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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Azam Media expands African pay TV offer Azam Media, owned by Tanzanian conglomerate Bakhresa Group, is ramping up satellite capacity

  1. #5051
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    Azam Media expands African pay TV offer

    Azam Media, owned by Tanzanian conglomerate Bakhresa Group, is ramping up satellite capacity through a new transponder leased on the powerful Eutelsat 7B satellite.

    Complementing capacity used on the copositioned Eutelsat 7A satellite, it will host new services for the rapidly growing AzamTV pay-TV platform.

    Launched just 18 months ago, AzamTV counts 200,000 subscribers in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The new capacity will enable AzamTV to extend its services to Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, South Sudan and Zimbabwe with additional content. Further expansion is planned using the company’s state-of-the-art studio complex and headend facility in Dar es Salaam that was inaugurated on 6 March by Jakaya Kikwete, the President of Tanzania.

    AzamTV is boosting its line-up of over 55 channels with a new offer called “Azam Reloaded”, launched on 1 March and featuring a full decoder/dish kit for $55 and three package options.

    Rhys Torrington, CEO of Azam Media, commented on the new contract: “Eutelsat’s satellite capacity and unrivalled DTH experience enabled us to launch an exceptional entertainment offer at a great price. This new contract equips us with the resources to fast track our development and further enhance the services we offer subscribers across our target markets. It also paves the way for an acceleration of HD content that raises the bar for further quality.”

    Michel Azibert, Chief Commercial and Development Officer of Eutelsat, added: “AzamTV is one of the most exciting digital broadcasting ventures launched in Africa over the last 18 months. Compelling and attractively priced content, a strong retail network and high-power reach over Africa are the assets Azam has assembled to play its part in the digital broadcasting wave. We are delighted to be their chosen satellite partner and to see our 7° East position, occupied by two copositioned satellites, firmly rooted in Africa’s TV landscape.”

    (On the picture President Kikwete of Tanzania (right) being interviewed by AzamTV’s Tido Mhando)

  2. #5052
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    HbbTV arrives in Estonia

    Hybrid TV services have been launched in Estonia by Levira and the country’s leading broadcasters.

    They are being offered free of charge to viewers through TasutaTV, which is available throughout the whole country, and, according to Mart Einpalu, the chairman of the board at Levira, do not compete directly with cable or satellite TV.

    He added that TasutaTV is well suited to homes that cannot receive cable or do not to watch hundreds of TV channels.

    It will also appeal as an additional service to homes with more than one TV.

    The broadcasters signed up to the service are publicly owned ETV, national commercial stations Kanal 2 and TV3 and the regional Tallinn TV.

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    SPI teams up with Telekom Austria

    Telekom Austria has entered into a strategic agreement with SPI International/Filmbox International that allows the Vienna-based company to launch FilmBox thematic channels in the markets the operator is active in.

    With its direct2home platform, Telekom Austria Group will also act as technical distribution and contribution provider for the FilmBox channels’ Balkan CEE feeds over the Eutelsat 16A satellite.

    The agreement allows almost 250,000 customers in the region to watch various FilmBox channels.

    The channels were firstly launched in Bulgaria by Mobiltel, followed by Blizoo in the Macedonia.

    In the first half of 2015, Telekom Austria Group also plans to introduce the channels in at least two other markets in the first half of this year.

    Commenting on the development, Stefan Amon, director wholesale Telekom Austria Group, said: “With Telekom Austria Group´s direct2home broadcast services we proudly bring FilmBox channels not only to pay-TV operators across the group´s footprint but also offer those channels to other DTH operators via Eutelsat 16A. This cooperation allows us to deliver premium content to both our footprint and to an extended CEE area.”

    Berk Uziyel, executive director of FilmBox International, added: “Telekom Austria Group and SPI are two companies eying continuous expansion in Central and Eastern Europe. It is a great opportunity to form a strategic alliance with this important player in the industry.”

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    Media Broadcast restructures management

    Wolfgang Kniese (picture) will become the new CFO of German technical service provider Media Broadcast on April 1, 2015 as part of a larger management restructuring.

    The 47-year old will succeed Bruno Maineult who will leave the company. Kniese joins Media Broadcast from T-Mobile Austria where he was CFO for six years. He previously held leading positions at Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiaries T-Mobile and T-Online.

    With CEO Wolfgang Breuer and CFO Wolfgang Kniese, Media Broadcast’s management board will in future only contain two executives. Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (CSMO) Ulf Heggenberger will leave the company on March 31, 2015 to pursue new challenges.

    The CSMO role will be split into two positions: a Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) for B2B activities and a CCO for future B2C activities in the consumer market. Holger Meinzer, currently head of Media Broadcast’s TV business unit, will become CCO B2B on April 1, 2015.

    The position of CCO B2C will be allocated soon.

