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Today β€” March 23rd 2019Telecom

Global piracy hits 190 billion visits in 2018

By Robert Briel

Global piracy numbers reached almost 190 billion pirate site visits in 2018, according to figures released by MUSO.

London-based MUSO collects data from billions of piracy infringements every day to help entertainment companies and rights owners see a bigger picture.

Over 189 billion visits were made to pirate sites in 2018. TV-related piracy took up 49.38% of all activity related to piracy, with only 17.9% for access to film.

Music was the third most pirated medium in 2018, with a 15.87% share. Only publishing and software were lower (11.49% and 6.16% respectively).

Almost 60 % of all piracy visits are to unlicensed web streaming sites, whereas public torrent networks now only equate to 13% of piracy visit activity.

The US was the nation with the most visits to pirate websites with well over 17 billion in 2018. Russia was only three billion visits behind the US with 14 billion visits. UK-specific data shows a decline, even in the streaming piracy
sector. While there were 4.5 billion visits recorded in 2017, this fell to 3.9 billion in 2018.

Andy Chatterley, CEO and co-founder of MUSO commented: “Digital piracy is still prevalent globally. Television is the most popular content for piracy and given the fragmentation of content across multiple streaming services perhaps this isn’t surprising.”

“Whilst it’s important to restrict the distribution of unlicensed content, there is a wealth of insight to be garnered from piracy audience data that gives a comprehensive view of global content consumption.

“Interestingly, in 2018 we have seen a ten percent increase in people bypassing search engines and going directly to the piracy destination of their choice. Simply focusing on take-downs is clearly a whack-a-mole approach and, while an essential part of any content protection strategy, it needs to be paired with more progressive thinking. With the right mindsight, piracy audiences can offer huge value to rights holders.”

The list of countries with the most pirate visits reads:

United States Of America: 17,380,038,844
Russian Federation: 14,468,624,277
Brazil: 10,283,315,744
India: 9,589,665,210
France: 7,339,837,375
Turkey: 7,335,249,001
Ukraine: 6,126,077,097
Indonesia: 6,075,238,380
United Kingdom: 5,750,562,133
Germany: 5,356,667,376

Police raid and arrest pirates in massive hit against illegal TV streaming

By Robert Briel

The Premier League, and national police in Spain, Denmark and Europol worked together in an international anti-piracy operation resulting in five arrests and uncovering a complex, international illegal IPTV business.

The Spanish national police has publicly announced the success of the largest investigation to-date into a global illegal IPTV streaming business. In an operation led by the Spanish national police in collaboration with police forces in the UK, Denmark, Europol, the Premier League and Irdeto, 14 locations were raided. As a result of the raids, five people have been arrested for crimes of belonging to a criminal organisation, intellectual property theft, fraud and money laundering.

Three of the members arrested lived in luxury housing developments in Spain’s southern region of Costa del Sol and owned several high-range cars. The profits of the illegal operation allowed members to live the high life – police estimate the group made €8 million since 2013.

The investigation uncovered a complex international technological infrastructure underpinning the illegal IPTV business, which comprised of 11 server farms distributed all over the world, some of them with more than 44 servers. The action has resulted in the shutdown of an illegal IPTV streaming business which allowed access to more than 800 television channels to subscribers in more than 30 countries, for subscriptions starting at €40 per month. The business was also found to have several associated profiles on social networks, promoting services to obtain more customers.

The investigation began in late 2015, initiated by the Premier League as part of a global effort to combat illegal online redistribution of its content. The focus was on a website based in Malaga, offering IPTV subscriptions with access to a multitude of international pay TV channels. It was subsequently revealed that the website was run by a specialised international criminal organisation with a presence in Spain, Denmark, United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

“The success of this investigation is a further example of the Premier League’s hugely impactful global anti-piracy programme. We are achieving unprecedented success in the protection of our media rights, with ground-breaking Court orders blocking illegal streams and numerous actions against suppliers of illegal Premier League content resulting in significant prison sentences,” said Premier League Director of Legal Services, Kevin Plumb.

“The support of the authorities is crucial in our anti-piracy efforts and we are very grateful to all the agencies that played a pivotal role in this operation, particularly the Spanish National Police for leading this collaborative investigation. We will continue to invest in cutting-edge technology and work with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders across the world to protect our rights.”

The illegal operation was found to have changed multiple servers periodically and gradually, creating new web pages in an attempt to go undetected by law enforcement.

