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Industry veterans join Xite advisory board The personalised music TV service Xite has formed a new advisory board today, consisting

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    Industry veterans join Xite advisory board

    The personalised music TV service Xite has formed a new advisory board today, consisting of renowned TV industry leaders and music influentials, with the aim of bringing music videos back to TV in the US.

    The newly formed board consists of Roger Faxon (board member at Pandora Media, former CEO of EMI), Jason Flom (CEO of Lava Records, former CEO/chairman of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and the Capitol Music Group), Eric Budin (Venture partner at Touchdown Ventures, former VP product strategy and Incubation for Liberty Global) and Bill Roedy (Former Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks International and VP for HBO) (pictured)

    “It is an honour that these industry veterans have decided to team up with us, and it will be crucial in achieving our goal to become a global music video company” said Derk Nijssen, founder and CEO of Xite Networks International.

    “The board’s primary functions will be to help advise and foster partnerships with artists and labels, as well as oversee distribution and growth in Europe and particularly the US.”

    Xite launched in 2008 with a linear TV channel, also available via multi-channel VOD services, serving over 15 million households across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany
    and Qatar.

    In 2015, Xite took their service a step further. In addition to retaining an around-the-clock offering of music videos and original programming, they reinvented the way people watch music videos with the world’s first personalised music television service. The company’s expanded service model allows users to like and skip through their Xite channel to build a customised music video channel based on their personal taste. Other features include a video on demand service and curated theme channels.

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    Cable call to speed regulation

    The President of Cable Europe has called on regulators to reduce the burden of regulation to enable cable to continue the road to consolidation.

    Manuel Kohnstamm, who is also the Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of Liberty Global, said Europe still had some 150 telecoms and fibre operations compared to the two found in China or United States.
    Turning his attention to the regulators and policymakers listening in the Square conference centre, Brussels, Kohnstamm reminded them it took a year to approve the smallest market transactions. “We need to quickly fast track this constellation in order to grow the European markets”.

    He said there was a school of thought that an oligopoly had emerged amid a presumption of guilt and market failure. As hundreds of operators were consolidating, Kohnstamm said there was the opportunity for regulators to crack down on incumbent telcos.

    Earlier, Cable Europe executive chairman Matthias Kurth opened this year’s Cable Congress with the declaration that cable will be the front-runner for the Gigabit society.

    “Cable revenues grew by 4.6pc last year, and that’s a big figure if you factor in that the economy is not growing by these numbers,” he said.
    Connectivity was no longer a topic of just the telco industry, but also the car industry.

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    Digi outlines Romanian market position

    RCS&RDS (Digi) has no competition in almost half the area covered by its fixed network in Romania.

    Quoting data included in the company’s prospectus for a €350 million bond issue held last November, ZF reports that of the 4.65 million homes covered by the fixed network, around 2.3 million are offered cable TV and internet services solely by RCS&RDS.

    The data also indicated that Telekom and UPC, the company’s main competitors, covered 1.35 million and 2.7 million homes respectively.

    While the latest figures show that Telekom now covers over 2 million homes with ist fibre network and UPC can provide digital servuices to 2.8 million homes, RCS&RDS’s main advantage appears to be that it has modernised around 84% of its network in Romania and Hungary to offer internet doiwnload speeds of up to 1Gbps.

    Separately, quoted by Business Review, Catalin Marinescu, the president of the Romanian regulator ANCOM, has said that the internet penetration rate in the country has now reached 89%, with the connectivity rate standing at around 60%.

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    Putts, Frutier strengthen UPC Polska, CEE structure

    Liberty Global’s UPC has made two key appointments in Central and Eastern Europe.

    The first sees Anna Putts assume the position of head of marketing communication for UPC in the CEE region, effective March 1.

    Putts has many years of experience in the media, telecom and electronics industries in Poland and the UK and was for the last three years the marketing director at Samsung Electronics Polska and North Eastern Europe Samsung Cluster.

    Meanwhile, Jany Frutier has joined the board at UPC Polska and become the company’s finance director, also effective March 1.

    Until now he was the manager of financial planning and analysis for the CEE region.

    He originally joined Liberty Global in Switzerland, prior to which he worked for a private equity fund in the Netherlands.

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    Bergsma joins ShortsTV

    Shorts International has appointed Jesse Bergsma as president of ShortsTV EMEA.

    Bergsma has nearly 20 years of media experience, having worked at Canal+ and Chellomedia in the Netherlands.

    In his new role he will be responsible for the channel’s EMEA operations, including affiliate sales, marketing and film acquisitions.
    Commenting on his appointment, Bergsma said: “The market for short movies is expanding rapidly. As the only short movie channel in the world, ShortsTV is in a unique position to work with our European affiliates to bring these movies to their audiences across the continent.

    “With viewing habits for audiences migrating toward mobile viewing of shorter content, I see a great opportunity for ShortsTV.”

    Carter Pilcher, chief executive of Shorts International, added: “We’re thrilled to have Jesse Bergsma join us to head ShortsTV in Europe.