    The CTO position which was previously occupied by CEO Wolfgang Breuer has been taken over by Frank Schulz, former head of Media Broadcast’s network business unit, with immediate effect. Before joining Media Broadcast, the 42-year old was head of business development at Austrian transmitter network operator ORS.

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    Ofcom launches ‘overarching’ communications review

    Ofcom says its review of the UK’s digital communications market will be ‘overarching’. It plans to examine competition, investment, innovation and the availability of products in the broadband, mobile and landline markets.

    The regulator explained the review would consider wider questions complementary to those addressed by its regular, three-yearly reviews of individual telecoms markets.

    It follows comments made in May last year, when the regulator said that the 10th anniversary of their introduction would mark a suitable point to review the effectiveness of rules introduced at the last review.

    Steve Unger, Ofcom Acting Chief Executive, said: “We have seen huge changes in the phone and broadband markets since our last major review a decade ago. Only five years ago, hardly any of us had used a tablet computer, high-definition streaming or 4G mobile broadband.”

    Ofcom anticipates that it will focus on three aspects in particular:
    •ensuring the right incentives for private-sector investment, which can help to deliver availability and quality of service;
    •maintaining strong competition and tackling obstacles or bottlenecks that might be holding the sector back; and
    •identifying whether there is scope for deregulation in some areas.

    Sky group chief executive welcomed the review, but said there were serious questions about whether the existing infrastructure would meet consumer needs. In particular he raised the question of a break up of BT Openreach: “We welcome Ofcom’s announcement of a review of the UK’s telecommunications sector. The sector is vital to the UK’s future but there are serious questions about whether the existing structure can deliver the infrastructure, innovation and choice that consumers and businesses need.”

    His point was echoed by TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding, who said it was increasingly clear the current market structure was not fit for purpose: BT’s proposed merger with EE threatens to make a bad situation worse. It will further starve Openreach of the focus and capital it needs and will extend BT’s dominance of the market. The larger group will have nearly 40% of the entire consumer telecoms market and nearly 70% of the wholesale market,” she said.

    In January that it is testing technology for delivering ‘ultrafast’ broadband speeds, with a plan to roll out to most of the UK within a decade. The following month, Virgin Media announced plans to extend its network to around four million new premises over the next five years.

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    Cable operators “follow the money”

    Leading cable operators are agreed on the importance of scale but have differing views on the provision of mobile services.

    At the same, the idea of infrastructure companies buying cable assets is not one they warm to.

    In a session entitled Following the money, Andrew Barron, chairman of ComHem, said that while mobility is important, the question was how you address it. In his company’s view, convergence is about more than mobile and WiFi, with other factors such as B2B, offnet and buildings also important for ComHem.

    Barron conceded that ComHem was a few years behind other operators in the rollout of bundled and other services. It will in due course introduce a consumer mobile product but sees no need to rush into mobile.

    Meanwhile, Clif Marriott, MD, Goldman Sachs International, predicted that in five years time many markets would have converged to being served by one incumbent, one cable operator and one mobile company. However, this may not hold true in Scandinavia.

    The Altice Group has recently been expanding its interests in the cable market and Burkhard Koep, its head of strategy and business development, said that its latest deal – in Portugal – is expected to close in Q2. He added that although scale has a lot of benefits, there is a history of failed M&As – not just in cable but also in the telco sector – and Altice want to strike a balance.

    Andrew Salvato, senior VP and chief development officer, Liberty Global, also spoke in favour of scale but refused to be drawn on the possibility of a deal with Vodafone, instead insisting that Liberty could operate as a standalone company.

    Interestingly, the panelists appeared surprised when asked a question by an audience member about the possibility of infrastructure funds buying cable assets.

    There was a general consensus that this was something operators would not like to see.

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    TV Apps on Legacy STBs is a winner

    WATCH VIDEO. Cable Europe’s Caroline van Weede announced this year’s winner of the Cable Europe Innovation Award.

    UPC Hungary, ActiveVideo and Metrological share the award presented at Cable Congress for TV Apps on Legacy Set-Top Boxes.

    Entry submission highlighted the cloud-based apps platform that ActiveVideo and Metrological teamed up to bring to UPC Hungary, with particular emphasis on delivery of full YouTube experience from the cloud to more than 520,000 existing SD and HD STBs.

    Submission discussed key metrics, including: 68% initial usage rate; 83% return usage rate; more than 1MM minutes per day of YouTube content streamed; and average engagement of 45 minutes.

    UPC Hungary worked with its partners to offer over 20 apps on TV via any set-top box in the cabler’s subscriber footprint. This has provided UPC Hungary with a new service differentiator that is a world’s-first achievement for cable: the ability to offer an almost limitless source of online content to every subscriber, without the cost and time-to-market that rolling out new set-top boxes would have entailed.

