Satellite equipment supplier Newtec has named former Eutelsat CEO Giuliano Berretta as an external member of its strategic committee.The committee advises the Newtec board of directors with company policy and strategy. Berretta is the third external member, with Brigitte Boone, formerly the CEO of the merchant banking division of Fortis Bank, and Martin de Prycker, the former CEO of Barco, joining in 2010 and 2009 respectively.Serge Van Herck, CEO and Chairman of Newtec, said: “We are extremely fortunate to have Giuliano joining us. He has exceptional industry experience and knowledge and is set to be a real source of strength for us. Many technologically ambitious plans are already underway and having Mr Berretta on board goes a long way towards ensuring our continued success.”
European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes has told European cable CEOs that the EC is opposed to draft legislation in the Netherlands that would force cable operators to open up their networks to third-party providers.The cable industry is opposed to two amendments to the Diutch implementation of the EU Telecom Directive and one amendment to the country’s media law that could see Dutch operators forced to give open access to networks. Cable industry body Cable Europe has questioned their compliance with the EU regulatory framework which holds that infrastructure should only be regulated in this way on the basis of a market analysis that has identified a dominant network.Kroes told a meeting of cable operators in Brussels that the EC will use its powers to oppose the amendments.
Mediaset and Sky Italia are to offer comprehensive Champions League and Europa League football coverage to their pay TV subscribers following a deal over the exchange of rights acquired separately from UEFA.Following the deal, both operators will be able to offer coverage of the matches of Italian teams in the two championships for the next two seasons.Mediaset will also be able to offer the best Italian Champions League match from Wednesday nights and the best Europa League match on Thursday via its free-to-air channel Italia 1.Sky Italia will provide coverage of both Champions League and Europa League matches in HD, with Champions League games shown exclusively on Sky in HD. The operator will also make Champions League games available on its Sky Go service, and in 3D on its TV service.
Netflix has snagged exclusive UK and Ireland rights to the third season of the The Killing in a deal that has helped the latest series of the Forbrydelsen remake to get made.The streaming service will make episodes of the upcoming third season available to its subs in the UK and Ireland within a week of their premiere on US cable network AMC.Netflix will also make the entire second season of the dark cop drama available from May.It inked a deal with Fox for the international rights and the acquisition helped get the new season of the show over the line after AMC, which transmits it in the US, initially indicated it would not order a third season.“Our agreement with Netflix played an extremely significant part in the studio’s strategy that enabled us to bring The Killing back for a third season,” said David Madden, president of Fox Television Studios. “We are delighted to be in business with Netflix to deliver Season three, as well as past seasons of The Killing to a broader audience worldwide.”At the same time, Netflix yesterday announced the Netflix Cloud Prize – a competition that will carry US$100,000 in prize money. This will challenge developers from around the world to improve features, usability, quality, reliability and security of cloud computing resources.Submissions open this week and will close on September 15. Winners will be announced a month later, with the prize money to be divided across 10 different categories.
Online video distribution specialist Rightster has struck a deal with international media group and digital publisher Future, whose properties include the TechRadar.com site, to distribute its video content to publisher partners.Future’s technology websites, including T3.com, Maclife.com, TechRadar.com and MaximumPC.com reach over 17 million visitors globally each month. Rightster will distribute unbranded clips from Future’s digital video portfolio, including how-to videos, gadget reviews, conferences and product reviews to its syndication partners, while Rightster’s media sales team will provide advertising sales support.Charlie Muirhead, founder and CEO, Rightster, said: “Rightster is delighted to be working with Future and this deal demonstrates increased traction in the online video space for content syndication deals globally. Rightster’s distribution and marketing services will provide Future with the opportunity to exploit new revenue streams by capitalising on the power and reach of online video.”
Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries will take part in the forthcoming ANGA COM TV Summit, which takes place in Cologne from June 4-6.Fries will take part in the TV Summit, which will focus on the topic “Networks and Content: Who pays the Bill?” alongside Karola Wille, chairwoman, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Conrad Albert, managing board, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, Andreas Bereczky, director, production, ZDF, Adrian von Hammerstein, CEO, Kabel Deutschland, Dietmar Schickel, managing director, Tele Columbus, and Brian Sullivan, CEO, Sky Deutschland.
