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Today β€” September 20th 2018Broadband TV News: Telecom

Global OTT revenues to climb to $129 billion

By Robert Briel

Global online TV episode and movie revenues will reach $129 billion in 2023; more than double the $53 billion recorded in 2017. About $16 billion will be added in 2018 alone.

From the 138 countries covered in the Global OTT TV & Video Forecasts report, the top five will command 69% of worldwide revenues by 2023. This proportion is down from 73% in 2017; revealing that the rest of the world will grow at a faster rate. OTT revenues will exceed $1 billion in 17 countries by 2023; up from 10 countries in 2017.

Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “No prizes for guessing that the US will remain the dominant territory by some distance. However, its share of global revenues will fall from 43% in 2017 to 37% by 2023. We forecast that revenues in the US will more than double between 2017 and 2023 – adding nearly $25 billion to reach $48 billion.”

China will also add a staggering sum over the same period – $17 billion to nearly triple its revenues to $26 billion. China’s share of the world’s total will climb from 16% in 2017 to 20% in 2023.

SVOD [subscription video on-demand] became the largest OTT revenue source in 2016 by overtaking AVOD. SVOD’s share of the total will increase: from 47% in 2017 to 53% in 2023. This means that SVOD revenues will climb by nearly $44 billion between 2017 and 2023 to take the total to $69 billion.

Despite losing market share to SVOD, there is still plenty of growth left in the AVOD sector. AVOD revenues will increase by $27 billion between 2017 and 2023 to take its total to $47 billion (36% of total revenues).

Yesterday β€” September 19th 2018Broadband TV News: Telecom

Liberty Global rolls out next-gem Horizon set-tops featuring cloud PVR and 4K

By Robert Briel

Liberty Global has unveiled its next-generation TV entertainment platform, Horizon 4, at the company’s annual Tech Summit in Amsterdam. The new STB features 4k, cloud PVR and voice control.

The platform will be introduced over the coming months to selected customers in The Netherlands (Ziggo), Switzerland (UPC) and Belgium (Telenet), with a wider rollout in these and other Liberty Global markets to follow.

In Belgium, Telenet has already started to invite customers to sign up for the test programme of the new STB with 20,000 users. At this year’s ANGA COM, the company’s German subsidiary Unitymedia showed a prototype. In November of last year, Unitymedia CEO Lutz Schüler told Broadband TV News the operator’s plans with the new STB.

The new Horizon 4 set-top box has already been introduced as the V6 box in the UK, where nearly two million customers1 are now using it in combination with TiVo software. The new platform to be rolled out in the coming months combines this set-top box with the new Horizon 4 user interface instead.

Already two years ago, Liberty Global said it was evaluating a new generation of Horizon which will be Ultra HD/4K capable.

The new STB gives access ccess to linear TV, Replay and Video on Demand; and to apps such as Netflix and YouTube – all in up to 4K Ultra HD picture quality. Recordings will be stored in the cloud rather than on a local hard drive – the company gave no details how long the recordings will be saved, but in Belgium Telenet said rcordings will automatically be erased after 60 days, unless the viewer wants to keep the recording, which is possible up to five years.

At a later stage a wide, constantly-updated selection of web videos and online TV channels will be available. For the moment, all linear channels are distributed via DVB-C, but in the future IP delivery will be possible, as the Horizon 4 STB is fully hybrid.

A new remote with voice capabilities to control the box or search for things to watch just by speaking into the remote, offering an easier and more intuitive way of getting access to features and content.

Enrique Rodriguez, Liberty Global’s EVP and Chief Technology Officer, commented: “Horizon 4 brings our customers the best user experience from Liberty Global’s ‘one platform’ strategy. Our teams develop a common set of products and services which are then rolled out across our local operating companies. This allows us to achieve significant scale and operating synergies. The launch of this latest instalment of our next-gen digital TV platform marks an important step in our journey of bringing great innovation in connected entertainment.”

Mark Giesbers, Liberty Global’s VP Entertainment Products added: “Today is an exciting day for our customers. They increasingly lead ‘fluid lives’ meaning they view content from many different providers on many different screens, especially on mobile devices, and at very different times during the day. We want to add value to customers’ lives and deliver on their expectation of ‘any content, any device, anywhere, anytime’. That means aggregating all those TV channels, movies, series and apps into one easy-to-use, seamless viewing experience – and across multiple devices. The new Horizon 4 platform with its 4K set-top box, the remote with voice-control and the improved mobile app allows us to do exactly that.”

