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Today β€” May 27th 2019Broadband TV News: Telecom

NHK World-Japan to take part in Nippon Connection 2019

By JΓΆrn Krieger

NHK World-Japan, the international English-language TV channel from Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, will participate in Japanese film festival Nippon Connection taking place from May 28 to June 2, 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany.

In two exclusive screenings, NHK World-Japan will show documentaries at Nippon Connection 2019 focussing on the work and mission of two extraordinary people: 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki (Episode 1: Ponyo is Here) and The Pianist from Syria (pictured above).

The two documentaries will also be shown at a special screening at the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne (Japan Foundation) on June 3.

The screenings at Nippon Connection 2019 and at the Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne follow NHK World-Japan’s recent launch on the cable network of Vodafone Deutschland, making the channel available nationwide throughout Germany. The move is part of NHK World-Japan’s ongoing initiative to expand its presence in Germany, giving German households an inside view into Japanese news, culture and lifestyle.

In addition to the two largest cable operators Vodafone Deutschland and Unitymedia, NHK World-Japan is available in Germany on the cable networks of NetCologne and wilhelm.tel and on Deutsche Telekom’s TV package for the housing industry. German viewers can also receive the channel via satellite on Astra (19.2° East) and Eutelsat Hotbird (13° East), on the NHK World TV app (iOS/Android), Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV as well as through a live-stream on its website at nhk.jp/world.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Telecom

Virgin Media screen Eurosport Roland Garros coverage in HDR

By Julian Clover

Rafael Nadal celebrated his tenth title at Roland Garros this year (Image: Getty Images)

Virgin Media is to become the first UK TV platform to broadcast an event in 4K Ultra HD (UHD) with High Dynamic Range (HDR).

It’s to make available Eurosport’s coverage of Roland Garros tennis.

Virgin Media will utilise Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) technology to broadcast all matches that feature on the renovated Phillipe Chatrier court in 4K UHD with HDR on its V6 set top box.

Viewers will need to press the red button on their remote control while viewing Eurosport 1 HD or Eurosport 2 HD.

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said: “We are upping our game once more this summer by broadcasting one of the most prestigious tennis competitions in the highest picture quality currently available. Our customers will be able to get even closer to the action with HDR technology on our V6 box bringing the action right into the homes of our customers.”

Eurosport’s live 4K HDR coverage will be available on each day of the two-week long tournament on all matches that appear on Phillipe Chatrier court.

DTH subscriber falls to spread from North America to Europe and Far East

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Direct to Home satellite TV (DTH) subscriber falls will accelerate and spread from North America to Europe and eventually to the Far East, according to Rethink Technology Research’s Rethink TV service.

Where subscribers numbers rise there will be falls in ARPU.

The decline in DTH will turn out to be terminal, and yet it all began when cable TV began to churn around 2010, a story which spread to the US satellite operators a few years later.

Today the exodus is gathering speed and starting to spread to Europe, leaving operators scrambling to mop up their departing customers via the life rafts of low ARPU OTT.

This makes it impossible to maintain existing high ARPUs at historical levels, and the wheels have just come off for AT&T in the US as DirecTV Now, its stand-alone OTT is seen as an alternative to the main DTH service – both have now been losing subs after initial gains and investors are starting to ask if this is a permanent trend.

What is still true is that DTH continues to thrive where there are no competitive alternatives for premium content, or where one operator has hogged the most sought-after sports rights.

And in some parts of the world DTH continues to provide an engine of growth for pay TV – but only in developing markets and only for a short while longer, notably India.

Latin America with it artificially high pay TV ARPU looks less like India and more like the US and sustaining ARPU there will be a thankless challenge.

DTH saw rapid growth in pay TV until 2014 in Latin America, on the back of an expanding middle class in key markets. Now it is set for a period of decline and falling ARPU as OTT services continue to take off there and provide a direct threat.

This report looks at multiple geographies, the Americas, Europe, and developing countries in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa along with Oceania.

