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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

MobiTV gains $21MN funding Oak Investment Partners and Ally Corporate Finance have made a $21 million bet on IP-based video

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    MobiTV gains $21MN funding

    Oak Investment Partners and Ally Corporate Finance have made a $21 million bet on IP-based video delivery solutions provider MobiTV.

    After forging a reputation in the nascent mobile TV industry almost a decade ago, MobiTV evolved to help pay-TV providers expand their services beyond the traditional set-top box. Its Connect Platform is designed to be able to allow cable and broadband operators to upgrade their user experience*to address the need to transition their pay-TV offerings to IP-based solutions.

    The funding will see use in accelerating the expansion of the MobiTV Connect Platform to enable IP delivery for pay-TV providers. “We’re able to future proof the service providers’ pay-TV offerings through state-of-the-art features and rich user experiences that are not constrained by the legacy STB ecosystem,” said Charlie Nooney, CEO of MobiTV.

    “Our ability to use widely adopted streaming devices allows real time enablement of new technologies like 4K/HEVC, cloud DVR, replay TV, robust voice control, and other consumer preferences across all screens without the high cost of replacing legacy QAM STBs in the home.”

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    Scripps stumbles on Q4 earnings but sees a Millennial future

    Scripps Networks Interactive has said it is focused on Millennial-friendly interactive services going forward, amid duller than expected fourth-quarter earnings.

    The company, the home of Food Network, HGTV and other lifestyle networks, has an impressive track record, having delivered positive earnings surprises in each of the last four quarters, with an average beat-the-street percentage of 27.89%. But for the fourth quarter of 2016, Scripps Networks’ earnings (excluding special items) of $1.02 per share fell short of the $1.06 per share that analysts were expecting, meaning they declined significantly on a year-over-year basis. In general, analysts were looking for earnings of $879 million in revenue.

    Revenue was a different story: Scripps Networks reported operating revenues of $888.7 million, up 4.3% on a year-on-year basis, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $881.2 million. Operating revenues in the US networks segment climbed 4.1%, on the back of impressive advertising revenue growth. Operating revenues in the international networks segment also grew on a year-on-year basis.

    For the full year, Scripps says that it expects revenues to climb 6% to $3.6 billion, above the $3.5 billion that the Street was expecting.

    Scripps Networks CEO Ken Lowe, speaking on the company’s earnings call, said that despite the earnings hiccup, strong digital growth and Millennial interest wouldcarry it forward.

    “We right now feel like we're, I think, in very good shape because of the growth that we've seen in Millennials in all of our categories,” he said. “And of course, this is coming predominantly from social media. You’ve heard me refer to this before: there's a certain lifestyle change, I don't want to say it's 30 years of age, but let's talk about the home category. We're seeing engagement among Millennials who as they age over the past several years, have grown into our linear television viewing.”

    Social engagement among the younger populace, he said, was at an all-time high, especially for reality-based programming.

    “What we're finding in non-fiction viewing, there's a lot more engagement,” Lowe noted. “There's a lot more of live, ‘did you see this?’ ‘Which home do you think they're going to choose?’ By the way, on Chopped, this is the missing ingredient, whereas scripted, there's less of an opportunity while the actual show is going on to interact... So I think in the next two years in your time window, we're going to see more emphasis on the engagement part of it, more on the information part of it.”

    This dovetails with Scripps Networks’ digital push as well. It launched a new business division*in 2015*in 2015 to drive digital content innovation and advertising solutions, dubbed Scripps Lifestyle Studios. It’s a full-service editorial unit that has been spearheading the development of what the company calls “compelling lifestyle experiences” across multiple platforms, including social media, apps, websites and third-party digital media outlets.

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    Facebook in talks to stream MLB games once a week

    Opening Day for Major League Baseball in the US is 3 April, and Facebook is giving fans a new way to watch.

    Reuters is reporting that the social network is looking to do a deal with the league that will let it stream one MLB game per week — very similar to Twitter’s arrangement with the NFL to stream Thursday Night Football last season. That experiment proved out the case for social media-as-distributors: the first NFL game to be streamed on Twitter drew more than 2.3 million viewers. Facebook also is in the midst of building a premium video option, so the idea makes all kinds of sense for the company.

