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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Hearst finishes Birmingham, Savannah TV station buys DetailsMichelle Clancy | 23 December 2014 Hearst Corp has completed acquisitions of TV

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    Hearst finishes Birmingham, Savannah TV station buys

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 23 December 2014


    Hearst Corp has completed acquisitions of TV stations in Birmingham, Ala. and Savannah, Ga.

    The broadcast conglomerate has taken over Birmingham's NBC affiliate, WVTM-TV, Channel 13, from Media General, and Savannah's ABC affiliate, WJCL-TV, from LIN Media.

    Birmingham is the 44th largest television market and Savannah is the 92nd largest. The acquisition increases Hearst Television's audience reach of US TV households to nearly 19%, and the reach of its NBC-affiliated stations to nearly 8%, across 11 markets.

    Hearst also announced new management for the stations. Henry "Hank" Price, who has served since 2000 as president and general manager of Hearst's WXII-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C., TV market, will move to WVTM in the same role.

    Tim Morrissey, most recently president and general manager of WCNC-TV, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., will become president and general manager of WJCL; the move marks a return to Hearst for Morrissey, who in the mid-1980s served as news director at Hearst's WISN-TV in Milwaukee.

    "Television stations with strong news brands attract the largest audiences," said Jordan Wertlieb, president at Hearst Television. "A dedication to quality local programming and community service will be our focus as we grow our audience in the region. Hank and Tim exemplify that dedication."

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    Buenos Aires gives green light to Netflix tax

    DetailsJuan Fernandez Gonzalez | 22 December 2014

    The Buenos Aires justice tribunal has backed up the city government's decision to tax all over-the-top (OTT) operators offering services in the city, the so-called Netflix tax.

    netflixThe taxation will be only applicable in the city and will not work in the rest of Argentina. The city's Tribunal Superior de Justicia rejected a proposition to declare unconstitutional the tax, eliminating the last obstacle from the new regulation's way. The Netflix tax will be then applicable from February 2015 and it will drive a price increasing of nearly $0.5 per subscription.

    The local tax is intended to compensate cable providers which have been largely complaining in Argentina against the unfavourable conditions to compete against OTT operators and telcos, which are now allowed to offer audiovisual services following the new Argentina Digital law.

    The tax was due to start being collected from November and will retain 3% of every subscription to streaming services such as Netflix or Spotify, or other services similar to those offered by PlayStation.

    Since the beginning, the decision has been criticised by Argentina's Government, which explained it's only a local tax and doesn't affect the entire country

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    New billion-dollar funding gives Xiaomi $45BN valuation

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 December 2014


    Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has raised over US$1 billion during its latest round of funding, which values the company at $45 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    The latest financing, run by Richard Ji, who was a technology analyst at Morgan Stanley until 2013, reportedly included investment from DST Global and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd.
    Local investors include Yunfeng Capital, a private fund affiliated with chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma, and Chinese deal maker Fang Fenglei's Hopu Investment Management Company, says the WSJ.

    Xiaomi has recently been making significant investments in China's online video sector, with a $300 million injection in iQiyi.com , the video streaming division of search engine giant Baidu, and taking an unspecified stake in streaming company Youku Tudou.

    The four-year old company's mid-tier priced phones are sold at a fine profit margin in order to create a captive market for its mobile commerce services. The business model has propelled it to become the third highest vendor of smartphones globally, after Samsung and Apple.

    Most Xiaomi sales emanate in China, however the company has its sights firmly set on international expansion. Its entry into the Indian market has stumbled, following a patent complaint filed by Ericsson.

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    Sony may release the Interview on-demand

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 22 December 2014


    Despite initially saying that there are no further plans for releasing the $42 million film the Interview in any format, even when it comes to DVDs and cable video-on-demand access, Sony Pictures now says that it's "actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform."

    "It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so," the firm said in a statement. The studio had shelved the film indefinitely , after Regal, AMC and all other theatre chains in the US decided to boycott it, citing terrorism concerns.