In Europe the picture is more mixed, with the decline well advanced for some operators such as France’s Canal+, whose base will be halved by 2024 from 2018. Some Eastern European markets have profiles more like developing countries, most notably Cyfrowy Polsat in Poland, set to continue gaining subs for at least the next few years. However, even these operators will run out of rope towards the end of the forecast.

In Asia Pacific DTH subscriber growth will be sustained throughout the period but with signs of flattening later around 2024. We anticipate some Asia Pac operators that are still growing subs now will reach a turning point during the forecast period with decline setting in just before 2024.

Squaring all the regions together there is still a global rise in DTH numbers, but this will come to an end during 2020, and move on to an accelerating decline as more and more DTH operators in Asia Pacific pass their summit.

Amazon Channels to launch in France

By Julian Clover

Amazon Prime Video will debut its channels service in the French market on May 30.

Les Echos reports the channels will be available for a monthly fee of between 3 and 4 Euros without commitment. It anticipates channels from Lagardère (Canal J, TiJi, MCM), Mediawan, and the US Starz would be available at launch. Another wave of channels would be brought on in September.

Sources, quoted by the paper, suggest that revenues would be split with broadcasters on a 50/50 basis.

Amazon Channels are already available in the UK, Germany and Austria.

Canal to share Premier League with Altice

By Julian Clover

Canal+ Group and Altice France’s RMC Sport have reached an agreement to share coverage of the Premier League for three seasons from 2019/20.

Between the two channels, Canal+ subscribers will be able to view all of the English league’s matches, either live or on time delay.

RMC already produces two magazine shows, PL Live and PL Zone.

Canal also has coverage of the French Ligue 1 and the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.

France TΓ©lΓ©visions to launch France TV Sport UHD 4K

By Julian Clover

France Télévisions is to launch a dedicated UKD 4K channel for the duration of Roland Garros 2019.

France TV Sport UHD 4K will run for 24-hours-a-day and will run in partnership with the French Tennis Federation.

14 Ultra High Definition cameras will be placed on the central Philippe Chatrier court.

“This channel is the culmination of 9 years experimentation. Roland Garros has always been for France Televisions an experimental laboratory and today this becomes concrete and visible to the public,” said Frédéric Brochard.

There’s an estimated 5 million UHD TVs in France, a figure that is increasing by 1 million a year.

The channel is being distributed on DTT, satellite (Fransat) and Orange. It’s expected to return for the 2020 Olympic Games.

BBC and ITV to share FA Cup rights

By Julian Clover

The BBC and ITV have agreed to share the rights to the FA Cup from 2021.

The four-year deal means an end to the current arrangement that has seen the BBC share the rights to the cup competition with BT Sport.

ITV will broadcast around 20 matches per season from the first round through to the final, which will be shared with the BBC.
BBC Sport will have coverage of 18 matches per season together with highlights and online clips.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted to be able to broadcast the FA Cup once again. We are particularly pleased that we shared The FA’s vision of a completely free-to-air competition and look forward to bringing new viewers all the along the road to Wembley Stadium.”

The BBC will have first and fourth picks of matches in the first, third and fifth rounds as well first pick of the semi-finals, with ITV having the first and fourth picks in the second and fourth rounds plus the quarter-finals.

In March, the BBC announced a new four-year deal with the Football Association to show the FA Cup until 2025.

The two broadcasters already share rights to 6 Nations Rugby.

KPN continues to carry Fox channels and Disney Channel

By Robert Briel

Dutch IPTV and DTT provide KPN has signed a last-minute deal to continue carrying the Fox channels and Disney Channel.

Last April, KPN said it would withdraw five Fox channels from its various distribution platforms. But now the operator confirmed a new carriage deal was signed to keep distributing Fox NL, 24Kitchen, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and Baby TV.

At the same time, spokesperson for the operator also said that the Disney Channel would continue to be available to its subscribers. Until now, there was no publicity about a possible distribution spat between KPN and Disney.

