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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

SA regulator demands proof of intent from pay-TV entrants Rebecca Hawkes | 12 May 2014 The Independent Communications Authority of

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    SA regulator demands proof of intent from pay-TV entrants

    Rebecca Hawkes | 12 May 2014

    The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has requested written guarantees that the five new broadcasters it has provisionally licensed have the necessary funding to provide subscription TV services.


    The provisional licensees include Kagiso TV, which is part of the Kagiso Media group; Siyaya, whose main shareholder is the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela community in North West South Africa; CloseTV, which will target South Africa's gay, lesbian and transgender communities; Mobile TV which will offer digital TV over mobile devices; and Mindset Media Enterprises' educational content venture.

    If successful, the broadcasters, which predominantly aim to launch subscription-based digital terrestrial TV (DTT) services to lower and middle income households, will provide competition in a pay-TV market currently dominated by MultiChoice. Free-to-air operators e.tv and the South African Broadcasting Corporation are also upping the number of channels they provide once DTT is launched in the country.

    Icasa is requiring extensive proof of the new operators' ability to go live, given only one of four previously licensed pay-TV operators ever launched. That service, TopTV owned by On Digital Media, has been renamed StarSat and is now in a business rescue process.

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    Malawai's national broadcaster faces financial crisis

    Rebecca Hawkes | 12 May 2014

    The bank accounts of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation have been frozen amid ongoing financial problems, according to the Nyasa Times.


    The state broadcaster has not received any of the MWK500 million (US$38,000) earmarked for its election coverage from the government, the newspaper claims.

    It has failed to service debts to commercial banks amounting to millions, and its current operations are reportedly being financed entirely by advertising revenue on a 'hand to mouth basis'.

    "It is through money generated from adverts that we able to fund some of the operations, especially covering head of state rallies, which are draining us a lot. We have been struggling to pay our employees because of the same issue of lack of funds," an official told the Nyasa Times.

    With no funds being forthcoming, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation has alerted the Malawi Electoral Commission of its financial crisis.

    The lack of funding has, it is claimed, left the broadcaster unable to meet its public service mandate to provide balanced coverage to all political parties during their campaigns ahead of the Tripartite Elections on 20 May 2014.

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    Thai TV interference slammed by media watchdogs

    Rebecca Hawkes | 12 May 2014

    The escalating intimidation of broadcasters in Thailand following the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 8 May has been widely criticised by media watchdogs.

    The government-run Channel 11 (NBT) reportedly moved its newsroom to a different location in anticipation of disturbance from protesters. However, five state-owned free-to-air TV channels were stormed on 9 May by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in an attempt to prevent them airing government-related news.

    On the same day, the government's security agency the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), warned media executives they would face criminal charges if they agreed to only report PDRC statements.

    The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) has slammed the actions by both sides in the escalating dispute, stating they are "a grave violation of the Thai Constitution's Section 45 on freedom and liberties of the people, stating that 'the prohibition of a newspaper or other mass media business from presenting information or expressing opinions in whole or in part or imposition of interference by any means in deprivation of the liberty under this section shall not be made except by virtue of the law'."

    SEAPA has joined the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association and the Thai Journalists Association in calling on the political movement to stop intimidating the media.

    In a statement SEAPA added "under no circumstance must any media personnel or news organisation be forced to report in favor of one side or the other. Instead, state and non-state actors must uphold the editorial independence of the media, guaranteed under the Constitution, and allow them to use their own judgment to publish information in the interest of the public."

    At least 25 people have died during six months of protests between the government supporters (known as 'red shirts') and the PDRC opposition ('yellow shirts') who wants the elected government replaced by a people's council.

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    Denmark's Stofa taps Elemental for multiscreen and catch-up TV

    Michelle Clancy | 12 May 2014

    Danish pay-TV operator and broadband Internet service provider Stofa is to use Elemental Technologies video processing solutions to process, package and manage live linear channels in real time for its catch-up TV and multiscreen video services.


    Stofa's new video infrastructure will offer 150 customised TV channels, including 38 in high definition and the pay-TV operator will use Elemental Live to transcode live linear TV channels, ElementalStream to package that content for multiscreen delivery, and Elemental Conductor to manage multiple live streams across the network. The complete video processing solution is fully integrated within the Stofa broadcast workflow.

    "Elemental provided us with a software-defined solution that enables us to respond quickly to changing market situations and customer demand," said Thomas Helbo, CTO for Stofa. "Due to the growing success of our multiscreen services, it is critical that we continually enhance our system to support new devices and video profiles as they come onto the market."