    “He’s a great addition to the team, and has the skill and the smarts to ignite our roll-out across Europe.”
    ShortsTV is the world’s first and only 24/7 HD TV channel dedicated to short movies.

    Operated by Shorts International Limited, it is available in the US, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia.

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    M7 Deutschland launches low-cost HD package

    M7 Deutschland has created a new pay-TV package for platform operators.

    Premium HD comprises 12 HD channels: 13th Street HD, A&E HD, AXN HD, Duck TV HD, Fox HD Mezzo Live HD, MTV Live HD, National Geographic HD, Penthouse HD, Sony Channel HD, sportdigital HD and Syfy HD.

    With a recommended consumer subscription price of less than €10 per month, the aim is to mainly attract customers who aren’t pay-TV subscribers yet, complementing basic package Basis HD.

    “100% entertainment with 100% transmission quality: We thereby reliably secure the media provision of the network industry in the long run against players who still have to prove their consistency,” said Christian Heinkele, managing director of Eviso Germany, business partner of M7 Group.

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    Wikileaks suggest CIA hacked Samsung smart TVs

    According to Wikileaks, CIA agents have managed to hack Samsung smart TVs with malware called Weeping Angel.

    The app was created during a joint workshop with the agency’s British counterparts, MI5, in 2014. Weeping Angel runs just like a normal TV app, but in the background, capturing audio but not video. It can, however, also recover the Wi-Fi keys the TV uses to later hack the target’s Wi-Fi network, and access any usernames and passwords stored on the TV browser.

    There is also a feature dubbed Fake Off where the TV would continue recording even when it appears to be shut down.

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    ESPN returns to Africa

    Econet Media’s Kwesé Sports and ESPN have today (March 8) launched the ESPN channel on the Kwesé TV bouquet.

    The move marks the return of ESPN to the African continent and will be followed by the launch of an African edition of the ESPN website and mobile app by Kwesé and ESPN later this year.

    Commenting on ESPN’s launch, president and CEO of Econet Media Joseph Hundah said :“This is a real game changer. In ESPN we have a collaborator that enhances our offering to our viewers. We have always aimed to deliver premium sports programming and we continue to bring the best to our sports fans, through our acquisitions of top-shelf sports rights and our investment in our platforms and in how we deliver our programming whether through pay-TV, FTA or digital mobile platforms. The launch of this channel is significant as it cements our place as a leading provider of sports programming in Africa”.

    Russell Wolff, executive VP and MD, ESPN International, added: “We are thrilled to be working with a fellow innovator like Econet to bring ESPN and SportsCenter back to television screens in Africa and expanding the Kwesé and ESPN digital connection with fans. This launch is just the beginning of how these two great companies will serve fans (in) Africa.”

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    Operators remain confident in OTT battle

    BRUSSELS – CABLE CONGRESS. Cable operators are up to the challenge new entrants are posing to them.

    “In Switzerland we developed light product, Horizon Lite, to address OTT competition,” according to Eric Tveter, CEO CE Group, Liberty Global, “and we invested in sports rights.

    “That’s a big change for us. Our major competitor has used football and ice hockey exclusivity for many years. Liberty has invested in Horizon, but we have a new device coming out the Ios box, a lower cost box. User experience makes it different.”

    Netflix is complementary to us, we just integrated in Switzerland, after having started in England. In Germany Unity Media launched a deal with Maxdome. Amazon we are still evaluating.”

    “In Germany we have the nice situation, where the big provider (Sky) is not competing with us. Sky has all the Bundeliga football and movie rights,” said Manuel Cubero, CEO Kabel Deutschland and CCO Vodafone Germany.

    “We can cooperate with SVOD providers, such as Maxdome, that has same level as Netflix in Germany. We also launched Giga TV, our OTT platform, whereby we are taking our experience in cable and bring that to mobile services.”

    Harold Rösch, CEO Melita, is faced with another competitor: pirates. One in three of subscribers to Malta’s incumbent cable TV service have an Android box, which gives access “to all channels of the world.’

    In Sweden, Com hem acquired the DTT pay service Boxer. Anders Nilsson, CEO Com Hem, said: “We acquired 500,0000 customers, and try to connect them to broadband. We are currently developing a hybrid box, combing
    DTT, DOCSIS and IP. We will also see a we will see a service without a box.”
    He is not afraid of the newcomers in the OTT space offering live linear channels “Skinny bundles are going to cost more when you add them up; we can bundle it better and cheaper and the consumer likes simplicity.”

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    AMC Iberia launching two new UHD channels

    BRUSSELS – CABLE CONGRESS. AMC Networks International Iberia is launching Canal Cocina and Canal Decasa in 4K UHD from June in Spain.

    The channels will be joining the documentary channel Odisea 4K, the first of the network’s channels to broadcast in this resolution.

    AMC Networks International Iberia will also produce branded content in 4K UHD, making it the first television network to produce advertising in HD.


 

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