The Horizon 4 software powering the new 4K set-top box was developed using RDK (Reference Design Kit), which is supported by a software consortium with more than 350 members, managed by a joint-venture between Liberty Global, Comcast Cable and Charter Communications. One major improvement compared with previous set-top box platforms is that Horizon 4 will see updates being made every few weeks. This makes it easier to give customers continuous access to the latest features and functionalities, including further personalized functions such as tailored recommendations and individual watchlists. In addition, the release cycle will allow a faster rollout of software fixes and improvements.

A+E Networks Italy names Patricio Teubal general manager

By Robert Briel

A+E Networks has named Patricio Teubal as the new General Manager of A+E Networks Italy, starting in December.

In his new role, Teubal will oversee A+E Networks Italy and its three channel brands History, Crime+Investigation, and Blaze and lead the growth of the Sky Italia partnership, while developing new opportunities in Italy. The announcement was made by Dean Possenniskie, Managing Director, A+E Networks EMEA, to whom Teubal will report.

“I’m thrilled to have Patricio, a seasoned media executive and entrepreneur with great energy and acumen, join the A+E Networks family as our new General Manager of Italy,” said Possenniskie.

“His deep-rooted experience spans traditional and digital media across many disciplines and roles. We look forward to his oversight and leadership as we continue to evolve and grow our business and brands in Italy.”

“I’m so excited to join A+E Networks,” Teubal said.

“The whole media industry is undergoing deep and fast changes, and A+E is undoubtfully one of the leading companies that is driving this new era. I’m looking forward to working with the Italian team and enhance our great brand and content distribution in the market.”

Patricio Teubal is a veteran media executive with experience in business development, TV rights and sales distribution. Prior to joining A+E Networks Italy, Teubal was Managing Director of Blackant, a media & sports advisory company, that has consulted for major clients such as Rai (Italian State-owned broadcasting company). Teubal was also founder of Cucu Sports & Entertainment, an online company based in London and Italy that runs an influencer marketing platform for athletes and celebrities.

Before this, Teubal was CEO of Sicilian football team Palermo in Serie A (Italian Main Soccer League), from 2012 to 2014. And from 2002 to 2012, Teubal worked in Mediaset (Italian-based mass media company, which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country). He was Head of Mediaset Italia (2009-2012), a 24-hour Italian language channel broadcast internationally, and Head of Sales Mediaset Distribution (2006-2012). Prior to Mediaset Italia, Teubal worked as business development & advertising manager for Sky Multi-Country Partners. Prior to that, he was also a commercial producer in Endemol Argentina.

Motorsport.tv drops linear in favour of online

By Julian Clover

Motorsport.tv says it will move to an online and on demand channel from September 30.

Thema, the company that distributes the channel, says the audience is shifting towards digital channels, and consuming more video content.

“Our customers are changing the way they consume content and as a global media business and the number one motorsport destination, our role is to deliver an unparalleled customer experience,” the company said in a statement.

“The future of Motorsport Network is exciting as we continue to use our unique convening power to provide unrivalled access, analysis and insight to all motorsport fans across the world. We are looking forward to the road ahead.”

Last month the broadcaster lost carriage on Canal+ in France.

Launched in September 2001 under the brand Motors TV “Télévision Grande Vitesse”, the high octane channel will continue to be broadcast by other French operators.

Content discovery is key to achieving customer satisfaction

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

According to the Connected Devices and Media Consumption survey, TV content discovery is at the heart of the battle among TV and video providers to convince consumers that their user experience is both easy to use and truly personalised, writes Maria Rua Aguete, executive director, IHS Markit.

Even with smart digital assistants now integrated into TVs, successful personalization will come down to the ability to really know their customers and help them find what they want to watch.

Despite the latest developments from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, just 7 percent of all respondents across five markets surveyed – the US, UK, Japan, Brazil and Germany – rely primarily on content recommendations by their TV or video providers via the user interface.

