Try looking in the monthly archives. August 2019
French subscription video-on-demand service FilmoTV has partnered with multi-screen app firm Dotscreen to launch what they claim is the first French SVOD offering on the Playstation.The app is available for Playstation 3 and 4 consoles as well as on Sony Bravia connected TVs, offering a catalogue of “hundreds of movies” for €9.99 per month.The FilmoTV service launched in 2009 and is also available on Samsung, LG and Philips smart TVs, on tablets and smartphones, on Numéricâble boxes and on Orange TV.
UK production companies Avalon and Hat Trick have confirmed they are attempting to take over youth-skewing network BBC Three, as the BBC prepares to take the channel online only. According to a spokesperson for the production companies, which are responsible for BBC Three shows like Russell Howard’s Good News and The Revolution Will Be Televised, an approach has been made to the BBC Trust to buy the channel.“Under the new ownership, BBC Three would continue to broadcast on all digital platforms, all current contracts would be honoured and the channel’s programme budget would be increased from £81 million (€70 million) to £100 million a year,” said Avalon and Hat Trick in a statement.“Under the BBC’s plans to take the channel online, that budget is to be cut to £30 million a year.”The companies, which are thought to be mounting a £100 million bid for the channel added that “all original commissions would be made by UK companies and the channel would continue to be aimed at a young and ethnically diverse audience.”However, BBC insiders have poured cold water on the news, with one insider telling DTVE that “BBC Three simply isn’t and can’t be for sale.”“That aside – and the that fact that the brand will continue whatever the result of the BBC Trust’s public value test – there’s also the question of how they would fund and run a £100 million channel, a budget bigger than all free to air digital stations,” the insider added.A spokesperson for the corporation said: “BBC Three is not for sale, it’s not closing. The proposal is to move it online as part of a bold move to reinvent the BBC’s offer for young people.”The BBC announced last year that it plans to “reinvent” youth-skewing network BBC Three as an online-only channel.Outlining details of the proposal in December, the BBC said the move will generate savings of £50 million and allow the corporation to experiment with new content.
TF1 Group has maintained stable revenues for the full year for 2014 despite a continued slide in core advertising revenues. The French commercial broadcaster posted full-year sales of €2.092 billion, up 0.3%, despite a 2.6% drop in advertising revenues to €1.576 billion. Revenue from other activities, including from the sale of online shopping outfit Place des Tendances, amounted to €516.3 million, up 11.1%.The group saw ad revenues slide across the board, including for pay TV channels. TF1 say pay TV revenues fall by 5.2%, thanks in large part to reduced ad revenues from pay channels in the face of greater competition from the free-to-air market.Programming costs rose by €47.3 million to €994 million, thanks in large part to coverage of the football World Cup, which contributed €73.7 million in additional costs.The group expects economic conditions to be more favourable this year, and said it would continue to try to grow revenues through the free-to-air offering and digital initiatives, as well as continuing to focus on costs.TF1 posted an operating profit of €116.5 million, down 10%. However its net profit was boosted to €412.7 million thanks to the sale of a number of assets.
Video traffic over smartphones will increase by nearly eight times between 2014 and 2019, according to Juniper research. The new ‘mobile data offload and onload’ report estimates that the average monthly data usage by smartphone and tablet users will double over the next four years, bolstered by the rise in 4G adoption and factors such as HD video usage.Video currently accounts for around 60% of global IP traffic and, in some developed markets, this proportion is likely to exceed 70% in 2-3 years, said Juniper.The research forecasts that mobile data traffic, generated by smartphones, feature phones and tablets, will approach almost 197,000 Petabytes by 2019, equivalent to over 10 billion Blu-ray movies.However, the majority of this mobile data traffic offloaded to WiFi networks, with only 41% of the data generated by these devices will be carried over cellular networks by 2019, according to Juniper.
