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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

New milestone for Horizon/TiVo as Liberty’s revenues rise Liberty Global ended Q3 with a combined total of 4.3 million subscribers

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    New milestone for Horizon/TiVo as Liberty’s revenues rise

    Liberty Global ended Q3 with a combined total of 4.3 million subscribers to Horizon TV and TiVo, adding 339,000 during the quarter.

    Horizon TV, which gained 248,000 subscribers, saw its strongest quarterly growth on record, partly driven by Ziggo results, while TiVo take-up increased by 91,000. Given that only 20% of the company’s cable TV base subscribed to its next generation platforms at the end of Q3, Liberty says it sees ample up-sell potential ahead for both.

    Liberty saw impressive RGU growth in most European markets in Q3, gaining 178,000 in West Europe and 118,000 in CEE. Germany performed particularly well, gaining 102,000 RGUs, while in the UK Virgin Media added 68,000 RGUs. Belgium (Telenet) gained 26,000, while there were losses in the Netherlands (Ziggo, – 18,000) and Switzerland (-13,000).

    There was record customer growth in the UK (42,000) in Q3, while in Germany the total increased by 14,000. All told, the company’s customer base in Europe expanded by 5,000 on an organics basis to 25.8 million.

    Although Liberty lost 63,700 video subscribers in Europe in Q3, with the Netherlands (-43,500) and UK (-10,700) the hardest hit, it also saw strong growth in its mobile business, ended the quarter with 4.6 million customers, or 65,000 more than three months earlier.

    In the DTH sector, Liberty gained subscribers in Q3 in all four CEE markets it provides services in, with the strongest growth (+13,500) being seen in Romania. As of the end of September, total DTH subs stood at 798,600, or 18,200 more than three months earlier.

    Liberty’s revenues in Q3 amounted to $4.3 billion, or 2.2% more than a year earlier, and were driven principally by the addition of Ziggo and to a lesser extent organic revenue growth.

    Meanwhile, OCF (Operating Cash Flow) amounted to $72 million, up 3.6% on the same period last year.

    Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries said: “Subscriber growth is back on track with 320,000 RGU additions (in Europe and Latin America) in the third quarter, including 220,000 new broadband subscribers. This acceleration in volume growth was fuelled by our operations in Germany and the UK. Continued traction of our cutting-edge Horizon TV platform resulted in a record quarter of almost 250,000 new subscriptions. The execution of our aggressive technology roadmap continues delivering innovative products like our recently launched Replay TV functionality and next-generation WiFi gateway.”

    “In the Netherlands, our renewed focus on service quality and product launches since the Ziggo rebrand resulted in better subscriber performance as compared to the first half. With momentum continuing across the rest of our business, we are targeting up to one million organic RGU additions for 2015, and look forward to a strong Q4. On the mobile front, we improved our product portfolio with the launch of data-rich 4G offerings in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Chile. In total, we added over 450,000 post-paid subscribers in the last twelve months and together with our successful split-contract mobile offering, drove our Q3 rebased mobile revenue by 18% year-over-year.”

    “From a financial perspective, in Europe we reported 3.5% rebased revenue growth in Q3, our best quarterly performance in two years, led by top-line growth in Germany, Belgium and the U.K. Our YTD rebased OCF growth came in at 3%. As we continue to expect to meet full-year guidance of mid-single- digit rebased growth, we anticipate a higher OCF growth rate in Q4 than the YTD growth rate for our European operations. Finally, we generated Free Cash Flow of $1.7 billion during the first nine months of 2015, a 24% improvement year-over-year.”

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    Unitymedia to add RTL to VOD service


    German cable operator Unitymedia will offer its customers programmes from the free-to-air channels of commercial broadcast group Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland within its video-on-demand (VOD) service TV archive free-of-charge.

    The agreement signed between both companies covers the channels RTL, VOX, RTL II, Super RTL, n-tv and RTL Nitro. The programmes such as shows, series, documentaries, news and reports will be offered in sections like RTL Shop or VOX Shop up to seven days after their broadcast.

    The RTL and VOX sections will launch this year, expanding the cable operator’s VOD platform which currently already contains 35,000 titles.

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    Movistar boosts Telefónica performance

    Telefónica ended September with 2.5 million pay-TV subscribers in its home market Spain, or 1.6 times more than a year earlier, gaining 275,000 in the third quarter alone.

    The figure, which includes 120,000 DTH customers (gross additions and migrations from DTS), was boosted by such factors as the new Movistar+ offer, introduced in July.

    Meanwhile, Movistar Fusíon gained 126,000 customers in Q3, ending the quarter with over 4 million.