In order to give an appearance of legality to the illicit business and to launder the profits, they created companies with legal activity and with a corporate purpose related to the provision of telecommunications services, internet and hardware. On the one hand, they had the technical and technological infrastructure necessary to be able to carry out their licit business (fibre operators) and also the illicit business (illegal IPTV subscriptions) and, on the other hand, the fact that they were authorized fibre operators served as an argument for customers to believe that they were also authorised for the distribution of foreign channels

During its operation, the business is estimated to have made roughly eight million euros, with those arrested in Spain residing in luxury residences on the Malaga coast. As part of the operation, police seized 12 high-end vehicles, real estate and blocked bank accounts. Of the five people arrested, three were arrested in Spain, detained and sent to prison following appearances in court.

“The scale of this investigation is testament to the seriousness of piracy as a crime and the impact it can have on the industry,” said Mark Mulready, Vice President – Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto.

“We will continue to support our customers, partners and law enforcement agencies to identify large-scale cross-border pirate networks and help combat piracy, resulting in the shutdown of these illegal businesses and hopefully directing consumers to legitimate and safe content sources.”

Discovery to launch Home & Garden TV in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Discovery will launch Home & Garden TV (HGTV) in Germany on June 6, 2019.

The channel, which shows programmes on topics such as house buying, renovating and interior design, will be offered as an unencrypted free-to-air channel via satellite and on the main cable networks, reports German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“We show how professionals are passionate about buying, renovating and beautifying houses,” Susanne Aigner-Drews, managing director of Discovery in Germany, told the paper. “It is the genuine life, which we accompany with cameras.”

Initially, mainly US shows will be broadcast with German original productions planned in the second step.

After Eurosport, men’s channel DMAX and women’s channel TLC, HGTV will be Discovery’s fourth advertising-funded free-to-air TV channel in Germany.

Discovery to launch Home & Garden TV in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Discovery will launch Home & Garden TV (HGTV) in Germany on June 6, 2019.

The channel, which shows programmes on topics such as house buying, renovating and interior design, will be offered as an unencrypted free-to-air channel via satellite and on the main cable networks, reports German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“We show how professionals are passionate about buying, renovating and beautifying houses,” Susanne Aigner-Drews, managing director of Discovery in Germany, told the paper. “It is the genuine life, which we accompany with cameras.”

Initially, mainly US shows will be broadcast with German original productions planned in the second step.

After Eurosport, men’s channel DMAX and women’s channel TLC, HGTV will be Discovery’s fourth advertising-funded free-to-air TV channel in Germany.

Discovery to launch Home & Garden TV in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Discovery will launch Home & Garden TV (HGTV) in Germany on June 6, 2019.

The channel, which shows programmes on topics such as house buying, renovating and interior design, will be offered as an unencrypted free-to-air channel via satellite and on the main cable networks, reports German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“We show how professionals are passionate about buying, renovating and beautifying houses,” Susanne Aigner-Drews, managing director of Discovery in Germany, told the paper. “It is the genuine life, which we accompany with cameras.”

Initially, mainly US shows will be broadcast with German original productions planned in the second step.

After Eurosport, men’s channel DMAX and women’s channel TLC, HGTV will be Discovery’s fourth advertising-funded free-to-air TV channel in Germany.

Yesterday β€” March 22nd 2019Telecom

Netgem revenues fall by a quarter

By Julian Clover

Net revenues at Netgem have fallen by a quarter after a reduction in operator investment in its Box TV product.

The French connected home specialist reported full-year net revenues of €19.6 million, a fall of 23%, and EBITDA of €2.7 million, 59% down on the previous year.

Launched 15 years ago, Netgem has 9 million homes in over 20 countries connected through Box TV.

But Netgem, which has never been afraid to shift its focus now wants to position itself as a platform for solutions and services for the connected home, meeting the needs of multiservice operators, offering ?à la carte? Connected Equipment and Operated Services.

It comes on the back of the emergence of new competition on services from Ultra High Speed Internet. The company points to the 17 million French households – some 40% of the country – that will run an Open Access model with multiple operators

Netgem has consequently created a venture with Caisse des Dépôts and Océinde to create Vitis, a multi-service and ultra-speed internet operator operating as Videofutur brand. Netgem believes the activities have high growth potential.

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex IPTV platform

By Julian Clover

Comcast is launching a new IPTV-only service to its internet-only customers.