Paul BroadhurstTechnetix Group has acquired Arris’s supplies division, formerly Telewire Supplies, to give it a better position for growth in the cable market in the Americas.Technetix will merge the Arris Supplies business into its existing USA operations in Denver, Colorado. The transaction is expected to close in the latter half of Q3, 2015.Paul Broadhurst, CEO of Technetix Group, said, “We are delighted with this acquisition as Technetix and Arris Supplies are complementary businesses. We are committed to working with Arris to ensure that the expectations of Arris Supplies’ customers are met throughout the acquisition process and beyond. We will continue to serve our customers, both new and existing, with innovative products and enhanced service. This acquisition will be transformational for Technetix and will place the company in an ideal position for accelerated growth in the Americas market, adding customer base, extensive products and broad employee talent.”John Caezza, President of Arris Access Technologies said, “The Arris Supplies team delivers unique expertise and technology know-how that will help drive innovation for the Technetix product portfolio and better serve its customers. Our leadership in the Americas will bolster Technetix’ local footprint, while serving as a platform for its global growth.”
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Poland has added five new channels to its Horizon Go advanced mobile TV offering.Horizon Go customers will now be able to view Sony Pictures Television Networks channels AXN HD, AXN Spin HD, AXN White in SD and AXN Black in SD, alongside Romance HD.UPC Poland’s Horizon Go service offers a range of channels and on-demand content, including access to the MyPrime on-demand service.
Jeffrey KatzenbergComcast is set to go head-to-head with Disney in the kids and family sector after NBCUniversal completed its US$3.8 billion takeover of DreamWorks Animation.The deal hands Comcast’s entertainment wing NBCU franchises such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon, online assets in the shape of multichannel operator AwesomenessTV, and a sprawling toon-focused kids business including distributor DreamWorks Classics.DWA will sit within the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which also comprises Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development and is run by former NBCU international chief Jeff Shell.Upon sealing an agreement with DWA in April, NBCU CEO Steve Burke said the deal would grow the Comcast business, which is best known as a cable operator, in film, television, theme parks and consumer products.This puts more directly in competition with kids and family entertainment giant Disney.Terms of the completed deal sees DWA stockholders receiving US$41 in cash per share of common stock, with the company no longer listed on the NASDAQ exchange as a result.DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has made US$391 million from the deal, as he steps back from his role leading the Glendale, California-based company.A regulatory filing showed he owned around 10.2 million shares, nearly ten times the amount of the next largest shareholder, studio president Ann Daly. Former Hulu chief exec Jason Kilar and ex-Viacom boss Tom Freston also profited from the sales, both having small shareholdings.Katzenberg will be a consultant to Comcast and chairman of DreamWorks New Media, which will house millennials-focused digital content group AwesomenessTV and tech wing NOVA.Comcast noted that as part of the deal, DWA redeemed an outstanding US$300 million principal from a 6.875% senior notes due on August 15, 2020. Owners will make 104.156% of the principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption date.Katzenberg founded DWA in 2004 after splitting from DreamWorks SKG, which he co-founded with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.
Marc Antoine d’HalluinLuxembourg-based M7 Group has named former Zodiak Media CEO Marc Antoine d’Halluin chairman of the board as part of a broader management shakeup at the firm.The pan-European satellite pay TV operator said the changes are designed to accelerate growth plans as the firm looks to develop its “content-centric approach”.M7 also upped chief operating officer Hans Troelstra to CEO, replacing Marco Visser who had held the chief executive job since 2013.The third major change to the board sees former chief finance officer at Tele2 Nederland, Ernst Jan van Rooijen, join M7 as CFO.The company said that it wants to offer the “broadest and most appealing linear and on-demand content” for its customers via multiple media platforms, with d’Halluin to build up M7’s existing brands.The international programming and content distribution veteran will also be tasked with adding TV channels and on-demand services that will both generate broad public interest and anticipate new content developments like eSports.D’Halluin joined production company Zodiak Meida as CEO in 2013 and was expected to exit following Zodiak’s merger with rival content group Banijay Group, which was agreed last year.Prior to Zodiak he held CEO roles for Showtime Arabia, Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) in Dubai and Canal+ Nordic.Troelstra has been COO at M6 for the past six years and is credited with helping to transform the company from a Benelux satellite platform operator into a multi-territory pay TV provider.In his new role, Troelstra will continue to drive M7’s change from a DTH-only platform to a “fully hybrid platform”.“With our enormous line up it is not always easy for customers to find programs,” said Troelstra. “Good content but not well known and hidden in our line up.”Van Rooijen worked for more than 15 years for Tele2, the last 10 of which as CFO, taking a leading role in various acquisitions, strategic partnerships and divestments.M7 group is controlled by French Private Equity firm Astorg and claims to have more than 3 million subscribers for its satellite and IP-based TV platforms.The company uses different brands in different countries, including: CanalDigitaal and Online.nl in the Netherlands; TV Vlaanderen in Flanders; TéléSAT in French-speaking Belgium; AustriaSat/HD Austria in Austria; Skylink for the Czech and Slovak markets; and M7 Deutschland in Germany.
