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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Qwilt beds down $16MN funding for online video delivery Parent Category: News | 31-07-2013 Recognising the lucrative nature of the

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    Qwilt beds down $16MN funding for online video delivery
    Parent Category: News | 31-07-2013

    Recognising the lucrative nature of the sector, leading VC firms have closed a $16 million Series C funding in online video delivery and transparent caching solutions provider Qwilt.
    The new round, bringing Qwilt's total capital raised to $40 million, was led by Bessemer Venture Partners with ongoing support from Returning Investors Accel Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Marker.
    The new investment will be used to expand Qwilt's international sales and engineering teams to meet global network operator demand for its flagship product, the QB-Series Video Fabric Controller. The company believes that it is well placed to address what it calls the explosive growth of online video that it says is straining the capacity and performance of operator networks, who it asserts need to simultaneously address three strategic imperatives: improve consumer quality of experience (QoE); cost-effectively increase network capacity; and monetise over-the-top (OTT) video traffic across their networks.
    Deployed at the subscriber edge, Qwilt's optimised video content delivery system is claimed to be able to support a scalable network architecture meeting future increases in demand for OTT video content as well as new monetisation business models. Qwilt is confident that its video delivery technology enables operators to significantly increase network capacity, at a fraction of the cost of a traditional network expansion, while improving quality of service for customers.
    "Operators are struggling to meet the rapidly growing demand for streaming video. In laymen terms: it's very difficult to deliver a quality viewing experience without straining their networks," said Bob Goodman, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, explaining the rationale for the investors' participation.
    "Drawing on deep expertise in both networking and storage, Qwilt solves this problem with an impressive video delivery system that provides network operators with unprecedented visibility, control and improved quality of service. This smart approach to a tough problem is what attracted Bessemer, and frankly, it's why they can point to high rates of adoption among operators as well."

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    sportdigital scraps US sports channel
    Jörn Krieger | 31-07-2013

    German pay-TV broadcaster sportdigital has given up its plan to launch a sister channel for fans of US sports, managing director Gisbert Wundram told Rapid TV News.
    The reason for this is the move by competitor Sport1 to secure many transmission rights for US sports which used to be held by subscription channel ESPN America, which is to leave continental Europe on 31 July 2013.
    Originally, Hamburg-based sportdigital wanted to fill this gap with sportamerica HD, but Sport1 succeeded in the rights negotiations. In June, sportdigital received a broadcast licence for its planned US sports channel from the media authorities.
    "We won't launch as the colleagues from Munich have the edge in this case and will launch a US sports channel on Sky and on cable networks on 1 August," said Wundram. "In our view, there's not enough space in the pay-TV market for two US sports channels. We will therefore withdraw."

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    Foxtel Play goes live ahead of launch date
    Parent Category: News | 31-07-2013

    Foxtel's Internet TV service Foxtel Play has gone live ahead of its official launch in Australia on 11 August.
    Initially delivered over the Internet to eligible Samsung Smart TVs, Xbox 360s, PCs and Macs, Foxtel Play enables customers with a broadband connection to watch programmes from Foxtel's sports, drama, entertainment, documentary and movie channels live or on catch-up with no lock-in contract and no installation costs. Customers can subscribe by the month and pay as they go, with prices starting from AUD$25 per month.
    A new flexible package structure will allow customers to choose from four basic genre-based packages priced at $25 for one, $35 for two, $45 for three and $50 for four. Sport and Premium Drama and Movies can be purchased for a further $25 each.
    Foxtel Play packages will feature over 40 live channels including Fox Sports 1, 2 and 3, Foxtel Movie channels, Showcase, FOX8, Arena, Lifestyle, History, Discovery, A&E, National Geographic, UKTV, FX, SoHo, MTV, Universal Channel, ESPN, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and hundreds of catch-up video on-demand titles.
    The company also announced that its Foxtel Go mobile service will be available to Foxtel Play subscribers as part of their subscription. Customers can access Foxtel Go on up to two registered devices including iPads and selected iPhones and selected Samsung smartphones and tablets.
    Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel chief executive, said: "We're thrilled to offer Foxtel Play as a new way to introduce more people to our unparalleled programming. Our core set-top box subscribers are already experiencing great features, including Foxtel Go and On Demand. Now, Foxtel Play gives even more Australians who might not be able to access the core service the freedom and flexibility to enjoy Foxtel across multiple connected devices and at price points to suit different budgets and tastes."
    Jim Rudder, Foxtel executive director of products, added: "Foxtel Play broadens our Internet TV service and gives customers a Foxtel Internet TV offering across a host of devices. We've also had fantastic feedback to Foxtel Go since its launch and have responded by upping the number and type of devices customers can use to access it."
    Foxtel Play will be offered with a seven-day free trial for new subscribers and is available with no commitment, no installation and no upfront costs.
    Foxtel Play is will soon be available to eligible LG smart TVs.