    As of the end of September, over half of Movistar Fusíon customers had opted for the new Movistar Fusíon portfolio, which had been launched in July integrating Digital+ content, and 450,000 TV customers signed up to a ‘TV Premium’ promotion offering its contents for €9.90 a month until the end of the year.

    Telefónica España’s revenues in Q3 amounted to €2,998 million, reported and organic increases of 10.8% and 4.8% respectively on a year earlier.

    OIBDA was €1,335 million (-2.9% and -2.9%), while the group’s net income as a whole for all its operations was €884 million, -1.9% down on the reported figure a year earlier.

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    Pay-TV operators hold 4K security advantage

    Pay-TV platforms have the upper hand when it comes to the security of premium content distributed in the 4K and HDR formats.

    The Impact of MovieLabs’ Enhanced Content Protection Specification on Pay-TV Service Providers, a white paper released by security specialists Nagra and Conax, says the type of certification specified by MovieLabs is already routinely done by some leading pay-TV conditional access providers today.

    “When these providers implement their own DRM schemes, they go through the same rigorous testing and certification processes as well,” the report says.

    MovieLabs, the joint technology venture of the major Hollywood studios, has aimed to address the rampant piracy of 1080 HD content with a comprehensive set of new security recommendations. Though posed as “recommendations,” the measures are required by studios for pay-TV service providers and other licensees to have access to Enhanced Content.

    In answer to the self-certification provided by DRM vendors, MovieLabs has specified a “trusted implementer” requirement under which “the compliance of the system and the robustness of its implementation shall be certified by a combination of third parties and trusted implementers.”

    The robust certification process in use by the leading conditional access vendors confirms compliance with hardware security requirements for CA-based security. With the advent of multiscreen services the certification has been extended to all types of devices.

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    Major managerial change at Poland’s TVN

    John Driscoll has left his position as VP of the TVN management board and TVN CFO. However, he will continue with the Polish broadcaster in an advisory capacity for a specified period of time.

    Commenting on the development, Markus Tellenbach, the president of the TVN management board and CEO, said: “John has played a key role in the operating and financial management of TVN since 2010, culminating in the acquisition of TVN by Scripps Networks Interactive and the transition of TVN from a public company to a privately held company, and on behalf of TVN I would like to thank him for his loyalty and all his outstanding contributions to the group.”

    Driscoll added: “I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Markus Tellenbach and the TVN management board during the last five years, and to have contributed to the management and development of the group during this period. With the change of ownership to Scripps, and the taking private of TVN, it was the right time to move on and explore other potential future opportunities. I wish the management board and the employees of TVN good fortune and best wishes for the future.”

    Piotr Korycki, member of the TVN management board in charge of business controlling, has been appointed as VP of the management board and will assume responsibility for the majority of these corporate functions that previously reported to Driscoll.

    Korycki has been with TVN since 2003.

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    Scripps Networks launches Food Network and Fine Living in Germany

    US media company Scripps Networks Interactive has made its thematic channels Food Network and Fine Living available in German-speaking Europe for the first time.

    The channels form part of the OTT platform German TV listings guide TV Spielfilm launched in July 2015.

    Food Network and Fine Living are offered within the new pay-TV package Lifestyle which also contains Scripps Networks’ Travel Channel. They are joined by Marco Polo TV, BonGusto and auto motor und sport channel.

    The Lifestyle package costs €2.99 per month.

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    Mockridge: Virgin’s ‘best-ever’ Q3

    Virgin Media has reported its best Q3 customer growth since the company was formed in 2007.

    The cablenet added 42,000 further customers in the UK, but the recently rebranded Irish operations saw a 2,000 customer loss.

    Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO, said: “Virgin Media delivered a strong performance during the quarter and our best Q3 customer growth since Virgin Media was formed in 2007. “As we invest to grow Virgin Media we’re building real momentum: connecting more homes and businesses, attracting and retaining more customers.

    “Alongside this we are delivering unrivalled services, with the launch of Vivid ultrafast broadband speeds up to 200 Mbps for consumers and 300 Mbps for business. In Ireland, we have launched the Virgin Media brand and launched a market leading new mobile offer. ”

    Broadband continues to be the driver with 191,000 customers now taking speeds of over 100 Mbps, following a recent marketing push. It’s new ‘Vivid’ launch has boosted available consumer broadband speeds up to 200 Mbps. Business customers will see speeds of 300 Mbps early in 2016.

    Next generation TV services also continue to add customers. The UK TiVo service and Ireland’s Horizon between them adding 102,000 subscribers, bringing the combined installed base close to 3 million.