PBS America is to move to a new channel slot on the BSkyB platform in the UK.From next Wednesday, PBS America will move from the Entertainment to the Documentaries section of Sky’s EPG and its new home of channel slot 534.The move has been made possible thanks to a deal between PBS America and UKTV. Negotiated by PBS America general manager Richard Kingsbury and UKTV’s head of commercial development, Dan Fahy, this agreement will also see UKTV’s latest offering, Drama, move up Sky’s EPG from slot 291 to 166.Kingsbury said: “Over the last 12 months, we’ve doubled our share on both Sky and Virgin Media, but our absolute share on cable is disproportionately higher. The fact that we’re already in Virgin’s Factual section suggests that we’ll really benefit from a move into Documentaries on Sky. This exciting development enables us to instantly make PBS America more visible to factual viewers looking for our type of well-crafted, in-depth and engaging content.”
Video technology provider RGB Networks has formed a partnership with Conax, a global provider of solutions for securing multi-device and digital video content distribution. The joint offering – integrating Conditional Access Systems (CAS) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) from Conax within RGB’s TransAct Packager – allows pay TV operators to deliver services subscribers across any device, while guaranteeing that only paying viewers can access content, according to the pair.RGB’s TransAct Packager uses adaptive streaming technology to enable the segmentation of video and audio into chunks that are delivered to PCs, mobile devices and set-top boxes using HTTP. In addition, by using standard AES-128 encryption for HTTP Live Streaming or PlayReady for Smooth Streaming, the TransAct Packager can encrypt traffic and integrate key exchanges with digital rights management servers. Incorporating Conax CAS/DRM, the solution now serves to better protect pay TV content from unauthorised viewing by non-subscribers, according to the pair.“The demand for video and expectations of service are becoming greater each year. As video service providers continue to battle it out to win subscribers, they cannot afford to encounter a performance gap when it comes to content delivery, or tie themselves up in compliance issues,” said Simone Sassoli, vice-president of marketing and business development for RGB Networks. “The combination of our solution with Conax CAS/DRM provides operators with a best-of-breed solution that addresses both business needs and market evolution.”“We have several customers who have come to us for a solution that enabled them to deliver quality video content to customers without the risk of hijacking or disruption en route which has obvious negative impacts on business operations,” said Tom Jahr, executive vice president of products and partners at Conax. “The RGB Networks partnership with Conax now enables operators to reconcile these two issues so that they can continue to provide their own customers with the best viewing experience possible.”RGB Networks will exhibit at IBC on stand 4.B70 and Conax will exhibit on stand 1.D69
Fox International Channels’ pay and free TV businesses in Turkey are merging.Fox International Channels Turkey and Fox Turkey will now operate as a single business unit under FIC’s executive VP, southern Europe and Africa Adam Theiler.The change results in the departure of Pietro Vicari, who has run the Fox Turkey business for the past five years but will now move across to another 21st Century Fox-backed business, Sky Italia.A “structured operational integration process will occur in the next few months, lead by COO Cenk Soner, while Sebnem Askin will remain in control of programming at Fox TV.Vicari will become the Sky-owned Italian satcaster’s deputy CFO. “Pietro has steered Fox Turkey on a steady growth path, more than doubling the size of the business during his tenure,” said FIC president, Europe and Africa, Jan Koeppen. “I would like to thank him for his leadership and congratulate him on his new position at Sky.”Of the move to merge the pay and free businesses, Koeppen said: “By combining our pay TV business and our free-to-air channel in Turkey, we make them a more integral part 21st Century Fox, one of the world’s most dynamic media companies.“This operational integration creates a stronger partner for advertisers and platforms, a powerful creative destination for producers and an even more exciting place for our employees to work.”Theiler will continue to report to Koeppen, and all the changes are effective immediately.FIC operates channels such as National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Foxlife, FX, and has rights to shows such as The Walking Dead; while Fox TV has operated separately as a free TV entity.