Sales of Sony’s October-launched PlayStation VR headset reached 915,000 as of February 19, according to president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Andrew House.In an exclusive interview with the New York Times, House revealed that Sony is well on track to beat its internal goal of one million headsets sold by mid-April – six months on from the PS VR’s initial launch.He said that by April supply of the headsets will improve and that Sony expects to start selling the device in Latin America by the autumn.“You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished,” he said in reference to sales in Japan.Speaking at MIPCOM last October, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said that the company has committed to making a variety of content “beyond gaming”, claiming that Sony is well positioned to set trends in virtual reality.Earlier this month Sony added 3D movie support to PlayStation VR in the latest software update for its PlayStation 4 games console.
Modern Times Group (MTG) is to acquire US games publisher and developer Kongregate from its current owner GameStop Corp for US$55 million.San Francisco-based Kongregate, which began life as a browser-based games developer but expanded into mobile and ‘Steam’ games and recently acquired San Diego-based games studio Ultrabit, grew its net sales by 38% last year to US$35 million. Mobile revenue generated from in-game purchasing and advertising grew by 74%.According to MTG, Kongregate is expected to grow its revenues to at least US$50 million this year. The company, which shares revenues with games developers, will, together with MTG, move to acquire further first-party games developers.Kongregate games attract up to 14 million monthly active users. Its web gaming portal has over 100,000 free-to-play games, and it has published 45 mobile games to date that have been downloaded over 100 million times.MTG’s latest foray into games as it seeks to diversify away from traditional pay and free TV follows its recent acquisition of a majority stake in Hamburg-based InnoGames.Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO.Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG President and CEO, said: “This investment is in line with our strategy to invest in relevant, complementary and scalable digital content and communities. Online gaming is one of our three digital entertainment verticals, and we are establishing a presence in a gaming industry expected to be worth some USD 130 billion in 2020, of which mobile gaming is the fastest growing segment. Almost a third of the time people spend on mobile devices each day is spent gaming. We look forward to welcoming the high quality, hugely talented and well proven Kongregate team to MTG.”Arnd Benninghoff, MTG EVP and MTGx CEO, said: “MTG’s ambition is to create a next-generation publisher hub and acquiring Kongregate is the next step in this journey. They have a multi-platform business and a global audience network, and are now developing and acquiring their own high value game studio IP. This will enable us to screen a wide range of gaming companies at an early stage, in order to find additional investment opportunities.”
Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 has teamed up with Tokyo-based mobile messaging and live broadcast specialist Line Corporation to launch a new mobile live streaming platform in Germany, focusing on the 17-plus youth audience.User-generated content app Line Live will enable its target audience to share their lives in live streams with the world. The service launched in Japan in 2015 and garnered an audience of 350 million aggregated views in its first six months. Line Live in Japan currently has over 24 million active users.Participants are rewarded for sharing streams with gift icons in the form of unicorn and heart icons.ProSiebenSat.1 said that it planned to extend its partnership and launch Line Live in other European markets.In Asia, Line Corporation’s Line Messenger service has over 200 million active users per months. The company’s mobile apps are available in 230 territories in 19 languages.ProSiebenSat.1 and Line have launched a campaign based on YouTube influencers with support from ProSiebenSat.1 MCN Studio71 and the group’s live events arm Starwatch. YouTube star twins Lisa and Lena are kicking off the campaign with a trip to Asia from where they will report on Line Live from Tokyo and Seoul.Christian Dankl, CEO of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital, said that the platform responded to demand for live streaming worldwide. He said ProSiebenSat.1 believed in the potential for user-generated live streaming and said that the experience and technology of Line Corporation would be key to the success of the platform.Eunjung Lee, SVP of business development at Line Plus Corporation said that the new partnership would help his company connect with new users in Germany. He said the collaboration was an important step in the taking forward the company’s long-term commitment to expand in the region.
OTE-owned Greek pay TV service Cosmote TV has secured exclusive rights to Champions League and Europa League football until 2021.All Champions League and Europa League matches will air exclusively on Cosmote Sports channels.The pay TV operator has secured rights to 137 Champions League matches and 205 Europa League matches as well as the UEFA super Cup between the winnersof the two competitions.As well as being available through the linear sports channels, matches will be available through the Cosmote Replay TV time-shift service and the Cosmote TV Go multiscreen service.Cosmote previoiusly held the rights to the two competition in Greece.“We are delighted that the premium UEFA football leagues, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League will continue to air on Cosmote Sport channels over the following three years. And furthermore, under an enhanced agreement that secures for Cosmote TV the exclusive rights for all matches of both competitions. At Cosmote TV, we constantly invest in upgrading and enhancing our sports content, with new channels and new tournaments across all sports, for our subscribers”, as said Dimitris Michalakis, Cosmote TV executive director.
French audience research outfit Médiamétrie has broadened the scope of its ‘four-screen TV’ audience measurement system by integrating Canal+ OTT distribution platform MyCanal.Médiamétrie customers will now be able to view the performance of their programmes broadcast on the MyCanal platform.The results will be included in the Programme Focus four screens service, which measures daily ratings for television content that has been broadcast live and catch-up across television, computer, smartphone and tablet.Médiamétrie said that MyCanal had been working closely with it on an audience measurement system that can dentify content consumption across all its internet and app environments, as well as via all digital screens.Julien Rosanvallon, Médiamétrie’s head of digital and TV departments, said that the move was “an important step” that illustrated the technological and scientific developments it has worked to achieve in recent years, “combining panels and big data, with the aim of delivering ever more comprehensive and refined measurement to the marketplace”.Frank Cadoret, deputy director-general of Canal+ Group in charge of France, said that time-shifted viewing on MyCanal had doubled in one year, while millions of viewers had adopted features such as multi-live, download and personal recommendations.“The innovative technological developments deployed by Canal+ Group and Médiamétrie during this project confirm MyCanal platform’s unique status as an OTT content aggregator mixing live, catch-up and VOD content. Four-screen audience measurement is one step in the establishment of services which MyCanal will offer to its broadcasting partners, both subscribers and non-subscribers, based on Canal+ Group’s expertise in data,” he said.