Xfinity Flex comes with a 4K HDR streaming TV device, complete with Comcast’s award-winning voice remote, a single interactive guide for accessing popular streaming video and music choices, as well as Comcast’s home Wi-Fi, mobile, security, and automation services.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our Internet customers and provide them with real value,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president, Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable. “For just five dollars a month, we can offer these customers an affordable, flexible, and differentiated platform that includes thousands of free movies and shows for online streaming, an integrated guide for accessing their favorite apps and connected home devices, and the ease of navigating and managing all of it with our voice remote.”

Xfinity is backed by more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows including live streamed channels from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. There is also access to apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime.

Later, the full Xfinity X1 cable service will be available through the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex IPTV platform

By Julian Clover

Comcast is launching a new IPTV-only service to its internet-only customers.

Xfinity Flex comes with a 4K HDR streaming TV device, complete with Comcast’s award-winning voice remote, a single interactive guide for accessing popular streaming video and music choices, as well as Comcast’s home Wi-Fi, mobile, security, and automation services.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our Internet customers and provide them with real value,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president, Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable. “For just five dollars a month, we can offer these customers an affordable, flexible, and differentiated platform that includes thousands of free movies and shows for online streaming, an integrated guide for accessing their favorite apps and connected home devices, and the ease of navigating and managing all of it with our voice remote.”

Xfinity is backed by more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows including live streamed channels from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. There is also access to apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime.

Later, the full Xfinity X1 cable service will be available through the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex IPTV platform

By Julian Clover

Comcast is launching a new IPTV-only service to its internet-only customers.

Xfinity Flex comes with a 4K HDR streaming TV device, complete with Comcast’s award-winning voice remote, a single interactive guide for accessing popular streaming video and music choices, as well as Comcast’s home Wi-Fi, mobile, security, and automation services.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our Internet customers and provide them with real value,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president, Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable. “For just five dollars a month, we can offer these customers an affordable, flexible, and differentiated platform that includes thousands of free movies and shows for online streaming, an integrated guide for accessing their favorite apps and connected home devices, and the ease of navigating and managing all of it with our voice remote.”

Xfinity is backed by more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows including live streamed channels from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. There is also access to apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime.

Later, the full Xfinity X1 cable service will be available through the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

Cellnex eyes French transmission company TDF

By Julian Clover

The Spanish infrastructure company Cellnex says there’s a “massive opportunity” in the European transmission tower business.

Funded by an increase in its share capital, the Spanish financial daily Expansión reports that its first target is the French company TDF. It’s anticipated the firm can be secured for €3,000 million plus €2,000 million debt.

TDF has approximately 13,900 sites, of which about half are television and the rest of mobile communications.

47% of its business comes from telecommunications, 26% from TV and 17% from radio.

TDF is currently working on the shift of the 14-year old network to DVB-T2. Trials of Ultra High Definition are underway with a view to migrating to high definition transmissions by 2023, ahead of the Paris Olympics one year later.

FTTH advances in Spain

By Chris Dziadul

Spain ended January with over 8.6 million FTTH lines, or 1.9 million more than a year earlier, according to data published by the regulator CNMC.

In January alone, the number of FTTH lines increased by 117,768. Movistar accounted for 3.95 million, or 45.6%, of the total number of FTTH as of this January.

Meanwhile, the number of DSL lines fell by 1.3 million in the year to January 31.

In the fixed broadband sector, Movistar, Orange (including Jazztel) and Vodafone (including Ono) accounted for a combined 88.9% of the total number of lines.

Insight TV launches in the Middle East on Jawwy TV

By Robert Briel

Insight TV is launching its linear HD channel in the Middle East on Intigral’s new OTT streaming service, Jawwy TV.

The deal was managed by SAWA Rights Management (SRM), a content provider and producer and new Insight TV channel distribution partner in the region. SRM offers a line-up of broadcast TV channels and third-party titles to platforms throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This is the first time that viewers in the region will have access to Insight TV’s full line up of authentic and topical content, 24/7.

Jawwy TV, a wholly owned OTT platform by Intigral Internatinal FZ LLC, provides subscribers with a wide range of entertainment from live TV and the latest on-demand premium content to digital sports. Subscribers will now be able to watch Insight HD TV via the Jawwy set-top box or the Jawwy TV app starting this April.

“We’re delighted to make this double whammy announcement,” says Graeme Stanley, COO, Insight TV.

“The launch of Insight TV in the MENA region and our new, non-exclusive distribution partnership with SRM will enable us to reach more viewers who are hungry for our adrenaline-fuelled content featuring action heroes, content creators, trending communities and inspirational topics.”

