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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Netflix arrival beefs up Nordic online video market Joseph O'Halloran | 16 May 2014 New research from Mediavision is predicting

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    Netflix arrival beefs up Nordic online video market

    Joseph O'Halloran
    | 16 May 2014

    New research from Mediavision is predicting the Nordic market for paid online TV services will have a turnover close to €300 million by the end of 2014.

    The analyst says that TV watching with the Web is a growing pastime in the region, with more than six million people in the Nordics using some kind of Web TV service daily. In particular, more and more are subscribing to paid-for services especially the Netflix over-the-top offering which arrived in the region in 2012.

    "A large shift in the TV industry going on right now, with increased competition for viewers," said Ingrid Salomonsson, senior analyst at Mediavision. "Netflix's entry in 2012 means that local Nordic actors currently experience increased competition. Today the daily viewing on Netflix is just as large as the viewing on the national public service companies' online channels. For the local TV companies it becomes more and more important to profile itself and stand out among the crowd."

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    Hopes pinned on Netflix to reboot French video and TV arena

    Joseph O'Halloran
    | 16 May 2014

    Even though it has a generally robust pay-TV sector and excellent communications infrastructure, the French TV and video entertainment markets are set for only sluggish growth over the next four years.

    Research from Futuresource Consulting 

predicts that from 2014-2018, overall TV and video entertainment spend in France is set to averaging only 1% annual growth to reach €7.9 billion.

    Furthermore, in 2013 the French pay-TV VOD, box office and packaged video all posted losses, with pay-TV VOD witnessing its first annual decline, 6%, to €123 million. Box office sales declined 5% to €1.2 billion, and packaged video plummeted 17% to just under €1 billion. The analyst predicts that 2014 consumer spend will remain flat.

    "France remains one of the largest pay-TV markets globally and it accounts for nearly 70% of overall video spend in France. Last year's small decline hides some considerable downswings in key entertainment segments, triggered partly by France's continuing weak economy and its effect on consumer confidence," said Joanna Wright, senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting. "This is in contrast to its European neighbours, with the UK and Germany witnessing 4% and 7% growth respectively."

    Yet despite this relatively sluggish economy and weak consumer confidence, Futuresource found that France actually had a strong year of growth in pay-TV homes, rising a further 700,000 to reach 20.4 million at the close of the year, driven primarily by the continued battle for online video subscribers. And while overall home video struggled, digital video grew 8% in 2013 to reach €233 million, lower than anticipated but 2014 is expected to improve thanks to new service launches from Orange, Netflix and Carrefour. EST and iVoD combined grew 5% reaching €65 million in 2013 driven by iTunes which dominates both categories. Google, Xbox and Sony are also present but are yet to have a significant impact. A stronger performance is expected in 2014 (11% growth to €72 million) as pricing initiatives, new EST services from Orange and possibly Carrefour and an improving economy is expected to help drive the market.

    Futuresource expects total digital video spend to increase by an average of 22% each year between 2014-2018 to reach €0.6 billion. The analyst also believes that pay-TV and subscription VOD services will be the key drivers, with transactional digital video showing healthy growth but from a low base.

    "SVOD witnessed impressive growth (92% to €45 million in 2013) but it remains a relatively small segment, accounting for 19% of digital video spend," Wright added. "2014 could be a big year for SVOD, there has been much speculation regarding possible European Netflix launches but it seems clear Netflix will launch in France and Germany later this year. So far SVOD has been slow to take off in France, partly due to the strength of existing pay-TV subscription services. Netflix could be the catalyst for change to help raise awareness and stimulate interest."

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    Net neutrality blow: FCC votes to advance two-tiered Internet plan

    Michelle Clancy
    | 16 May 2014

    Sparking widespread protest, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to advance to the public comment period Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to create a two-tiered Internet.

    The proposal would pave the way for separating Web traffic into fast and slower lanes. ISPs would not be able to throttle Websites or discriminate against specific traffics, but companies could pay to be placed in a fast track to improve the Quality of Experience for their end users.

    The proposal will be subject to four months of public comment.

    Wheeler added that, should the proposal eventually become policy, the commission will reserve the right to review any paid arrangements carefully. "I will not allow the national asset of an open Internet to be compromised," Wheeler said. "The prospect of a gatekeeper choosing winners and losers on the Internet is unacceptable."

    Critics have nonetheless been concerned that allowing this scheme would essentially translate into smaller Web companies being squeezed out of the market, because only the larger ones would have the ability to pay the toll. And that in turn, they say, would result in a stifling of innovation, a reduction in the marketplace of ideas and the killing of the long-tail economy that has sustained the Internet to date.