Vivendi has condemned what it describes as “time-wasting tactics” employed by Telecom Italia (TIM) board members backed by hedge fund Elliott Advisors who have successfully resisted its call for an immediate shareholders meeting, with the meeting now scheduled to take place on March 29.Vivendi said that it notified the board on December 11 of its intentions and formally make a request on December 14 to convene the meeting as soon as possible.In the latest move in its long-running battle with Elliott for control of TIM, Vivendi proposed the nomination of Franco Bernabè, Rob van der Valk, Flavia Mazzarella, Gabriele Galateri di Genola and Frencesco Vatalaro to replace Elliott-nominated directors Fulvio Conti, the company’s chairman, Alfredo Altavilla, Massimo Ferrari, Dante Roscini and Paolo Giannotti de Ponti in a move that followed the forced departure of Vivendi-backed CEO Amos Genish.TIM’s board delayed a decision on Vivendi’s request until January 14 before announcing a two-month delay in scheduling the meeting.“These time-wasting tactics are negatively impacting TIM’s financial results every day, as is sadly reflected by the more than 40% drop in the share price since May 4, 2018. These tactics constitute a genuine denial of shareholder democracy and run counter to the most basic and fundamental principles of good corporate governance,” said Vivendi. The company said it reserved the right to request a new shareholders meeting in the summer if TIM’s performance and governance did not improve.Elliott responded by saying that Vivendi’s request was “yet another attempt to regain control of TIM to return to running the company in its own individual interest” and added that it was “confident that this intent has little chance of success even if Vivendi perseveres in his attempts.”The pair have been battling to control the future direction of the company for over a year, with Elliott taking control of the board after securing the support of independent shareholders in a vote last May.While Elliott initially expressed support for Genish to continue as CEO, the latter’s resistance to plans to break up the company by selling off its network arm – a move that chimed with the new Italian government’s ambition to create a unified national infrastructure company – resulted in Genish’s ousting in November.
Snap beat analyst estimates with a 36% revenue rise which it attributes to its redesign of Discovery – the destination for premium content made by the company and its partners.Endless SummerThe company reported what it called “record” revenue of $390m for Q4, up by 36% year-on-year. Full-year revenue was $1.2bn, up 43% from 2017.CEO Evan Spiegel noted during Snap’s earnings call that the quarterly rise was largely due to the advertising revenue the company generated from premium content.“The increase in the breadth and depth of engagement with our Discover product following the redesign, helped us more than double the advertising revenue that we generated from premium content in Q4 when compared to last year,” he said.Last October, Snap created a premium destination to place what it calls ‘Shows’, a string professional content from its partners and original content from the company itself. The destination features show profiles, an ‘instant subscribe’ function and a ‘up next’ feature so that viewers never miss an episode.With the redesign, the company also launched its first full slate of originals which included scripted titles such as Bunim/Murray’s Endless Summer.Since the launch Spiegel says that more than 60% of ESPN SportCenter’s audience tuned in three or more times per week.Snap launched original title The Dead Girls Detective Agency as part of the slate, and over 40% of the people that completed the episode went on to watch the whole season, according to the exec.Meanwhile, Bitmoji Stories, a new cartoon starring Snapchatters and their friends, reached over 40m viewers in December.“Following our redesign and product improvements, 30% more people are now watching Publisher Stories and Shows every day compared to last year, and each one is consuming more of these stories every day on average,” Spiegel said.Spiegel didn’t offer up any detail on upcoming titles, but did say Snap will hold a partner summit in Los Angeles on 4 April to show off their creative plans.The platform, which has had a rough time in the stock market since its IPO in 2017, has seen increased competition from rivals such as Instagram with many expecting its user base to slim for the quarter. It reported a flat 186m daily active users for Q4, 2018.Snap stock shot up by as much as 21% in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the company beat analyst estimates.“Despite a challenging year for Snap in 2018, these latest results paint a much brighter picture for the company. A combination of a boom in online advertising as well as continued innovation and investment in partnerships have proved to be a real boon,” said Josh Krichefski, CEO of MediaCom UK.“One of its problems has been remaining relevant to its younger audience – yet according to Ofcom, children aged between 12-15 are using Snapchat more now than they ever have done. Its biggest challenge, however, is gaining a slice of the slightly older audience now turning their heads to other forms of social media, notably Instagram.”
