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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

RT Arabic launches Studio Washington DetailsMichelle Clancy | 27 May 2015 Russia Today's service for the Middle East, RT Arabic,

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    RT Arabic launches Studio Washington

    DetailsMichelle Clancy | 27 May 2015

    Russia Today's service for the Middle East, RT Arabic, has launched a live weekly interview show, Studio Washington, from its studio in the US capital.


    The programme's host, Reema Abu Hamdieh, will discuss with her guests major global political events and their impact on the Middle East. It will air every Friday.

    "Studio Washington covers international political events while making a special emphasis on the countries of the Arab world," said Abu Hamdieh. "We want to highlight the position and impact of the United States and its foreign policy on a wide range of issues that dominate the Middle East and North Africa today."

    Abu Hamdieh is RT Arabic's Washington correspondent. She has produced multiple on-site reports from all over the United States and conducted many high profile interviews on political and economic subjects.

    According to a recent Nielsen study, RT Arabic is among the top three most watched TV channels in six countries of the Middle East and North Africa: Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and Iraq. In fact, the channel enjoys wider viewership than the BBC, Sky News, Al Hurra and CCTV.

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    Charter confirms $56BN play for TWC

    Details Michelle Clancy | 27 May 2015

    All the rumours were well-founded: John Malone's Charter Communications has proposed a $56 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.

    The move blows away Comcast's failed $45 billion bid for the No 2 cable MSO, and well surpasses the $37.3 billion offer that Charter itself made for the company last year.

    Charter also has put a $10.4 billion offer on the table for Bright House, the sixth largest cable MSO. By combining TWC's 11-million strong base with Charter's 4.1 million and Bright House's two million, the new Charter will have 17 million pay-TV subscribers and 18.8 million broadband customers.

    Charter has pledged to fund and improve consumer services as part of the deal, but FCC approval is far from guaranteed. It will need to rely on its technology investments to convince regulatory overseers that the deal is good for consumers.

    The move was expected, and comes less than a month after Comcast dumped its own proposed merger with TWC after it became clear that it wouldn't get past regulators. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said that he's open to "any and all future cable deals," but that competitive neutrality won't be enough.

    "In applying the public interest test, an absence of harm is not sufficient," he said. "The Commission will look to see how American consumers would benefit if the deal were to be approved."

    Charter said that it would use its new-found scale to build out faster broadband for subscribers; launch an improved cable TV interface; and wider availability of public Wi-Fi. It also stressed that it would invest in innovation that would benefit consumers.

    To this point, Charter's recent $47 million deal with ActiveVideo and Arris will be key to its plan, according to MoffetNathanson analyst Craig Moffet. He said that the technology will allow Charter to much more rapidly deploy its cloud-based graphical user interface to acquired subscribers in a cost-effective manner, by making that interface backward-compatible with TWC and Bright House set-top boxes.

    "In the process, it will neatly side-step what otherwise would be the large merger integration expense of compatibility testing between user interfaces and pre-existing head-end and customer premise equipment," Moffet said. "The importance of this development cannot be overstated. Not only will ActiveVideo save Charter a tremendous amount of capital spending that would otherwise have been spent on new set-top boxes, it will also make for a much more rapid integration of the newly acquired properties. It is only a small overstatement to say that this deal may not have been possible, at least at this price, without ActiveVideo's technology."

    Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said that added scale will help put the technology into more consumer hands as well. "Put simply, the scale of New Charter, along with the combined talents we can bring to bear, position us to deliver a communications future that will unleash the full power of the two-way, interactive cable network."

    IBISWorld analyst Will McKitterick said that Charter's acquisition lacks some of the negative qualities that sunk Comcast's deal with TWC last April. The arrangement would be between the industry's second and fourth largest companies, a combination that seems more palatable to regulators than Comcast's mega-merger proposal.

    "Nevertheless, a Charter TWC union would concentrate the vast majority of the nation's landline high-speed broadband connections in the hands of two companies; Charter and Comcast," he noted. "With little competition throughout most of the country for high speed Internet and cable, regulators may still axe the deal."

    IBISWorld estimates that the top five players — Comcast, TWC, Cox, Charter and Cablevision — generate about 84.1% of industry revenue, and said that Charter and TWC would constitute a combined 29% of market share if the deal were to go through. And while the deal will better position Charter to compete with its larger rival, Comcast, McKitterick said that the new company would be unlikely to unseat Comcast as the industry's dominant player.

    "What is unclear is whether the merger will lead to better services or faster streaming for customers, or whether it will stem the exodus away from cable providers towards pure stream services," he said, in an emailed comment.

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    Emerging markets the driving force for satellite TV

    Details Editor | 27 May 2015

    India, Russia and Brazil will lead the charge for a burgeoning satellite TV market over the next five years according to a report from Digital TV Research.


