OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products – Rethink Technology Research

Rethink Technology Research

By Thomas Flanagan
Published October 12, 2017
Comcast has opened up its Xfinity WiFi hotspots to non-Xfinity customers in the wake of wildfires spreading across the North Bay, allowing residents and rescue teams to stay connected in the Napa and Sonoma County regions. A map of indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots is available on the Xfinity website.
UK recommendations software company ThinkAnalytics has been selected by Mexican operator Megacable to personalize experiences for its Xview pay TV subscribers – for live and VoD content on linear set tops, online and on mobile apps. Megacable has also taken the ThinkBigData product, to gain insights into user behavior which claims to open up new revenue opportunities such as dynamic ad insertion, once customers have analyzed and understood individual viewing preferences. Megacable has 2.9 million TV subscribers and 2.4 million customers on internet services.
US video software firm Crystal is launching its patent-pending Metadata Cloud product at the NAB Show in New York next week, claiming to provide frame-accurate synchronization of metadata with video and audio at any point in the distribution chain from the cable headend or DTH platform to set top, mobile or PC. Crystal says Metadata Cloud solves the issue of metadata management, which can become corrupted in transmission, as an alternative or complement to SCTE (Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers) messaging, requiring minimal bandwidth.
Global subscriptions to SVoD services will hit 546 million by 2022, with Asia Pacific leading the charge to account for 43% of total subscribers by this time, according to Digital TV Research. North America will supply 31% of the world’s SVoD subscriptions by 2022, while Netflix’s dominance will slide from a third of global subscribers in 2016 to a quarter by 2022. Our Rethink TV figures show a slightly lower number of SVoD subscribers by then, but roughly the same pattern.
Luxembourg-based media firm M7 Group has bought a pair of Dutch broadband operators, Fiber Nederland and its subsidiary Stripe. Both offer TV, internet and telephony services over the high speed local access networks of KPN, and Stripe also operates as an MVNO. M7 also owns pay TV operator Canal Digitaal in the Netherlands and broadband provider Online.nl. Alphabet has received an experimental license from the FCC for its Project Loon venture to help emergency cellular services in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, after Hurricane Maria caused communications blackouts. Special Temporary Authority (STA) has been granted to enable the network of balloons to use land mobile radio spectrum in the 900 MHz band. French communications regulator Arcep has initiated a public investigation into price caps on local loop unbundling (LLU) between 2018 and 2020 – aiming to get clarity from operators on the investments required for ultrafast access. Arcep has proposed LLU prices of €9.31 in 2018, €9.41 in 2019 and €9.51 in 2020. T-Mobile US has partnered with Fox Television Stations to speed up the repacking of its 600 MHz spectrum by 16 months and reduce costs for the Incentive Auction Relocation by tens of millions of dollars. Fox’s WWOR-TV will repack a year sooner than initially proposed in early 2018, to ensure WWOR-TV’s 19 million households keep programming access, while T-Mobile can enhance its wireless coverage and capacity in the New York City area more rapidly than expected.
The quantum dots (QD) semiconductor particles market will be valued at over $20 billion by 2027, according to a report from Future Markets. HD QLED TVs, also known as the optoelectronics market, will account for the majority of this figure, where Samsung is the market leader. QD will also experience growth in markets including solid-state lighting, sensors, anti-counterfeiting, solar and biomedicine.
Chinese streaming giant Tencent Video has ranked highest in the country for daily active users with 110 million, plus highest for monthly viewing time at 3.71 billion hours, according to Chinese mobile internet data company QuestMobile. Tencent Video now has 43 million paying subscribers, growing from 23 million in November 2016, the fastest growth rate in the industry.
US live sports-focused OTT service fuboTV has surpassed 100,000 subscribers since its launch in January 2015. Fubo Premier, its new base package launched in April, offers over 65 channels – claiming to offer more sports programming than any other similar bundle from a streaming service. FuboTV has raised $75.6 million in funding to date, from investors including 21st Century FoxSky and Scripps Networks Interactive.
Broadcom has had all infringement claims against it by US semiconductor packaging firm Invensas voided by the German Federal Patent Court (GFPC), initially filed in May 2016. A hearing will be held on January 25 2018. “From the start of this litigation, Broadcom maintained that the ‘034 Patent is invalid and therefore filed a nullity action before the GFPC challenging its validity,” said Mark Terrano, VP and GM of IP and Licensing at Broadcom.
