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One consoles, then rolling out to Apple TV and smart TVs from LG, Samsung and Sony.

Internet radio firm Pandora has curated 250 featured playlists for its premium subscribers, saying each is hand-picked by curators and sorted thematically by genre, mood, cultural moments and more, which are recommended to listeners based on habits. Users of the ad-supported tier can listen to companion radio stations associated with some of the featured playlists.

Broadcasts of Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics in February 2018 will bring in over $1 billion in advertising revenue for NBCUniversal, according to the Comcast-owned company’s own forecast. Advertisers are paying over $5 million for 30-second slots and there are only a “handful” remaining, according to NBC Sports EVP of ad sales, Dan Lovinger.

AT&T is teaming up with Indian IT company Tech Mahindra to build an open source artificial intelligence platform to share and deploy AI applications. The platform, called Acumos, is hosted by The Linux Foundation and will provide a marketplace for editing, integrating, composing, packaging, training and deploying AI microservices, by providing an extensible framework for machine learning resources.

SK Telecom says it has demonstrated what it says is the first 802.11ax WiFi product, based on Qualcomm Atheros chips. The technology reached speeds of 4.8 Gbps, using four antennas and a 160 MHz frequency bandwidth. The South Korean operator is also developing a WiFi application processor for smartphones to support the technology, hoping to go to market next year.

UK semiconductor start-up UltraSoC has won a licensing deal at Russian security system developer Elvees, using UltraSoC’s embedded analytics technology in next-generation video processing products. Elvees says its new SoC will provide advanced capabilities for applications including automotive safety, facial recognition, AR and VR.

Pirated live TV services are accessed by 6.5% of North American households every month, potentially costing communications service providers more than $4 billion this year, according to network intelligence firm Sandvine. The Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight report states pirate stream service users generate over 1TB of “phantom bandwidth” across operator networks each month, due to many of these pirate services streaming 24/7 with or without viewers.

Arris posted third quarter revenues of $1.73 billion, up 0.2% from the previous year and 4% quarterly. Net income came in at $88.3 million compared to $79.6 million in the same period last year, and the company generated $116 million of cash from operating activities during Q3, less than half the $289 million cash it managed in Q3 2016.

Liberty Global’s legendary CTO, Balan Nair, who spearheaded the Horizon video project, has been appointed as CEO of the company’s Latin American operations, which is being split off into a separate public company by the end of this year. John Malone is expected to sit on the board of the new company, along with CFO Charles Bracken.

Operating income at Liberty Global dropped 30% in the third quarter to $1.45 billion, down $340 million in Latin America and $227 million in Europe. It had a net loss of 30,800 video subscribers in Europe, but added 216,000 next-generation video subs, covering Horizon, Horizon Lite, TiVo and Yelo. Revenue in Europe came in at $3.9 billion, rising 2.5%.

Amazon Channels in Germany and Austria are adding the Discovery Channel to its lineup of streaming options, adding to Discovery’s Eurosport Player which became available on Amazon Channels earlier this year. Prime members can access live streams and VoD content from Discovery Channel on smart TVs, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire tablets, iOS and Android devices.

Discovery Communications has also signed a multi-year product deal with TiVo for its Audience Works marketing inventory management suite. TiVo’s Targeted Audience Delivery platform is being used too, providing predictive data on audience viewing habits.

British Telecom added 7,000 TV subscribers last quarter to total 1.8 million, driven by strong BT Sport performance which saw viewing figures rise 8% annually. Q3 revenue was up 1% to $1.65 billion, but EBITDA in its consumer division dropped 3% to $321.3 million.

Modern Times Group’s streaming service Zoomin.TV has signed a deal with OTT technology supplier Ownzones. Ownzones will develop at least ten apps for Zoomin.TV, which will in turn create content for Ownzones’ online platforms.

Dynamic ad insertion firm Yospace has won a contract extension at TV4 to help the Swedish commercial broadcaster monetize its TV Everywhere service TV4 Play. Yospace has supplied server-side dynamic ad insertion on TV4’s catch up content on Apple TV and Chromecast since 2014.