Kudelski-owned Conax has expanded its Conax Contego portfolio and will demo innovations including end-to-end forensic watermarking for UHD and secure Android TV.Conax will showcase services at IBC including its multi-DRM backend and quick-to-deploy solutions for OTT and TV Everywhere. It will also announce a new solution for IPTV.The Conax Contego unified security hub offers support for all major distribution technologies and formats including UHD/4K. It supports smart cards, cardless, IPTV and advanced multi-DRM functionality and OTT content services from a single unified back-end.Conax will demonstrate forensic watermarking, a secure hybrid STB based on Android TV, and Conax Contego’s multi-DRM security back-end.It will also demo the Conax GO Live solution for pay TV operators to stream live channels to iOS and Android devices and the Conax Xtend Multiscreen eceosystem for deployment of multiscreen services.Conax will be co-exhibiting with parent firm Kudelski’s sister companies, NAGRA, Kudelski Security and SmarDTV.Conax will exhibit at IBC on stand 1.C81
A deal with media services provider Globecast to provide expatriate-targeted services My Polish TV and Telefrance has taken French telco TV specialist Netgem’s content partnerships total for 2015 to 29, bringing the total number of partners the company has to over 50.The Globecast deal saw the launch of My Polish TV and Telefrance in the UK on the Netgem-supplied EE TV platform on November 26.Other Netgem partnership agreements include Mubi, Netflix, Youtube, Wuaki.TV, and Sky’s Now TV.One of Netgem’s most recent partnerships has been with online TV streaming solution Simplestream to provide the company’s TV Player Plus service that offers customers in the UK a wide range of TV and films across free and premium TV channels, including Eurosport, National Geographic and Cartoon Network.“The Triple/Quad-Play telecoms market is an incredibly competitive space, with a range of service providers competing hard to maintain revenue streams and gain new customers” said Sylvain Thevenot, managing director of Netgem TV PVX.“By signing agreements with leading content providers on our #TelcoTV platform, we are enabling telcos to save both in terms of cost and time-to-market as they deploy engaging TV services to their customers. Operators can then focus on delivering the best customer experience, rather than having to deal with the challenges of securing and maintaining content services and building out content management infrastructure.”
Adult content specialist Playboy Plus Europe has secured carriage for its Reality Kings TV channel with Polish cable operator Multimedia Poland.The channel will be accessible to subscribers with the operator’s FunKlub package, which includes Fight Club HD, Adult Channel, Brazzers TV Europe, Hustler TV, Blue Hustler and Private TV.Reality Kings TV is the fourth channel from Playboy Plus Europe to be carried by Multimedia Polska, following an extension to the pair’s existing agreement in July. The operator already carries Playboy TV, Brazzers TV Europe and Adult Channel.
Matthew PostgateThe BBC has chosen BT to provide its next-generation broadcast network, switching supplier from Vodafone-owned Atos.The BBC said that the new, IP-based network would enable it to add extra services and capacity easily for major events and at lower cost than the current network and would also make it easier for the BBC to launch data-heavy formats like UHD TV and 360° TV.The contract is worth £100 million (€130 million) over seven years, with an option for the BBC to extend this for a further three.The network will ink all BBC UK sites, including 21 broadcasting centres and local radio stations, as well as connecting to the main overseas bureaux and partners for playout of the BBC’s TV channels. It will carry all video, audio and data traffic, as well as fixed line telephony, ISDN and broadband services.The network will be operated by BT Media and Broadcast as part of the BBC’s Aurora Programme of re-sourcing core technology services as its current contract expires in April 2017.The BBC said that Vodafone would continue to have an important role in providing the BBC with a key data centre, telephony services and additional connectivity in London.“This is an important step towards building an internet-fit BBC and will allow us to provide more interactive and personalised content in the future. At a time when the BBC faces serious financial challenges, it will also save us tens of millions of pounds so we can focus more of our money on the programmes and services for licence fee payers,” said the BBC’s recently appointed CTO, Matthew Postgate.“We are delighted by the BBC’s decision to choose us as their next generation broadcast network partner. Both of our organisations have a vital part to play in making the best use of advanced technology to support and enable the ever-accelerating evolution of broadcast media,” said Mark Wilson-Dunn, global vice-president of BT Media and Broadcast.
Jonas VigBambuser, the Swedish company behind business-to-business mobile live video platform Iris, has secured US$1.5 million (€1.4 million) of funding to accelerate its expansion. This includes investment from Avicii Music AB, LMK Forward Ventures, Bluewise Ventures and Muirfield Ventures.The investment will be used to fuel the company’s continued expansion, including the deployment of a dedicated sales team across key geographies such as Europe and North America, the company said.It will also enables Bambuser to launch launching the second generation of the Iris platform.Bambuser’s proprietary technology and products is designed to enable developers, organisations and brands to integrate low-latency live broadcasting and viewing directly into their workflow or mobile app experience.Jonas Vig, CEO and co-founder of Bambuser said, “Live video broadcasting is one of the fastest growing forms of communication and the opportunities it offers are endless. Thanks to our robust technology, smart design and end-to-end solution we aim to unlock that potential and become a technology leader by making mobile video livestreaming easily accessible to a greater number of people including organisations, and now, the developer community.”