    Sony is at the middle of a massive data breach, after a cyber-attack forced the IT department to shut down the corporate network. The attackers call themselves the Guardians of Peace, and it's believed that North Korea is behind the incident, in retaliation for the release of the Interview. The film features Rogan and Franco as hapless journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Pyongyang has called the film "an act of war."

    The move to pull the film prompted President Obama to publicly say that studio "made a mistake," noting the decision's ramifications for artistic freedom and censorship.

    "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship in the United States," he said.

    The chilling effect has already been felt. In place of the Interview, some independent theatres were planning screenings of Team America: World Police, which spoofs now-deceased "Dear Leader" Kim Jong II, but Paramount pulled the film from library distribution to prevent public screenings. In addition, as further evidence of a chilling effect, New Regency has scuttled an untitled thriller from director Gore Verbinski and starring Steve Carell, which was due to start production in March. It was going to be set in North Korea.

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    Sci-fi, drama among the most-time-shifted TV programming

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 23 December 2014


    TiVo Research & Analytics has found that drama and science fiction genres deliver the highest percentage of time-shifted viewing on primetime cable and broadcast.

    tivo2Meanwhile, 79% of sporting-event viewing happens in real time, the study showed; ESPN and ESPN2 both rank in the top five least time-shifted networks during this summer and autumn.

    Surprisingly, 71% of primetime animation viewing occurs in real-time. But 71% of drama programming is recorded and viewed at a later time.

    TNT network took the crown as the most time-shifted network in prime among the top cable networks, followed by Lifetime, Bravo, Syfy, and USA. TNT's ranking is a testament to their extensive slate of first run summer crime dramas including Rizzoli & Isles, Legends and Major Crimes. Crime dramas ranked third in the primetime genre ranker, with 59% of crime dramas watched on a time-shifted basis.

    CBS's Scorpion ranked as the hottest new program on the TiVo Commitment Chart, which tracks the volume of Season Passes set for new programming. Other new autumn series that rank well are ABC's How to Get Away with Murder, FOX's Gotham and CBS's Madam Secretary and NCIS: New Orleans. Not coincidentally, all five have received full season orders from their respective networks.

    When it comes to recorded television, TiVo Research & Analytics found that advertisers saw a higher commercial retention rate for 15-second spots running in primetime when compared to 30-second ads. In turn advertisers in Q3 of 2014 have increased the number of 15s in primetime to 43.3%, an increase of 6% from last year.

    Broadcast's overall time-shifted commercial retention, measured on a second-by-second basis, averaged 45%, while cable delivered a 52% retention rate.

    Interestingly, the study found that TiVo subscribers pause their favourite shows 8.03 times, hit rewind 7.83 times and press the fast-forward button 25.11 times in one day

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    FCC votes to reclassify OTT providers as cablecos

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 23 December 2014


    US broadcast regulator the FCC has officially proposed the reclassifying of over-the-top (OTT) operators to put them on parity with cable MSOs and satellite companies.

    FCC panelThe change will create a technology-neutral definition of a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD), thus eliminating the requirement of having facilities-based transmission path in order to be guaranteed access to TV stations via must-carry rules and retransmission. As a result, OTT companies will be covered under programme access rules that will give them the right to negotiate retransmission deals with broadcasters.

    In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC said that it wanted to better reflect the fact that video services are being provided increasingly over the Internet, modernising its interpretation of the term MVPD to include within its scope services that make available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple linear streams of video programming, regardless of the technology used to distribute the programming.

    "Such an approach will ensure both that incumbent providers will continue to be subject to the pro-competitive, consumer-focused regulations that apply to MVPDs as they transition their services to the Internet and that nascent, Internet-based video programming services2 will have access to the tools they need to compete with established providers," the FCC said.

    It went on to noted that incumbent cable systems are already looking to deliver video via IP themselves, experimenting with new business models based on Internet distribution.

