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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Moody’s downgrades Virgin Media June 22, 2013 13.19 Europe/London By Broadband TV News Correspondent Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Virgin

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    Moody’s downgrades Virgin Media
    June 22, 2013 13.19 Europe/London By Broadband TV News Correspondent

    Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Virgin Media to Ba3 from Ba1 reflecting the company’s weakened credit profile following the completion of its acquisition by Liberty Global.
    Moody’s has also taken a number of rating actions affecting Liberty Global plc and its wholly-owned subsidiaries and certain special purpose vehicles.
    In a press tatement, Moody’s said that the agency has:
    (i) moved the Ba3/Ba3-PD Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and Probability of Default Rating (PDR) for the Liberty Global group of companies to Liberty Global plc the group’s new ultimate holding company
    (ii) withdrawn the (P) Ba3 CFR of Lynx I Corp.
    (iii) replaced the provisional instrument ratings at Lynx I Corp. and Lynx II Corp.
    (iv) downgraded the CFR and PDR of Virgin Media Inc. to Ba3 (from Ba1) and Ba3-PD (from Ba1-PD)
    (v) downgraded the Baa3-rated senior secured notes at Virgin Media Secured Finance plc (VMSF) to Ba3
    (vi) downgraded the Ba2-rated senior unsecured notes of Virgin Media Finance (VMF) plc to B2
    All ratings for Liberty Global, including those of its wholly-owned subsidiaries Virgin Media, UPC and Unitymedia KableBW remain under review for possible downgrade. The review was first initiated in February 2013.
    The rating actions follow the completion of Liberty Global’s acquisition of Virgin Media in early June 2013. The terms of the acquisition were broadly unchanged from those announced in February this year and the downgrades for Virgin Media are in line with those indicated in Moody’s press release of February 6 2013. The downgrades reflect Virgin Media’s weakened credit profile following the acquisition by Liberty Global (leverage increased to around 5.3x Debt/EBITDA as calculated by Moody’s on a first-quarter 2013 annualized basis) as well as the alignment of Virgin Media’s financial policy with the more debt-tolerant stance of Liberty Global. Liberty Global aims to maintain reported gross leverage (total debt to annualized OCF of the latest quarter) in the range of 4.0x-5.0x for the group.
    Acquisition debt originally raised at special purpose vehicles Lynx I Ltd. and Lynx II Ltd. has been pushed down to VMSF and VMF as planned and consequently the CFR for this debt anchored at Lynx I has been withdrawn. As part of the reorganization of the Liberty Global group in connection with the acquisition of Virgin Media, Liberty Global plc became the publicly quoted ultimate holding company for the Liberty Global group of companies and consequently Moody’s CFR and PDR for Liberty Global, Inc. were moved to Liberty Global plc.
    All ratings of Liberty Global and its wholly-owned subsidiaries (including Virgin) remain under review for downgrade and statements made in Moody’s February 6 2013 press release regarding likely rating outcomes no longer apply. The continued review reflects primarily the uncertainty regarding the impact on the debt protection measurements and group structure of the Liberty Global group from a potential acquisition of German cable operator Kabel Deutschland Holding AG (KDH). KDH had informed the market on June 17 2013 that it had received a preliminary proposal from Liberty Global plc. This followed an earlier similar announcement by KDH regarding a proposal from Vodafone Group plc (rated A3 by Moody’s).
    Liberty Global has not publicly elaborated on its intentions. However, given the company’s longstanding strategic objective of consolidating the German cable market, Moody’s believes that the company will vigorously explore a potential acquisition, in particular given the interest in the asset from Vodafone. This is despite a regulatory environment that in Moody’s opinion will make a combination of Liberty Global’s German assets with KDH more challenging. Moody’s estimates that based on KDH’s current share price (~Euro 85) its enterprise value would be around Euro 10 billion and notes that on a first-quarter 2013 basis (pro forma for the Virgin acquisition) Liberty Global leverage is at around the lower boundary of 5.5 Debt/EBITDA that Moody’s has set for Liberty Global’s Ba3 CFR.

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    Clover’s Week: Around with Arris
    June 22, 2013 12.08 Europe/London By Julian Clover

    Julian Clover in Berlin with the artist formerly known as Motorola.
    There is always an automatic suspicion when one company folds into another and let’s face it, we’ve all seen a few.
    At the Arris Video Leadership Forum in Berlin there was a new confidence, beyond that which can be taught, which was apparent as customers and media were guided through the plans of the company that has taken on the Motorola Home business.
    It is hardly surprising; the last three or so years have been full of uncertainty first with the sale of half of Motorola to Google – the set-top and headend equipment side could have easily end up in the other half – and then the mist around the sale by Google.
    For those who yearn for the past the necessary paperwork in setting up new European entities has seen a temporary return to the General Instrument moniker, but only for the taxman.
    In Europe there is a pretty neat fit between Arris, which has gradually extended its product range beyond that of modems and CMTS units, and towards Motorola’s set-top side of the business. From network DVR, VOD and analytics, across ad insertion and video processing and towards modems, set-tops, connected clients and the emerging home control, it is a solid portfolio.
    From its headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia, United States, Arris now has a presence in over 85 countries.
    The urgency at which Arris has sought to get its name on the label, less than two months after the deal closed, is witnessed by the last two major trade shows. At ANGA COM there were two stands, but by The Cable Show in Washington DC last week one of the two stands booked there had turned into meeting room.
    It is a modern approach that paints a picture of a consistent experience across devices and takes in the growing importance of second screen.
    There is also an acknowledgment that the set-top may not be what it was, but equally we enter a world where as Motorola becomes Arris the set-top is now a home gateway.