Ali Ajouz CEO of SRM adds, “Insight TV is an exciting prospect for viewers across the MENA region as its content is totally unique and compelling. We’re looking forward to working on future projects and making further announcements over the coming months.”

Insight TV launches in the Middle East on Jawwy TV

By Robert Briel

Insight TV is launching its linear HD channel in the Middle East on Intigral’s new OTT streaming service, Jawwy TV.

The deal was managed by SAWA Rights Management (SRM), a content provider and producer and new Insight TV channel distribution partner in the region. SRM offers a line-up of broadcast TV channels and third-party titles to platforms throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This is the first time that viewers in the region will have access to Insight TV’s full line up of authentic and topical content, 24/7.

Jawwy TV, a wholly owned OTT platform by Intigral Internatinal FZ LLC, provides subscribers with a wide range of entertainment from live TV and the latest on-demand premium content to digital sports. Subscribers will now be able to watch Insight HD TV via the Jawwy set-top box or the Jawwy TV app starting this April.

“We’re delighted to make this double whammy announcement,” says Graeme Stanley, COO, Insight TV.

“The launch of Insight TV in the MENA region and our new, non-exclusive distribution partnership with SRM will enable us to reach more viewers who are hungry for our adrenaline-fuelled content featuring action heroes, content creators, trending communities and inspirational topics.”

Ali Ajouz CEO of SRM adds, “Insight TV is an exciting prospect for viewers across the MENA region as its content is totally unique and compelling. We’re looking forward to working on future projects and making further announcements over the coming months.”

DTH in Russia: new insights

By Chris Dziadul

Russia has considered creating a state-owned satellite operator to serve homes unable to receive DTT services.

However, reports TelecomDaily, quoting Alexei Volin, deputy minister of communications and mass media, the idea was abandoned after negotiations with the satellite industry.

It adds that the main reason for doing so was that such an operator broadcasting unencrypted DTH signals would have dealt a serious blow to the satellite industry in Russia.

Volin said that at present 800,000 homes in the country are unable to receive DTT services. This is equivalent to around 1.6% of the population.

Satellite operators have offered to provide residents of remote areas access to the first and second DTT multiplexes for free and around 300,000 homes currently receive satellite TV services in this way.

Last December President Putin signed a law obliging DTH operators to provide the services on the first and second multiplexes to homes unable to receive DTT signals.

The initiative for this came from the operators themselves.

DTH in Russia: new insights

By Chris Dziadul

Russia has considered creating a state-owned satellite operator to serve homes unable to receive DTT services.

However, reports TelecomDaily, quoting Alexei Volin, deputy minister of communications and mass media, the idea was abandoned after negotiations with the satellite industry.

It adds that the main reason for doing so was that such an operator broadcasting unencrypted DTH signals would have dealt a serious blow to the satellite industry in Russia.

Volin said that at present 800,000 homes in the country are unable to receive DTT services. This is equivalent to around 1.6% of the population.

Satellite operators have offered to provide residents of remote areas access to the first and second DTT multiplexes for free and around 300,000 homes currently receive satellite TV services in this way.

Last December President Putin signed a law obliging DTH operators to provide the services on the first and second multiplexes to homes unable to receive DTT signals.

The initiative for this came from the operators themselves.

DTH in Russia: new insights

By Chris Dziadul

Russia has considered creating a state-owned satellite operator to serve homes unable to receive DTT services.

However, reports TelecomDaily, quoting Alexei Volin, deputy minister of communications and mass media, the idea was abandoned after negotiations with the satellite industry.

It adds that the main reason for doing so was that such an operator broadcasting unencrypted DTH signals would have dealt a serious blow to the satellite industry in Russia.

Volin said that at present 800,000 homes in the country are unable to receive DTT services. This is equivalent to around 1.6% of the population.

Satellite operators have offered to provide residents of remote areas access to the first and second DTT multiplexes for free and around 300,000 homes currently receive satellite TV services in this way.

Last December President Putin signed a law obliging DTH operators to provide the services on the first and second multiplexes to homes unable to receive DTT signals.

The initiative for this came from the operators themselves.

Cyfrowy Polsat sums up 2018

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat saw its revenues grow by more than 10% to reach PLN10.7 billion (€2.5 billion) in 2018.

At the same time, according to a summary of the year published by the company, its EBITDA increased by 7% to PLN3.7 billion.