Without a deal, subscribers to KPN’s IPTV service, and to its sub-brands XS4All and Telfort, would be affected, while National Geographic and Fox would also stop on KPN’s DTT platform Digitenne.

European Court rejects KPN complaint on VodafoneZiggo merger

By Robert Briel

The merger between Vodafone and Liberty Global Dutch, the parent company of Ziggo, does not conflict with the rules for the internal market, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice.

The Court did not go along with the complaint filed by telecom company KPN against the earlier decision of the European Commission.

Vodafone and Liberty Global combined their Dutch activities at the end of 2016. This consisted of the merger company VodafoneZiggo, which became a second major player after KPN, offering fixed and mobile services in the Netherlands with its own network.

EQT acquires Maltese operator Melita

By Julian Clover

Malta’s Melita has been acquired by EQT Infrastructure from Apax Partners and Fortino Capital.

In a statement, EQT Infrastructure said it would continue to support the growth of Melita, by investing in its network and is committed to continue to provide high quality services to current and future customers.

Founded in 1991, Melita is a fully converged operator, running : nationwide Gigabit broadband services for households and small businesses, mobile and fixed telephony as well as TV services.

Ulrich Köllensperger, Partner at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT Infrastructure IV, comments: “EQT has been built on a passion for developing companies. We invest in good companies across the globe with the aim of turning them not only into great companies but also sustainable ones. This is exactly the formula we aim to apply to Melita, which is already an innovator in the Maltese market and beyond in terms of infrastructure, products and customer service. As a result, we are confident that the coming months and years will be exciting and rewarding both for Melita’s employees and for its customers.”

Melita will continue to operate under the leadership of CEO Harald Rösch, a longstanding Industrial Advisor to EQT.

“This transaction is another proof of our success over the last years, built on the hard work from all employees and support from our owners,” said Rosch. “With the backing of EQT Infrastructure and their extensive experience in our industry, we will continue the journey by developing our networks and providing outstanding customer experience in the years to come. Melita is ideally positioned to grow in the Maltese telecom market and beyond.”

The financial details have not been disclosed.

Antenna HungΓ‘ria outlines media platform strategy

By Chris Dziadul, MBT 2019, Budapest

Traditional TV remains dominant in Hungary, with SVOD penetration standing at only around 5%.

This, according to Gyöngyvér Gerlei, the company’s sales director, is in contrast to the West European average of 32%.

On the other hand, the pay-TV penetration in Hungary stands at 86%, as opposed to 80% in West Europe.

Speaking at MBT 2019, organised by Antenna Hungária in Budapest, Gerlei said that FTA still plays a significant role in Hungary, being received by 1.2 million viewers in around 580,000 households.

However, it faces challenges such as the freeing up of the 700MHz frequency band by 2020, expansion of fixed platforms and favourable triple-play offers; and 5G, which could also present opportunities.

Antenna Hungária’s answer to this is to create an integrated media platform.

Its three elements are expanding free TV; rethought pay-TV; and OTT. HbbTV plays a key role and the platform is directly connected to and in sync with linear TV. It offers rich functionality and allows for the development of an IPTV-like package.

OTT: contrasting behaviour in US and Europe

By Chris Dziadul, MBT 2019, Budapest

Cord cutting is a real problem in the US, while in Europe the pay-TV market has stalled, said Yan Mostovoy, director, C&D Solutions, Harmonic.

Speaking at MBT 2019 in Budapest, Mostovoy highlighted the fact that most cord cutters in the US were moving to linear OTT. In the period 2016-17, traditional pay-TV lost 5.7 million subscribers, with linear OTT gaining 4.5 million over the same period.

At the end of 2017 linear OTT represented 6% of the pay-TV market.

Meanwhile in Europe, there is no major evidence of cord cutting despite the pay-TV market having stalled, with the main reason being price.