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    TF1 wants a French Hulu, CSA a controlled regulation
    Parent Category: News | 21-06-2013
    TF1 deputy MD Régis Ravanas, in charge of diversification, asked for the creation of a "French Hulu" platform as he was speaking at NPA's TV colloquium in Paris on Thursday.
    Referring to the US platform that gathers content from several networks, he said: "The French market would be interested in getting such a transversal application as Hulu which goes beyond the channels of the same group."
    However, he acknowledged that such a move would not be easy to set up as partners must get along well with each other.
    TF1 and M6 already held talks about a joint VOD platform, but the plans were aborted earlier this year.
    "This is a different way to consume, to watch TV. One can think 'I want to watch Plus Belle la vie' (France 3's daily serial) or 'I'd like to watch a series, let's see what's on the catch-up TV services'. I think both approaches can live together," Ravanas added.
    Invited to the same debate about 'The transformation of great medias', Bruno Patino, France TV's delegate MD in charge of programming and digital development, said he was open to such an idea.
    "Clearly, it's yes on principle. We have the mission to be present on all possible platforms. If we're asked to contribute to a French Hulu service, we'll be there. But we won't be limited to this offer," he remarked, adding that the "central point is exclusivity".
    Concluding the morning talks, the new president of French regulator CSA, Olivier Schrameck, agreed that digital TV is a "key asset for the TV market growth" and that it will contribute to "economic recovery".
    Pleading for useful and necessary regulation, notably for the Internet sector so that players fairly contribute to the creation of finance, he asserted that the CSA "will be engaged in the economic growth of the TV sector".
    "A sector can't strengthen when the regulation authority, which can bring expertise and a vision for future, is not powerful enough and doesn't control development stakes," Schrameck added.
    The French CSA wants to gain the authority to determine when the moment is favourable to distribute terrestrial frequencies, and not distribute them only when space is available, in order to better valorise audiovisual content. The system is currently working on a one-stop model which CSA considers as harmful.

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    Raymond Blanc shows viewers How To Cook Well in new series for BBC Two
    Louise Duffy | 21-06-2013
    Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Raymond Blanc returns to BBC Two this summer with a new series, Raymond Blanc: How To Cook Well, that gives viewers a masterclass in basic cooking techniques.
    Over six weeks, Blanc will show viewers how to master essential cooking skills, including roasting, poaching, frying, slow cooking, baking and barbecuing and grilling.
    Blanc said: “I'm very excited to be able to pass on my knowledge and expertise to help the nation become better cooks. By mastering these basic techniques anyone can learn how to cook well.”
    Tanya Shaw, commissioning executive for the BBC, said: “There is no one better than Raymond to take viewers back to the basics of cooking and enthuse them with his passion for food. His culinary knowledge is extraordinary, and who better than a double Michelin-starred chef to teach viewers how to cook incredible dishes.”
    Alan Brown, creative director at Chocolate Media, said: “Raymond’s infectious enthusiasm for food and his passion to get us cooking makes him the best teacher you could wish to have.”
    Raymond Blanc: How to Cook Well is produced by Chocolate Media (part of NBC Universal International TV Production). The executive producers are Alan Brown and Charlotte Reid; the BBC executive producer is Tanya Shaw.

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    Greek Council of State rules for return of state broadcasting
    Editor | 22-06-2013
    Totally defying the wishes of the IMF, ECB and a fair proportion of its own government, Greece’s highest court has ruled that public service broadcasting in Greece must be put back on air.
    In a move welcomed by European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Greek Council of State’s decision is a slap in the face for the Greek Government who on 12 June 2013 pulled the plug on the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) which it condemned as a "haven of waste".
    Urging all of the concerned parties involved in the despite all stakeholders to respect the Court decision and to co-operate constructively in its implementation, the EBU added that the new ruling reinforces its belief that “”every day without a public service broadcaster is a day of weakened democracy.”
    “We are impressed by reports that the Government now intends to put a temporary public service broadcasting system in place within a matter of days – hiring a substantial number of temporary staff. This will be a huge task,” said EBU President, Jean-Paul Philippot.
    “Therefore we appreciate that the Court will oversee the Government's compliance with the order. Even an interim body needs governance that ensures independence – management selected according to agreed procedures, and staff appointed on merit and not by patronage. And even an interim channel needs to meet public expectation by respecting the principles of pluralistic information, and a public sphere for debate, in line with the Core Public Service Media Values. Now is the time to lay the foundations of the future remit, funding and governance of a sustainable public service broadcaster with integrity."
    Further indicating that it recognises the importance of change, the EBU offered its readiness to lend its expertise during the transitional phase and during the establishment of the permanent public service broadcaster in Greece.