    The deal would bring new fans to the MLB and offer it a way to engage Millennials, who famously eschew traditional live-linear TV for other consumption methods. It would also give it more international exposure; access online would allow folks from baseball-crazed China, for instance, to follow the world’s top league live.

    “The scope of their audience is worldwide,” said sports media consultant Lee Berke, speaking to Reuters. “They have a range of audiences and sports loyalties they can appeal to.”

    It’s likely that baseball’s main distribution partners, like Fox and ESPN, won’t be in love with the idea of streaming games. But arguably, the sheer number of games in any given season means that fans are unlikely to find themselves at home for all of them; there’s a case to be made that the ratings effect will be additive rather than cannibalising.

    Baseball has been dabbling in digital experiments a bit of late: Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports teamed up last autumn on a live digital baseball pre-game show entitled Live The World Series, which aired on location from every game of the Fall Classic. Episodes aired live on the MLBonFOX Facebook page and were shared across various Fox Sports and Sports Illustrated Facebook channels, reaching a combined audience of 13.5 million users.

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    Advertising dollars to shift to mobile video

    Two-thirds of US consumers watch mobile video daily, meaning that mobile video is gearing up to pass the PC as the preferred platform. And, data suggests that advertisers are taking notice, and preparing to shift ad dollars in response.


    AOL’s latest report on video habits shows that mobile video is nearly neck and neck with the PC, at 57% to 58%, respectively. In the US, consumers like both: 67% use the smartphone and 70% use their PC to watch video away from the TV.

    Furthermore, the report*shows*shows that 77% of survey participants said they couldn't live without their smartphone, or always have it within arm’s reach. For US consumers, the situation is an even more stark picture of addiction: 89% said they couldn't live without the device.

    Perhaps because of this, three-quarters (74%) of US consumers have watched at least some live video on their smartphones — a number that outpaces the rest of the world, where the average is 65%.

    Then there’s virtual reality; a nascent arena, at best. But AOL said that a full 28% of US consumers have experienced VR on their phone, and 31% expect to watch more VR videos in the next 12 months.

    All of this mobile interest is having a direct effect on ad dollar allocation. Globally, AOL found that 47% of advertisers expect to increase spending on mobile by 25% or more in 2017, as do 57% of publishers. And in the US, it’s much higher: a whopping 70% of advertisers expect to increase mobile video spend by 25% or more, as do 79% of publishers.

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    Azteca sees pay-off only in Mexico

    Content sales in Mexico are driving most of TV Azteca’s financial activity, while its foreign operations are losing significance.


    As the media company continued refocusing on the local market, so its operational results evolved, reaching $217 million in sales during Q4 2016, 4% more than during the same period in 2015, according to parent company Grupo Salina’s report.*

    Of the total amount, $165 million was driven by the Mexican operation both through content sales and advertising. As a result, income through Azteca’s international operations was marginal.

    Azteca America, the free-to-air channel for the US Hispanic market, had sales of $20 million in the period, while content sales across Latin America were less than $2 million, and the FTA operation in Guatemala and Honduras less than $1 million.

    TV Azteca's telecom operations in Colombia, where it is reducing investment,*also saw a drop in income ($12 million during the period), while its Peruvian telco business remains stable ($9.5 million).

    “Our entertainment propositions and quality news programmes satisfy the demanding audience and have consolidated TV Azteca as Mexico’s free-to-air TV reference,” said Benjamín Salinas, CEO, TV Azteca. “Increasing incomes and highly efficient production have resulted in a solid expansion of the EBITDA margin.”

    EBITDA grew by 21% during the quarter to reach $74 million, and by 46% for the full year, reaching $185 million.

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    HBO awards Latin America exclusive Oscars rights

    Just as the Academy is preparing for its big night, HBO has announced exclusive Latin American rights for nearly half of the nominated films.

    Following several agreements with major production and distribution companies including Sony, Disney, Warner and Universal, HBO has confirmed TV and streaming rights*to air 21 of the 50 nominated films across the Latin American region.

    After tomorrow’s Oscars gala and throughout the rest of the year, the movies will first premiere for HBO/MAX subscribers, and then become available on HBO Go. HBO’s video-on-demand service works as a TV everywhere or standalone platform, depending on the territory.