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    Equity fund buys into India's Dish TV
    Rebecca Hawkes | 31-07-2013

    US-based College Retirement Equities Fund has bought a major stake in Indian direct-to-home satellite TV platform Dish TV, for an estimated INR320 million (almost €4 million).
    The 646,400,000 shares were purchased on an average price of INR49.25 valuing the transaction to over INR318 million, according to the Press Trust of India.
    It is unclear who sold the stake in India's largest DTH provider in the deal that was registered on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
    The move comes just days after Dish TV posted its first quarter financial results for 2013-2014. The company has narrowed its losses to INR304 million from INR323 million in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year, while the EBIDTA margin was 21%.
    Revenues for the quarter stood at INR5.784 billion, up 11.2% from the first quarter in 2012-13, when revenues reached INR5.2 billion.
    "Too much focus on box seeding has diluted the addressability part of the digitisation mandate," said Subhash Chandra, chairman, Dish TV, referring to the ongoing digitisation of India's vast cable TV network.
    "In such a scenario, Dish TV's focus on quality additions is a counterintuitive move which has started delivering encouraging results. The first quarter saw the company deliver strong free cash flows while maintaining healthy customer retention and investing in brand equity," he added.
    The company reported the addition of two million net subscribers to its customer base in the first quarter, along with a decrease in churn. In addition, average revenue per user (ARPU) for the quarter increased 5.1% to INR 165, resulting in a 15.9% year-on-year increase in subscription revenues.
    Dish TV said that its focus remains on strengthening the balance sheet, and it looks forward to retiring a significant portion of its outstanding debt.

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    Sahara Media to distribute LandscapeHD in Africa
    Rebecca Hawkes | 31-07-2013

    Tanzania's Sahara Media Group is to distribute the linear 1080p Landscape Channel direct-to-home (DTH) in full high definition (HD) beginning this autumn, in what the television channel is claiming is a first for Africa.
    LandscapeHD – a free-to-air instrumental music channel showcasing the beauty of the natural world – will be available via satellite in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique and Burundi.
    The channel is funded by national Government tourism and brand advertising, in a 'languageless' format previously used on the Internet. It will now be delivered to traditional television homes using its new proprietary mini-server IP distribution system, connected to cable, satellite or connected TV services.
    "This unique distribution system is expected to deliver a raft of new specialist music channels into traditional television distribution over the coming 12 months, as distributors discover how this new technology can deliver specialist music channels anywhere in the world, without the traditional costs associated with broadcast servers and rights societies determined to squeeze the life out of minority music channels by the charges they levy for specialist music at the same rate as pop music," said a statement from the Landscape Channel.

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    Botswana switches on digital terrestrial TV
    Rebecca Hawkes | 30-07-2013

    Botswana has become the first country in Africa to launch digital terrestrial television (DTT) using the Japanese technology standard ISDB-T, which it only adopted in February 2013.
    Its large neighbour to the south, South Africa – along with the other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries – has opted for the European DTT standard DVB-T.
    "I wish to express my heartfelt thanks and respect to all Government officials of Botswana who made enormous efforts in deciding to adopt ISDB-T and commence digital TV," said Keiichiro Tachibana, Japan's Vice Minister for Internal Affairs and Communication.
    Botswana began its transition to digital broadcasting in 2008 with the appointment of a digital migration task force led by the chairman of the National Broadcasting Board. Botswana's Vice President Ponatshego Kedikilwe said his Government has since invested over P160 million (over €14 million), with 85% of the country covered by digital TV transmission by June 2013, according to TechCentral.
    Japan will now provide technology transfer and human resource assistance to Botswana as it migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting.
    Speaking at the opening, Tachibana added: "I would like to make today's ceremony an opportunity for other countries in Southern Africa to adopt ISDB-T and prompt a smooth transition of the introduction of digital TV. Japan will continue encouraging other SADC member countries to adopt ISDB-T."
    Brazil and some other Latin American countries have adopted ISDB-T, however DVB-T and its successor DVB-T2 have been the most popular DTT standard to be adopted around the globe.

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    Jazztel looks to launch FTTH network in Spain
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 31-07-2013

    Jazztel is currently the fastest growing telecoms operator in Spain, according to Q2 results presented by the company, and encouraged by its increased ADSL customer base, it's now looking to establish a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Spain's main cities.
    The operator closed Q2 2013 with nearly €20 million profit – 4% more than last year – after invoicing €257 million. Jazztel has gained 250,000 new customers for mobile services and 26,000 new ADSL clients, meaning the company has reached the goals it set for 2013.
    The 10% increase in subscribers for its Internet packages have prompted the company to think about offering a new fibre service. Currently, Jazztel rents the network from Telefónica, as do most Spanish operators, and the prices are decided by Spain's telecoms authority.
    There are several advantages to the company having its own network which is why Jazztel is already investing in setting up an FTTH network in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga and Seville. The company invested €76 million in Q2 2013 – up 172% on the previous year – and this has mostly been to bring fibre to these cities. Although the company's intentions are clear, no official dates have yet been announced.
    Another financial issue published in the company's Q2 report is the increase in Jazztel's debt of 28%. However, the nearly €80 million net debt is one of the lowest in Spain's telecoms sector.

