OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

All 50 US states have opted in to the FirstNet project for a public safety network operated by AT&T, to improve communication for first responders by supplying priority and preemption features on AT&T’s network during high-traffic or emergency situations. The US government will provide $7 billion in funding and access to 20 MHz of nationwide 700 MHz spectrum. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are also on board, while the number of regions served could increase still, as Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands have until March to opt in.

Online video vendor Brightcove has won a live streaming deal at Le Figaro, after the French news outlet initially tested Brightcove’s API-based system, Brightcove Live, for the French presidential election earlier this year. As well as supporting live events and 24/7 channels, Brightcove is also supplying technology for an on-demand service across mobile apps and browsers.

French media firm M6 Group has signed a distribution agreement with Altice-owned French telco SFR, to provide SFR subscribers with free-to-air and thematic channels, as well as the on-demand OTT service 6Play. In addition, the two companies are working collaboratively on advertising and marketing campaigns.

US connected TV advertising firm BrightLine has launched DataCast, a new unified OTT data platform claiming to be the first to enable media firms and advertisers to target and measure across mobile, desktop and TV. BrightLine says an array of audience and attribution end points provides a heightened level of insights and reporting, feeding its own data and unique data from network partners to supply-side ad servers for creating targeted campaigns.

Frontier Communications has rejected a new deal with Cox Media Group due to fee increases of more than 80%, meaning FiOS subscribers in Seattle are without access to CBS, Get TV, KIRO-TV and Laff TV. Frontier SVP of Video Technology and Content, Steve Ward, said, “Cox’s bullying and heavy-handed blackout tactics hurt consumers. Demands for an outrageous price increase would have to be passed on to customers in the form of higher monthly service rates. It’s time for Cox to agree to a fair and reasonable solution.”

Holding company Aerkomm, which operates in-flight entertainment and connectivity firm Aircom Pacific, has filed a registration statement with the SEC for up to $40 million of shares of its common stock in a proposed firm commitment underwritten public offering.

Consumer video spend in the UK grew 7.5% to £2.69 billion ($3.65 billion) in 2017, growing for the third year consecutively, according to the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE). This figure includes video sales, rentals and subscriptions across digital and physical formats. BASE also found that 62% of consumers streamed or rented content last year, compared to 32% which purchased content.

US premium network Starz and Altice USA have failed to negotiate a new licensing deal, resulting in a blackout of three Starz channels on both Optimum and Suddenlink cable services. Taking a dig at Starz, Altice said in a statement, “Given that Starz is available to all consumers directly through Starz’s own OTT streaming service, we don’t believe it makes sense to charge all of our customers for Starz programming, particularly when its viewership is declining and the majority of our customers don’t watch Starz.” Starz will lose almost 1 million linear viewers if it fails to strike a new deal.

The proposed takeover of Multimedia Polska by Liberty Global’s UPC Polska will be decided by Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

Swiss internet TV provider Zattoo and set top maker Abox42 have built a cloud-based digital TV platform in partnership with German DSL operator 1&1. The service will cost €9.99 ($12) a month for 90 FTA channels and comes with recording and time-shift functionalities, available on the Abox42 M30 set top, plus mobile devices and PCs.

Dutch digital security firm Gemalto says it has launched the world’s first EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) biometric dual interface payment card for replacing PIN codes, which has been selected by the Bank of Cyprus. It uses fingerprint recognition technology for authentication between the payment terminal and the reference biometric data secured in the card, which does not require an embedded battery as the biometric sensor card is powered by the payment terminal.

Australian streaming technology and analytics company tv2u has launched its OTT entertainment service in Brazil in collaboration with SOL Telecom and cable operator CCS TV. The initial service will offer 100 live channels, planning to grow to over 250 channels, plus on-demand content in the future.

Service protection company Conax is showcasing its TVkey product in partnership with Samsung at CES, which the Kudelski Group subsidiary first launched at the Las Vegas trade show last year. It hasn’t outlined any updates to the product as such, but plans to form a TVkey Trust Authority in 2018, to support additional TV brands and CAS vendors.

US operator NuLink, owned by Wide Open West, has failed to reach a retrans agreement with broadcaster Meredith, triggering a blackout of CBS affiliate WGCL-TV and network Peachtree TV. NuLink reaches 34,000 homes in the Atlanta area.

Israeli WiFi chip vendor Celeno Communications has launched its Everest 802.11ax silicon system for the rapid migration of existing 802.11ac designs to 802.11ax. New capabilities including downlink and uplink MU-OFDMA, downlink and uplink MU-MIMO and higher order 1024 QAM modulation are included to provide a 4.8 Gbps performance, supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.