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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Digi grows revenues, cable TV base

By Chris Dziadul

Digi Communications had total revenues of €299.4 million in the third quarter, up from €270 million in the same period last year.

At the same time, its adjusted EBITDA rose from €87.9 million to €127.5 million over the same period.

In its latest set of results, the company notes that revenues in its main market Romania increased as a result of price increases in all residential services that came into effect in March this year, as well as an increase it fixed internet and data and cable TV RGUs.

Meanwhile, its revenues in Hungary slightly decreased mainly as a result of ARPU decrease and the negative FX impact of the depreciation of the Hungarian forint.

In Romania, which had revenues of €190.9 million (+7.5% year-on-year) in Q3, the number of cable TV subscribers rose by 289,000 to 3,523,000 in the year to September 30.

At the same time, the number of DTH subscribers fell by 34,000 to 510,000.

Cable TV ARPU in Q3 was €5.3 (+6%) and DTH ARPU €5.1 (+6.3%). In Hungary, on the other hand, revenues in Q3 amounted to €53.1 million, down 2.7% on the same period last year.

The number of cable TV subscribers rose by 19,000 to 704,000, while the DTH subscriber total fell by 13,000 to 275,000.

Cable TV ARPU fell by 6% to €7.8, while DTH ARPU was down 3.4% to €8.6.

Martina Rutenbeck joins IPTV platform BrightBlue

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Martina Rutenbeck will drive the development of IPTV platform BrightBlue for German fibre-optic network operator Deutsche Glasfaser.

The focus is on marketing and sales of the white label offer to B2B partners. Rutenbeck, who took up her new position on October 1, 2019, will be responsible for the expansion and distribution of the products and features as well as the extension to other target groups.

“I look forward to working with the BrightBlue team to further expand the reach of the B2B platform and contribute to the company’s growth through a dynamic development,” said Rutenbeck. “Today’s IPTV market offers a large field of activity for a company that can provide its B2B partners with high technical reliability and the necessary speed to deliver an exciting and competitive portfolio with high customer retention potential and thus also add value to their network investments. Based on linear television, it will be important to offer the viewer a time-independent, modern TV experience and to market it as well.”

Deutsche Glasfaser launched BrightBlue in June 2018 as an IPTV solution for network operators aiming to offer their own TV service. The white label product, which can be purchased as a complete solution or in modules, targets small and medium-sized fibre-optic, cable and VDSL network operators. Since its foundation, 23 B2B customers have opted for the BrightBlue platform.

The line-up comprises over 300 TV channels, of which more than 125 are in HD quality, over 150 radio stations and more than 50 apps as well as cloud-based interactive functions. TV streaming in 4K quality is also part of the multiscreen platform. Rutenbeck will be responsible for platform expansion and marketing in German-speaking countries.

With Martina Rutenbeck, BrightBlue gains an executive with more than 30 years of experience in telecommunications, cable, satellite and broadband networks. Most recently, Rutenbeck, together with partners, set up service provider content4tv, which supplies network and platform operators with distribution rights for TV channels. Prior to that, she spent 12 years at satellite operator Eutelsat as managing director of KabelKiosk, a TV and service platform for network operators acquired by M7 Group in 2014.

Salzburg AG launches IPTV platform with Ocilion

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator Salzburg AG has launched multiscreen TV platform TV Plus based on an end-to-end solution from Austrian IPTV service provider Ocilion.

Customers of the company serving Salzburg and parts of Styria will receive a package consisting of a 4K set-top box, remote control and CableLink TV app in Salzburg AG’s design, seven-day replay, PVR, premium HD channels and an VOD service.

As a special introductory offer, CableLink internet customers can use TV Plus free of charge for six months.

As part of the collaboration announced in March 2019, Ocilion set up the complete IPTV system on site at Salzburg AG and integrated it into the network operator’s infrastructure, including software, hardware, services, devices and apps for tablets and smartphones.

Sportdigital to launch EDGEsport in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German broadcaster Sportdigital TV Sende- und Produktions GmbH, which operates pay-TV channel Sportdigital Fußball, wants to bring the international fun and action sports channel EDGEsport to Germany.