Other highlights on the year included over 30% of customers using bundled offers; the number of multiplay customers increasing by 19% to 1.8 million; and churn falling to a record low of 7.6% annually. Furthermore, the total number of contracted pay-TV customers exceeded 5 million. ARPU in Q4 stood at PLN84, up 2.6% on 12 months earlier.

Commenting on the year, Tobias Solorz, CEO of Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel, said: “In 2018 we are able to implement all our plans and assumptions while strengthening our position on pay-TV, telecommunications as well as TV broadcasting and production markets. We continued growth in the segment of multiplay services while offering a wide range of services and attractive bundles to our customers. Our success is best demonstrated by the figures – we have nearly 1.8 million multiplay customers who have bundled together nearly 5.4 million pay-TV, mobile telephony and internet access services. Plus was the leader in the MNP area, and it was the only infrastructural operator to have recorded positive MNP balance last year. For the first time in history we were providing in excess of 14 million contract services while the churn level continued to decrease and reached a record-low level of 7.6%, which is indicative of high satisfaction of our customers with the services we provide to them. We can confidently say that we have the most loyal customers. And we would like to thank them very much for their trust”

He added: “In 2018 our operations were effectively supported by our strategic acquisitions. Adding Netia to Cyfrowy Polsat Group enabled our companies to embark on operational cooperation in key areas. Fibre-optic internet access, offering transfer rates of up to 900 Mbps, has been added to our smartDOM loyalty program, while Netia’s TV offer has been extended to include new TV stations from Polsat TV’s rich portfolio of channels and the package including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League matches. Acquisition of shares in Eleven Sports Network’s Polish operations resulted in strengthening of our premium sports offer”.

Cyfrowy Polsat sums up 2018

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat saw its revenues grow by more than 10% to reach PLN10.7 billion (€2.5 billion) in 2018.

At the same time, according to a summary of the year published by the company, its EBITDA increased by 7% to PLN3.7 billion.

Other highlights on the year included over 30% of customers using bundled offers; the number of multiplay customers increasing by 19% to 1.8 million; and churn falling to a record low of 7.6% annually. Furthermore, the total number of contracted pay-TV customers exceeded 5 million. ARPU in Q4 stood at PLN84, up 2.6% on 12 months earlier.

Commenting on the year, Tobias Solorz, CEO of Cyfrowy Polsat and Polkomtel, said: “In 2018 we are able to implement all our plans and assumptions while strengthening our position on pay-TV, telecommunications as well as TV broadcasting and production markets. We continued growth in the segment of multiplay services while offering a wide range of services and attractive bundles to our customers. Our success is best demonstrated by the figures – we have nearly 1.8 million multiplay customers who have bundled together nearly 5.4 million pay-TV, mobile telephony and internet access services. Plus was the leader in the MNP area, and it was the only infrastructural operator to have recorded positive MNP balance last year. For the first time in history we were providing in excess of 14 million contract services while the churn level continued to decrease and reached a record-low level of 7.6%, which is indicative of high satisfaction of our customers with the services we provide to them. We can confidently say that we have the most loyal customers. And we would like to thank them very much for their trust”

He added: “In 2018 our operations were effectively supported by our strategic acquisitions. Adding Netia to Cyfrowy Polsat Group enabled our companies to embark on operational cooperation in key areas. Fibre-optic internet access, offering transfer rates of up to 900 Mbps, has been added to our smartDOM loyalty program, while Netia’s TV offer has been extended to include new TV stations from Polsat TV’s rich portfolio of channels and the package including the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League matches. Acquisition of shares in Eleven Sports Network’s Polish operations resulted in strengthening of our premium sports offer”.

Prima aims to block time shift functions in pay-TV

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech national broadcaster FTV Prima plans to block some the features available by default to pay-TV operators in the coming months.

View back functionality should only be available for programmes that have broadcast rights settled for this purpose.

According to Rozhlas.cz, FTV Prima’s idea is that the pay-TV customers would not watch channels from operators’ list.

Instead, their set-top box would reach into FTV Prima’s database.

This would give the broadcaster control over what viewers are watching and potentially offer then in future such services as personalised advertising.

Prima aims to block time shift functions in pay-TV

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech national broadcaster FTV Prima plans to block some the features available by default to pay-TV operators in the coming months.

View back functionality should only be available for programmes that have broadcast rights settled for this purpose.

According to Rozhlas.cz, FTV Prima’s idea is that the pay-TV customers would not watch channels from operators’ list.

Instead, their set-top box would reach into FTV Prima’s database.

This would give the broadcaster control over what viewers are watching and potentially offer then in future such services as personalised advertising.

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