    Operating income for the quarter was £66 million and £267 million for the year-to-date.

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    Spanish millennials prefer Internet to TV

    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez| 07 November 2015



    Internet consumption is rocketing among Spanish millennials, while fewer seem to be spending their time in front of the TV.


    The trend, revealed by a report from Spain's Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), shows 93.3% of youngsters over 16 years old like to use to the Internet, while 82% watch TV regularly.

    Among those watching TV, almost 14% sit in front of it for more than 15 hours per week, while such long consumption hours are only found in 8% of millennial Internet users.

    The report, which describes domestic consumption habits, also shows 34.7% of Spaniards watch online video at least once a week, with short videos and series the preferred content. But, as pointed out by previous reports, paying for watching online and over-the-top (OTT) content is not popular, and only 7.9% of connected homes do it.

    Only one in three families that pay for online content have a video-on-demand (VOD) subscription, a figure pointing to a very undeveloped OTT, VOD market.

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    Telmex selects Cisco for managing cloud SDN, NFV

    Juan Fernandez Gonzalez | 07 November 2015



    América Móvil's Telmex is to launch cloud services for companies across Latin America, including a software defined network (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) solutions in partnership with Cisco.


    Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions are also included in the new cloud service, enabling customers to implement any kind of service in the cloud, without having to migrate the whole server infrastructure.

    For the Software as a Service (Saas) solutions, Telmex has selected Cisco's Virtual Managed Services platform, which enables users to implement services, applications and connectivity in the cloud, with high security standards.

    The multi-vendor technologies, together with SDN and NFV solutions, reduce operative expenses by up to 78%, while operation time decreases, enabling, for instance, to create a new, functional cloud application in a few days.

    Cisco's security solution is to monitor the service 24/7, preventing malware and other attacks. Telmex is to control the proper working of its cloud service from its newly opened information technology operation centre. It intends to start running the new cloud solutions before the end of the month.

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    4K Summit: Western Europe, with sports as killer app, to drive Ultra HD – eventually

    Editor | 07 November 2015



    It may take ‘a little time longer’ than expected to take off but Ultra HD will indeed reach its expected commercial, says SNL Kagan analyst Mohammed Hamza.


    Speaking at the 4K Summit in Seville, Hamza told a packed audience that the industry needed to be patient regarding Ultra HD’s commercial development even if it were pretty clear that technologically the 4K ecosystem was in place.

    Hamza invited delegates to look at HD development before they turned their attention to Ultra HD. He noted that at present 60% of Western European homes were HD-enabled and that this would rise to around 78% by 2024.

    Even in what is regarded as the key market for HDTV, the UK, pay-TV giant Sky had only 55% of its user base switched on to HD while in other leading countries 41 out of 121 of the channels offered by Canal+ in Spain were in HD. Moreover looking at the key distribution platform for high-quality services, the analyst observed that of the 5,800 channels delivered by satellite leader Eutelsat only 6,090 were in HD. It was, he added, a similar story with SES where 31% of the 6,963 channels were high-definition in nature.

    Despite warning that fundamentally broadcasters had a job on their hands with HDTV, Hamza assured that that Ultra HD was enjoying greater momentum than HDTV at its comparable period in development.

    In terms of hard numbers, Western Europe is the current Ultra HD leader with 11 channels to date. Hamza told the audience that they should bear in mind that this was far in excess of the number of channels that SNL Kagan had expected. He described SES’s bullish prediction of 1,000 Ultra HD channels by 2025 as ‘not that unrealistic’ driven by the fact that all of the key technological pieces of the market’s ecosystem were already in place.

    On a cautionary note, Hamza pointed to the fact that essential equipment prices would still be a key determinant as to market development. He noted that premium was the only model that really made sense but that making the required equipment, particularly STBs, would be a painful and expensive process.

    VOD he insisted was going to be a key driver for Ultra HD in the mid-term at least and OTT was also presenting an early opportunity for 4K content providers. In his opinion the platform allowed operators such as Netflix and Amazon to experiment more and be ‘more picky' with titles that could attract premium pricing. He also noted that YouTube supported Ultra HD.

    Concluding, he described sports as the sole driver for linear 4K but also warned that the current debate regarding HDR, in particular standards could delay roll-out of services. Cuts in PSB broadcasters’ budgets – in particular at the BBC – could also put a brake on roll-out. But in all he insisted that momentum would grow. “There is no need for the market to wait for linear," he assured. “There is enough VOD content. 4K sports will be the killer app with the 2016 Olympics and 2018 World cup key. “


 

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