The channel is to be operated under a German broadcast licence. German media commission KEK gave the green light at its latest assembly in Berlin. The licence application was submitted at local media authority MA HSH.

The German version of EDGEsport is to be distributed as a pay-TV service via satellite on Astra (19.2° East), on cable networks, IPTV platforms and via the internet including mobile and smart TV apps.

The programme content will be commissioned from the UK-based media group IMG Media Ltd., which operates EDGEsport in many other markets. The expansion of the channel across Europe followed a long-term multi-platform distribution agreement signed with M7 Group in 2014.

German sports fans might be familiar with the EDGEsport brand as media company ProSiebenSat.1 signed a multi-year distribution deal with IMG in 2015 to broadcast the channel’s programmes on its TV channels in German-speaking Europe.

In 2017, EDGEsport launched as an OTT service in Germany and Austria through Amazon Prime Video Channels, offering live and on-demand content in HD quality for €2.99 per month.

UHD channel 4KUniverse joins Post TV Luxembourg

By Robert Briel

4KUniverse has joined the PostTV IPTV platform in Luxembourg.

PostTV is an IPTV platform offering new and innovative approaches to pay-tv in their à la-carte package, Entertain Me.

Entertain Me is the latest subscription based package of PostTV that allows customers to customise their monthly subscriptions. The package has over 100 channels available in English, German, French and many other languages and allows users to add and remove channels independently each month.

4KUniverse is a 24hr 4K HDR general entertainment TV channel that airs original series, movies, documentaries, sports and primetime programmes in High Dynamic Range. 4Kuniverse is listed among the very first 4K Ultra HD channels in the market and has continued to guarantee high quality, screen worthy, life-like picture quality content in all genres. The channel has programs such as The Empire of winds, Plant-based by Nafsika 4K, Model Turned Superstar 4K and Eddie is a Yeti 4K.

“I am proud to have 4Kuniverse join the Entertain me package at PostTV. We are always doing our best to get quality content for POST Luxembourg, and the ‘Entertain me’ package is proof of that.” noted Sven Brecker, CEO of Alteox Media Consulting, who was the facilitator of the partnership between the two parties.

“4KUniverse’s availability in POST Luxembourg’s ‘Entertain Me’ package promises subscribers the highest quality picture with 4K HDR,” says Matthew Mancinelli, CEO of 4KUniverse. “Prepare to be amazed.”

KPN launches 4k capable set-top box

By Robert Briel

KPN is introducing an improved TV receiver and remote control.

The new TV receiver can display much sharper images thanks to the new fast Broadcom 72604B0 chipset and is suitable for 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.

The new STB also features a new remote control with Bluetooth functionality. This allows the TV receiver to be placed out of sight. The remote also has a dedicated Netflix button.

The TV receiver is more than twice as small as its predecessor. As a result, it contains 64% less plastic. The receiver is made of 33% recycled plastic. In addition, STB has an “energy-saving mode”. If this function is enabled, the TV receiver goes into standby after 15 minutes, which automatically means a deep sleep mode. At this point, the TV receiver consumes almost no energy.

As of October 1st, all new KPN iTV customers and customers who switch to a 4K upgrade will receive the new TV receiver with Bluetooth remote control. In order to be able to watch programmes in 4K with this TV receiver, a matching subscription is required. For existing customers, KPN will continue to support and improve its current TV receivers.

LIWEST selects Ocilion/Verimatrix solution for IPTV security

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator LIWEST has deployed Ocilion’s IPTV solution integrated with Verimatrix security to enable more flexible and future-proof video delivery models.

LIWEST joins Kabelplus and Salzburg AG as the third Austrian operator to select the system offered by Austrian IPTV technology company Ocilion and global video security solutions provider Verimatrix

Facing a rise in streaming, LIWEST modernised its IPTV technology to stay at the forefront of a highly competitive market. In addition to supporting set-top box, tablet and smartphone delivery, the solution provided by Ocilion and Verimatrix enables Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV streaming.

