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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

TiVo buys Digitalsmiths JANUARY 29, 2014 14.06 EUROPE/LONDON BY JULIAN CLOVER DigitalsmithsTiVo has announced the acquisition of search and recommendation

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    TiVo buys Digitalsmiths
    JANUARY 29, 2014 14.06 EUROPE/LONDON BY JULIAN CLOVER

    DigitalsmithsTiVo has announced the acquisition of search and recommendation specialists Digitalsmiths in a move the DVR developer says will provide a significant expansion in market opportunity.

    Digitalsmiths is largely associated with the US market, where it has relationships with 7 of the top 10 US pay-TV operators, however it also powers services for the UK’s Zeebox and Australia’s Foxtel. Its cloud-based service allows operators to run an advanced user experience integrating search, recommendations, discovery and browsing across a variety devices including iOS, Android, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Kindle and multiple set-top boxes

    “The Digitalsmiths acquisition opens new opportunities to commercialize and deploy TiVo’s cloud based services and technologies to operators, in an extremely cost-effective way that can be offered either independently or in conjunction with TiVo’s renowned user interface,” said Tom Rogers, CEO and President of TiVo. “Additionally, Digitalsmiths contributes expertise, data opportunities, and approaches that complement and extend TiVo’s extensive work in advanced television to customers seeking search, recommendations, and portability.”

    “The Digitalsmiths team is excited to be part of TiVo,” said Ben Weinberger, CEO and co-founder of Digitalsmiths. “Both Digitalsmiths and TiVo share an acute focus to improve the consumers’ viewing experience, and we understand the importance of the ‘service’ or ‘cloud’ to achieve this goal through next generation personalized video discovery solutions. “I look forward to working as part of the TiVo team to provide a best-in-class product set to service providers, consumer electronics manufacturer’s and content providers.”

    The move can be seen as another move by TiVo into the cloud following the earlier restructuring of its hardware team.

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    iPlayer traffic up by a third
    JANUARY 29, 2014 13.05 EUROPE/LONDON BY JULIAN CLOVER


    BBC iPlayer tabletThe BBC iPlayer gained a record three billion programme requests in 2013, an increase on 33% on 2012, as demand for VOD services showed no signs of abating.

    In all 2.2 billion requests were for BBC TV shows with a further 800,000 for radio.

    Although PCs remained the biggest single platform for requests in 2013, an average of 43 per cent of requests each month, December saw mobile and tablet requests overtake PC requests for the first time in iPlayer’s history.

    Victoria Jaye, Head of TV Content for BBC iPlayer, says: “2013 has been a fantastic year for iPlayer. We’ve begun the journey to transform iPlayer from a TV catch-up service into an online TV destination in its own right with the introduction of iPlayer exclusive content and programme premiering. We’re delighted by the audience response to both. As we move into 2014, we will originate more exclusive programmes for iPlayer, as well as offer an ambitious range of content to complement our biggest brands and events.”

    December’s increase in tablet usage, though no doubt impacted by people being away from their offices, potentially shows a longer term trend. There was a 104% increase year on year in BBC iPlayer requests from tablets; 20 per cent of total TV and radio iPlayer requests in December from tablet; and downloads of the BBC iPlayer mobile app hitting over 20m, with 942,000 downloads over the festive period alone

    Top BBC iPlayer TV programmes in 2013 included Top Gear, which made up 10 of the top 20 programmes. Doctor Who, Miranda, The Voice UK and Africa also made the rest of the top 20, along with the film Madagascar. The top radio programmes were dominated by live sports coverage, with the Ashes proving hugely popular, constituting 19 of the top 20 shows requested.

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    UKTV channels join Sky On Demand
    JANUARY 29, 2014 11.45 EUROPE/LONDON BY CHRIS DZIADUL


    UKTVSky’s On Demand service has added the UKTV pay entertainment channels Watch, Gold, Dave and alibi to its offer.