IHS Markit’s analysis reveals that individuals who engaged less frequently with newer content discovery methods were more likely to rate video services poorly on overall user experience. For example, among respondents who rated the user experience at least one video service as “very poor,” 18 percent still prefer to find content by clicking through channels. Just 12 percent of those who rated a user experience as “very good” use the same method. This finding highlights the importance of encouraging users to engage with other, newer forms of content discovery on video platforms, in order to improve overall satisfaction video services.

When monthly users rated a video service highly for content discovery, they also similarly rated the overall user experience. Some video services are better than others in this area. Just 25 percent of monthly users of network-provider TVE services in the United States – FOX, ABC and NBC – rate these services as “very good” for finding content they want to watch. One-quarter of this group also rated its overall user experience as “very good.” In comparison, 52 percent of Netflix users rated the service “very good” for finding content they want to watch and 55 percent also rated their user experience “very good.” Not only does this finding highlight the value of the Netflix content recommendation feature, but it also underscores the connection between content discovery and an easy-to-navigate user experience.

Video providers trying to match Netflix on content discovery must also contend with big discrepancies among various consumer age groups. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of consumers age 17 to 34 prefer to discover content using their search functionality provided by their video services; however, this number falls to just 10 percent for consumers age 55 and older, 49 percent of whom preferred using a TV guide.

Recommendations from friends and social media is another area content providers need to understand better and learn to leverage competitive differences for greater success. As a preferred source of content discovery, these types of recommendations fell from a peak of 10 percent in 17- to 24- year-olds to a low of 3 percent among consumers age 65 and older. This finding reveals that targeting key groups in the lower age range can potentially help proliferate knowledge of content availability.

National preference is another layer of subtle differences when it comes to content discovery – and one that should be taken into account by global players. For example, 60 percent of German respondents use a TV guide (including physical and digital formats) as their main method to discover content, a preference shared by just 16 percent of Brazilians. The top choice of Brazilians, on the other hand, is using search fuctionality provided by video services.

For video providers, the complexity surrounding content discovery is matched only by its potential reward. There is a plethora of content being produced; the key now is to match it to the right audience.

Canal+ to carry RMC Sport bouquet

By Julian Clover

Canal+ Group has signed a commercial agreement with SFR for the distribution of the RMC Sport bouquet.

The agreement was signed in time for this week’s round of Champions League matches that are being screened on the Altice-owned channels.

Existing subscribers to Canal will be able to subscribe to RMC Sport at the discounted rate of €9 per month, as opposed to the regular rate of €19.

In addition to the Champions League, the six RMC Sport channels also have tights to the Europa League, English Premier League and Portuguese football championship.

Canal also carries its own sports channels, together with Bein Sport and Eurosport.

Digi TV offers olive branch to AMC Networks

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech DTH and IPTV operator Digi TV has sent an open letter to AMC in which it “offers co-operation under transparent and favourable terms” with the company.

The letter says: “We invite you to cooperate with audiences interested in watching AMC stations. We are ready to create an AMC package from all of our previous AMC programmes and offer it to our customers at a price that AMC will determine. All AMC package revenues, excluding VAT and our broadcasting costs, will be met by AMC”.

Digi TV says that it is ready to provide the AMC package to customers who are interested in receiving it under normal conditions. In the event of AMC providing its programmes for free, Digi TV will also give its viewers free access. It is now waiting to hear from AMC Networks to make its offer public by the end of this month.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, Digi TV withdrew AMC channels from its offer at the beginning of September.

Sky introduces Netflix inclusive subscription pack

By Julian Clover

Sky has confirmed Netflix will make its debut on Sky Q in November. Its arrival coincides with the launch of a new Sky subscription pack that will combine Sky’s on demand platform with the full Netflix service.

Recommendations for both Sky and Netflix shows will appear on Sky Q’s homepage. Netflix shows will also be discoverable through the Search facility.

“Innovation is at the core of Netflix. We are delighted to partner with Sky to offer fans a new and exciting way to access the best of entertainment from around the world,” said Chris Whiteley, Director Business Development UK/IE, Netflix.

Ultimate On Demand will be £10 a month for all new and existing customers alongside their Sky Q subscription, and with a 31-day rolling contract available. Netflix customers will be able to move their account to Sky or sign in with their existing accounts.