    Second straight Cable Europe Innovation Award for ActiveVideo; Ziggo won last year for Interactive Cable VOD with No Set-top Box.

    Other finalists this year were OptimizAIR wi-fi solution by Celeno and Telenet, and Cloud video Engine for realtime generation of interactive channels by R, Syntheractive and Cinfro.


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    LAMAC beefs up Colombian office with new exec
    Details
    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
    | 06 May 2015


    The Latin American Multichannel Advertising Council (LAMAC) has promoted Mimi López to executive director for Colombia, after working as country manager for over two years.

    mimilopez"Under Mimi López's leadership, LAMAC has achieved positive improvements for pay-TV in Colombia," said Gary McBride, president and CEO at LAMAC. "In Colombia, advertisers and agencies recognise nowadays the huge development of pay-TV in the market, as audience figures are almost the same as for free-to-air (FTA) TV".

    Since Mimi López was promoted to country manager in 2012, advertising investment in pay-TV has increased in Colombia along with a 30% rise in companies choosing to advertise on LAMAC channels.

    "The results under my management have been a common work with our 56 member channels and their commercial teams," said López. "We have convinced advertisers to re-evaluate their media plans and adapt them to the new reality of Colombia's consumers. We will continue working to optimize advertising along the increasing use of pay-TV in the country."

    Among the channels forming LAMAC are A+E Networks Latin America, AMC Networks International Latin America, Discovery Latin America, FOX One Stop Media, Sony Pictures Televisio

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    Ericsson moves against Apple

    Ericsson has filed suits in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands against Apple’s products.

    In a statement, it says that although it had offered to enter into arbitration with Apple to reach a mutually beneficial global licensing agreement for its standard-essential patents, that offer has now expired.

    Commenting on the development, Kasim Alfalahi, chief intellectual property officer at Ericsson, said: “Apple continues to profit from Ericsson’s technology without having a valid licence in place. Our technology is used in many features and functionality of today’s communication devices. We are confident the courts in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands will be able to help us resolve this matter in a fair manner.”

    Ericsson says that the proceedings in the three countries were recently initiated and refer to the 2G and 4G/LTE standards, as well as other technology that is not standardised, but is related to, for instance, the design of semiconductor components and non-cellular wireless communications.

    It adds that it has fore more than two years been trying to reach an agreement with Apple on a global license for Ericsson’s patents on terms that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), but the companies have failed to reach an amicable resolution.

    Its national lawsuits in Europe are other efforts to protect and support its investment in R&D.

    Ericsson has to date signed more than 100 patent-licensing agreements with most major players in the industry.

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    Liberty net loss widens as TV subs fall

    Liberty Global’s net loss increased significantly year-on-year in the first quarter, while in Germany, one of its key markets, strong growth in Horizon take-up was offset by a significant reduction in digital TV (now redefined ‘enhanced video’) subscribers.

    Results published by the operator show a net loss of $538 million in Q1, compared to one of $79 million in the same period last year. The company points out that the higher loss was primarily due to the impact of the $340 million gain on the sale of Chellomedia in Q1 2014.

    Meanwhile in Germany, Horizon TV gained an additional 80,000 net customers in Q1, in what was its best quarterly performance ever. On the other hand, its “enhanced video subscribers’, was at 1,393,400, 884,400 lower than three months earlier.

    Liberty notes that its next generation video platforms added a total of 274,000 subscribers, including a record 171,000 for Horizon TV, in Q1. In the UK, the TiVo subscriber total increased by over 100,000 in Q1 to reach 2.6 million.

    Liberty says that, “because most of our customers now have access to our basic unencrypted digital signal as part of their video subscription, we have replaced our “analogue cable” and “digital cable” subscriber definitions with “basic video” and “enhanced video”, respectively”.

    Its adds that its 169,000 video subscribers loss in Q1 “was driven by the underperformance in the former Ziggo footprint, while the German increase was partly related to the MDU disconnections”.

    Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries stated, “Although our Q1 subscriber additions were impacted by higher video losses due to increased competition in certain markets and other factors, consumer appetite for our next- generation services remained strong with 150,000 new broadband subscribers and record Horizon TV additions. Price increases across our footprint contributed to a 5% ARPU increase and provide a foundation for further growth in 2015. We remain in a strong competitive position with our market leading broadband speeds and our advanced video platforms, and expect to add over one million net new RGUs this year.

    “We continue to make steady progress with the integration of Ziggo in the Netherlands with a substantial increase to broadband speeds and the introduction of Horizon TV across the former Ziggo footprint. We did, however, experience lower sales and higher churn in the former Ziggo footprint due in part to our network and product harmonization in March. In the U.K., we are seeing early success from Project Lightning before network construction kicks off in earnest during the second half of this year. We continue to see excellent traction in our trial areas as penetration is in-line with and ARPU is ahead of expectations.”


 

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