    "Over-the-air television has moved from analog transmission to digital. The telephone networks of the 20th Century have become broadband networks, providing a critical pathway to the Internet," it said. "And, in our January Technology Transitions Order, the Commission encouraged experiments that assess the impact on consumers of the coming transition from traditional copper facilities to new telecommunications networks composed of fiber, copper, coaxial cable, and/or wireless connections."

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    Al Jazeera to run Digiturk after beIN Sports acquires US$820mn stake

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 December 2014


    Chairman and CEO of Qatar's beIN Sports, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, has acquired a 53% stake in Turkish satellite pay-TV operator Digiturk for US$820 million, according to unconfirmed reports.

    The largest ever media deal in Turkey will reportedly see the Al Jazeera-affiliated sports broadcaster take on the Cukurova Group's stake, which was seized by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey (TMSF) in May 2013, after it failed to meet a debt obligation.

    Official confirmation of the wining bid is expected at the end of 2014, however sources close to the deal claim the Qatari offer – rumoured since December 2013 – has been accepted. It is anticipated Al Jazeera Media Network will take on management of Digiturk, following the acquisition by Sheikh Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

    In addition to his roles at beIN Sports (formerly Al Jazeera Sport) Al-Khelaifi is also chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of French football club Paris Saint Germain, and a member of Qatar's Olympic Committee.

    The controlling stake in the pay-TV platform has attracted interest in other quarters as well as Qatar . In January 2014, rival Doğan TV Holding submitted an $880 million offer to buy the stake, although such a deal would have faced considerable obstacles from the competition commission. Türk Telekom also submitted a non-binding offer of $530 million in July 2014, and Providence Equity Partners, which holds 47% of Digiturk, has also expressed an interest in the remainder.

    "For the Qataris, the acquisition of Digiturk serves a plethora of strategic goals, like expanding the global sports media franchise that beIN Media Group controls," says Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, senior analyst, IHS TV Intelligence, and "taking full control of the most premium content in the Turkish TV market, the broadcasting on an exclusive basis of the local Sport Toto Football League matches up to 2017 – the largest generator of revenues in the Turkish pay TV business."

    beIN Sports has expanded rapidly over the past two years, with its channels now available in the USA and Canada, France, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as 23 countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Digiturk acquisition also fits with Al Jazeera's 'internationalisation strategy' says Papavassilopoulos, and follows the launch of dedicated channels in the US, in the Balkans and Egypt. The Doha-based TV network has also held talks for a possible investment in Italy's Mediaset this year.

    "The financial backing from the new Qatari owners will undoubtedly strengthen Digiturk's dominant position in the Turkish pay-TV market," said Papavassilopoulos.

    With around 83 million people and 20 million TV households, Turkey certainly holds promise for further broadcast expansion. There are around 5.8 million primary pay-TV households in Turkey at the end of 2014, which will rise to 7.6 million in 2020, representing a growth of 31%. Subscriber growth is likely to result in a 67.5% growth in revenues over the same period, according to IHS Television Media Intelligence.

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    DIRECTV goes live with Yaveo OTT service

    DetailsGabriel Miramar-Garcia | 23 December 2014


    The service goes for $7.99 a month, with the first month free, and doesn't require a DIRECTV satellite subscription nor a contract.

    yaveo"Yaveo gets DIRECTV into the OTT business and we're excited to start with a compelling Spanish-language service targeted to the Hispanic community," said Paul Guyardo, chief revenue and marketing officer at the satellite company. "We'll learn a great deal, use the findings to grow and improve the Yaveo platform and expand our OTT offering over time."

    Yaveo will carry programming from a variety of content providers and networks, including: beIN Sports en Español; Nick en Español; Canal 22; Pasiones; Canal Once; RCN; Caracol; TMN (The Movie Network); Cine Sony Television; Tr3s; El Garage; Univision's suite of networks; ¡Hola!TV; Video Rola; and MTV. Content will come US, Latin America and Spain, and encompass films, TV shows, children's programming, novelas, music and documentaries. Customers will also have the ability to stream live feeds of beIN Sports en Español, Cine Sony Television and ¡Hola! TV.