“We want Sky Q to be the number one destination for TV fans. Partnering with Netflix means we will have all the best TV in one great value pack, making it even easier for you to watch all of your favourite shows,” said Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, Sky UK and Ireland.

The £10 pricepoint equates to Netflix’s top tier Premium pack.

Customers with a Sky Q Entertainment subscription will get Netflix’s Standard plan (HD 2 streams) and Sky Box Sets in HD as part of Ultimate On Demand. And customers with Sky Q’s premium subscription, Sky Q Experience (multi-room viewing and Ultra HD), will enjoy Netflix’s Premium plan (Ultra HD, 4 stream).

Titles available to download can be watched on the go, with Sky shows available through the Sky Go app and Netflix shows through the Netflix app.

Sky D and Eurosport agree on Bundesliga for sports bars

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland has reached an agreement with Discovery regarding the distribution of Bundesliga channel Eurosport 2 HD Xtra, but this only covers the gastronomy sector.

Private Sky subscribers continue to require a subscription and hardware (set-top box/CI+ module) from DTH satellite platform HD+ for reception.

The partnership between Sky and Discovery runs until the 2020/21 Bundesliga season and enables Sky sports bars, hotel bars and clubhouses with satellite reception to show Eurosport 2 HD Xtra in their premises.

The channel transmits 40 mostly exclusive Bundesliga matches, mainly on Friday evening.

Prior to the cooperation with Sky, gastronomy businesses were able to show the Eurosport Bundesliga matches via OTT service Eurosport Player by signing up for an end-consumer subscription. According to Discovery, this option no longer exists with the Sky deal.

Cyfrowy Polsat launches new receivers

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Cyfrowy Polsat has added two new satellite receivers – Evobox HD and Evobox Lite – to its Evobox range.

Both have a modern design, are intuitive and give access to the multimedia services Cyfrowy Polsat GO and HBO GO, containing thousands of VOD titles.

The receivers, which are produced by Polsat’s InterPhone Service in Mielec, include software supplied by ADB and employ Unicable technology.

Commenting on the development, Dariusz Dzialkowski, a member of the management board at Cyfrowy Polsat responsible for technical affairs, said: “Cyfrowy Polsat’s hardware offer continues to expand. We want to give customers the opportunity a choice tailored to their needs, convenient technological solutions that allow you to watch TV in the best quality, with the help of modern devices, also providing access to a wide range of premium content on VOD services. The combination of high-quality set-top boxes with a wide range of TV packages and a wide library of multimedia services, giving the users freedom, flexibility and convenience in accessing favorite content is the direction our subscribers expect and in which we have been consistently developing for many years”.

The receivers are available in sale points throughout Poland and cost from PLN1 (€0.23).

Naspers to list the new MultiChoice Group in 2019

By Robert Briel

Naspers intends to list its video entertainment business MultiChoice separately on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and simultaneously to unbundle the shares in this business to its shareholders.

The new company will be named MultiChoice Group and will include MultiChoice South Africa, MultiChoice Africa, Showmax Africa, and Irdeto.

Commenting on the transaction, Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk said: “This marks a significant step for the Naspers Group as we continue our evolution into a global consumer internet company. Listing MultiChoice Group via an unbundling aims to unlock value for Naspers shareholders and at the same time create an empowered, top 40 JSE-listed African entertainment company.”

Video Entertainment CEO Imtiaz Patel said: “Listing and unbundling MultiChoice Group is intended to create a leading entertainment business listed on the JSE that is profitable and cash generative. We offer an unmatched selection of local and original content, as well as a world-class sports offering. Our leadership team is diverse, experienced and well-positioned to take the company forward. I am particularly pleased that this transaction will further enhance the value for Phuthuma Nathi shareholders.”

Naspers’ Video Entertainment’s multi-platform business entertains 13.5 million households across Africa. In the last financial year, the business added 1.5 million subscribers, and generated revenue of ZAR47.1 billion and trading profit of ZAR6.1 billion. It employs more than 9,000 people in Africa and indirectly creates economic prosperity for over 20,000 more who are employed by its various partners and suppliers across the continent.

Looking ahead, Patel said: “There are significant growth opportunities for MultiChoice Group in Africa. The combination of MultiChoice’s reach, Showmax and DStv Now’s cutting-edge internet television service, alongside Irdeto’s 360 security suite will provide a unique offering.”

