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Today β€” March 30th 2020Telecom

Canal Plus in standoff with LFP

By Julian Clover

Canal+ is refusing to pay the Professional Football League (LFP) the €110 million due for the broadcast rights to Ligue 1.

The payment is due on April 5.

In a letter obtained by sports publication L’Equipe, Maxime Saada, president of Canal+ writes to the LFP. “”It is not possible that we pay the future instalments, even though due to the suspension of the Ligue 1 championship, no match can be played and, consequently, broadcast on our frequencies”.

Canal shares the rights to the league with BeIN Sport, paying up to €762 million between 2016 and 2020.

It claims the March 13 suspension of the football league programme has reduced the attractiveness of its offer.

Netflix dubbing in major European markets

By Julian Clover

Netflix is prioritising the dubbing of content in its major markets as part of its localisation strategy.

According to new research by Ampere Analysis, Netflix is dubbing content in smaller markets. In most non-English speaking territories, Netflix’s catalogue comprises 90% foreign-language content, making localisation, either through audio dubbing or subtitles, extremely important.

Although Netflix continues to grow the number local commissions, locally-produced titles still represent the minority of its catalogue in all its markets. It means that Netflix has to rely on dubbing and subtitles in order to reach its audiences.

Unlike other broadcasters Netflix is relying on subtitles with dubbing representing less than 30% of its catalogue of foreign titles.

Netflix’s dubbing priority is currently focused on the four largest EU markets – France, Germany, Italy, Spain. The languages have been carefully chosen as they are also spoken in other territories.

“For Netflix, the level of localisation of foreign language titles largely depends on the markets,” explains Tingting Li, Analyst at Ampere Analysis. “In English-speaking countries, Netflix’s strategy is to localise foreign titles via English subtitles, while in other key markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, the streaming giant makes certain that most foreign titles are either subtitled or dubbed – catering to local content preferences.”

Maxdome (now Joyn) in Germany and Mediaset Infinity in Italy both have near 100% dubbed content coverage. Netflix’s catalogue is typically larger than peers, however, and its subtitling coverage is often superior.

In Scandinava, Netflix has low levels of dubbing coverage, reflected too by local player Viaplay. However, that market has traditionally favoured subtitles to dubbing.

Andrei Lipov to head Roskomnadzor

By Chris Dziadul

Andrei Lipov has been appointed the head of the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor.

He takes over from Andrei Zharov, who last week became the general director of Gazprom-Media. Lipov has 30 years of experience in the field of information technology and communications.

From 1990 to 2007, he worked at various positions in this field. Since 2008, Lipov worked in the Department of State Policy in the Field of Informatization and Information Technologies of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation. Starting from the position of deputy head of the development programs department and gradually receiving promotions, in 2010 he headed the entire department.

Prior to his appointment as head of Roskomnadzor, Lipov in 2012 led the department for the application of information technology and the development of e-democracy, which in 2018 was renamed the Office of the President of Russia on Information and Communication Technologies and Communication Infrastructure.

Svetlana Balanova joins Gazprom-Media

By Chris Dziadul

Svetlana Balanova has been to appointed the new position of first deputy DG of Russia’s Gazprom-Media.

Prior to joining the holding, she spent nine years at IBS, one of the leading IT service companies in Russia.

Commenting on the appointment, Gazprom-Media general director Alexander Zharov said: I am very glad that Svetlana Balanova has joined our team. Her knowledge and competencies in the field of high technologies and digital transformation will undoubtedly be in demand, taking into account the digital vector of the holding’s development.”

EBU makes Ukrainian pubcaster appeal

By Chris Dziadul

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has written to the Ukrainian government to urge them not to reduce the budget of its member UA:PBC.

In a statement, the EBU says the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is planning to substantially reduce the public broadcaster’s funding. which could critically undermine its ability to operate in the future.
It adds that while it understands the extraordinary pressures created by the fight against COVID-19, public service media (PSM) has a critical role to play in keeping the public informed with trusted and verified news and helping to educate children while schools are closed.