Gigabit-to-the-home is coming and closer than you think. The broadband access technologies that will deliver this performance vary and each have their benefits and weaknesses. This new white paper from MoCA describes and evaluates these technologies comparing actual data rates, security, management and other features and capabilities. Please tick this box if you do not wish to receive marketing information relevant to you from Digital TV Europe via email Name* Fill in this short form to download the whitepaper – Fields labelled with * are mandatory. Last Please tick this box if you wish to receive any marketing information from MoCA First Please tick this box if you do not wish to receive any marketing information from MoCA If you are located in Canada: Company Name*Job Title*Please select your industry type from the drop down menu*–Please select one–Pay TV operator – CablePay TV operator – DTHPay TV operator – TelcoPay TV operator – OtherPay TV broadcaster/platformFree to air broadcasterContent aggregator & US studioOTT service providerTechnology providerSatellite operatorRegulatory/Government bodyOther – educationOther – GovernmentOther – MediaOther – non-specifiedCountry:*–Please select one–AfghanistanAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBrazilBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaColombiaComorosCongo, Democratic Republic of theCongo, Republic of theCosta RicaCôte d’IvoireCroatiaCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEast TimorEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFijiFinlandFranceGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuamGuatemalaGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiNorth KoreaSouth KoreaKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMauritaniaMauritiusMexicoMicronesiaMoldovaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNorwayNorthern Mariana IslandsOmanPakistanPalauPalestinePanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbia and MontenegroSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSpainSri LankaSudanSudan, SouthSurinameSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTogoTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVatican CityVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishVirgin Islands, U.S.YemenZambiaZimbabweTelephone Number Please tick this box if you wish to receive marketing information relevant to you from Digital TV Europe via email Email Address*
BT’s announcement this week that it will integrate Amazon Prime Video into its TV offering marks a significant shift for both parties, and also illustrates a wider ongoing change in the pay TV business.Marc AlleraUnder new consumer chief Marc Allera, BT is not only opening up its platform to embrace Amazon Prime Video – something other pay TV operators have shied away from to date – but will also include Sky’s low-cost offering Now TV from next year.The shift in video strategy follows a disappointing quarter in which BT once again lost TV subscribers, highlighting the limitations of its previous sports rights-centric approach as a tool to attract new customers.The Now TV deal was in fact announced in December, when BT also agreed to wholesale BT Sports channels to Sky for the first time, allowing Sky to sell them direct to its satellite customers. BTBT this year also stepped back from upping its already heavy spend on English Premier League rights, sticking with one package to Sky’s four and a reduced line-up of matches at an reduced annual expenditure.The decision to scale back its expenditure on top-tier football and to open up its platform to Now TV and now to Amazon means that BT is positioning itself as an aggregator of content rather, with slightly less emphasis on acquiring exclusive rights.It also reflects the view expressed by BT CEO Gavin Patterson at Mobile World Congress earlier this year when he said that BT would not go down the route followed by Telefónica and some other telecom players and invest in original drama. Patterson argued that general entertainment and movies was “a global game, increasingly”. He said that BT intended to be “a super-aggregator” in a business increasingly dominated by the likes of Netflix and Amazon.BT is not Telefónica, which is the pay TV leader in Spain and is also an international player with a large footprint, unlike the UK telco. It therefore makes sense for geographically restricted BT, more than for most of its European peers, to tap into the global reach of an OTT TV giant such as Amazon to enhance its content offering.BT’s broader strategy of focusing on fixed-mobile convergence and multi-play bundling rather than content as the keystone of commercial will be given a concrete reality in the form of BT Plus, a a single converged package including broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi. The telco is promoting the vision of a “single smart converged network” combining fixed and mobile assets that will deliver ubiquitous coverage wherever its customers are.The message is clear: connectivity is the key differentiator, and focusing on this makes more sense than trying to be a media player with a comprehensive, exclusive – and expensive – content play.And what about Amazon? The extent and direction of the e-retailer’s video ambitions is still far from clear.The Prime Video services was the fastest-growing subscription video-on-demand