“As Austrian subscriber behaviours shift away from traditional live TV consumption, it has become evident that we need a future-proof IPTV solution to meet the needs of our customers and potential customers,” said Philipp-Thomas Müller, team leader of product management and corporate communication at LIWEST. “Ocilion and Verimatrix presented a one-stop shop solution we could not refuse with the streaming capabilities, on-premise infrastructure and future-proof security we need to stay competitive in today’s modern landscape.”

Hans Kühberger, CEO of Ocilion, added: “I am proud that with LIWEST a truly innovative carrier has chosen our IPTV solution and Verimatrix for resolving complex video security requirements. Users are truly at the centre of the new LIWEST IPTV product Läuft, being able to choose whether to watch their favourite programmes live or time-shifted on their TV via the new 4K set-top box, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV stick.”

Zattoo extends 1&1 IPTV by 4K TV stick via Android TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo presents its end-to-end white-label IPTV platform extended by Android TV live at IBC 2019 in Amsterdam and shows the new 1&1 TV stick for the first time at its booth G06 in hall 14.

Custom launcher technology from the Android TV Operator Tier will be used to expand the Zattoo IPTV platform. Thanks to this pre-configured control software, users like German internet service provider 1&1 can customise the selection of pre-installed Android applications and add their own apps.

Android TV apps available on the new 4K TV stick include the Google Search Assistant, YouTube and Google Play Movies. The stick complements the existing applications and devices for 1&1 Digital TV.

“We are very pleased that 1&1 is the first B2B customer with Android TV to be live on a 4K-enabled stick,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “For 1&1 as well as for the end customers, this is a great addition and expansion: more apps, 4K and the already familiar functions such as live pause, catch-up, cloud recordings – it’s a great package. And we are looking forward to the upcoming innovations we are working on with 1&1.”

Based on Zattoo’s white-label IPTV platform, 1&1 has been the first German fixed-network provider to launch an entirely cloud-based TV service for a large number of devices and platforms in 2017. In addition to the new 1&1 TV stick with Android TV, 1&1 Digital TV can be accessed via the 1&1 TV box as well as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, all popular browsers and Google Chromecast as well as Android TV-based Smart TVs.

IBC 2019: Zattoo to show content discovery 2.0 and VOD 2.0

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo has completely revised its content discovery and video-on-demand (VOD) offer and presents the new features live at IBC 2019 from September 13 to 17 (hall 14, booth G06).

Content discovery 2.0 focuses on the personalisation of recommendations as well as an enhanced search and selection function, enabling the company’s B2B customers to provide their end customers with new intuitive operating functions. Users can see all TV content at a glance and quickly find exactly what they are interested in, according to Zattoo.

“Relevant recommendations, a good search function and intuitive usability are the name of the game for every TV user – and thus for our B2B customers,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “It’s how TV entertainment really makes fun – and gives our B2B customers the opportunity to create an attractive user experience, promote new offerings and continuously optimise the content mix. With the expanded possibilities of content discovery 2.0, we are creating potential for sustainable growth of our B2B customers.”

In the field of personalisation, Zattoo uses algorithm-based recommendation technologies that suggest content to TV users based on their previous viewing behaviour. Besides individual content, the recommendations can also be TV channels. The self-learning algorithms are capable of incorporating any type of content, according to Zattoo.

Swiss network operator Salt Mobile will soon use Zattoo’s recommendation technology for its T-VOD offer in an aim to increase the number of T-VOD purchases.

Last year, Salt introduced a disruptive TV solution in Switzerland with Apple and Zattoo. The main component is the Apple TV 4K box, which is being used with operator login for the first time outside the USA.

Zattoo extends IPTV platform to Android TV Operator Tier

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo takes its B2B white label concept for network operators to Google’s Android TV Operator Tier programme.

The extension of the end-to-end IPTV platform will be presented live by Zattoo for the first time at IBC 2019 from September 13 to 17 in hall 14 at booth G06.

The company’s B2B customers benefit in two ways, according to Zattoo. They can introduce their own TV service and they also have the option of customising the portfolio of pre-installed applications, granting consumers direct access to apps such as Google Assistant, YouTube and Google Play Movies.