Van Dijk concluded: “The Video Entertainment business is an African success story. This unbundling and listing is expected to deliver value to the South African economy as well as to Naspers and Phuthuma Nathi shareholders. Naspers will continue to invest in South Africa through our interests in ecommerce businesses such as Takealot, Mr D Food, PayU, OLX, Property24, and AutoTrader SA, among others.”

Naspers will retain its primary listing on the JSE as well as its interests in Media24. MultiChoice Group is anticipated to list on the JSE and simultaneously unbundle in the first half of 2019, subject to the approval of the requisite regulatory authorities.

Colman Domingo joins Josh Sapan for MIPCOM Media Mastermind

By Robert Briel

Colman Domingo of AMC’s global hit drama Fear the Walking Dead will join Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, for a Media Mastermind Keynote at MIPCOM 2018 on October 16.

The new session timing will be 11:00-11:30am in the Grand Auditorium at the Palais des Festivals.

Domingo has appeared as “Victor Strand” in all four seasons of AMC’s critically acclaimed drama “Fear the Walking Dead,” which is a companion series to “The Walking Dead.” In the most recent season of the AMC Studios production, Domingo directed an episode titled “Weak.” The critically-acclaimed series was recently renewed for a fifth season.

Josh Sapan has been the driving force behind establishing AMC Networks as a global creative powerhouse consisting of several leading entertainment brands including US cable networks AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv; content producer and worldwide distributor AMC Studios; streaming platforms AMC Premiere, Shudder, and Sundance Now; independent film label IFC Films; and AMC Networks International, the company’s division consisting of channels in various programming genres.

At MIPCOM, Sapan will discuss AMC Networks’ focus on creating distinct, innovative programming that engages passionate fans, as well as the company’s focus on growing its direct to consumer subscription platforms, building out its AMC Studios arm, and its continued global expansion.

FRK gains TV carriage rights from content4tv

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German TV carriage rights supplier content4tv and German cable operator association FRK have agreed on a long-term cooperation.

The framework contract signed at the FRK Broadband Congress in Leipzig on September 18, 2018 secures the independent provision of FRK members with linear and non-linear TV distribution rights.

The agreement covers both cable and IPTV rights, enabling hybrid offers, transition models and new products such as IPTV which strengthen FRK members in competition.

According to FRK chairman Heinz-Peter Labonte, the move provides FRK members with the opportunity to offer tailor-made products at competitive prices including modern national and international TV and streaming services within a legal framework.

Martina Rutenbeck, managing partner of content4tv, said: “The small and medium-sized cable operators represented by FRK can benefit most from the advantages of their high-performance broadband networks by offering modern, attractive services complementing classic television with new usage forms from video-on-demand to multiscreen TV. We supply the necessary rights from a single source and thus ensure that even small and medium-sized cable operators can provide a compelling offer securing their TV business in the long term.”

Viacom launches VOD mobile app in CEE

By Chris Dziadul

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has announced the launch of its first mobile video streaming app in partnership with an affiliate platform in Central and Eastern Europe.

Effective September 19, Telenor customers in Serbia will have free access to long-form content through the Nickelodeon Play VOD mobile app.

The app gives access to both full-length episodes of iconic Nickelodeon animation series and short form content. It will also be introduced by Telenor in Montenegro in October and is expected to launch with more CEE affiliate partners in the coming months.

Commenting on the development, Bartosz Witak, SVP, general manager for VIMN in Central Eastern Europe and Israel, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Telenor to allow mobile customers full access to the great Nickelodeon content on-the-go and on-demand for the first time in Serbia and Montenegro.

“The video streaming app will give Telenor premium customers greater flexibility and choice over when and where they experience their favourite shows and characters, serving their growing appetite for on-demand solutions.”

Sasa Filipovic, CMO of Telenor Serbia, added: “Now, that Nickelodeon Play is part of Telenor digital ecosystem, the youngest ones have a chance to enjoy contents suitable for their age. At the same time, parents don’t have to worry because with this application we provide safe internet environment for their children. Telenor customers are the first in the region to have access to this application, which is fully tailored to the market. In this way, we continue to enrich contents we are offering and, consequently the customer experience”.