    Stofa provides its broadband subscribers with a range of multiscreen services, including StartForfa for catch-up TV and WebTV for viewing live content using Apple iOS and Google Android devices.

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    AT&T ups the U-verse ante

    Michelle Clancy | 12 May 2014

    Leading US operator AT&T has revealed that it has made huge investments in developing a modern TV infrastructure in Kentucky.


    AT&T has invested nearly $675 million in its wireless and wired networks in Kentucky between 2011 through 2013, it has announced — providing U-verse IPTV and Internet availability to nearly 20,000 new customer locations, including 555 business locations at 27 multi-tenant business buildings and business parks.

    Advancing its Project Velocity IP (VIP), an investment plan to expand and enhance its wireless and wired IP broadband networks, AT&T in 2013 made 760 network upgrades in Kentucky, including new cell sites, addition of wireless and wired network capacity, and new broadband network connections.

    Over the last three years it has launched 4G LTE network in 110 cities in Kentucky, and completed a distributed antenna system (DAS) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, home to the Kentucky Derby. It also launched AT&T Digital Life in Louisville, a home management service.

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    Wi-Fi skyrockets on back of video thirst

    Gabriel Miramar-Garcia | 12 May 2014

    Driven by the exponential uptake in mobile video, worldwide Wi-Fi deployments reached a total of 4.2 million hotspots in 2013, and will continue to grow at a CAGR of 15% between 2013 and 2018 says a study by ABI Research.


    This will mean a total universe in excess of 10.5 million. Key to the growth has been the almost insatiable demand for video. "The mobile data growth has boosted the build-out of Wi-Fi hotspots, as it is expected that the global mobile data traffic will grow to 190,000 petabytes in 2018, from 23,000 petabytes in 2013," said Marina Lu, research analyst at ABI Research. "Wi-Fi helps to offload 3G/4G mobile Internet users to Wi-Fi networks, which is a more cost-effective method for both mobile carriers and mobile users."

    Among the global Wi-Fi hotspots, 68.6% of Wi-Fi is in Asia-Pacific, followed by 12.3% in Latin America, 9.0% in Europe, 8.7% in North America, and 1.4% in Middle East and Africa. The number includes Wi-Fi hotspots deployed by mobile and fixed-line carriers as well as third-party operators.

    In Asia-Pacific, China alone has deployed 620,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, of which 420,000 have been built by China Mobile, followed by China Telecom with 128,000 hotspots, and China Unicom with 72,000. In Latin America, Brazil's carrier Oi has completed its target of 500,000 Wi-Fi hotspots by the end of 2013, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    By deploying Wi-Fi, fixed-line operators can maximise their assets in terms of coverage, capacity and customer experience for real-time services like video. "Wi-Fi also represents a good opportunity for fixed-line operators to join in the mobile broadband field. The UK fixed-line operator BT with 200,000 of Wi-Fi hotspots (excluding homespots) is also providing Wi-Fi roaming services to mobile operators and other Wi-Fi providers," added Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director of core forecasting.

    Apart from the mobile and fixed-line carriers, third-party operators are also broadening their Wi-Fi network coverage, such as FON, provided access to more than 12 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide at the end of 2013 - either through its own Wi-Fi hotspots, or by securing retail access to the Wi-Fi hotspots of its carrier partners.

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    Cablevision appoints Gemma Toner as analytics chief

    Michelle Clancy | 12 May 2014

    Cablevision Systems has appointed Gemma Toner as senior vice president of business insights and strategy. She will lead the organisation's data strategy in order to deliver advanced analytics and insights to drive strategic planning, business policies and overall growth.


    "Gemma has made enormously valuable contributions to Cablevision throughout her

    24-year career with the company, leading a variety of successful initiatives that have elevated the quality of our services and created a more robust experience for our customers," said Brian Sweeney, president of Cablevision. "As we continue to transform Cablevision into an even more agile and competitive organisation, Gemma's experience made her the clear choice to lead the transformation of data into actionable insights that can be incorporated across all of our business operations."

    Toner has held numerous leadership positions through her career at Cablevision. Most recently, she was senior vice president of broadband product management, responsible for driving product strategy, product development and day-to-day operations of the company's IP-delivered services, including Optimum Online, Optimum Voice, Optimum Wi-Fi, Optimum Business services, and MSG Varsity.