    This follows on from the launch of catch-up services for Watch, Gold, Dave and Alibi on Sky Go last year.

    Watch, Gold, Dave and Alibi are the first channels from UKTV’s portfolio to launch catch-up services, allowing Sky customers to view UKTV shows they may have missed. Sky customers can also look forward to TV Box Sets from UKTV’s most popular shows in the coming weeks.

    Keith Porritt, executive director commercial, said: “The popularity of our channels has never been higher and we are committed to enabling viewers to watch our award-winning content whenever and wherever they like. Our agreement with Sky to provide catch up services for Watch, Gold, Dave and Alibi on Sky Go and now on connected Sky+HD boxes is UKTV’s first pay TV catch up deal. It is an important milestone in our continued drive to put our viewers at the heart of everything we do.”

    Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s brand director of TV Products, added: “Watch, Gold, Dave and Alibi today join the UK’s biggest Catch Up TV service – offering customers content from 60 channels to watch when it suits them. It’s all part of our continued commitment to provide our customers with a great TV experience whenever and wherever they want it, all at no extra cost.”

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    Global IPTV grows to 91.7 million subs
    JANUARY 29, 2014 11.26 EUROPE/LONDON BY ROBERT BRIEL


    According to Point Topic’s most recent data global IPTV grew to 91.7 million subscribers adding a record 4.49 million subscriptions in the third quarter of 2013.

    As it stands this is a record for a quarter since Point Topic began tracking IPTV in 2005. It will be subject to restatement however and it’s possible that it could dip below the previous record of 4.42 million net adds in Q3 2012. That said the current trends for broadband and IPTV (and other video) take-up suggest that any restatement is more likely to be upwards than downwards.

    Either way it does represent something of a recovery for percentage growth and shows us the strength of some of the newer markets where IPTV services coupled with available and reliable bandwidths are more recent than in France or the US.

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    Europe – other and America – North were the only regions to add a lower proportion of IPTV subscribers than their share of the global market.

    This indicates the slower growth in these markets compared to the rest of the world and as a consequence the overall market share of global IPTV subscribers is dropping.

    Asia – East, which includes China, dominates the growth and is increasing its market share while other regions do report strong numbers they aren’t challenging the current and future dominance of the East.

    Other regions are starting to kick in however. Sufficient, consistent bandwidth is still relatively new in many markets and we see in those areas the same pattern of strong adoption of IPTV services on offer from the ISPs.

    While the upward trend overall is strong it isn’t the same story in all markets. In Italy for example where bandwidth is hard to find and terrestrial competition is strong the number of subscribers has been dropping for some quarters. Where the infrastructure can cope however it opens up the market to competitors.

    The OTT suppliers will be hard to counter in the coming years and IPTV services from ISPs include more and more branded content from sources like Netflix. Concepts like CDNs and what are effectively two-tier delivery systems are part of the armory that ISPs can respond with but attention needs to be paid to the delivery networks that the OTT suppliers are deploying themselves.

    With Google, Apple, Netflix and others all looking for ways to improve the consumer experience of their specific offering the IPTV/OTT video path is an indicator for other services in the future.

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    Must-carry dispute flares in Romania
    JANUARY 29, 2014 11.07 EUROPE/LONDON BY CHRIS DZIADUL


    upc-sign-newUPC Romania has protested to the country’s National Audiovisual Council (CNA) over what it terms are “abusive actions” related to must-carry by Antena Group.

    Quoting a note submitted to the regulator on January 27, Mediafax says that Antena Group informed UPC Romania about changes in the technical parameters for the emission of its proprietary channels Antena 1, Antena 2, Antena 3- News & Current Affairs, Euforia TV and GSP TV, which all have must-carry status on cable networks.

    In the document, Antena Group also said it was planning to change the CAS, video and audio compression modes, modulation and teletext.

    These, says UPC Romania, will require it to make a series of major investments in order to continue distributing the channels and at the same significantly reduce Antena Group’s broadcast costs.