    Yaveo will also have an optimised video stream that adapts to their device and broadband connection. And, customers can start watching a show or movie on one device, pause, then continue watching it on another device, and can stream Yaveo on up to two devices simultaneously.

    Hispanic powerhouse Univision was an anchor deal for the service. The deal includes rights to Univision's broadcast network, two local stations and Spanish-language cable net Galavision.

    The news comes as competition ramps up. DIRECTV's main rival, DISH Network, is plotting an OTT play itself to launch next year. In March it renewed its agreement with the House of Mouse for carrying sports, news and entertainment content from ESPN, ABC and Disney across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and connected devices. But, the expanded deal now also grants DISH the rights to stream cleared linear and video-on-demand (VOD) content from the ABC-owned broadcast stations, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, as part of what it calls "an Internet delivered, IP-based multichannel offering" — i.e., an OTT service. It has signed a similar deal with A&E Networks as well.

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    Al Jazeera to switch from Arabsat to Es'hailSat

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 December 2014


    Al Jazeera is switching satellite platforms in the Middle East from Arabsat's Badr-4 and Badr-5 to Qatar's first satellite Es'hailSat on 1 January 2015.

    Es'hailSat , which is jointly owned by Qatar Satellite Company and Eutelsat, covers the same geographic area as Arabsat, however Al Jazeera says it will provide 'more powerful abilities to hold off signal interference attempts – which the Doha-based news broadcaster has been victim of in the past.

    "Al Jazeera has carefully investigated and considered the intentional jamming of its signal in recent years. The jamming is part of an orchestrated and multifaceted campaign to block the network's signal and internet websites from its viewers," said Ibrahim Nassar, manager of RF & Teleport Engineering at Al Jazeera.

    Al Jazeera Arabic, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Mubasher, Al Jazeera Mubhaser-Misr, Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, and Al Jazeera America are all affected by the switch from Arabsat.

    To watch these Al Jazeera channels via Es'hailSat does not require any adjustment to the location of viewers' satellite dish, however the receiver must be set to Es'hailSat 1 with Txp Frequency: 11604; Polarization: Horizontal; FEC: 3/4; Symbol Rate: 27500.

    Nilesat viewers can still watch Al Jazeera channels in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Yemen, Sudan and Djibouti via Nilesat (EAST) 11636 V, FEC: 3/4 and Symbol Rate 27500; and in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania via Nilesat (WEST) 10992 V, FEC: 3/4 and Symbol Rate 27500.

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    TDG: online live sports set to alter TV industry fundamentally

    DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 23 December 2014


    Live sports are set to play a defining role in determining the pace and extent of the on-going shift from legacy to online TV, says new research from TDG.

    TDGsportsonlie reportIn its report, Game On! The Future of Sports Video Viewing, 2015-2025, the analyst predicted a ten-fold increase in broadband-based sports video consumption over the next decade. In addition TDG sees the growing relevance of broadband distribution as presenting 'significant' strategic challenges and opportunities to TV industry stakeholders, including sports leagues, networks, MVPDs, both legacy and virtual

    "Americans love sports and, most would agree, sports is the backbone of the TV industry in general and legacy pay-TV in particular," says Joel Espelien, TDG senior advisor and author of the new report. "Whether measured in ratings or revenue, TV coverage of live amateur and professional sporting events is big business. The big money that defines sports programming will follow consumers, viewers who engage broadband sports on all screens, not just the living room TV."

    Yet the Game On! The Future of Sports Video Viewing, 2015-2025 report also added a cautionary note, asking why, with so much enthusiasm for sports, and a broadening conception of TV viewing, was sports viewing via broadband dramatically under-represented relative to sports viewing on legacy TV.

    Espelien pointed to two factors: existing long-term sports broadcasting agreements, and fears of disrupting the massive flow of money market players associated with the status quo. He also expected this gap to close gradually over the next decade, with what he called 'massive' growth in weekly per-capita broadband sports video viewing growing tenfold, from less than half an hour in 2014 to four hours in 2025.


 

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