    In the Global Satellite TV Forecasts report the analyst found that by 2020 there will likely be 265 million pay satellite TV homes, either DBS or DTH, 61.6 million more than at the end of 2014. At the vanguard of this drive will be India with 66.9 million satellite pay-TV subs by 2020, followed by the US with 34.1 million; Russia, 18.5 million; and Brazil with 15.3 million. The aforementioned four countries will account for just over half the global total by 2020. Of the 61.6 million additions between 2014 and 2020, India will provide 23.5 million, Indonesia 5.0 million, Brazil 3.4 million and Russia 2.7 million.

    Overall, Digital TV Research found that even though pay satellite TV subs total will more than double in 41 countries, totals will fall in 17 countries between 2014 and 2020 as subs convert to other platforms. Pay satellite TV penetration is projected to climb from 13.1% of TV households by the end of 2014, to 15.6% by 2020. The data also predicts that penetration will exceed 25% of TV households in 27 countries by 2020, up from 11 in 2010. Global satellite TV revenues will reach $94.8 billion in 2020, up from $88.4 billion in 2014 and $71.8 billion in 2010.

    The report also provides the satellite TV with a great sense of optimism in terms of revenues that are set to overtake total cable TV revenues by 2015. That said, it will likely be a mixed picture in terms of regions. Digital TV Research believes that Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa will show strong satellite TV revenue growth but that revenues will fall in Western Europe and North America. Revenues are calculated to fall or be flat in 38 countries, much of this, says Digital TV Research, will be due to greater competition forcing satellite TV platforms to offer cheaper packages which will lead to lower ARPUs. Furthermore, low-cost satellite TV packages are making a significant impact in several countries.

    The US is expected to remain satellite TV market leader by revenues, although its share of the global total will fall from 44.8% in 2014 ($39.6 billion) to 41.3% in 2020 ($39.2 billion). Brazil will be second in revenue terms by 2020, generating $6.8 billion, having overtaken the UK in 2013. India will add the most satellite TV revenues ($2.5 billion, moving from tenth to fifth place) between 2014 and 2020, with Nigeria increasing by $437 million and Indonesia $414 million. Revenues will more than double in 41 countries. However, revenues will fall in Canada by $805 million, the US by $421 million and France $232 million.

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    Spanish trade authority approves Orange offer to acquire Jazztel

    DetailsEditor | 27 May 2015

    In a huge boost for the telco giant, the Spanish Securities Commission (CNMV) has authorised Orange's voluntary cash tender offer for the acquisition of fellow operator Jazztel.

    Through the transaction, Orange aims to create the second largest fixed-line broadband operator in Spain, with a particular focus on mobile offerings and accelerating the movement of its customers towards what it calls 'convergent offers'.

    Orange's initial offer was made conditional on it obtaining all competition clearances from the relevant authorities, a condition satisfied on 19 May 2015, when the European Commission confirmed the approval of the proposed deal, subject to certain remedies.

    The CNMV www.cnmv.es -approved offer will be open from 28 May to 24 June 2015 and covers all of Jazztel's shares, enabling shareholders of Jazztel to receive €13 euros per share in cash, valuing the entire acquisition at €3.4 billion. That said, the offer is conditional on shareholders of Jazztel holding in aggregate at least 50% plus one share of the maximum theoretical share capital irrevocably accepting the offer. Orange has already secured irrevocable commitments to accept the offer from shareholders representing 14.804% of the issued share capital of Jazztel.

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    Sky Cable plans Philippines DTH service

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 27 May 2015

    Sky Cable plans to spend P252 million on the rollout of a direct-to-home (DTH) satellite TV service across the Philippines, according to local reports.


    In a submission to the National Telecommunications Commission the cable operator, which is owned by media conglomerate ABS-CBN, said it would launch the DTH service in 251 cities and municipalities.

    The new satellite service would rival existing Philippines DTH offerings from Cignal, Dream Satellite TV and GSat.

    Sky Cable's previously announced plans to launch a DTH service in 2013 were opposed by the Philippine Cable Television Association by creating what it called a monopoly on television service provision.

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    F1 picks Tata Comms for live TV delivery

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 27 May 2015

    Formula One Management (FOM) has chosen Tata Communications to provide broadcast services for the GP2, GP3 and Porsche Supercup motor racing series.


    The deal will see Tata Communications offer live feeds delivered over fibre and satellite networks from the 12 race locations in 2015 to broadcasters around the world.

    "We are always looking to help provide our partners and clients with the highest standards of support and service and our decision to appoint Tata Communications as the provider of these broadcast services is designed to deliver this," says Bernie Ecclestone, CEO, Formula One Group.

    The service will draw on Tata Communications' existing Race Network Operations Centre (NOC), located in the Formula 1 Technical Centre, which is present at every F1 Event. The Indian company already provides FOM with a content delivery network, MPLS, Internet access, managed hosting and security and co-location services.

    Vinod Kumar, MD and CEO, Tata Communications, added: "By consolidating fixed line connectivity needs with Tata Communications, Formula One Management will be able to take the greatest possible advantage of that infrastructure and tap into the versatility, on and off-site support and existing knowledge and experience of our platform and our team. We are a unique player in the ecosystem and well-placed to help deliver high quality live feeds to customers all over the world."