While pay-TV ARPU in the US is €80/month and linear OTT €30 a month, in Europe pay-TV ARPU is €15 a month, with only six countries being above €25 a month.

Mostovoy also said that linear OTT is growing in Europe but specifically in sports.

Linear OTT platforms are growing differently and instead of Linear 2.0 in Europe we find niche OTT applications gaining traction rapidly.

Slovakia seeks DTT β€œcontinuity”

By Chris Dziadul

The Slovak Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (RU) has issued a tender for the country’s first DTT multiplex, the licence for which is currently held by Towercom.

In a statement, it says the tender, which will be conducted without an electronic auction, will be to build a new digital terrestrial network on the multiplex using the DVB-T2 standard while at the same time ensuring the continuity of the existing network.

Applications must be lodged by post or in person by 13.30 on June 27, 2019.

The criteria include a requirement to build and put into operation the network by May 31, 2021; and making a one-time payment of €500,000.

RU will operate a points-based system the successful candidate.

Nagra gives perspective on piracy

By Chris Dziadul, MBT 2019, Budapest

Piracy resulted in the loss of $28 billion of pay-TV revenue worldwide in 2017, according to Zan Godec, senior business development director, Nagra.

Speaking at MBT 2019 in Budapest, he added that 72% of operators see the value in anti-piracy efforts. Godec argued that there is no silver bullet to tackle piracy, which even affects FTA broadcasters.

Instead, there are legal actions, technological solutions, industry coordination, policy lobbying and consumer education.

For its part, Nagra offers a comprehensive suite of anti-piracy measures addressing social media, apps and web; broadcast (CWS) and streaming; commercial IPTV, Kodi; and linear sports and VOD.

MTS gains in Moscow pay-TV market

By Chris Dziadul

MTS ended the first quarter with 2,934,000 TV customers in its home market, Russia.

This, according to the company’s latest set of results was up from the 1,875,000 figure posted a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the MGTS (B2C and B2B) and GPON customer total at the end of Q1 was 1,979,000, up from 1,875,000 a year earlier.

In its results, the company notes that according to internal estimates its broadband market share in Moscow grew to 39% in Q1. At the same time, its pay-TV market share grew by 43.6%.

MTS group as a whole had revenues of R118 billion (€1.64 billion) in Q1 or 9.4% more than a year earlier.

Its OIBDA was R55.3 billion (+6%) and net profit R17.6 billion (+14.1%).

5G: a pointer to terrestrial TV’s future

By Chris Dziadul, MBT 2019, Budapest

5G broadcast will play a central role in securing the long-term future of terrestrial broadcasting.

Moreover, according to Michael Wagenhofer, CEO, ORS, it will complement DVB-T2 networks and in some cases even substitute them.

Speaking at MBT 2019 in Budapest, Wagenhofer said that broadcast distribution currently finds itself at a crossroads, moving to either “broadband takes it all” or “5G broadcast” scenarios.

While the former includes such elements as dependence on the network operators, decreasing quality and unregulated costs, the latter would see a global technical standard for the first time in TV history, the combination of multicast and unicast, shared broadcast and nationwide coverage.

There would also be three essential pillars to create a 5G broadcast ecosystem, namely demonstrating the need for 5G broadcast, a regulatory framework and long-term frequency spectrum availability for broadcasting after 2030.

Meanwhile, also speaking at MBT 2019, Lars Backlund, secretary general, BNE, provided a more cautious view on 5G and terrestrial TV.

Although 5G broadcast may complement DTT in the future, there are still many questions that need to be answered.

Chris Dziadul Reports: MBT 2019 review

By Chris Dziadul

This year’s meeting of regional broadcasting organisations and transmitting equipment manufacturers (MBT) took place in the Hungarian capital,Budapest.

Hosted by the national transmission company Antenna Hungária (AH), it was an event that Broadband TV News was privileged to present.

The conference was split into several sessions and consisted of a large number of presentations by a wide spectrum of industry players. The scene was set by keynotes from AH and the Hungarian regulator NMHH.

