OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

The latest swipe from Apple, against Qualcomm is in papers filed in an existing suit by the handset vendor alleging patent infringement on battery life patents owned by Apple. This seems a lame response to the bold Qualcomm move of calling for the ITC to prevent iPhones into the US, and claiming that Apple gave away some of its IPR to Intel and has the stink of Apple being desperate.

Charter Communications is wasting no time in the run up to the FCC’s Title II draft order on December 14, as the operator used the impending roll back of net neutrality to defend itself in a case filed against it earlier this year, in which it was accused of throttling Netflix services to Time Warner Cable customers. The Hollywood Reporter got its hands on a brief filed by Charter highlighting the proposed changes to Title II, which it believes will get the case thrown out. That should change nothing, as its actions, if found guilty, are still illegal. There will be a case in the New York Supreme Court next week.

French video compression company Ateme has teamed up with quality control software firm Interra Systems to provide mutual customers with a multi-device system for delivering video experiences. Ateme says it has been using Interra Systems’ Baton QC and Orion monitoring platforms in its R&D test environment for “a long time” – monitoring file-based transcoding.

Viacom International Media Networks has partnered with Israeli social video creation platform Wochit, providing overseas journalists, editors and branding teams at the US media conglomerate with cloud-based tools to more rapidly produce content for distribution on social properties.

Video experiences platform provider You.i TV has added remote asset management features to its Engine One platform to allow media companies to speed up and better monetize video app experiences. For example, developers can configure applications to retrieve all UX elements dynamically from a server, including layout, styling and motion, without requiring recertification. Additional features to the new version 4.6 include improved flexibility for native platform web UI integrations on mobile devices, a redesigned and simplified cross-platform build system, improved custom debugging tools, C++ 11 compatible libraries, and more control over app elements including animations, focus and data modeling.

Huawei has partnered with Spanish WiFi network Fon to allow network managers to design, optimize and troubleshoot WiFi networks, available by the end of this year to Huawei’s hardware customers. Huawei is integrating its access points with Ekahau site survey tools, including the Site Survey and 3D Planner software tool and Sidekick, an all in-one measurement device for WiFi networks. Fon also launched its Fontech brand offering WiFi management software to operators. Fon software is used on 21 million hotspots worldwide, and its current operator customer base includes BT, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, SFR and Proximus.

Most online video subscribers in China are signed up to two subscription services, while ad-supported services remain out in front in terms of viewership, according to Futuresource Consulting’s Living with Digital China report. In the last year, 28% of all pay TV subscribers have cut the cord in China, although linear TV viewing is still the most frequently watched screen, with over 75% of respondents showing preference for linear, of which 85% pay for additional sports or movie channels.

The penetration of live multi-channel pay TV services in the US will fall to 79% of US households in 2030, from 85% today. TDG’s The Rise of the Virtual Pay TV Provider report has projected that around 30 million US households will have no MVPD service, either virtual or legacy, by 2030, and also forecasts legacy pay TV penetration to fall from 81% of US households in 2017, to 60% in 2030. In the same period, virtual pay TV penetration will grow from around 4% of households to 14%. We suspect that there will be a tipping point somewhere in those years that will accelerate the demise of broadcast pay TV further.

AT&T has filed a deadline extension announcement with the SEC for its $85 billion mega-merger with Time Warner, moving the date to April 22 next year, from October 22 2017. The extra five months gives AT&T some wiggle room following the Department of Justice lawsuit against the operator last week, which AT&T intends to fight. “Every business combination or significant investment becomes subject to the whim of a regulator. As we’re seeing here, that tends to be a roll of the dice,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.

Samsung has acquired South Korean AI start-up Fluenty to bolster its Bixby assistant, using machine learning algorithms from Fluenty’s own chatbot used in social networking services including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It says this is based on “over 700 million public chat conversations, searching for patterns in replies most frequently used by people” to create more personalized, human-like replies, as well as predicting an action such as launching an app based on a reply.

Mexican pay TV operator Dish has launched a free mobile service for DTH subscribers in partnership with US MVNO Freedompop, offering a SIM with 100 minutes of calls, 100MB of data for social networks and 100 texts a month. It will initially be available in 16 states before reaching the remaining 15 in the first quarter of next year.

Comcast has struck a carriage deal with US cable and satellite TV network Epix, jointly owned by Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM, to make its subscription programming available to X1 video subscribers in early 2018. This will build on Epix’s current reach of 70 million US pay TV households, leaving DirecTV as the only major operator not to have signed up.

US broadcaster Turner is shifting “thousands of virtual assets and decades of content” over to AWS cloud infrastructure as part of a media supply chain rebuild. By using its analytics and machine learning technologies, AWS says Turner can extract video metadata to make decisions about how to best optimize content delivery systems for more personalized viewer experiences. AWS also won the approval of the NFL and Disney as their favored cloud technology provider.

French operator SFR, part of Altice, is planning to pump more money into OTT TV services after a lower than expected take up of its SFR Sport offering, according to local news outlet Les Echos. The report suggests that SFR will offer premium sports channels rather than bundling them with its multi-play services, as it will hold the rights to the Champions League and Europa League tournaments next season, as well as its current English Premier League rights.

More OTT content is viewed on TV sets in Poland than in the US, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and Italy, with 81% of adult internet users streaming content on TVs, according to a poll by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The majority of respondents in Poland stream content to the TV by connecting a PC or laptop, rather than watching on a smart TV, with 56% going the PC route. In the UK, 79% watch OTT video content on TV sets, followed by Sweden and Germany with 74%, the US with 73%, Italy with 72%, and France with 69%.

Venue, the newly launched pay-per-view (PPV) system from UK software company Ostmodern and billing services firm Paywizard, has won its first customer deployment with ITV Box Office, the premium channel from UK broadcaster ITV. Venue is designed to help rights holders, sports clubs and broadcasters enter the PPV market – combining Paywizard’s Decision Moments framework with Ostmodern’s CMS.

UK telco TalkTalk will make a late entrance into the multiscreen market with a debut service set to launch next year. It will integrate live set top shows with on-demand content in the TalkTalk TV Store at no additional cost to existing subscribers.

The Multimedia over Coaxial Alliance (MoCA) has joined the Broadband Forum to integrate data modeling and management standards into its MoCA Access broadband specification, offering actual data rates of 2.5 Gbps. MoCA hopes to win over some of the many telcos, cablecos and ISPs which are members of the Broadband Forum. technology is being deployed by Japanese operator Energia Communications in combination with “Japan specific” VDSL technology, claiming to be a country first. The deployment is in preparation for the large spike in broadband usage expected during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

VR headset shipments reached a milestone in Q3 2017 by creeping over 1 million units for the first time, according to Canalys data. Sony shipped more than 490,000 PlayStation VR headsets, followed by Oculus Rift with 210,000 and HTC Vive with 160,000. The three main vendors account for 86% of the VR headset market.

Indian telco and FTTH service provider ACT Fibernet has launched an entertainment plan combining popular South East Asian OTT services Hooq, YuppTV and FastFilmz, available to customers in Bangaluru which has a population of around 11 million people.