    Dozens protested the vote at the FCC, and critics were quick to weigh in on the decision.

    "An open Internet levels the playing field in our democracy and that's why it's so alarming that the FCC is moving forward chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed rules that would break President Obama's promise to uphold Net Neutrality – rules that could destroy the Internet as we know it," said Victoria Kaplan, lead campaign director for MoveOn.org Political Action

    MoveOn also called on President Obama to publicly oppose this plan and industry players have already condemned the plan.

    Bulent Celebi, chairman and co-founder of AirTies Wireless Networks said that the only way to go forward was to turn the Internet into a utility. "The Internet is not treated as a utility at the moment and so it isn't regulated as such. If the FCC goes forward with its proposals for an 'open Internet' with providers allowed to strike deals with content companies for faster service, then regulation will have to come into force to make sure monopolies do not form and start-ups are not stifled by their inability to access to 'fast lanes'...

    "I would caution that the industry will need to develop systems to keep up with customer's desire for consuming high amounts of data. We know that on-demand video services are becoming increasing popular, yet we still do not have the infrastructure in place to cope with the public's appetite for it. We are already seeing cable and satellite providers struggling to provide the speeds and data necessary to provide video services to multiple devices around the home. If providers are to deliver this service they will need to either be allowed to access faster speeds or alternatively put technology in place which allows customers to access faultless multi-device, multi-room content streaming. "

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    US pay-TV subs surge in first quarter of 2014

    Joseph O'Halloran
    | 16 May 2014

    A rising pay-TV tide is floating all boats including the under-pressure cable sector says research from IHS Technology.

    Overall, IHS Technology found that US pay-TV subscribers — encompassing cable, satellite and IPTV users — rose by 202,670 during the first three months of 2014. This represented the market's best performance since a year ago when subscribers declined by 214,580.

    In its analysis of the US pay-TV sector, the US research house added that cable has achieved its best quarter in years, moderating recent customer loses. Specifically, cable subscribers fell by 132,330 during the period from January through March, the lowest number of losses since the first quarter of 2011. Over the last two years US cable subscribers have fallen by an average of about 480,000 per quarter.

    Cable operators Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) were found to have played a major role in the overall performance of the pay-TV business during the quarter. The former added 24,000 video subscribers in the first quarter, the second straight quarter of positive video subscriber growth for the company. For its part TWC's first-quarter results were the strongest in several years. TWC mitigated its video subscriber losses to just 34,000, a huge improvement over the 118,000 lost during the first quarter of 2013.

    "The first quarter is generally the best time of the year for the US cable market, and the start of 2014 was no exception," commented Erikk Brannon, senior analyst for television media at IHS. "Cable achieved its best quarter in years. However, the negative outlook for cable remains the same, as it is expected to continue to contract as AT&T's IPTV service is anticipated to keep gobbling up subscribers. Cable's renewed strength could be foreboding for satellite players Dish and DirecTV."

    Indeed the analyst cautioned that satellite is under increasing pressure with headwinds ahead. It noted that a strong quarter from Dish helped mask a soft quarter for satellite, as DirecTV and Dish combined for a gain of 52,000 video subscribers in the quarter, slightly less than the 57,000 gained in the first quarter of 2013.

    IPTV was found to be nipping at the heels of satellite, especially both DirecTV and Dish. Yet IHS found that Q1 2014 was the weakest quarter for the IPTV market since 2007 with the two largest operators, AT&T and Verizon, generating collective video subscriber additions of 258,000, compared with 401,000 in the first quarter of 2013.

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    Change at the top for Croatian RTL

    May 16, 2014 08.36 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul



    Henning TewesRTL Group has appointed Henning Tewes, MD of the news provider Enex, as the new CEO of RTL Hrvatska with effect from July 1, 2014.

    Tewes will succeed Johannes Züll, who will leave RTL Group to become CEO at the German production company Studio Hamburg.

    Furthermore, following a proposal from Tewes, Ivan Lovrecek, currently editor-in-chief of RTL Hrvatska and a member of the company’s executive board, will be promoted to deputy CEO of RTL Hrvatska, also effective July 1, 2014.

    Tewes joined RTL Group in 2005 and was VP corporate strategy before becoming part of the management team of Alpha TV in Greece, most recently as programme director. In July 2012 he became MD of he Luxembourg-based, RTL Group-led news exchange Enex.