    She has also held at Cablevision the roles of senior vice president of marketing and business development and senior vice president of high-speed data products. Additionally, she has served as senior vice president of new media, development for AMC, among other positions at the network.

    Before joining Cablevision, Toner worked at Ernst and Whinney in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Villanova University in Villanova.

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    Adult Swim announces Upfront slate

    Michelle Clancy | 12 May 2014

    Turner Broadcasting's Adult Swim, basic cable's No 1 network with young adults for almost a decade, has announced a slate of new and returning programming in advance of its annual Upfront event.


    Recently expanding its programming into prime time at 8pm, the network announced that hit series, Rick and Morty will return, as will the Boondocks and Children's Hospital. New series will include the Untitled McBrayer/Triumph Sitcom from Robert Smigel, along with pilots from Daniel Stessen, John Krasinski and Jon Glaser. Premiering later this year are the previously announced Mike Tyson Mysteries, Black Jesus and Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories.

    "Since its launch, Adult Swim has effectively expanded from a late-night programming block to a network that resonates with all key adult demos," said Donna Speciale, president of Turner ad sales. "Building upon Adult Swim's successful foundation, Mike Lazzo and his team have put together a programming slate that will be very attractive to our advertising partners looking to reach and engage with the brands' key adult demos in prime time. Additionally, Adult Swim's robust late-night schedule continues to resonate with the younger male and adult demo, providing opportunities for our advertising partners to connect with this hard to reach audience."

    In all, the 2014-2015 programming schedule includes more than 30 new and returning series, pilots and specials.

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    Verizon's EdgeCast acquisition the "best chance" to challenge Akamai in CDN

    Michelle Clancy | 12 May 2014

    Verizon's acquisition of content delivery network (CDN) provider EdgeCast is just one of several developments that will shake up the CDN sector, according to Heavy Reading research.


    That's significant for an industry that has long been dominated by Akamai. "In December 2013, Verizon acquired the fast-growing CDN provider EdgeCast," said Steve Koppman, research analyst with Heavy Reading Insider and author of the report. "This acquisition has positioned Verizon to mount the strongest competitive challenge dominant Akamai Technologies has faced since it launched the CDN market in the 1990s."

    With its acquisition of EdgeCast, Verizon will likely challenge Akamai more effectively than any other CDN challenger has until now, Koppman said. "There will likely be increasing consolidation across the sector, which will not preclude the emergence of new specialised players," he continued. "The acquisition may also support eventual Verizon efforts to go to OTT delivery itself outside its region; however, despite its efforts, it is by no means clear yet that Verizon can seriously challenge Akamai's long-dominant market position."

    CDNs and the site speeds they are designed to promote will become an intensifying concern of the "C-suite" of top executives, he predicted, and more CDN consolidation appears inevitable — although opportunities for smaller players will remain.

    Value-added services beyond bit delivery of static content – e.g., security and acceleration/optimisation of increasingly dynamic Web content – are an ever-growing share of this market. So, Akamai's own extreme revenue growth goals of 18% annually require it to accelerate its path of diversifying acquisitions, Koppman concluded.

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    BSkyB confirms 21st Century Fox asset acquisition plans

    Joseph O'Halloran | 12 May 2014

    UK pay-TV giant BSkyB has confirmed rumours that it is looking to acquire 21st Century Fox's interests in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia.

    In a statement, the company said that it had entered into preliminary discussions with the Rupert Murdoch-led media firm to evaluate the potential acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Specifically it would buy out 21st Century Fox's 57% controlling stake in Sky Deutschland, pointing out that, at the right value, by boosting its assets in this way it would have the potential to create what called a world-class multinational pay-TV group.

    "BSkyB has a clear set of plans to grow its business in the UK and Ireland, is executing these well and expects to continue to achieve excellent growth and returns for shareholders ... At the same time, the company continuously explores ways to create further value for shareholders," the company's statement added.

    Analysts have valued the deal at around €10 billion and would leave BSkyB — in which 21st Century Fox holds a 39% stake — as a pan-European pay-TV giant, better able to strike more cost-effective deals, principally in negotiating for football rights.

    However, BSkyB stressed that discussions have not progressed beyond a preliminary stage and no agreement had been reached on terms, value or transaction structure. Nor, it added, was there any certainty that a transaction will occur as it is subject to a number of gating factors such as regulatory issues and the Sky Deutschland share price continuing to trade on an undisturbed basis.


 

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