    UPC Romania believes Antena Group’s actions run counter to the Broadcast Law and has called for “urgent clarification” of the group’s channels.

    Mediafax also reports deadline for the publishing of a list of must-carry channels may be put back from February 1 to March 1.

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    Multithek rolls out via DVB-T to Nuremberg

    Jörn Krieger | 30-01-2014

    German transmitter network operator Media Broadcast has launched its TV companion service multithek for DTT households in Nuremberg.
    The free-of-charge OTT offering gives viewers access to further TV channels and add-on features like TV catch-up services. The portfolio comprises content from more than 80 broadcasters and service providers including ARD, ZDF, Bloomberg TV, Putpat and MySpass.
    To access multithek, viewers need a DTT reception device compliant with interactive multimedia standard HbbTV and connected to the Internet.
    In addition to Nuremberg, multithek is available via DTT in 12 further regions: Berlin, Hamburg, Saarbrücken, the Rhine-Main region, Hannover, Braunschweig, Stuttgart, Munich, Bremen, North-Rhine Westphalia, Kiel and Lübeck. For DTH satellite households, the service is offered on Astra (19.2° East).


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    MTG wants its MTV with Viacom online content and sales deal
    Editor | 30-01-2014

    Another day, another deal for Modern Times Group (MTG) which has now begun a partnership with Viacom International Media Networks to offer exclusive advertising-funded video-on-demand (VOD) content on its roster.
    The new online advertising sales agreement follows earlier deals between MTG and Viacom, whereby MTG already sells airtime on Viacom’s linear channels MTV, Comedy Central and VH-1 as part of its free-TV advertising sales packages in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
    Under the terms of the new arrangement, MTG will be able to offer VOD access to Viacom’s MTV and Comedy Central channels in MTG’s free-TV online TV catch-up services in Sweden, Norway and Denmark from 4 February. This means MTV and Comedy Central content will therefore be shown on TV3Play.se, TV6Play.se, TV8Play.se, and TV10Play.se in Sweden; and MTV content will be shown on TV3Play.no, Viasat4play.no and TV6Play.no in Norway, and on TV3Play.dk in Denmark. MTG will also handle advertising sales for Viacom’s online platforms, and sell the combined online reach of the MTG and Viacom online catch-up TV services to advertisers.
    Commenting on the deal, Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, president and CEO of MTG, said: “This is a key new step in the development of our strong partnership with Viacom, and reflects our determination to be the leading online and offline provider of high quality and relevant entertainment products in all of our markets. This exciting content and sales agreement will provide our online viewers with even richer and more varied content experiences through multiple screens and devices, and provide our advertising customers with increased reach and impact”.

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    Wuaki launches on iOS
    Parent Category: News | 30-01-2014

    The Wuaki.tv Player has been redesigned for iOS 7, the first time the video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platform has launched on all devices with Apple's mobile OS.
    The Spanish online video shop is now compatible with iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. Up until now, Wuaki's app was only available for iPad, computers, smart TVs, consoles and Android tablets.
    To use Wuaki's mobile version users need to be existing customers and synchronise their online account – in which the selected content is stored in the cloud – with their mobile device. IN addition, the regular pay-per-view catalogue will also be available.
    "The iOS app is the result of hearing our users' demands and a clear example of our aim of bringing streaming movies and series to all kind of devices and technologies," said Jacinto Roca, Wuaki's CEO.
    Wuaki.tv is one of the strongest streaming platforms in the Spanish market, recently announcing it had broken the one million customers' barrier thanks in part to the over 100,000 subscribers it has in the UK.
    Second and smart screens are the favourite devices among Wuaki users, with over 70% of all content requests coming from smart TVs and with consoles having grown by 200% since the app for them was launched at the beginning 2013.