EBU continues that despite the lack of sufficient protective tools for its journalists, UA:PBC has mobilised all its efforts and resources to help the state in the fight against coronavirus by informing and educating citizens and broadcasting important updates and announcements.

In addition, the broadcaster is actively engaged in optimising its structure, governance and operations in order to deliver services to citizens in the most efficient way and to be transparent in its spending of public money.

The EBU says that UA:PBC requires the full support of the state to ensure adequate funding and resources to produce high quality content and fulfil its important role in society.

Over the last few years, UA:PBC has experienced continuous underfunding, which has impacted negatively on its development and investment in new technology and platforms. This is in contradiction to European standards, and in particular Recommendation 1878 (2009) of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe on funding of public service broadcasting, which requires adequate long-term funding’ for PSM.

It has already been a huge challenge for UA:PBC to operate and reform with only half its expected budget. The recent freezing of UA:PBC’s accounts, following a Ministry of Justice’s ruling, further exacerbates the situation and has resulted in the suspension of the launch of important new projects, most notably in the domain of news.

The EBU concludes by urging the Ukrainian government to find a suitable resolution to ensure UA:PBC can continue serve society at such a critical time.

Harmonic promotes Velimir Godec

By Chris Dziadul

Velimir Godec has been appointed sales director, cable Eastern Europe at Harmonic.

Godec joined Harmonic in March 2013 and was initially strategic accounts and new business development manager, Balkans.

He was in the position until August 2017 and the following month became the regional sales manager, South East Europe.

Prior to Harmonic Godec was with Teleste for eight years and seven months, where his last position, held for four years, was VP sales CEE region.

Before yesterdayTelecom

MGM launches new SVOD service in South Africa

By Julian Clover

MGM has the launch of a new film and SVOD service that will debut in South Africa.

It will be part of mobile operator Vodacom’s Video Play Premium service and will also be available as a standalone, a la carte subscription Micro Pass.

The new service will draw on MGM’s film and TV catalogue with titles including The Hobbit, Legally Blonde, The Pink Panther, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Shorty and Teen Wolf

The MGM a la carte service will retail at R59 for a monthly subscription, R25 for a weekly subscription, and R10 for a daily subscription.

Vodacom’s Video Play Premium service includes a wide range of international and local content including, movies, TV series, music and kids programming and retails at R99 for a monthly subscription, R40 for a weekly subscription, and R25 for a daily subscription.

DCMS Committee launches PSB inquiry

By Julian Clover

The UK parliament’s Digital, Culture Media and Sport Committee is launch an enquiry into the future of public service broadcasting.

MPs will consider the PSBs in the digital age and how they stand up against alternatives such as subscription, streaming and Freeview/DTT services.

In addition to the BBC, the inquiry will look at the commercial broadcasters with public service responsibilities; ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and in the devolved regions, STV in Scotland, S4C in Wales and UTV in Northern Ireland.

The committee will look at the regulations and obligations placed on PSBs including prominence and public funding. It will extend into whether regulation should be introduced for subscription video on demand and other streaming services and the value PSBs bring in terms of economic (local and national), cultural and societal impact.

CableLabs releases DOCSIS 4.0 Specification

By Julian Clover

CableLabs has released the specification for DOCSIS 4.0, which includes both full duplex and extended spectrum capabilities.

The DOCSIS 4.0 technology is capable of achieving a downstream speed of up to 10 Gbps and doubles the maximum download speed available with DOCSIS 3.1 technology. The upstream speed of up to 6 Gbps represents a quadrupling of DOCSIS 3.1.

“As cable operators respond to the evolving connectivity needs of customers in our current public health crisis, remote work, learning, and health services stand to benefit from upstream broadband enhancements as DOCSIS 4.0 technology is deployed,” explained Doug Jones, Principal Architect, DOCSIS 4.0 in a blog post.

The DOCSIS 4.0 specification, part of CableLabs’ so-called 10G Platform began development in August 2016 with the extended spectrum capability completed last September.

In addition to speed Lower latency that was incorporated into the DOCSIS 3.1 specification has been brought forward into the DOCSIS 4.0 specification. Lower latency will provide for a better experience for consumers on applications such as online gaming and multimedia.