    The 21 movies set to premiere on HBO throughout Latin America are Sony’s 20th Century Women, Land of Mine, The Lobster, Passengers, Manchester by the Sea and Arrival; Disney’s Doctor Strange, Moana, Star Wars Rogue One, Zootopia and The Jungle Book; Warner’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, Suicide Squad and Sully; Telefilms’ Hacksaw Ridge, Lion and Moonlight; and Universal’s Hail, Caesar!, Kubo and the Two Strings, Loving and Nocturnal Animals.

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    Cable & Wireless Flows the Caribbean TV shows’ talent

    Three of the Caribbean’s leading film producers will develop pilots for original TV series projects thanks to funding from Cable & Wireless’s Flow and CaribbeanTales Media Group.

    With $40,000 funding for each project, production work will begin on Battle Chronicle, a sci-fi/drama animated series created by Alain Bidard; and continue with Heat, a drama series filmed in Barbados from Menelik Shabazz, and Caribbean Girl NYC, a female-driven sitcom from New York-based Guadeloupian filmmaker Mariette Monpierre.

    “We recognise the significant hurdles that Caribbean producers face in financing and producing their content, and getting it out to audiences,” said John Reid, CEO of Cable and Wireless, operator of Flow. “We are honoured to help support this programme that is enabling the production and monetisation of this exciting emerging cultural industry.”

    Production on the pilots will begin in April 2017 and all of them will premiere this year at the 12th annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival*(CTFF)*(CTFF), of which Flow is also a sponsor. It will be held in Toronto, Canada, between 6 and 20 September.

    Frances-Anne Solomon, CEO of CaribbeanTales, added: “We are delighted that, together with Flow, we are able to provide the Caribbean’s top filmmakers with funding and a platform to produce top quality, local, content with the capacity to reach audiences across the region and the world.”

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    Czech DVB-T2: an update

    The transition to the DVB-T2 standard is expected to get under way in the Czech Republic on March 1.
    Then, reports Parabola, Ceske Radiokomunikace (CRa) may start using the standard on the transmitters located in Zizkov and Cukrak in Prague.
    Both sites were the first to be assigned to implement the standard. It adds that to date the public broadcaster CT has indicated a desire to broadcast its channels using DVB-T2.
    However, Digizone says that delays in the transition plan to DVB-T2 are already building as operators are waiting for the completion of the required international coordination of frequencies, as well as the approval of several key provisions.

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    Hrvatski Telekom poised for expansion

    The Croatian incumbent Hrvatski Telekom (HT) ended 2016 with 401,000 TV customers, or 3.4% more than a year earlier.
    Meanwhile, its TV ARPU increased by 1.4% to HRK82 (€11) over the same period.

    In its latest set of results, the company notes that ARPU was driven by premium content and enriched exclusive TV content. It also points to the continued growth of satellite TV, an extension of its classical IPTV service.
    HT had revenues of HRK6,970 million (+0.7%) in 2016 and EBITDA after exceptional items was HRK2,736 million (+1.7%). Its net profit amounted to HRK934 million (+1%).
    Commenting on the 2016 business results and plans for 2017, Davor Tomaskovic, president of the management board of Hrvatski Telekom, said: “We look back at a very successful year, in which we saw an increase of all financial indicators and continued to make substantial investments in infrastructure and company transformation.

    “We have fully reversed the falling trends and laid the foundations for growth and, by acquiring a majority stake in Crnogorski Telekom, we have expanded onto the regional market at the beginning of 2017. We will continue monitoring opportunities for regional expansion.
    “We will keep our focus on the strategy of growth of Hrvatski Telekom as a leader on the national and regional telecommunications and digital services market.”

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    FTTH drives Spanish broadband

    Spain added 1.8 million new FTTH lines in 2016, bringing the total to over 4.8 million.
    At the same time, according to data published by the regulator CNMC, DSL continued to decline, with the number of connections falling by 1.3 million during the year.
    In monthly terms, the number of FTTH lines increased by 139,829 in December 2016.
    Movistar, with around 3 million lines, accounted for 81.6% of the FTTH total as of the end of the year. While the number of DSL lines decreased by 83,747 in December, the number of HFC lines rose by 14,977.
    Movistar claimed a 42.80% share of the fixed broadband market in Spain in December 2016.
    It was followed by Orange (28.72%), Vodafone (23.02%), Grupo Masmovil (0.89%) and remaining providers (4.57%).


 

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