service in the UK last year, according to BARB, growing by 41% to reach 4.3 million subscribers, which would indicate that BT’s decision to partner up with it is a smart move.However, it was also reported this week by The Diffusion Group, Amazon Channels, that the streamer’s own aggregation offering, accounted for over half of all third-party direct-to-consumer subscriptions in the US, taking 53% of HBO direct-to-consumer subscriptions, 72% of Showtime’s and 70% of Starz’s D2C customers.That represents a sizeable chunk of territory that pay TV operators would like to claim as their own. But it has to be remembered that these are specifically direct-to-consumer offerings provided on an à la carte basis rather than bundled up with other services. And HBO, Showtime and Starz still provide their content to pay TV providers as well as offering it direct to consumers in their own right.Moreover, while the growth of Channels has raised fears of Amazon pitching itself into a head-on battle with pay TV providers, Richard Au, Amazon’s director of prime video channels and sports in the US, told the FierceCable conference in Denver, Colorado this week that the streaming giant was interested in integrating Prime Video with pay TV operators’ services. Au pointed to Comcast’s deal with Netflix as an example to follow.Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany has in any case been a more limited proposition than the US version so far, although the inclusion of Discovery in the initial line-up rang some alarm bells. It is also less of a threat to pay TV in Europe than in the US, where the vastly higher price of pay TV subscriptions provides a clear incentive to cut the cord.In sport – another area where Amazon has raised concern among pay TV providers – the company has so far restricted itself to testing the market, albeit with some sizeable deals, including the rights to US Open tennis in the UK and Ireland. It has not however gone the full distance by, for example, acquiring English Premier League rights, despite speculation that it would bid for a package that the EPL seemed to have tailored especially for it.Ultimately, Amazon could still emerge as a threat to pay TV. But for now it seems, it is more interested in using video as a way to push consumers into Prime subscriptions. Amazon makes its money from e-commerce.Telcos, on the other hand, make their money from connectivity. They are interested in using video as a way to give consumers an extra push towards fixed and mobile broadband bundles.The distinction is clear enough for the telcos and Amazon to find an area of mutual interest.
As Discovery’s international business continues to grow in importance, head of international networks Mark Hollinger spoke to Stuart Thomson about the broadcaster’s plans.Discovery Communications’ international business is growing in strength relative to its maturing US business, driven by strong subscriber and advertising growth in emerging markets such as central and eastern Europe and Latin America.Speaking to Digital TV Europe after the broadcaster’s ‘Upfront’ presentation to advertisers in New York in April, international chief Mark Hollinger said that the day when international revenues surpassed domestic turnover was still a few years off. Nevertheless, he said, growth in international markets was faster than that in the US.With that in mind, in the EMEA region, Discovery has recently restructured its operations, creating a western European arm (including the broadcaster’s largest international market, the UK) under Dee Forbes and a CEEMEA (central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa) unit under Katarzyna Kieli. “As we really looked at the EMEA region we saw that there was wide variety of markets. There is a natural split between the more mature markets of western Europe and the still developing markets of CEEMEA,” says Hollinger. “[Western Europe includes] markets where we don’t necessarily think there is going to be a huge increase in pay penetration, either because they’re already fully penetrated or because of other factors. The CEEMEA market is characterized by higher subscriber growth and we really need two different kinds of management. Western Europe is about the programming mix, scheduling and knowing that you don’t have a lot of upside on subscriber growth. The East is more sales-driven, and the management there are sales people by background and orientation.”The launch of female-skewed channel TLC in the US and later internationally was designed to provide a more rounded proposition to advertisers – an increasingly important constituency to Discovery. The broadcaster has expanded from its original core proposition to embody a wide range of loosely factually-based genres, encompassing channels as diverse as The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, ID, TLC and most recently OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). Hollinger points out that Discovery has already experimented with a channel focused on acquired scripted content in Latin America, where it operates Liv (formerly People+Arts, a joint venture with BBC Worldwide). While he admits that Discovery is faced with the question of whether “the non-fiction sandbox is big enough for us”, Hollinger says the company is unlikely to transform itself into a general entertainment content provider, however. In