Zattoo’s TV-as-a-service approach also eliminates the time-consuming and cost-intensive investment for network operators to set up, host and manage a proprietary TV platform, underlines the service provider. They can offer a TV service under their own brand without having to invest in hardware or software.

“End customers today want access to top-quality TV services. An attractive TV and entertainment offering has therefore become a must-have for network operators,” said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer B2B at Zattoo. “This is where Zattoo steps in with its end-to-end service. We are very pleased to be able to offer an even better and more attractive service package, thanks to the Google Android TV operator tier programme.”

IBC 2019: WISI to show IPTV solutions for hospitality industry

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company WISI will unveil various IPTV delivery solutions for the hospitality industry at IBC 2019 at its stand D37 in hall 1.

The portfolio shown in Amsterdam includes the launch of the new end-to-end hospitality solution WISIon, IPTV solutions with digital rights management (DRM), B2B IPTV to edge solutions and a new HEVC decoder module for the Tangram high-density video platform.

WISIon is an IPTV system for hotels, head offices and student campuses. The solution is built on more than 20 years of experience by WISI and its partners and offered as licensed software integrating with WISI head-ends.

Besides standard services like TV and video-on-demand, WISIon includes features such as welcome messages for hotel guests, widgets and weather information. It is compatible with the most popular TV set brands, for example Samsung, LG and Philips.

Iliad announces French rural fibre plan

By Julian Clover

French telecoms group Iliad has unveiled a partnership that plans to accelerating the rollout of fibre outside of densely populated areas.

Its entered into exclusive talks with the private equity firm InfraVia in a bid to reach 26 million lines through a specially created entity.

Iliad’s Free will transfer its existing co-financing agreements to the entity along with around one million connections.

The project is in line with French national broadband plan known as France Plan Très Haut Débit, which aims to connect all households and businesses to superfast broadband by 2022.

Thomas Reynaud, Iliad’s Chief Executive Officer, explained that “The French market is characterised by high demand for fibre across the whole country. Our partnership with InfraVia is an excellent way of accelerating our rollouts so that Free can offer the best speeds to 26 million households as soon as possible, in line with the objectives of our Odyssey plan.”

Free has the largest FTTH network of all the country’s alternative operators, however it lost 127,000 subscribers in a second quarter that has seen rivals gain market share.

Iliad reported an 8.4% rise in revenue to €2.6 billion.

Spain’s RTVE expands to Luxembourg

By Chris Dziadul

The RTVE channel Star HD has been launched on PostTV, the IPTV platform operated by Post Luxembourg.

The partnership between the two parties was facilitated by Alteox Media Consulting, the exclusive content provider for PostTV, and its CEO Sven Breckler said: “We are continuously working to expand the diversity of the content for PostTV.”

Rodolfo Domínguez, commercial RTVE director, added: “We are very proud to reach Luxembourg viewers with our Star HD channel through PostTV.”

As part of the agreement, Star HD will also be available in the international HotelTV product, a joint venture of Post Luxembourg and RTL international.

Star HD is one of four international channels currently operated by the Spanish public broadcaster, the others being TVR Internacional, 24 Horas and Clan.

Deutsche Telekom wins 58,000 new MagentaTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom recorded 58,000 new customers for its IPTV platform MagentaTV in Q2 2019.

The growth was lower than in Q1 2019, when 66,000 new customers were acquired, but higher than in Q2 2018, when 47,000 new customers were added.

As a result, MagentaTV had a total of 3.48 million customers on June 30, 2019, as Deutsche Telekom announced during the presentation of its quarterly figures. This corresponds to an increase of 7.3% year-on-year. On June 30, 2018, the platform had 3.24 million customers.

In the fixed-line business, growth in fibre-optic-based subscriptions (FTTH, FTTC/Vectoring) continued. With 13.4 million customers, the number was 22% higher than in the previous year. In Q2 2019, 521,000 new subscriptions were added.

OTT milestone for Tricolor

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s Tricolor has secured over 500,000 customers for its OTT service in only the first two months.

Furthermore, it expects to increase the number to 2 million by the end of the year, primarily due to new connections.

In a statement, the company adds that it will open its OTT service to non-Tricolor customers this October.