Endemol Shine management change in The Netherlands

By Robert Briel

Endemol Shine Group has announced Iris Boelhouwer will be stepping down as co-CEO of Endemol Shine Netherlands at the end of October, in order to focus on personal projects.

Iris’ position will be absorbed by current co-CEO Boudewijn Beusmans, who will become CEO of Endemol Shine Netherlands as of 1st November 2018, in addition to his ongoing role as Chairman, Northern Europe, Endemol Shine Group.

Boudewijn Beusmans, Co-CEO of Endemol Shine Netherlands said: “Endemol Shine Netherlands has always been a hotbed for innovation and creativity in Europe and I am grateful to Iris for having been my partner throughout these years in getting the business back to its leading position creatively. With the right structure in place, I now look forward to continue working closely with our management team as we prepare ourselves for this next phase of growth.”

Iris Boelhouwer, said: “Endemol Shine is a fantastic company and I feel privileged to have worked alongside so many brilliant colleagues, many of whom I now have the pleasure of calling my friends. It’s been an incredible journey working tirelessly alongside Boudewijn and I am proud of what we have achieved together with our team. With the company on a strong footing and back to its true creative roots, this new structure makes absolute sense and I feel that I can now leave onto new adventures knowing the business is in excellent hands.”

Sophie Turner-Laing, CEO of Endemol Shine Group said: “Thanks to Iris’ work alongside Boudewijn, Endemol Shine Netherlands is now on a very strong creative footing with a pipeline of exciting new shows with huge international potential from Big Bounce Battle and The Talent Project, and I would like to thank her for her outstanding contribution throughout these years. Going forward, I could not imagine anyone more capable than Boudewijn to lead our Dutch operation through its next stage of growth.”

Iris Boelhouwer joined Endemol Shine in 2005. During her tenure with the company, she held a number of senior positions first at Endemol, including as Executive Producer and Creative Director in The Netherlands, and then as Managing Director of Creative Operations globally. Over the last three years, Iris has been co-leading Endemol Shine Netherlands together with Boudewijn Beusmans. Iris also led the Group’s global sustainability initiative, Endemol Shine Giving, driving the company’s pledge to become single use plastic free. In the coming weeks,

Iris will work together with Boudewijn and the rest of the management team to ensure a smooth transition.

Kanal D International expands international team

By Robert Briel

Turkish Kanal D International is expanding the international team.

The broadcaster has appointed Ekin Koyuncu, as the new Sales Executive for CEE territories.

“We are pleased to announce that Ekin Koyuncu has joined Kanal D International as Sales Executive, CEE. She will play a key role in one of the most important accounts and will bring a wealth of experience to the distribution arm of Kanal D International,” said Kerim Emrah Turna, Executive Director of Kanal D International.

Ekin has been with AE Networks’ Lifetime and MedyaVizyon, where she has held positions in sales and acquisitions. I am sure that with her experience and warm personality she will have a very positive communication with our clients in the CEE region.”

Dilara Kervanc?o?lu is appointed to head PR, marketing and operational arm. Previously she gained experience in different divisions of Kanal D International.

“I am happy to have another binational, bilanguaged, young and energetic coworker in our team,” added Kerim Emrah Turna.

“Kanal D International is known as a school for the international media business and I am sure that Dilara with her great potential will bring us additional power to our operation. In a very short while we will announce some other changes within the team and will reach our final structure.”

New hope for Ukrainian satellite

By Chris Dziadul

Ukraine’s delayed first communications satellite Lybid could now be launched in August 2019, according to Pavel Detyarenko, head of the Space Agency of Ukraine (GKAU).

Quoted by Mediasat, he added that this nevertheless depends on whether the Canadian contractor MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) resumes work on the project before the end of the year.

On the other hand, a worst scenario would see the dispute between the two parties end up in the London Court of International Arbitration.

Were the GKAU to win the case and have its money returned, it would go on to build a new satellite.

GKAU and MDA signed an agreement signed an agreement in 2009, with the latter acting as the general contractor and agreeing to transfer the satellite to Ukrkosmos after its launch.

This was initially planned for 2012 but then subsequently put back for various, including financial, reasons.

Lybid has been built and is currently located in Krasnoyarsk and under the custody of the Russian company Information Satellite Systems (ISS) – Reshetnev.