SPI/FilmBox teams up with Huawei

By Chris Dziadul

SPI/FilmBox and Huawei have inked a new agreement that allows FilmBox On Demand content to be featured in Huawei’s new platform Huawei Video in 23 countries.

They include the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Turkey and Russia.

Through this collaboration, Huawei smart device users will be able to access specially curated and localised SPI movie titles, ranging from Hollywood blockbusters, award-winning world cinema gems to arthouse classics. Other accessible VOD content includes TV series, documentaries, lifestyle programming, sports entertainment, esports and mixed-martial arts tournaments.

Huawei has also announced that Huawei will now be available to more countries together with its new mobile flagship P40 series, which will allow users to access the FilmBox On Demand VOD content.

Commenting on the agreement, Berkin Ecevit, sales & business development director at SPI International, said: “We are very excited to bring the rich and curated catalogue of FilmBox On Demand to many countries across the globe through Huawei’s new VOD service HuaweiVideo, available on Huawei mobile devices that offer premium viewing and sound experience”.

Jervis Su, VP of mobile dervices, Huawei Consumer Business Group, added: “We’re pleased to offer our Huawei Video service so people across Europe can easily explore the thousands of videos and movies available from our partners, anywhere and anytime”.

New milestone for Italy’s tivΓΉsat

By Chris Dziadul

The Italian DTH platform tivùsat is now watched by 6 million viewers.

Launched in 2009 and managed by Tivù srl, a company owned by Rai, Mediaset, Telecom Italia, the Local TV Association and Aeranti Corallo, it does not require any type of subscription and can be accessed with a tivùsat certified device (decoder or TV with CAM), satellite pointed at Eutelsat and smart card.

Tivùsat offers over 118 TV channels, 52 of which are in HD and seven in 4K, along with 45 radio stations.

All told, satellite TV now reaches over 30% of Italian families

Hungary awards 5G licences

By Chris Dziadul

The Hungarian regulator NMHH has announced the result of a tender for 5G licences in the country.

In a statement, it says that the licences, valid for 15 years in three frequency bands, have been awarded to Magyar Telekom, Telenor Hungary and Vodafone Hungary. It adds that in total the three companies will pay HUF128 billion (€360.4 million) for the rights.

NMHH notes that the bids received by March 11 for the 700 MHz, 2100 MHz and 3600 MHz bands revealed that there was more demand than supply. It therefore held auctions for the blocks offered, subject to strict precautions. The three service providers were able to bid for a number of frequency blocks within each frequency band, starting with the initial bid value specified in the documentation for that band. The auction was preceded by a trial auction on March 24.

Karas Monika, chairman of NMHH, said: “5G frequency services will play a key role in economic development and, in the short term, can effectively support our healthcare network, domestic telework and distance education, even in times of coronavirus restrictions. And in the post-epidemic period, they can accelerate the recovery of the Hungarian economy.”

To this end, NMHH will encourage service providers to install 5G at locations that are not only important to them from a market point of view but are also socially important, such as the internet. hospitals, campuses or major transport routes.

The usage rights of the acquired frequencies will expire uniformly in 2035. The 700 MHz frequency band will only be available once this band has definitively moved out, ie not earlier than September 6, 2020.

The term of the rights may be extended once for a further period of five years, subject to unchanged conditions and without a single additional fee being charged for the right of use of the frequency.

Stanislav Georgiev to head Bulsatcom

By Chris Dziadul

Stanislav Georgiev has been appointed the CEO of the Bulgarian pay-TV operator Bulsatcom.

He spent a total of 7 years and 11 months at A1 Telekom Austria Group, where he was head of A1 Group Media Broadcast between September 2014 and January 2019.

More recently he was a senior advisor at Arthur D. Little between February 2019 and February this year.

He remains a managing partner at Media Gurus Group and chairman of the Digital Entertainment & Media Summit at Webit.Foundation.