the case of Liv, it made sense to experiment with a different proposition in a particular market. Similarly, the company will look at opportunities to launch US services including OWN internationally on a case-by-case basis. Discovery is also open to acquiring channels.However, Hollinger also indicates that a shift in emphasis is taking place from the era when broadcasters looked to acquire as much digital shelf-space as possible through the launch of multiple channels (a strategy he says suited Discovery, which owns the rights to the majority of the content it airs) to an era when broadband offerings and migration to HD (and even 3D) are seen as increasingly important. Discovery may look to launch 3D services internationally as part of video-on-demand offerings rather than attempt to replicate the launch of its 3Net joint venture with Sony in markets outside the US. (Discovery launched 3Net in the US in February.) Hollinger says: “Internationally we monitor this all the time. Right now it may be that a full channel is not the next path to take. It may be a VOD product for a while, but when there is a need we will be there with a channel.”Although broadband is growing in importance, Hollinger is not tempted by direct-to-consumer over-the-top opportunities. Discovery remains firmly rooted in the traditional pay TV business (although it has opted to deploy free-to-air services in markets including Germany and Italy). “We are firm believers in the pay TV business model,” he says. The established relationship between programmer and distributor “has created huge value for us,” he says. In terms of forward-looking digital distribution opportunities, he says he is more attracted to the TV Anywhere model being built by existing pay TV service providers than by the pure-play advertising or subscription-based over-the-top model. “The pay TV operators want to make sure they are not undermining their own business model so we are better aligned with them,” he says. OTT, by contrast, is still characterized by the absence of a clear business model and by lack of audience measurability. Pay TV allied to advertising is a model that has served Discovery well enough to date.“We are firm believers in the pay TV business model…[that] hascreated huge value for us.”
ShareTweet They were later released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.Detectives have been examining the Police Ombudsman’s investigation of the RUC’s treatment of the so-called ‘Derry Four’, who as teenagers were charged with the murder of a soldier in 1979.Gerry McGowan, Michael Toner, Stephen Crumlish and Gerard Kelly were all teenagers when they were accused of killing Lt Steven Kirby in 1979.The so-called Derry Four fled across the border until their acquittal in 1998. The Derry Four leaving Derry courthouse (from left) Gerry McGowan, Michael Toner, Stephen Crumlish and Gerry Kelly. Now it has been revealed their police interview notes have gone missingTWO former investigators with the Police Ombudsman’s office have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.The arrests were made over alleged misconduct within the Ombudsman’s office.The suspects, aged 62 and 67, were detained in England on Tuesday and later flown back Belfast for questioning. They are now involved in a civil case against the police for wrongful arrest.They four men also say they were subjected to false imprisonment, assault, battery and malicious prosecution.They fled across the border and remained outside Northern Ireland for almost 20 years until they were acquitted in 1998.Their treatment by the RUC was investigated by the Police Ombudsman.In 2012, the matter was referrred to the Public Prosecution Service.Two years later the prosecution of two former police officers in connection with the interrogations of the ‘Derry Four’ collapsed at Belfast Crown Court after a senior QC prosecutor told a judge that the PPS had received new information.In the wake of that collapse, the PSNI was called in by the Police Ombudsman to look at how the complaint by the four men was investigated by its office.TWO EX-POLICE OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATORS ARRESTED OVER ‘DERRY FOUR’ CASE was last modified: December 1st, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: LT STEVE KIRBYTWO EX-POLICE OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATORS ARRESTED OVER ‘DERRY FOUR’ CASE
ShareTweet He was interviewed and subsequently released on police bail pending further enquiries in relation to those offences.Man arrested in Derry reported to PPS over bomb hoax and membership offences was last modified: June 29th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: A 37 year old man arrested in Derry’s Creggan district yesterday, Thursday 27 June, by detectives from PSNIs Terrorism Investigation Unit has been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.These are in relations to the offences of placing article to cause bomb hoax, possession of articles for use in terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation.The man was rearrested under PACE legislation on suspicion of fraud by false representation and possessing fireworks without a licence. CRegganfireworksfraud by false representationMan arrested in Derry reported to PPS over bomb hoax and membership offencesPoliceproscribed organistionPSNITerrorist Investigatiion Unit