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    Claro Chile to launch VOD platform
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 31-07-2013

    Claro is to launch its video-on-demand (VOD) platform in Chile. The over-the-top service is already operating in other Latin American countries – including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay – and, according to Gerardo Muñoz, Claro Chile's CEO, speaking to Diario Financiero, it will launch in Chile before the end of the year.
    The América Movil company wants to complete its pay-TV offer and start competing with Netflix, which is currently the OTT service with most customers in Chile.
    Claro will also build a new data centre in order to improve its presence in the information technology sector. The company will invest nearly $50 million in this area.
    The operator is also working on launching an LTE service in Chile, for which it already has around 1,000 customers in the capital district, a month before its official release. Claro intends to launch the service in Viña del Mar, Valparaíso and Concepción before the end of the year.

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    Eutelsat seeks out Brazil, Latin America market with 65° West satellite
    Editor | 31-07-2013

    Confirming the growing importance of the region in the TV world, Eutelsat Communications has confirmed the order of a new multi-mission high capacity satellite designed to serve Brazil and Latin America.
    Designed to deliver service for 15 years or more, the new EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite will be constructed by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), based on the SSL 1300 satellite platform.
    The new craft will operate at the 65° West position in three frequency bands to deliver video services. Set for launch and operation by 2016, EUTELSAT 65 West A will be located where Eutelsat's subsidiary, Eutelsat do Brasil Ltda was granted frequencies in C, Ku and Ka-bands by ANATEL, the Brazilian telecommunications regulatory authority, in June 2013.
    Even though it has been operational in Brazil since 2000 through its Eutelsat do Brasil subsidiary, and will deliver Latin American coverage in 2014 with EUTELSAT 3B and in 2015 by EUTELSAT 8 West B, Eutelsat believes that its use of 65° West will transform its commercial presence in the Latin American region.
    The new craft will use C and Ku-bands to distribute video to headends and DTH broadcasting, aiming to make particular gains in Brazil as it upgrades its digital infrastructure and prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games. The satellite's total payload will contain ten transponders in the C-band (54 MHz bandwidth) with performance peaking over western parts of Brazil from Belem in the North to Porto Alegre in the South. It will also have 24 transponders in the Ku-band (36 MHz) connected to two service areas: one exclusively for Brazil, peaking over the most populated cities along the coastline and over Manaus, and a second optimised for Spanish-speaking Latin America, from the Caribbean to Patagonia.
    "This new satellite will be a key pillar supporting our goal to intensify our presence in vibrant digital markets in Brazil and across Latin America," commented Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen. "At the 65° West position – already a sweet spot in the video business and at the centre of the orbital arc serving Latin America – we will add valuable resources for video and introduce a high throughput payload for affordable broadband services complementing terrestrial networks in Latin America's most populated regions. We are excited by the prospect of further expanding our footprint and leveraging our experience to develop lasting business relationships in Brazil and across Latin America."

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    BBC Trust to examine YouView participation
    Editor | 31-07-2013

    Just as the project has found itself facing a huge challenge in the subscription-free VOD and catch-up arena, YouView is to be scrutinised by the BBC Trust in terms of how it has met the corporation's conditions of engagement.
    Only days ago, in a move explicitly designed to capture share of the large section of the UK TV market that does not want or cannot obtain subscriptions, BSkyB launched its £9.99 NOW TV box. This territory had hitherto been more or less the sole preserve of the joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, BT, Talk Talk and Arqiva, with services available via an STB available from the ISPs as part of a package or from retailers at a price of about £300.
    The BBC Trust approved the BBC's involvement in YouView In June 2010 subject to a number of conditions which would be reviewed 12 months after launch, to ensure that BBC participation remains consistent with the terms of the Trust's approval.
    The Trust's review of this agreement, which will conclude in autumn 2013, will focus on a number of key areas. These will include syndication, as to whether the BBC's involvement in YouView has had an impact on other public service broadcasters in the approach they take to making their programme content available to other platforms and the way in which YouView is promoted by its partners. This will offer particular reference to BBC activity, which is subject to the BBC code on cross promotion.
    Commenting on the point of the review, BBC trustee Diane Coyle said: "We put in place conditions to ensure the public got the greatest possible benefit from YouView. Now almost 400,000 YouView boxes have been sold, this review is an opportunity to check that the conditions are working as they should."


 

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