Tricolor has created what it terms as an ecosystem that is already open to all its 12.232 million customers.

It allows them to consume content in the most convenient way, be it via satellite or the internet.

Tricolor says it is in negotiations to open up the ecosystem to leading companies from various industries, allowing them to offer partner services.

Telia’s TV business flatlines

By Julian Clover

Telia’s TV platforms struggled in the second quarter.

In the telco’s home market of Sweden a fall of 9,000 in TV subscriptions was compounded by the loss of 12,000 broadband subs.

In Norway, Telia was down 10,000 subs following the loss of a partner operator.

Finland met with some success as Telia based its TV proposition around the Finnish ice hockey league “Liiga”. TV subscriptions grew by 6,000 and Telia says it has a solid platform for the next season starting in September.

Estonia saw a gain of 3,000 TV subs and Denmark a loss of 1,000.

Separately, Telia has announced the creation of a new unit that will house Bonnier Broadcasting. It says the acquisition of TV4, C More and MTV is of strategic importance to Telia Company as it strengthens the company in the fast-growing area of video content consumption.

IPTV to drive European pay-TV growth

By Chris Dziadul

Europe’s pay-TV market is expected to gain 17.7 million subscribers between 2019 and 2023.

This, according to Dataxis, will represent growth of 8.4%, bringing the total number of subscribers to almost 230 million in 2023.

Growth will be driven by IPTV (+13.1 million subscribers) and OTT (+6.6 million subscribers).

However, cable TV is expected to lose 4.6 million subscribers between this year and 2023.

Fix&Foxi joins PostTV Luxembourg

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German children and family channel Fix&Foxi has launched on IPTV platform PostTV Luxembourg.

The pay-TV service operated by Your Family Entertainment is available as a part of Entertain Me, the flexible subscription model offered by PostTV, in which customers can compile their own package instead of signing up for a specific bundle.

Fix&Foxi can be accessed both via the TV set and the companion app. In total, PostTV offers over 400 channels.

BrightBlue extends IPTV platform to Android TV

By Robert Briel

BrightBlue is extending its White Label IPTV solution to Android TV.

The new application for Android TV-enabled smart TVs and set-top boxes is now available to all customers.

“We are proud that we can now offer our state-of-the-art IPTV service on Android TV as well. We are taking another big step into the market and are positioning ourselves even more flexibly as an innovation leader – especially for all small and medium-sized telecommunications companies that offer or want to offer the television of the future,” says Uwe Nickl, CEO of BrightBlue.

BrightBlue TV is a IPTV platform for network operators in Germany. With this extension, the IPTV solution is now available on all Google Android devices such as smartphones, tablets and TV, Apple iOS (iPhone, iPad), Amazon Fire (smartphone, tablet, box and stick), desktop PCs and laptops (via the browser) and set-top boxes.

BrightBlue’s modular IPTV service is designed for mid-sized and small telecom companies that don’t want to rely on total packages of the large providers. The offer applies to all interested Internet service providers, network operators and providers – across broadband networks (including VDSL, cable or fibre optic).

EE to replace set-tops with Apple TV 4K

By Julian Clover

EE has announced plans to replace its current TV offer with a Home Broadband plan that includes Apple TV 4K.

The BT-owned operator’s new proposition will also include BT Sport, which will be accessed through its dedicated app.

BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Netflix, Prime Video, NOW TV and YouTube will also be available alongside linear channels from the broadcasters and Apple’s recently revamped Apple TV app.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division, said: “We’re giving customers the TV, film and sport they love in the best quality on Apple TV 4K. By combining Apple TV 4K and BT Sport with EE’s award-winning unlimited home broadband, we’re able to provide our customers with a premium TV service that not only provides great value for money, but a great experience at home, as well as on the go.”

Previously EE offered a set-top box developed by Netgem.

BT itself offers customers a set-top powered by YouView.

EE’s 18 month home broadband packages with Apple TV 4K and inclusive BT Sport start from just £37 per month. They’re available exclusively to EE pay monthly mobile customers with a smartphone or 12/24-month SIM-only mobile plan.