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    HDTV surges and HBO renews deal, but football rights costs peg back Sky profits
    Joseph O'Halloran | 30-01-2014

    It may call it a very good first six months in which it reaped the benefits of a broader-based approach to growth, but BSkyB’s half-yearly results have also shown the cost of maintaining the crown jewels of rights to English Premier League football.
    For the half-year ended 31 December 2013, the UK pay-TV leader posted strong revenues of £3.751 billion, a year-on-year increase of 7.6%, driving profits of £595 million. However this represented a fall of 8% compared with the same period in 2012, attributable to what Sky said was investment in connected TV services and a “one-off step-up” in Premier League costs.
    After it paid £2.3 billion to secure rights to the Premier League in June 2012, Sky committed to paying a flat amount of £760 million in 2013 and then more for the two subsequent financial years, and its recent quarterly results reflect this schedule. This notwithstanding, adjusted EBITDA was flat at £813 million.
    The company did, though, highlight real growth in the second quarter of the year with a 42% growth in paid-for products, including 873,000 new paid-for subscription services. It now has a total of 10.536 million TV customers, up 1.5% year-on-year, but the real standout was HDTV which broke trough the five million home barrier for the first time. Just over a third (36%) of Sky customers subscribe to triple-play services, 534,000 more than a year ago.
    The other bright spot during the half-year was connected TV growth where the company boasts that its investment is driving returns. Sky posted record growth in connected Sky+HD boxes, up one million in Q2 to 4.4 million, a three-fold increase in on-demand usage. Sky Store transactional revenues were up 100%.
    Commenting on the results, Jeremy Darroch, chief executive, said: “In a consumer environment that remains challenging, customers continued to choose to take Sky products in ever greater numbers [and] investments we are making to accelerate growth in connected TV services are delivering excellent results … Everything that we see tells us that customers love the benefits that come with the connected box ... Our financial performance was strong in the first half and we remain on track for the full year.”
    Sky is looking to create more compelling propositions through partnerships with leading content providers. The company has just signed a deal with Home Box Office (HBO) to co-develop and produce new, original drama as part of an expanded partnership between the two companies. The collaboration includes an extended content output deal to ensure that Sky Atlantic remains the exclusive home of first-run HBO programmes in Britain and Ireland through 2020. The two companies will work together to develop and produce new drama series for broadcast on their networks in the UK, Ireland and the US. With the extended output deal, new HBO programmes – including True Detective and Looking – will continue to premiere exclusively on Sky Atlantic along with the return of award-winning shows such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Girls.
    In another significant move, Sky Sports has secured six long-term rights agreements across six different sports including the British & Irish Lions, Super League rugby, England overseas cricket, Scottish football, speedway and sports entertainment leader, WWE. Over the last six months of 2013, Sky Sports enjoyed its highest share of viewing for six years, including increased audiences for live Premier League football and its biggest ever audience for rugby union.

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    Liberty Global steps into the ring for ONO
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 30-01-2014

    Earlier this week it was Vodafone showing interest in buying the Spanish cable operator ONO, and now Liberty Global is ready to offer €7,000 million for it, according to the Financial Times (FT).
    Both companies will be holding talks with ONO's owners to close a deal before the cable operator goes public.
    John Malone's company closed a €10 billion deal to buy the Dutch cable operator Ziggo on Monday and now is looking to strengthen its position in the Spanish market. Both Liberty and Vodafone have previously stated their intentions to grow in Europe's cable market.
    According to the FT, the big telcos are ready to snap up many European companies which are preparing to go public. Buyout fund managers are looking to float more than 40 companies this year and next in what would be the biggest surge of initial public offerings since the financial crisis, said the analyst quoted by the FT.
    So far, ONO has refused to make any comment but has confirmed its intention to launch on Madrid's stock market before the summer. ONO's position in the cable market is stable, with a customer base of over three million. But the company has a debt of over €3,000 million, mostly due to its expansion effort over the past few years.
    According to ONO's directors, the first signs of recovery for the Spanish economy as well as the fact that the company isn't being pressed by its creditors (the first instalments don't expire until 2017), makes 2014 the perfect year for it to go public.


 

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