OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Ericsson is separating its Broadcast and Media Services arm into a separate business under the Red Bee brand. The 2,500-employee group has operations in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and United Arab Emirates. It is still up for sale.

Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense is integrating audio software from dbx-tv, in combination with audio hardware from Harman Kardon, owned by Samsung, into its new 100” 4K UHD Smart Laser TVs. The audio enhancement suite from dbx-tv, including Sonics, Volume, Surround and Cal, uses a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) for improving sound quality from any TV manufacturer. Harman Kardon claims its audio hardware is “so good that there’s no need for the end user to install a separate sound bar or a component audio system.” The Hisense 100L8D TV retails at $9,999.

Ad tech firm AppNexus and audience data company Tru Optik have announced a partnership to bring audience targeting, measurement and attribution to AppNexus’ connected TV marketplace. Tru Optik will bring its OTT Marketing Cloud product to the venture, providing data from more than 100 sources, including demographic data from comScore, advertiser first party data syncs from Experian Marketing Services and Acxiom’s LiveRamp, as well as offline attribution through Kantar. It claims that more than 10,000 audience segments are available to use.

Roku has added Turkish broadcasting channel TRT World to its streaming devices worldwide, claiming to be the country’s first English-language channel. The focus of the new Roku channel app is for TRT World to reach US-based audiences.

US operator Cable One posted third quarter net income up 51% year on year to $31.5 million, from total revenues of $253.8 million, of which operations from its newly acquired cableco NewWave Communications contributed $47.5 million. Programming costs dropped $0.7 million resulting from fewer video subscribers, but with total residential video revenue increasing 20% to $88.6 million. Residential video subscribers declined 31.1% to 274,000.

Third quarter revenue at US media company Tegna declined 10.7% annually to $464.3 million, while revenue in its OTT advertising arm soared 92% and its B2B marketing services sector increased 49% year on year. Its OTT ad product, Premion, executed over 6,500 campaigns for over 900 clients in 195 markets in the quarter, allowing OTT provider customers to sell inventory and create data management platforms.

Amazon will start shipping its line of Echo smart speakers equipped with its Alexa voice assistant in Japan next week, by invitation only. The company is supplying its Alexa Skills Kit to developers to create Japanese Alexa experiences, and developers will soon be able to use the Alexa Voice Service to integrate Alexa into products.

French media firm M6 Group grew revenue 2.6% to €662.4 million ($770.4 million) in Q3. Multimedia advertising revenue increased 4.2% to €445.3 million ($517.9 million) in the quarter, of which €413.8 million ($481.2 million) came from FTA channels. Profit totaled €42.1 million ($49 million), rising from €31.1 million ($36.2 million) in the same period last year.

Turner Sports and Intel are embarking on a joint virtual reality venture for live NBA games, using Intel’s True VR technology, to provide users with multiple camera angles, covering court-side, in the stands and bird’s-eye-view. Intel says it can also integrate 360-degree volumetric video into the VR experience using its Intel freeD technology. NBA games in VR will be available on the TNT VR app on Samsung GearVR and Google Daydream headsets.

Norwegian digital terrestrial TV provider RiksTV has selected UK quality assurance company Eurofins Digital Testing to automate monitoring of its service availability of RiksTV digtal TV and HDTV services, using Eurofins’ cloud-based TestWizard system. RiksTV offers 50 live channels on multiple devices, plus music services, weekly archives, movie rentals, streaming services – claiming to be the only TV distributor in Norway to provide digital TV and HDTV via antenna and internet. TestWizard aims to reduce time spent on manual tests while giving increased coverage of insights into end user experiences.

Swisscom has extend its deal with Ericsson for Gigabit LTE and 5G technologies to include Ericsson’s full stack telco cloud product with network slicing technologies and its 5G portfolio offering with massive MIMO.

Harmonic’s software-based Electra encoding platform has been chosen by Israeli satellite broadcaster YES for a new live UHD channel. Harmonic says its HEVC codec allows YES to deliver UHD-HDR linear video content to over 1 million subscribers at low bitrates. Electra includes Harmonic’s ProStream X video stream processor for DVB-CSAV3 encryption and NMX network management. UK audiovisual equipment supplier Avcom was the systems integrator for the project.

British operator Gigaclear is using technology from broadband access systems manufacturer Keymile to deploy fiber services in rural areas of England, delivering 1 Gbps bandwidth. The MileGate 2510 IP-MSAN (Multi-Service Access Node) is configured as an FTTH node to connect up to 480 subscribers in a PtP structure from one single FTTH node.

South Korean multiscreen platform provider Alticast has added new cloud-based rendering capabilities to its Apex virtualization platform to deliver interfaces and applications in HTML5 to set tops. Alticast says pay TV operators can render UIs and apps on a virtual browser in the cloud to transmit images to the client device.

Amazon Alexa has been integrated into Frontier Communications’ FiOS Quantum TV service, allowing subscribers to change channels, search live and VoD titles and control playback using voice requests.

Andorra Telecom is deploying the Nova 2G/3G/4G monitoring, troubleshooting, geolocation and optimization system from French network vendor Astellia for its fixed and mobile networks. Astellia will allow Andorra Telecom to optimize roaming experiences and revenues by identifying and analyzing problems for inbound roamers.

Comcast Business has invested over $6 million to expand its fiber network to five new business parks in San Jose, capable of speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

HDR TV shipments will grow from 12.2 million in 2017 to 47.9 million in 2021, according to IHS Markit’s TV Design and Features Tracker. It expects only 23% of UHD TV shipments this year to offer full HDR, with the remainder lacking the high contrast capability.

German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has signed a distribution agreement with Liberty Global’s Unitymedia for all free, pay, HD and VoD offerings. The agreement includes the channels ProSieben, Sat.1, kabel eins, sixx, Sat.1 Gold, ProSieben MAXX and kabel eins Doku, plus the pay TV channels ProSieben Fun, Sat.1 emotions and kabel eins Classics are also distributed via Unitymedia, two of them also in HD.

Content provider Vubiquity has won a deal at South African cellular operator Cell C to provide exclusive content and entertainment services via SVoD and TVoD.

Bertelsmann Group grew revenues 1.3% year on year to €12.1 billion ($14 billion) for the first nine months of 2017. It cites good performance in RTL Group’s digital activities, increasing around 30% to €560 million ($650 million) for the period, as well as a 29% increase in its music arm BMG. Bertelsmann posted record operating EBITDA of €1.64 billion ($1.9 billion), up from €1.63 billion last year.

The Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Association (VRARA) has signed a letter of intent to collaborate on interactive VR and AR technologies delivered over emerging 5G networks and hosted on multi-access edge computing (MEC) sites. VRARA says it will primarily be involved with the ETSI’s MEC group.