Key discussion points in the first session, entitled Terrestrial Challenges, were 5G and how it will impact on DVB services. It also included a presentation on DAB+ and how it is safeguarding radio’s future in Europe.

There then followed two sessions entitled Towers are Forever. Highlights included an outline of terrestrial 4K and how it is developing in a number of countries including the UK, Russia, Japan and Korea; addressable advertising; and DRM, where we learnt that a service is just about to be introduced in Budapest.

Perhaps the most interesting session was on OTT and how it is now “over the threshold”. It included key presentations from Nagra (OTT piracy), Harmonic, AWS Elemental, Cryptoguard and MediaKind and provided a broad overview of market developments. Of particular note were stats related to OTT piracy, cord cutting and linear OTT.

The conference concluded with a session on IoT, with one of the presentations, from AH, discussing how it may present a great business opportunity for broadcasting companies.

MBT is undoubtedly an important industry event and will next year be held in Serbia, with the host being RTS.

Netflix plans German office in Berlin

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Netflix wants to open a German office in Berlin in autumn 2019. After London, Madrid, Paris and Brussels, this would be the streaming service’s fifth national office in Europe.

“Since our launch in the German market in 2014, we have been warmly welcomed by the creative community and we are happy to be working with many great local talents in front of and behind the camera,” Kelly Luegenbiehl, Vice President of International Originals EMEA at Netflix, told German industry service DWDL. “Given our growing volume of original German content, now is the right time to get even closer to this community, so we can deepen our partnerships.”

“We are convinced that a Netflix office in Berlin will help us further integrate into Germany’s creative community, and we look forward to developing even more exciting content in the coming years,” she added.

So far, the activities in Germany have been managed from Netflix’s European headquarters in Amsterdam. Not only will employees move from Amsterdam to Berlin, but new jobs will also be created in the German capital, according to the report.

Sky Deutschland to offer Sky Q multi-room box

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland is expanding its multimedia platform Sky Q.

From June 2019, Sky Q customers will be able to access the Sky Q offers on additional TV sets in their households via the Sky Q Mini box (pictured). The multi-room device is an Android IP box that includes both the familiar Sky Q user interface and many functions that customers already know from their Sky Q main receiver.

Linear Sky channels, public and third-party channels, movies and series on demand, apps such as the ARD and ZDF catch-up services as well as features like restart, continue watching, series auto-play, kids’ mode and voice control will be available on Sky Q Mini from the beginning. Apps such as Netflix and Spotify will follow later.

The box is connected to the TV set via HDMI and to the internet either via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. An additional cable or satellite TV connection is not necessary. Sky Q customers will be able to obtain Sky Q Mini for €49.

Also new: The Sky Q app will become available free of charge on LG smart TV sets and on the PlayStation 4 from summer 2019. So far, the app can be used on the Apple TV box (from the 4th generation) and on Samsung smart TV sets (from 2015).

Sky Deutschland launched Sky Q in Germany and Austria in May 2018; more than 1.5 million customers have opted for it to date.

ANGA COM 2019 In Short

By Julian Clover

An update on what can be found in the halls of Köln Messe during this year’s ANGA COM.

Xantaro Group (Hall 8. Stand N11) is inviting visitors to learn more about the SDNFV test solution, Cloud Peak & Cloudlens, and get to know its demo installation in the XCloud.

R&M (Hall 7. Stand G30) will teach you how to use and extend your fibre distribution hub units.

Xantaro Group (Hall 8. Stand N11) will showcase carrier grade Internet of Things across device management and Wi-Fi optimisation.

Hexatronic/Opternus (Hall 7. Stand E60) will show a complete set of solutions designed streamline the development of fiber network

Divitel (Hall 8 Stand MS17) is organising two invitation-only workshops in association with AirTies. More details can be found here.

HellermannTyton
Will demonstrate the latest fibre solutions and show a FTTX Virtual Reality environment. (Hall 7. Stand G68)

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