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    TDG offers further details on lack of TV everywhere availability
    Editor | 22-06-2013
    Leading analyst The Diffusion Group (TDG) has provided further data to support its revelation of why fewer than half of multichannel TV subscribers in the US had access to TV everywhere services.
    Specifically TDG had revealed that leading TV networks were available under TVE to 45% of subscribers of multichannel operators four years after first being announced despite what the analyst says are notable successes from the likes of HBO GO.
    “These findings are disappointing,” observed Bill Niemeyer, TDG analyst and author of a new white paper casting more light on the subject. “Considering that TVE provides pay-TV incumbents an effective and direct response to the competitive threats of over the top (OTT) services like Netflix, operators should be aggressively advancing the breadth and depth of their TVE offerings.”
    The sluggish nature of the deployment, Niemeyer also noted, is due primarily due to on-going business friction between TV networks and multichannel TV operators in negotiating agreements to cover TVE distribution. “Ironically,” Niemeyer added, “the delay is not due to technology but rather business friction between TV networks and operators – the two parties who stand to benefit the most from a timely TVE rollout.”

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    TV2 serves Red Bull to boost entertainment bouquet
    Editor | 22-06-2013
    Leading Danish channel TV 2 has entered into a partnership with Red Bull Media House to bring the global media company’s entertainment content to its audiences in Scandinavia.
    At the end of the third quarter of 2013, TV 2 claimed a commercial audience share of over 50%, and the Red Bull Media House content it has acquired is seen as offering particular appeal to its young target audience.
    Specific programmes will include premium offerings such as three World Series competitions (Red Bull Cliff Diving, Red Bull X-Fighters, and Red Bull Crashed Ice); a profile of football legend Thierry Henry; in-depth features on choreographers Rich and Tone Talauega whose work is said to have reshaped the look of music videos, concert tours and even commercials.
    “TV 2 is a prestige broadcaster whose impact and scope extends not only throughout Denmark but well outside its borders,” said Alexander Koppel, Chief Commercial Officer of Red Bull Media House. “This is an exciting new milestone for Red Bull Media House in the region, and we look forward to the opportunity to share our television content with Scandinavian viewers like never before.”

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    RT gets gold at PromaxBDA awards
    Editor | 22-06-2013
    More award glory for Russia Today (RT), which has fended off Fox and Universal to take two gold medals at the PromaxBDA Global Excellence Awards 2013.
    At what is regarded as a prestigious awards ceremony in television design and marketing, RT’s promo for Julian Assange’s interview series scooped the winning prize for Art Direction & Design: Program Promotion Website category. The top prize in the Entertainment Program Spot category went to the promo for RT’s La Lista de Erick (Erick’s List).
    Julian Assange’s 12-part talk show aired exclusively on RT in 2012 and, said the channel, generated a “global media firestorm". In April 2013 the programme took top prize at the New York Festivals in the Documentary/Information Program: Politics television category.
    La Lista de Erick airs on RT en Español, RT’s Spanish-language channel and features, says RT, “the more peculiar” aspects of Russian life.

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    Turner International Asia Pacific cuts workforce by 30%
    Louise Duffy | 22-06-2013
    Turner International Asia Pacific has restructured its operations, resulting in an approximate 30% reduction in total positions across the region.
    The restructuring took place after a two-month review undertaken with PWC. The total reduction in staff comprises open headcount, positions that are vacant, redundancies and outsourcing.
    “This restructure is a tough but absolutely necessary process to best position Turner Asia Pacific on the path for future growth towards our ambitious long term goals to double annual revenues by 2020,” said Steve Marcopoto, president and MD, Turner International Asia Pacific.
    “We are most grateful for the service and commitment of those employees directly affected and will work to ensure that they are offered appropriate support through the transition and to find new opportunities”.
    The restructuring aims to increase efficiencies, reduce bureaucracy, and give more power to local management in South Asia, South East Asia Pacific and North Asia.

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    New Lovefilm Instant app for Xbox 360
    June 22, 2013

    Amazon-owned subscription video-on-demand service Lovefilm has launched a new streaming app for the Xbox 360 games console – the latest phase in the ongoing rollout of its next-generation app.

    The new Lovefilm Instant for Xbox 360 app features a homepage display that keeps track of what is currently being viewed and the last location reached in that video, improved search and recommendation, an optimized user interface and the addition of the Watchlist feature.

    The app is available to download from the Xbox Live site from today.


 

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