    Since 2012 Tata Communications has supported 57 races with over 400 hours of live service management.

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    Apple certifies Prime Focus' for iTunes content delivery

    DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 27 May 2015

    Apple has approved the delivery of movies and associated assets to iTunes via Prime Focus Technologies' cloud-based content delivery network.
    The news comes a month after the Indian company launched its Digital Next technology for the media and entertainment industry at NAB in Las Vegas.


    "Today's consumers demand more content, quicker and at their fingertips - a challenge we welcome and combat daily," said Ramki Sankaranarayanan, founder and CEO, Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) primefocustechnologies.com.

    "Apple is an absolute leader in meeting the demands of digital consumers and providing innovative ways of content delivery. We are honoured to have Apple recognise our commitment to this space and to have earned their trust as a long-term partner."

    PFT, which is listed on the NSE and BSE in India, is one of a handful of direct-delivery vendors in India and supports major content owners in the region for iTunes processing.

    Its clients include Disney, Star TV, Warner Bros Television Studios, CBS Television Studios, 20th Century Fox Television Studios, Relativity Media, Legendary Pictures, Starz Media, Lionsgate, A&E TV Network, Crown Media Family Networks, and FX Networks.

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    IHS: US cable performance improves

    While US cable operators continue to show improvement, the overall pay TV market still faces strong headwinds, according to IHS.

    US cable companies improved on normal quarterly losses In the first quarter of 2015, losing only 132,900 subscribers since the fourth quarter of 2014. Many pay TV operators have already seized the initiative to attract non-pay TV households, starting with the launch of Sling TV by Dish, as well as customisable packages from Verizon and new “cord-cutter” packages at Cablevision.

    US pay TV chart“Cable’s strong performance in the first quarter signals that the maturation of the US pay TV business is nearly complete,” said Erik Brannon, senior analyst, television media for IHS Technology.

    “Significant gains for telco IPTV players are coming to an end, as cable companies have lately done a better job reducing churn. Growth in high-speed data and bundling are significant components of the cable industry’s growth strategy; however, better execution and technological developments are also playing significant roles in reducing subscriber losses.”

    Even as the cable industry finds ways to mitigate losses, the number of US TV households without a pay TV subscription is still expected to grow from 18.6 million in 2008 to 26.7 million in 2019. According to the latest information in the IHS State of the US TV Operator Market report, nominal declines in cord-cutting are expected to be the norm, with pay TV households falling slightly from 101.0 million in 2014 to 100.3 million in 2019.

    “This decline does not signal the death of the pay TV business, as gains in average revenue per user are likely keep video revenue on a slow-growth trajectory,” Brannon said. “Even so, the number of pay TV households in the United States is forecast to remain fairly flat, as pay TV over-the-top television (OTT) solutions become more attractive.”

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    Rostelecom builds PON network

    Russia’s Rostelecom has constructed a multi-service network employing Passive Optical Network (PON) technology that covers a total of one million households in St Petersburg and the Leningrad region.

    It allows subscribers to access a number of services including broadband at up to 200 Mbps and IPTV offering 200 TV channels in digital and HD quality.

    Rostelecom began constructing a fibre-optic infrastructure in St Petersburg in 2008.

    It is the first company in Russia to provide services based on PON technology and they are already used by 300,000 of its subscribers.

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    TiVo acquires Cubiware

    TiVo has acquired the Warsaw-based middleware and multiscreen specialist Cubiware, in a move the US firm says will expand its international presence.

    “We are very excited about the opportunities in front of us as part of TiVo, especially as many Pay-TV operators in emerging markets are looking for innovative advanced television software solutions that can be deployed on cost-effective set-top boxes and other devices,” said Jakub Gorski, Cubiware’s CEO and Co-founder. “Cubiware’s solution is integrated with a variety of leading set-top-box providers enabling over 4 million devices in the field. Becoming part of TiVo will enable us to offer more advanced solutions to our current customers and pursue a broader set of prospects with a proposition that offers compelling functionality at a very attractive price point.”

    TiVo says it will look to expand on the relationships built by Cubiware in the field of set-top boxes and conditional access.

    “Cubiware’s recent growth reflects its strong position in markets that are experiencing rapid pay television expansion,” said Tom Rogers, TiVo’s President and CEO. “The combination of TiVo and Cubiware is expected to enhance Cubiware’s product offering with a variety of features in the future including advanced search and recommendations, OTT applications, and user interface enhancements that will further distinguish Cubiware products and accelerate customer expansion.”

    CubiwareThe majority of Cubiware’s customers are based in Europe and include Telecom Austria and Finland’s DNA. Outside the contintent customers include Columbus Communications in the Caribbean and Cablemas in Mexico.

    Cubiware’s co-founders and managers, Jakub Gorski (CEO) and Maciej Grzonkowski (CTO), worked together on one of the world’s first over-the-top (OTT) video-on-demand (VOD) set-top box (STB) and IPTV projects, which was for the Japanese market. In 2008, the two founded Cubiware, entering the market with middleware for the IPTV sector.


 

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