Tricolor inks major ViacomCBS deal

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor has agreed a major licensing deal with ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

It gives the operator rights to broadcast over 120 films from Paramount Pictures’ library and these will be shown on Tricolor’s own channels. The studio granted the operator rights to broadcast films not only via satellite, but also simultaneously via the internet. Some of that content will be shown on Tricolor’s UHD channel Cinema UHD where viewers can enjoy Ultra HD entertainment from their homes and computers.

Commenting on the agreement, Arsen Khomutov, content director for Tricolor, said: “This new deal for Paramount Pictures films makes our content offer for clients even more diverse. Movies from one of the world’s leading studios will allow us to increase the audience of our own channels; it is especially important for Tricolor, since we are now focusing on niche channels”.

Lisa Kramer, executive VP, International Television Licensing, ViacomCBS, added: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Tricolor with this new agreement and look forward to bringing some of our most popular and exciting films to Tricolor’s many subscribers”.

Tricolor and Paramount Pictures have successfully cooperated for several years. Most recently, in December 2019 the operator signed a deal with the studio for over 100 films to be shown via SVOD on Tricolor’s own online cinema platform, with limited exclusivity for certain movies.

Chris Dziadul Reports: Coronavirus hits DVB-T2 transition plans

By Chris Dziadul

The coronavirus pandemic is delaying the transition to the DVB-T2 terrestrial TV standard in parts of Central and East Europe.

In the Czech Republic, the national transmission company CRa announced on March 17 that it was suspending the process, due to be completed in June, until the end of this month. However, three days later, on the basis of an agreement between it, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU), the government approved a temporary interruption to the shutdown of the DVB-T network until the COVID-19 situation is stabilised.
The move was justified on the grounds that there could be problems in the supply of DVB-T2 reception equipment during the crisis.

Terrestrial TV reception is hugely popular in the Czech Republic, with almost two-thirds (60%) of viewers watching services. Furthermore, almost all (99%) households in the country can already receive DVB-T2 broadcasts, which offer viewers 30 TV channels free of charge.

Terrestrial TV is also in a strong position in Croatia, where according to the local regulator HAKOM 43.93% of homes watched FTA and a further 4.72% pay-DTT services as of the end of last year.

Earlier this week HAKOM announced that it would be suspending the full DVB-T2 transition date until at least the end of November or beginning of December. As in the case of the Czech Republic, the reasons for doing so are the coronavirus pandemic and significant impact it is likely to have on the availability of receivers.

This will be the second time HAKOM has put back the date, having most recently done so late last year from May 1 to July 1, 2020 at the request of the national transmission company OiV.

Elsewhere in the region, the latter’s Hungarian counterpart Antenna Hungária was due to embark on a six-month, 10-step DVB-T2 transition process on March 3. It remains to be seen if this is completed on time or also delayed by the crisis.

CEO Max Conze leaves ProSiebenSat.1

By JΓΆrn Krieger

ProSiebenSat.1 is facing the consequences from the ongoing turbulence in the company: CEO Max Conze will leave the German broadcaster with immediate effect.

With the move, ProSiebenSat.1 is reacting to the departure of several senior executives, criticism from within the company’s own ranks and the sharp drop in the share price. Conze, who was previously CEO of UK-based vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson, joined ProSiebenSat.1 on June 1, 2018.

At the same time, ProSiebenSat.1 is reorganising its executive board. CFO Rainer Beaujean has additionally assumed the office of chairman of the executive board. New appointees to the executive board are Wolfgang Link and Christine Scheffler. Link heads the entertainment segment and Scheffler continues to be in charge of human resources.

The decisions were taken by the supervisory board on Thursday evening, March 26, 2020.

Accompanying the reshuffle of the executive board is a change in relation to the strategic focus. ProSiebenSat.1 is returning the primary focus of its operating business to the entertainment sector in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The main emphasis will be on local and live formats, also in close cooperation with its production subsidiaries Red Arrow Studios and Studio71.

The group’s digital reach is to be further extended, for example through the streaming platform Joyn, jointly operated with Discovery.

The e-commerce subsidiary NuCom remains an important pillar of the group in synergistic terms. The existing equity shareholdings, which benefit from advertising on the entertainment platforms, will continue to be developed to generate value and sold in due course under an active portfolio policy.