    Lovrecek joined RTL Hrvatska in March 2004 as a reporter covering major domestic and international events. In June 2005 he was promoted to Daily News editor, and in 2007 he was appointed editor-in-chief of RTL Hrvatska. Two years later, in September 2009, he became a member of the company’s management board. Prior to his career at RTL Hrvatska, he worked from 2000 to 2004 as a news producer and presenter at the BBC World Service in London and Zagreb.

    Commenting on Tewes’ appointment, Andreas Rudas, executive VP regional operations & business development CEE and Asia at RTL Group and chairman of the supervisory board of RTL Hrvatska, said: “I am delighted that we have found such a dynamic and experienced management team for our Croatian family of channels from within RTL Group. Henning Tewes combines business acumen and leadership skills with a strong track record in programming. He is deeply familiar with RTL Group and the international TV industry and is an excellent choice to lead and grow RTL Hrvatska into the next phase of its development. I congratulate Ivan Lovrecek on his promotion to deputy CEO. His thorough understanding of the local market, leadership in news and magazines and experience in building our Croatian family of channels is key to our future plans.

    “I would also like to thank Johannes Züll for his important achievements. During his time as head of RTL in Croatia, he ensured the financial sustainability of RTL Hrvatska and the re-licensing of the main channel RTL Televizija through 2029. At the same time, he built a complementary family of channels with two new channels – RTL 2 and RTL Kockica.”

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    Romanian DTT bidders clear first hurdle

    May 16, 2014 08.47 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul



    ancom-logoThe bids submitted by RCS&RDS and SNR to operate DTT multiplexes in Romania have been deemed to fulfill the qualification criteria, according to the regulator ANCOM.

    The tender is for a total of five multiplexes, four employing UHF and one VHF, with the DVB-T2 standard.

    The licences will be awarded for a period of 10 years, effective June 1, 2015, the date on which Romania will officially complete the transition to digital broadcasting.

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    Liberty CEE executive promoted

    May 16, 2014 09.01 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul



    Beata StolaBeata Stola has been promoted to the position of VP HR CEE Region – HR director for the CEE region at Liberty Global, effective June 1.

    She has until now been the HR director and member of the board at UPC Polska.

    In her new role, Stola will coordinate the work of the heads of Liberty Global PR departments in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Hungary, reporting directly to Betzalel Kenigsztein, MD for the CEE region.

    At the same time, she will continue to serve as the HR director and a member of the board at UPC Polska.

    Stola has 19 years of managerial experience and has worked in the telecom industry since 2000.

    She joined UPC in 2011.

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    Ultra HD TV panels hit 1 million in shipments

    May 16, 2014 10.10 Europe/London By Broadband TV News Correspondent



    ultra-hd-4k-girlThe market for Ultra HD (4K) TV panels reached a significant new benchmark in March when global shipments exceeded 1 million units for the first time.

    The market was driven by vastly increased deliveries from the industry’s three largest makers of the high-end panels, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

    UHD TV panel shipments amounted to 1.1 million units in March, nearly a threefold increase from 384,300 units a month earlier in February, as shown in the attached table. The gains are even more spectacular when measured from the same time a year ago in March 2013, when total UHD TV panels had not yet cracked the 150,000 mark.

    “From the time UHD TV panels were introduced to the world for the first time in 2012, demand for these cutting-edge displays has been slow in growing, mainly because the televisions using the panels have proved prohibitively expensive,” said Linda Lin, senior analyst for large displays at IHS. “But with the technology becoming more pervasive, coupled with increasingly aggressive marketing from panel manufacturers, UHD TV panels are starting to take off.”

    Contributing to the market’s exceptional showing in March were UHD pre-stocking orders for China’s Labor Day holiday at the beginning of May, and the FIFA World Cup in June. Holidays in China are often a high point of anticipation for panel makers as Chinese consumers shop more, while global sports events like the World Cup trigger higher sales than usual for large-sized or higher-technology television sets.

    UHD TV panels feature four times the resolution of full high-definition 1080p panels, boasting even higher contrast ratios and extremely lifelike images. Underscoring the dramatic surge of shipments in March, four of the market’s six panel makers enjoyed shipment growth rates last month exceeding 100 percent compared to February levels.

    Of the world’s six top UHD TV panel makers, Taiwan’s Innolux led the market in March. Its shipments for 50-inch panels alone amounted to approximately 210,000 units, making up 47% of the firm’s total UHD TV panel deliveries.

    In second place was Samsung Display Co. (SDC) of South Korea, whose 55-inch panels climbed 160 percent for the month. SDC also mass-produced new 40- and 48-inch UHD TV panels for the first time.
    In third place was fellow Korean maker LG Display Co. (LGD), which also enjoyed the biggest month-to-month growth at 395%. It shipped new 42-inch UHD panels for the first time while also doubling shipments in 49-, 55-, and 65-inch panels.