Roku has unveiled two new streaming devices for the UK market, the £30 ($39.40) Roku Express and £80 ($105) Streaming Stick+, becoming available for purchase next week. The Express is the lowest priced Roku device to roll out in the UK, while the Streaming Stick+ is the first to support 4K and 4K with HDR at up to 60 fps, and comes equipped with an advanced wireless receiver with up to four times the wireless range.
German newspaper BILD has chosen US broadcast technology provider LiveU to support its expansion into live video across multiple platforms. Rather than using traditional Satellite News Gathering (SNG) trucks, BILD opted for cellular bonding technology from LiveU, describing the SNG route to live video as too slow and expensive. BILD has used LiveU technology in the past for events including the G20 Summit and French presidential elections. The annual report calling out piracy sites which pose the most threat to the US media industry has been submitted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to the US Trade Representative. The report identifies Nigeria as a country where illegal sources of content are on the rise, while it claims Russian sites are less professional and easier to identify. Japanese mobile gaming group Akatsuki has committed $50 million to investments in augmented reality (AR) technologies. The Akatsuki Entertainment Technology (AET) Fund will look at Seed and Series A investment rounds of startups in the US and further afield. Activision’s new Call of Duty: WWII first-person shooter game and Nintendo’s Pokemon Ultra Moon are projected to be the holiday season’s best-selling titles, according to a survey by Nielsen of 6,000 gamers. Both games ranked 99% on Nielsen’s Game Rank, which measured anticipation for game titles, relative to pre-release anticipation of previous games. Muhammed Ali Enterprises, the intellectual property rights owner for content associated with the late boxing legend, has filed a $30 million lawsuit to Fox Broadcasting for using Ali in a pre-Super Bowl advertisement without consent. Fox has not yet responded. Dutch operator KPN has called for networking equipment suppliers to make infrastructure and CPE more durable, while using fewer raw materials to achieve almost 100% recyclable parts by 2025. KPN’s Circular Manifesto, published at the Layer 123 SDN Congress this week, has been signed by ArrisEricssonHPEHuawei and ZTE. Chinese e-commerce goliath Alibaba Group Holding is doubling its R&D spend to $15 billion over the next three years, to accelerate the development of technologies including machine learning, visual computing, network security, IoT and quantum computing. The global research program, comprised of seven research labs and 100 scientists, is called the Alibaba DAMO (Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook) Academy. Qualcomm is being fined an industry-high $773 million in an antitrust suit by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission, for alleged violations stretching back seven years in which companies bought $30 billion worth of Qualcomm’s baseband chips, while it imposed a monopoly by refusing products to customers who did not comply with certain conditions. Qualcomm has asked for a stay and an appeal already. An anonymous Apple executive has been accused of asking Samsung to apply pressure to antitrust regulators in South Korea to ramp up investigations into Qualcomm. CEO Tim Cook has not been excluded as a potential culprit, as Apple continues to wage war on the US semiconductor firm, while the Samsung executive is rumored to be the recently jailed Jay Lee. Swiss security firm Kudelski Group has signed a patent cross license and collaboration deal with Roku, providing each party with freedom to operate in their respective patent portfolios. A US illegal IPTV streaming device retailer called Amit Bhalla has been told he cannot use a bankruptcy case in his defense of copyright infringement, ruled a court in Florida this week. The illegal TVpad devices were banned by the California District Court last year, and ordered manufacturers to pay $55 million in damages to DishTVB, CCTV and CICC. Bhalla has been ordered to pay $4.4 million. Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries and regions worldwide recorded TV revenues of $34 billion in the third quarter of 2017, up 6.6%, with Honduras performing best with 30% growth, according to a report from the Ibero-American Telecommunications Organization (OTI). Mexico recorded growth of 17.7%, Colombia 11.5%, Brazil 9.2%, Chile 7.7% and the US 3.1%. Ukrainian cable operator Volia has added the SVoD service Filmbox OnDemand from the SPI Filmbox portfolio to its Volia Cinema offering. Volia also carries seven linear channels from SPI Filmbox. UK operator Sky grew revenues 5% in the last quarter to £3.3 billion ($4.3 billion), with EBITA jumping 11% to £582 million ($765 million). Its subscriber base grew 51% year on year with 160,000 subscriber additions in the period. The quarter saw Sky launch its streaming service in Spain, the first country it has entered with a standalone OTT offering, followed by the launch of a Sky Sports streaming service in Switzerland.