OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Amsterdam-based digital security firm Gemalto has rejected a $5.1 billion takeover proposal from Atos, deciding it is best positioned to grow successfully on a standalone basis.

Scottish virtual reality company Eventual is pitching its social VR platform at travel agents, to provide prospective holiday makers with immersive, tailor-made experiences. Eventual’s VR platform is compatible with all major headsets.

The commissioner for Europe’s Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, has called the European Parliament’s content portability agreement “a total failure,” following a vote this week in which MEPs voted 344 in favor of the mandate, with 265 against and 36 abstentions. Speaking to French news outlet Les Echos, Ansip said OTT video platforms holding EU content rights should have the freedom to show programs anywhere in the EU.

Encoding company Harmonic has assisted French regional news channel Grand Lille TV in launching a new channel and transitioning to HD using Harmonic’s Spectrum media server platform. Harmonic says integration between its Spectrum channel-in-a-box product and cloud-based Chyro technology optimizes scheduling, ingest, branding and playout of HD broadcasts. Grand Lille TV broadcasts in DVB-T and IPTV via French service providers.

US telco C Spire has rolled out its new wireless fiber-based fixed broadband services, promising up to 100 Mbps to 91,000 homes and businesses across 40 markets in Mississippi. The offering costs $60 a month or $50 for existing wireless customers, and the C Spire TV streaming service can be added for an additional $65 a month.

Canadian IPTV software firm Espial has been selected by Oregon-based operator Clear Creek Communications. Espial’s Elevate cloud-based SaaS product allows service providers to deliver additional features to TV viewers including Netflix, YouTube and Alexa voice control.

SVoD services will drive OTT revenues to $120 billion in 2022, rising from $64 billion in 2017, according to a report from Juniper Research. It forecasts that over a quarter of households worldwide will sign up to SVoD services by 2022, and also projects that Netflix’s original content spend for 2017 and 2018 will total $6 billion, compared to the BBC’s $1.4 billion.

Liberty Global has set the distribution date for common shares of Liberty Latin America on December 29. It expects the LiLAC Group ordinary shares to cease trading, and the Liberty Latin America common shares to begin trading, on January 2 2018.

Fox Business News (FBN) saw double digit annual growth across Business Day and Total Day viewers to score its highest-rated year ever, while CNBC recorded record lows, according to Nielsen Media Research. Total FBN Business Day viewership grew 27% (195,000) from last year, compared to CNBC which dropped 11% in viewership (166,000). In Total Day, FBN increased viewers by 13% (144,000).

Indian operator Bharti Airtel is to sell a 20% stake in its DTH arm Bharti Telemedia to private equity firm Warburg Pincus for $350 million. Bharti Telemedia’s Airtel TV service had 14 million subscribers in September 2017, with annual revenues of $550 million.

Nintendo says its $300 Switch console has sold 10 million units globally since it was launched nine months ago. As of the end of October, 2.6 million Switch sales were recorded in the US, but it remains some way off its best selling console the Nintendo Wii, which surpassed 100 million units sold worldwide.

Amazon’s video game streaming service Twitch has been made available on Alexa. Twitch users on Alexa devices can now track their favorite video creators and receive notifications when a live stream begins, as well as discover games and channels. The Echo Show is the only Alexa device with a screen, so this is the natural home for Twitch.

Turkish WiFi specialist AirTies has launched an R&D center in Austin, including a new test home for replicating real in-home WiFi experiences. AirTies has signed undisclosed contracts with North American service providers to prompt investment in the facility.

A cross-catalog video user experience for combining video services is desired by 41.2% of consumers, according to TiVo’s Q3 2017 Online Video and Pay TV Trends Report, and over half of respondents want cross-catalog search functionality. This is craved most by the 23 to 25-year age bracket, with 73.1% showing interest. It also found that 20.4% of respondents use voice search, and satisfaction with recommendations is increasing, with 25.1% reporting always accurate results and 62% said sometimes accurate.

Swedish sports channel Sportkanalen will be available to Boxer and Com Hem subscribers from February next year. Sportkanalen broadcasts live matches and highlights from the Swedish Football League, Swedish Hockey League and more. It will replace TV4 Sports on Com Hem TV packages and Com Hem Play.

Mexican telco StarGroup has chosen the Irdeto Cloaked CA system to secure content distribution to its 100,000 pay TV subscribers, providing a secure chipset running software obfuscation and whitebox cryptography.

Vodafone Malta’s proposed merger with Maltese operator Melita has been scrapped after failing to receive approval from the Maltese Competition Authority. The deal was valued at €208 million.

The BBC has launched a skill for Amazon Echo devices, making all its live radio stations and podcasts available to Alexa users for the first time. The British broadcaster plans to expand to additional smart speakers soon.

Comcast’s popular X1 voice remotes have been updated with a new function for locating phones via a voice command. Devices connected to Xfinity Mobile accounts will ring when users say “Xfinity Mobile, find my phone.”

YouTube TV has launched in 34 more urban markets to total 84 US cities.

UK-based media and broadcast services company D2 has tapped the Titan encoding system from French firm Ateme, to encode more than 150 DTT channels on freeview. The virtualized Titan encoder-transcoder headend system supports HEVC, H.264 and MPEG-2 codecs.

Chinese electronics manufacturer Hisense has signed up for the 4K HDR UHD logo scheme from Bristol-based quality assurance company Eurofins Digital Testing. Hisense has fitted its 2017 TV sets with the logo, to ensure that HDR UHD screens are recognizable in the market place, having been fully tested for HDR, wider color gamut and UHD simultaneously.

Network communications technology vendor GenXComm has closed a $7 million Series A funding round, led by Intel Capital. GenXComm will use the cash to expand its R&D team focused on self-interference cancellation technology, enabling full-duplex links for DOCSIS, WiFi and 5G.

Hulu Live has added 23 more ABC affiliates and 9 NBC stations to total 440 local CBS, ABC, Fox, My Network TV and Telemundo stations, according to Cord Cutters News.

Channel 127 from satellite and online radio operator SiriusXM has formed a programming collaboration with news website Shareblue Media, which reaches 140 million people monthly. The two will expand on the success of Saturday morning show Signal Boost, featuring reports from Shareblue Media and key political stories.