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14 May 2020

OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Vodafone is again toying with the idea of launching a video offering in the UK market as the telco seeks a defense strategy against the combined might of a merger between Virgin Media and O2. After reporting a year on year loss of 245,000 video subscribers across its footprint, Vodafone has floated the possibility of an OTT video platform for the UK market “which offers an opportunity around cord cutting”.

One Equity Partners, part of banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase, has increased its shareholding in US digital security specialist Verimatrix from 25.49% to 29.04%, after buying out shares from private equity firm Jolt-Capital.

It comes in the same week Verimatrix added Javascript obfuscation technologies from Portuguese fraud prevention expert Jscrambler to its Application Shielding software. The partnership bolsters Verimatrix customers’ defense against attacks on application code leading to data theft, which can occur via reverse engineering, tampering, and intrusion techniques via standard web browsers.

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has flip-flopped on his opinion over the state of the market, telling the New York Times, “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to Coronavirus. Everything” – referring to the lower than expected uptake of the short-form video streaming app. Quibi has reached some 3.5 million downloads and 1.3 million active users, well short of its 7-million-user target.

Deutsche Telekom added 60,000 MagentaTV subscribers in Germany in the first quarter, reaching almost 3.7 million in total across IPTV and satellite. The operator lost 5,000 video subscribers across the rest of its European footprint, falling to 4.94 million.

Panasonic is the latest name to pull out of IBC 2020 in September.

Huawei, Samsung, and Qualcomm have all thrown weight behind the recently approved essential video coding (EVC) standard as part of MPEG-5 Part 1. The three tech titans have reassured that they will offer fair patent royalty terms, for which licensing terms need to be published within two years.

 

Comcast claims one million of its broadband-only Xfinity Flex devices have been deployed across its footprint.

 

Harmonic has extended its CableOS technology portfolio with the addition of a new dense Remote PHY Shelf called CableOS Reef – a compact indoor platform designed to address operator capacity issues while retaining use of existing HFC outdoor access networks. CableOS Reef converges a cable operator’s service over IP and transmits over a single RF port and houses up to nine modular cards in two standard rack units, each with two independent R-PHY devices. As a result, CableOS Reef brings increased density, low power consumption, plus space and time savings.

AT&T CFO John Stephens has defended HBO Max’s steep $14.99 a month price tag by saying it has a broader appeal than HBO on its own which is priced the same, and the new streaming service plans to have thousands of hours more content.

The UK’s BBC iPlayer streaming service registered a record 22.5 million viewers on May 10, bringing total requests to 927 million.

Signs of an advertising market recovery are emerging, with one report showing a 12% increase in ad impressions year on year, from a 7-day period at the end of April into early May. According to Innovid data, connected TVs accounted for 49% of total video impressions.

Swedish app store developer Accedo is showcasing the next-generation version of the Accedo One cloud platform in a swanky new virtual tradeshow booth. As well as the Accedo One SaaS platform, the vendor planned to demo developments in AR, VR and vertical video for improved mobile viewing. Virtual booth visitors can navigate videos, request demos and learn more about technology – featuring everything Accedo planned to physically demo over the coming events season.

US cableco Cable One lost 17,000 residential video subscribers in the first quarter, falling to 288,000 in total. Meanwhile, the data business gained 102,000 subscribers in the quarter to reach 713,000 residential connections.

Increasing IPTV and cable TV subscriptions in Japan will help grow pay TV revenues to $9.6 billion by 2024, rising at a snail’s pace from $9.1 billion today, according to GlobalData. KDDI will lead the pack over this growth period.

Video processing platform Appear TV has added new features to its X Platform including two software-defined modules – high capacity IP and ASI – enabling operators to use the latest communications standards for high quality content delivery.

 

Broadcast software workflow developer Iatakoo has launched a tool for intelligent indexing prior to content collection, by facilitating media sharing between large, dispersed companies like TV stations. Iatakoo Manifest has identified how M&A activity makes TV groups cumbersome and inefficient, with a mix of broadcast technology and networking conditions, so the US vendor has added a feed of updatable beginning-of-shift assignments to be added by news managers or synced from pre-existing systems.

ProSiebenSat.1’s previous owner, US investment group KKR, has taken a 5.2% stake in the German broadcaster some 8 years after selling it off, based on the belief that ProSiebenSat.1 is undervalued.

MLB matches behind closed doors are set to return in early July, according to several US news outlets. Discussions could stall due to debates about revenue splits.

Targeted at games developers, start-up Parsec has raised $7 million in Series A funding for its remote interactive desktop software. HP Ventures, Notation Capital, NextView Ventures and Lerer Hippeau contributed to the round.

Neosat is launching a satellite TV service in Bulgaria, using capacity on the country’s BulgariaSat-1 satellite that was launched three years ago. Conveniently, both Neosat and Bulgariasat are owned by Maxim Zayakov. Neosat plans to compete against poorly maintained cable networks, and also reach underserved rural communities.

ESPN2 will live stream the NBA 2K League, the eSports alternative to the suspended NBA season, which features NBA players and celebrities playing the video game equivalent of the suspended NBA season. It will be carried globally by ESPN’s services.

Amazon is rumored to be a likely acquirer of OneWeb, after the latter filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. SpaceX and Eutelsat have also both investigated the LEO operator.

Apple is about to launch the Apple TV 4K set top, powered by its A12X chip, according to a credible Apple news leaker. The new design will have 64GB and 128GB storage options.

Twitch has tapped Amazons Prime library, to launch a new feature called Watch Parties, which will allow Twitch streamers that hold affiliate or partner status to stream video content to their own streamer audiences. The catch is that the audience must have linked their Twitch accounts with an Amazon Prime subscription. Separately, Twitch is also investigating live and interactive reality TV shows, according to Bloomberg.

Electronic Arts has agreed to add some of its games library to Google Stadia¸ including FIFA and Madden, the two most popular sports games on consoles.

Despite FCC approval, satcomms company Ligado is still getting it in the neck, with the US Department of Defense CIO arguing that the FCC conditions do not protect GPS receivers from interference, while in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee. A letter has been sent to the FCC by the House Armed Services Committee, expressing “deep concern.” Ligado is bound by a 23MHz guard band, so it’s not clear why the military is so concerned, as the Department of Transport and NASCTN have both signed off on Ligado’s technology.