    Even though South Korean makers are late to the UHD TV panel market, they are now beginning to launch lower-cost UHD TV displays, including the so-called “Green” panels from SDC and G+ panels LGD. The Green panel, for instance, allows the reduction of UHD panel manufacturing costs by using fewer display driver integrated circuits and a different pixel pattern with only three-quarters of true 3180 x 2160 UHD resolution.

    But even if the picture quality for lower-cost Green UHD panels is not nearly as good as those with true UHD resolutions, the cheaper cost of the former is catching the attention of TV vendors, IHS believes.

    Other top global UHD TV panel makers include AUO of Taiwan in fourth place, China’s CSOT in fifth, and Japan’s Sharp in sixth. The top four makers each had monthly shipment growth rates surpassing 100 percent, while AUO and CSOT each saw shipments in March rise by more than 50%.

    The major driving force this year in UHD panel growth will be the expansion of South Korean makers because of their new lower-cost panels. By year-end, UHD shipments are forecast to reach 15.2 million units, up sharply from 3.1 million in 2013, accounting for 6 percent of the total LCD TV panel market this year. Panels 60-inch or larger will be the star performers, expected to take 27% of the total UHD panel space.

    The strongest demand at present for UHD TVs comes from the Chinese TV market, where the advantages presented by UHD resolutions play especially well to consumers. Having already adopted 3-D technology and the Smart TV concept—both of which are better realized on UHD panels—the Chinese market understands the benefits of UHD TV panels, said Kacie Cavanaugh, analyst for large displays at IHS.
    UHD panels to increase faster than other TV panels in next five years.

    Shipments of UHD panels are likely to increase faster than the total TV panel market. Demand for UHD panels will grow to 68.4 million units by 2018, up 350% from 2014, IHS predicts. In comparison, TV panel shipments in general will rise just 12%.

    Two major obstacles to the success of UHD technology in the market place are the high price of both the panel and the end unit, as well as the lack of readily available content.

    The lack of higher-resolution content continues to be a problem for UHD because no broadcast programming is available so far. However, streaming UHD content has become available in the U.S. and is planned for other regions as well, and some set manufacturers are offering UHD film titles with their UHD media players. Even if the upscaled material does not match the level of a true UHD screen, the picture is still of higher quality than what full HD can deliver.

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    Hofbauer leaves Canal Digital for Telenor Sweden

    May 16, 2014 10.11 Europe/London By Julian Clover



    Patrick HofbauerPatrik Hofbauer has been named as the new CEO of Telenor Sweden; leaving his current role as CEO of Telenor Broadcast and Canal Digital. He will take up his new position on August 1.

    Telenor Sweden’s current CEO, Lars-Åke Norling, will become CEO of Telenor Group’s jointly-owned mobile operator in Malaysia, DiGi.

    “I am glad that it is Patrick who will take over Telenor Sverige,” says Kjell Morten Johnsen, Executive Vice President, Telenor Group and Chairman of Telenor Sweden. “He has strengthened Telenor’s position as a leading supplier of TV and content services to households and businesses in the Nordic region. I am convinced that Telenor Sweden with him will continue to show steady growth and development of world-class services for the benefit of our customers.”

    Hofbauer leaves Canal Digital with increasing revenues, but concern over continued subscriber erosion for the satellite platform, in a highly competitive market.

    He has been a member of Telenor Sweden AB’s board since 2013.

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    UPC Austria to add 11 HD channels

    May 16, 2014 10.11 Europe/London By Jörn Krieger



    UPC Austria GrazAustria’s largest cable operator UPC Austria will take 11 new HD channels on board its line-up on 20 May, 2014.

    In addition to the 10 additions announced in April 2014, the new services include ARD’s digital channel EinsFestival HD on which the German public broadcaster will transmit some of the games of the upcoming FIFA Football World Cup 2014.

    Fellow public broadcaster ZDF will outsource some World Cup matches to digital channel ZDFinfo which UPC Austria will also add in HD quality to its offering. The Liberty Global subsidiary thereby ensures that viewers will be able to watch all 64 World Cup games transmitted live by ARD and ZDF in HD quality.

    The other additions in the free-to-air segment will be SF 2 HD, Phoenix HD, EinsPlus HD, Sport1 HD, MDR Fernsehen HD and SWR Fernsehen HD. The pay-TV package HD Extra will be expanded by Animal Planet HD, Nat Geo People HD and Universal Channel HD.

    UPC Austria customers will then be able to receive up to 72 HD channels (including Sky Deutschland).


 

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