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OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

AT&T is exploring the idea of an initial public offering for its DirecTV Latin America satellite business, seeking a minority stake in the first half of this year. The US operator’s TV assets in Latin American markets are valued at around $8 billion, which will go towards reducing debt from the Time Warner acquisition. AT&T confirmed filing an IPO registration statement with regulators but has not confirmed completion.

UK operator TalkTalk has secured a FTTP investment deal with Infracapital, creating a separate company in which the infrastructure investment firm will contribute 80% of the total £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) funding. TalkTalk aims to provide 3 million homes and businesses across the UK with 1Gbps fiber connectivity.

NBC Olympics has selected an array of technology vendors to power upcoming broadcasts of the Winter Olympics Games in PyeongChang. Encoding company Harmonic is supplying its MediaGrid shared storage systems and Spectrum MediaDeck integrated media services for production of Olympics content. ChyronHego is handling graphics creation and playout with its Lyric product, plus Live Compositor and Prime Clips for production support. For audio, NBC has chosen Calrec Audio’s Summa, Artemis Ray and Brio digital audio consoles for remote audio mixing. Meanwhile, interactive video advertising on NBC Sports during the Olympics will be provided by US advertising firm BrightLine, on mobile and other connected devices.

Chip manufacturers Sigma Designs and Integrated Silicon Solution (ISSI) have entered an agreement for ISSI to acquire the wired connectivity business from Sigma Designs based in Israel, primarily made up of G.hn technologies.

The Philippines’ largest cable operator Sky Cable is using US telco access equipment maker Calix to drive its fiber network transformation. Sky Cable is deploying Calix’s AXOS E3-2 Intelligent PON Node to transition Sky Cable to a software-defined network, as well as AXOS Dpx virtualized DOCSIS connector and WiFi-enabled GigaHubs at homes and businesses.

Broadcaster France Télévisions has chosen French OTT technology vendor Arkena to handle transcoding for its upcoming SVoD service. Arkena says that through its Cloud4Media product, media files will be received, checked, prepared and delivered in all formats required for multiscreen distribution.

Rumors that Comcast is plotting a surprise counter bid for Fox have emerged this week, dependent on AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner getting the green light, according to a CNBC report with no credible sources. Comcast will have to better the $54.2 billion price tag agreed between Disney and Fox.

Apple’s acquisition of song recognition company Shazam is being investigated by the European Commission after complaints from Austria, France, Iceland and Spain about thwarting local competition. Spotify will lose countless streams via referrals should Apple shut down Shazam.

Chinese property behemoth Dalian Wanda Group is selling a 12.8% stake in its movie business to investors, including Alibaba Group Holding, for $1.24 billion. Wanda says the deal will give the business access to Alibaba’s wealth of big data and open up tourism opportunities through Cultural Investment, a partner investor.

Spanish media group MediaPro has won domestic TV rights for Italian soccer league Serie A. Paying €1.05 billion ($1.3 billion), MediaPro will show games from 2018 to 2021, beating bids from Italian powerhouses Mediaset and Sky Italia.

IBM has launched Watson Captioning, applying AI and machine learning algorithms to automate the captioning process and increase accuracy over time. Customers can customize the product, to input a unique glossary of words and phrases for proper context and accuracy. IBM plans to update it with Watson-generated captions, delivering audio descriptions that can be edited and formatted in real-time.

Malaysian OTT service Iflix will begin distributing curated online content from Toronto-based TV channel QYou Media in 25 markets.

US internet and TV service provider Comporium, operating in Carolina, is deploying multiple mesh extenders from Turkish WiFi expert AirTies, creating an intelligent mesh network in subscriber homes. Comporium will also use AirTies’ cloud-based Remote View platform for providing in-home WiFi performance data and analytics.

Czech commercial broadcaster TV Nova has signed an exclusive commercial agreement with five AMC Networks International Central and Northern Europe (AMCNI CNE) TV channels. TV Nova will represent Minimax, Film+, Sport1, Sport2 and Specktrum in all aspects of ordering, planning and placing TV advertising and sponsorship from the beginning of March.

US sports OTT service FuboTV announced a record number of trial sign ups during the Super Bowl LII. Over 150,000 viewers in total tuned in, with 60,000 average concurrent minute streams.

Singtel is preparing to increase its stake in Indian operator Bharti Airtel by 1.7% to 48.9%, purchasing an additional $413 million worth of shares.

SK Telecom has teamed with a number of South Korean entertainment companies to launch a music streaming service, including SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and Big Hit Entertainment. The new app will launch later this year, claiming it will use AI, 5G and blockchain technologies.

Vodafone Turkey is launching eight channels from SPI International Filmbox on its newly introduced Vodafone TV service, reaching 23.6 million mobile subscribers.

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