Significantly, it was reported in the Ukrainian media last month that the GKAU has no plans to sell Lybid to an international operator in order to settle the dispute with MDA.

Danish pubcaster DR to close three TV channels

By Robert Briel

Danish public broadcaster DR has announced the imminent closure of three TV channels and three radio stations, due to a 20% reduction of tis budget..

DR’s six TV channels will be reduced to three and radio channels will drop from eight to five. At the same time, around 400 positions will be axed.

DR3 and DR Ultra will be reduced to streaming services by 2020, while cultural channel DRK will be merged with second station DR2.

The announcement follows the decision by the Danish government to abandon the radio and TV licence fee last March.

“A political decision has been taken to reduce DR’s expenditure by 20 percent. That will be tough, but we have taken on the challenge,” according to DR director general Maria Rørbye Rønn.

“The background is both the necessary cuts and to ensure that DR can place even more focus on conversion to digital. In terms of content, we will now focus even more on our strengths. All in all, these are relatively drastic changes, but we think we’re on the right path,”

Commnenting on the budget cuts, EBU Director General Noel Curran said: “We are deeply concerned by the budget cuts that have forced DR to announce the closure of a significant number of public media services.

“DR is hugely valued by audiences in Denmark and has built amongst the highest market share and weekly reach of all public service media organisations in Europe.

“The 20% budget cuts imposed on DR will undoubtedly impact its ability as a national broadcaster to offer the same wide range of output to audiences across Denmark.”

ProSiebenSat.1 chooses MPP Global for OTT joint venture with Discovery

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has chosen UK-based subscription and billing solutions provider MPP Global to drive its joint OTT platform with Discovery Communications.

“To be successful with the ProSiebenSat.1 Digital products and new OTT platform, we wanted to replace our in-house subscription VOD solution with a much more flexible service to support subscription management and alternative monetisation of our assets. This was when we discovered MPP Global’s eSuite platform,” said Dirk Daumann, CTO of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital.

“We chose eSuite mainly for its feature-richness and complete APIs, especially when it comes to the flexibility in defining products and subscriptions. The platform also brings unique features which provide us with the ability to upsell our services through metering and paywalls,” added Daumann.

“In the future we envisage a model where we let consumers ‘try before sign-up’. So, consumers can watch the start of one of our premium shows for free and, after getting a sneak preview, they can decide if they want to subscribe so they can enjoy the rest of the show. This kind of functionality is essential to the future of the consumer-friendly platform we are developing.”

ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery joined forces to build the leading German OTT platform by integrating their existing streaming venture 7TV, video-on-demand (VOD) service maxdome and Eurosport Player in one place.

The yet unnamed platform will comprise live-streams, a catch-up service with local content as well as Hollywood productions and sports coverage. It will feature a free, advertising-funded service, a subscription-based advertising-free service and premium packages offering exclusive sports and movies.

Resembling Hulu set up by major broadcasters in the US, ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery have invited fellow major German public and commercial broadcasters ARD, ZDF and RTL to join the platform scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.

Springer’s Mathias DΓΆpfner appointed to Netflix board

By Robert Briel

Netflix has announced the appointment to its board of Directors of Mathias Döpfner, Chairman and CEO of Axel Springer SE.

At Axel Springer, based in Berlin, Döpfner leads Europe’s leading digital publishing house, with brands including Bild, Die Welt, Business Insider and Politico Europe.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mathias to the Netflix board,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings.

“His leadership at the vanguard of both European business and digital media brings us invaluable perspective and insight as we work to build and constantly improve our business all over the world.”

“Netflix is one of a kind,” said Mathias Döpfner.

“It has created a world leading entertainment service that continues to break new ground for the benefit of creators and consumers. A radically innovative culture and governance are essential parts of its success, and it is a tremendous pleasure and privilege to be part of this journey.“

Mathias has been with Axel Springer SE since 1998, initially as editor-in-chief of Die Welt and since 2000 as a member of the Management Board. Since he became CEO of Axel Springer in 2002 he focused on digital transformation, with revenues from digital activities increasing from €117m to €2.5bn, and digital now accounting for 80 percent of the company’s EBITDA. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Warner Music Group and a former Director of Time Warner Inc. He studied Musicology, German, and Theatrical Arts in Frankfurt and Boston.