OutcastFox Networks Group Europe and Africa and Viaplay have launched Fox+, a new drama and entertainment streaming service for the Nordic region.The new streaming service will have a raft of premium drama from the Hollywood studio arm of Fox, its cable production arm, as well as drama and factual content from the international Fox Networks Group.TV titles include Prison Break, How I Met Your Mother, Outcast, Glee, and Ally McBeal. Ongoing Fox series including American Dad, Bones, Family Guy and Last Man On Earth will also be on the new net.“It´s really great that FNG has chosen Viaplay as the launch destination for Fox+ in the Nordics and that Viaplay will be able to offer iconic titles such as How I Met Your Mother,” said Jonas Karlén, CEO, Viaplay.“With more than 92% of all Viaplay series available offline, Viaplay now has the most series in the Nordics available online and offline, including all our kids’ series”, he added.The deal between Fox and MTG-owned Viaplay will see a raft of Fox programming roll out over the course of 2017. Shows from 20th Century Fox Television, Fox 21 Television Studios, FX Productions and FNG Global will all feature.In addition to the aforementioned titles, shows going out on the channel through the year will include all eleven seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Burn Notice, Dollhouse, White Collar and Ally McBeal.Adam Theiler, executive VP, Fox Networks Group, Europe & Africa said: “We are committed to enriching the consumer experience with Fox+ and are thrilled to be working with Viaplay.“Their robust content offer is already a market standard for innovation in the Nordics, and one of the most sophisticated pay-tv markets in the world.”
The BBC is to invest £19 million (€22.4 million) in creating a new TV channel for Scotland and will up its spending on Scottish programming by about £20 million a year as part of a new programme of investment in the UK’s devolved nations.Following a review of programming and services in the nations that will also seen additional investment in Wales, the BBC has said it will recognise the need to spend more of the licence fee raised in Scotland and Scottish content and services.The new channel, BBC Scotland, will air from 19:00 each day and will include an hour-long news programme at 21:00 on weekdays, edited and presented form Scotland. The pubcaster said it would create about 80 new journalist posts to staff the service.The news service will not be scheduled concurrently with news programmes on other channels, but will provide “an alternative to high-end drama and entertainment” on other BBC services.The broadcaster said that it had mulled a Scottish alternative to the flagship UK 18:00 news programme, but that this idea had been rejected. It said the new programme would not compete for resources with The Six or the existing Reporting Scotland news service that follows it.Together with existing funding the channel will have an initial budget of £30 million.The BBC said it would work n close partnership with the creative sector, other national institutions and other broadcasters to produce and acquire content, with some content provided in collaboration with other BBC channels.BBC Scotland will have its own prominent EPG slot and will be available online and on BBC iPlayer in HD in Scotland and across the UK.The BBC plans to spend an additional £20 million a year on Scottish programming for the three years to March 2019. The spend on UK-wide programmes made in Scotland in 2015-16 was approximately £65 million.In addition to the creation of the new channel the BBC is also putting another £1.2 million into Gaelic-language service BBC Alba.The plan is subject to approval by the BBC’s new unitary board and, possibly, by Ofcom.Tony Hall“We know that viewers in Scotland love BBC television, but we also know that they want us to better reflect their lives and better reflect modern Scotland. It is vital that we get this right. The best way of achieving that is a dedicated channel for Scotland. It’s a channel that will be bold, creative and ambitious, with a brand-new Scotland-edited international news programme at its heart. The BBC has the luxury of having first-class creative teams and brilliant journalists, who I know will make this new channel a huge success,” said BBC director-general Tony Hall of the plan.“The additional investment in Scottish drama and factual programming rightly recognises both the need to do more across our output and the huge pool of talent available in Scotland. We do make great programmes here, such as Shetland, Britain’s Ancient Capital – Secrets of Orkney, Two Doors Down and the brilliant Still Game – but we do need to do more. All of this combined amounts to the biggest single investment by the BBC in broadcast content in Scotland in over twenty years. This will be a huge boost for BBC Scotland and for the Scottish creative industries. This is an exciting time for BBC Scotland and for the millions of Scots who love TV.”
Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges has spoken out against a potential tie up between Vodafone and Liberty Global-owned Unitymedia, branding it “completely unacceptable”.Timotheus HöttgesSpeaking on the company’s fourth quarter and full year earnings call, Höttges raised concerns about market concentration in the TV market and said that a combined Vodafone and Unitymedia would dominate the German market.“I do not see that this kind of concentration in the cable market can be supported from regulatory bodies,” he said.“I don’t believe that Germany wants to go into a situation like Eastern European markets where TV markets are dominated by telco players.”Höttges said that Deutsche Telekom – which had a German IPTV and satellite TV subscriber base of 3.14 million customers at the end of 2017 – would protest the deal, if it is agreed.Earlier this month Vodafone confirmed it was in early stage discussions with Liberty Global about potentially acquiring “overlapping continental European assets”.According to reports the discussions are focused on Liberty’s cable assets in Germany, though the two companies also have overlapping operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.In Germany, Liberty’s operations are run by Unitymedia, the country’s second largest cable operator with some 13.0 million service subscribers as of September 2017 across video, broadband internet, and fixed-line telephony.Vodafone is Germany’s cable leader following its acquisition of Kabel Deutschland in 2013.Separately, T-Mobile Austria agreed to buy Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Austria late last year for an enterprise value of €1.9 billion.
German network access startup, GiaX, has joined the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) as an associate member.Bavaria-based GiaX develops products for network access using coaxial cabling and plans to integrate the MoCA Access standard into its cable operator-targeted 10G Ethernet HFC overlay product portfolio.“Operators are developing the next generation of their networks that will use technologies such as DAA (Distributed Access Architectures) and FDX (Full Duplex DOCSIS), resulting in the need to reduce service group sizes,” said Jörg Hellwig, CEO and founder of GiaX.“The combination of our HelEOS solution and the MoCA Access standard provides a powerful and complementary tool for MSOs (multiple system operators). The MoCA Access standard provides the performance and low latency required by operators as they continuously enhance their networks.”MoCA President Charles Cerino said: “Our technology and the ongoing policy of the Alliance has always been to work with startups to foster innovation and creative products using MoCA technology standards. We are excited to have GiaX join the alliance and look forward to the innovation they will bring to the Access effort.”MoCA is an industry standard consortium developing technology for home networking and broadband access. MoCA technology runs over the existing coaxial cabling.
Peer-to-peer technology company BitTorrent has announced plans to ‘tokenise’ its Windows-based µTorrent Classic client in a bid to improve network speed.The new token, which will also be called BitTorrent (BTT), will be issued by the BitTorrent foundation in a move designed to increase the overall speed of torrents. Users will be able to exchange tokens to get faster downloads.TRON, the blockchain company that acquired BitTorrent in July 2018, said that the token will help to expand its vision of a “decentralised internet” and that BTT will first be implemented first in µTorrent Classic.“BitTorrent token is the first in a series of steps to support a decentralised internet,” said Justin Sun, founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent.“In one giant leap, the BitTorrent client can introduce blockchain to hundreds of millions of users around the world and empower a new generation of content creators with the tools to distribute their content directly to others on the web.”TRON and BitTorrent plan to provide more details about BitTorrent token at its niTROn Summit on January 17–18 in San Francisco.
Cable, fixed telecom and mobile operator Liberty Latin America has terminated its talks with regional telco Millicom about a potential purchase of the operator.In a brief statement, Liberty Latin America said it “remains focused on its growth strategy to deliver value for shareholders and provide market leading products and services to its customers”.Millicom said that the preliminary discussions had been terminated by Liberty “without an offer being made”.The announcement comes barely a week after Millicom revealed that it had been approached by the John Malone-backed Liberty Latin America about a potential acquisition of 100% of its shares.Bloomberg reported yesterday that Liberty was struggling to win over Millicom management over support for a bid that valued the company at about US$7.6 billion, citing unnamed sources.According to Bloomberg, Liberty and Millicom executives were scheduled to meet in the coming days to discuss a half-cash, half stock offer that valued the Stockholm-listed Millicom at SEK710 a share. The report said that leading Millicom shareholder Kinnevik supported the proposal but company management were reluctant to support it, preferring to hold out for a higher bid and a bigger cash element.Bloomberg also reported that Millicom management were concerned about Liberty’s high level of debt and the downward direction of travel of the company’s stock price.Millicom operates subsidiaries and JVs providing mobile services to about 51 million customers, with a cable footprint of about nine million homes, while Liberty Latin America operates in 21 consumer markets and 30 B2B markets, with 5.3 million revenue generating units based on 6.6 million homes passed with its fixed network and 3.5 million mobile customers.A combination of the pair would have created one of the largest telcos in Latin America, with the ability to compete with the likes of América Móvil and Telefónica.In other Lat Am telco news, Telefónica has told Spanish regulator the CNMV that it is in talks around the sale of its central American assets, potentially resulting in the total or partial sale of its units in the region.According to Spanish financial daily Expansión, Telefónica is close to agreeing a sale of its units in El Salvador and Guatemala to América Móvil, while a sale of its Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama operations likely to follow later, with Millicom identified as the most likely buyer.