MGM launches new SVOD service in South Africa

By Julian Clover

MGM has the launch of a new film and SVOD service that will debut in South Africa.

It will be part of mobile operator Vodacom’s Video Play Premium service and will also be available as a standalone, a la carte subscription Micro Pass.

The new service will draw on MGM’s film and TV catalogue with titles including The Hobbit, Legally Blonde, The Pink Panther, The Handmaid’s Tale, Get Shorty and Teen Wolf

The MGM a la carte service will retail at R59 for a monthly subscription, R25 for a weekly subscription, and R10 for a daily subscription.

Vodacom’s Video Play Premium service includes a wide range of international and local content including, movies, TV series, music and kids programming and retails at R99 for a monthly subscription, R40 for a weekly subscription, and R25 for a daily subscription.

Hungary awards 5G licences

By Chris Dziadul

The Hungarian regulator NMHH has announced the result of a tender for 5G licences in the country.

In a statement, it says that the licences, valid for 15 years in three frequency bands, have been awarded to Magyar Telekom, Telenor Hungary and Vodafone Hungary. It adds that in total the three companies will pay HUF128 billion (€360.4 million) for the rights.

NMHH notes that the bids received by March 11 for the 700 MHz, 2100 MHz and 3600 MHz bands revealed that there was more demand than supply. It therefore held auctions for the blocks offered, subject to strict precautions. The three service providers were able to bid for a number of frequency blocks within each frequency band, starting with the initial bid value specified in the documentation for that band. The auction was preceded by a trial auction on March 24.

Karas Monika, chairman of NMHH, said: “5G frequency services will play a key role in economic development and, in the short term, can effectively support our healthcare network, domestic telework and distance education, even in times of coronavirus restrictions. And in the post-epidemic period, they can accelerate the recovery of the Hungarian economy.”

To this end, NMHH will encourage service providers to install 5G at locations that are not only important to them from a market point of view but are also socially important, such as the internet. hospitals, campuses or major transport routes.

The usage rights of the acquired frequencies will expire uniformly in 2035. The 700 MHz frequency band will only be available once this band has definitively moved out, ie not earlier than September 6, 2020.

The term of the rights may be extended once for a further period of five years, subject to unchanged conditions and without a single additional fee being charged for the right of use of the frequency.

Stanislav Georgiev to head Bulsatcom

By Chris Dziadul

Stanislav Georgiev has been appointed the CEO of the Bulgarian pay-TV operator Bulsatcom.

He spent a total of 7 years and 11 months at A1 Telekom Austria Group, where he was head of A1 Group Media Broadcast between September 2014 and January 2019.

More recently he was a senior advisor at Arthur D. Little between February 2019 and February this year.

He remains a managing partner at Media Gurus Group and chairman of the Digital Entertainment & Media Summit at Webit.Foundation.

Tricolor inks major ViacomCBS deal

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor has agreed a major licensing deal with ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group.

It gives the operator rights to broadcast over 120 films from Paramount Pictures’ library and these will be shown on Tricolor’s own channels. The studio granted the operator rights to broadcast films not only via satellite, but also simultaneously via the internet. Some of that content will be shown on Tricolor’s UHD channel Cinema UHD where viewers can enjoy Ultra HD entertainment from their homes and computers.

Commenting on the agreement, Arsen Khomutov, content director for Tricolor, said: “This new deal for Paramount Pictures films makes our content offer for clients even more diverse. Movies from one of the world’s leading studios will allow us to increase the audience of our own channels; it is especially important for Tricolor, since we are now focusing on niche channels”.

Lisa Kramer, executive VP, International Television Licensing, ViacomCBS, added: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Tricolor with this new agreement and look forward to bringing some of our most popular and exciting films to Tricolor’s many subscribers”.

Tricolor and Paramount Pictures have successfully cooperated for several years. Most recently, in December 2019 the operator signed a deal with the studio for over 100 films to be shown via SVOD on Tricolor’s own online cinema platform, with limited exclusivity for certain movies.

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