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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

DNMG offers ViacomCBS channels on German cable

By JΓΆrn Krieger

ViacomCBS Networks GSA and German cable operator association DNMG have expanded their partnership, which has existed since 2002.

The new agreement enables the more than 200 cable and platform operators organised in DNMG to distribute MTV, Comedy Central and Nick via cable and IPTV. MTV is included in the digital free-TV line-up for the first time.

“The new agreement with DNMG gives a new boost to MTV’s free-TV reach and is an important building block to reach our target groups with all three channels,” said Michael Keidel, Vice President Content Distribution & Sales at ViacomCBS Networks GSA.

Proximus Pickx launches Android TV

By Robert Briel

Belgium’s Proximus has selected 3Ready’s Android TV solution from German software solutions provider 3SS for its recently launched Proximus Pickx next generation IPTV service based on Android TV Operator Tier.

Proximus Pickx, Europe’s first Android P based TV project, had its pilot launch in October, offering subscribers a wide array of state-of-the-art user features, tied together in a customizable user experience enabled by 3Ready.

“We knew that if we really wanted to give our subscribers a truly great TV experience, with all the Android apps they love, plus Google TV Services including Chromecast and Google Assistant, while also being able to launch our own features, we needed to choose Android TV Operator Tier,” said Thierry Demoor, Head of Applications and Service Platforms at Proximus.

“This has been a game-changer,” he added, “and with the help of 3SS, we are delivering a highly engaging, world-class personal TV service to our viewers.”

3SS’ 3Ready is optimised for Android TV Operator Tier STB projects; and supports remote controls with and without numerical keypads. The seamless integration of Netflix and all Google TV Services such as YouTube, Google Play Store, Google Assistant and Chromecast, along with cloud gaming (launching in 2020), means that Proximus Pickx subscribers can enjoy an all-embracing entertainment service.

“We are so proud to have been entrusted by such a world-class leader as Proximus,” said Kai-Christian Borchers, Managing Director of 3SS. “We are excited to be helping to bring next-generation TV experiences to consumers in Belgium.”

IPTV dominates in Croatia

By Chris Dziadul

The number of IPTV subscribers in Croatia stood at 435,220 at the end of the third quarter, or 4.76% more than in the same period last year.

According to data published by the regulator HAKOM, 56% of pay-TV homes received IPTV services as of the end of September. Meanwhile, the number of cable homes fell by 1.08% year on year in the third quarter to 175,834 and the DTH total rose by 2.44% to 148,142.

The pay-DTT subscriber total fell by 5.46% to 68,058 and that for receiving standalone eservices by 33.26% to 145,464.

The total number of digital TV subscribers in Q3 stood at 653,251 (-3.51%) and total revenue from TV services HRK198,338,424 (€26,626,800), or 2.69% more than in the same period in 2018.

IPTV HD first in Lithuania

By Chris Dziadul

Lithuania’s Radio and Television Centre (Telecentras) has introduced IPTV-delivered HD services to home TV screens.

In a statement, it says that back in December 2016 it was the first in Lithuania, and one of the first in the world, to start broadcasting Mezon TV (IPTV) programmes to homes over the 4G LTE network. Now, some are being offered in HD.

Commenting on the latest development, Egidius Rope, the company’s CTO, said: “Almost all mobile operators in the country announce TV and video content streaming on 4G networks, but it must be understood that this streaming video is mostly sent to small screens on smartphones and tablets. A rare operator is committed to delivering TV programmes to the big-screen TVs at home, as this is a technological challenge that requires significant network resources.

“We are better prepared in this regard: the high-bandwidth Telecentras network and the application of state-of-the-art data processing technology enable us to bring smart TV services to homes that have so far been” bitten ” by landline-only technology.”

Almost all of the most watched channels in Lithuania are re-broadcast in HD via Mezon IPTV. Of the 12 bundles of 12 TV channels, 11 are retransmitted in HD, while the Optimum HD bundle contains more than a third of channels of retransmitted HD.

IPTV services are currently used by over 270,000 people in Lithuania.

Digi launches new channel

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech DTH and internet TV operator Digi TV has launched a new proprietary channel named Comedy House HD.

Offering content produced by DCZ Production in cooperation with Slovak Telekom, it can be received in the Digi TV basic package and by all Smart DTH (Chytra Antena) users.

It is offered in HD over the internet and SD on the DTH service.

Separately, Digi TV has also added Nicktoons to its offer.

Broadcast in the Czech language, it is available in the Digi TV basic package.

Horizon TV widens reach in Slovakia

By Chris Dziadul

UPC’s Horizon TV is now available to homes outside its network and on those of other operators throughout the whole of Slovakia.

Hitherto only offered to UPC customers, it provides viewers with 113 TV channels, 58 of which are in HD, and seven-day catch-up for 55 TV channels.

Horizon TV can be received in one of two packages, with the first month offered free of charge.

The Smart package consists of up to 48 channels, 31 of which are in HD, and costs €5.90 a month, while the Happy package consist of 113 channels, 58 in HD, and is offered for €9.90 a month.

The Happy package also includes free access to the MyPrime video library, consisting of 2,000 series and movie titles.

The monthly fee gives customers access to the seven-day catch-up, while additional thematic packages cost from €1 a month.

SVO, TeleData and Stadtwerke Norderney choose Ocilion

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German regional network operators SVO, TeleData Friedrichshafen and Stadtwerke Norderney have chosen the IPTV wholesale solution from Austrian service provider Ocilion.

TeleData’s new IPTV offer has already been rolled out, the other two are currently being implemented. Ocilion delivers the end-to-end service consisting of software, services, content packages, video-on-demand, set-top boxes and apps for tablets and smartphones.

SVO, TeleData and Stadtwerke Norderney are members of BREKO Einkaufsgemeinschaft, the purchasing pool of German broadband network operator association BREKO, and can therefore use the BREKO-certified IPTV solution at favourable conditions.

“As a network operator, it is important to opt for IPTV in order to be competitive with a full range of TV, internet and telephony products. With Ocilion as a proven listing partner of BREKO Einkaufsgemeinschaft, the providers rely on an experienced and established provider,” said Jürgen Magull, managing director of BREKO Einkaufsgemeinschaft.

Hans Kühberger, managing director of Ocilion IPTV Technologies, added: “I am particularly pleased that our cooperation with the BREKO Einkaufsgemeinschaft is bearing fruit and that we are continuously expanding our footprint in Germany. IPTV not only ensures higher customer satisfaction, but also helps network operators to significantly increase their fibre-optic take-up rates.”

Quad play and IPTV grow in Slovenia

By Chris Dziadul

The market share of quad play packages has grown steadily in Slovenia since their launch and stood at 40.5% at the end of the second quarter.

At the same time, according to the findings of a report published by the regulator AKOS, the market share of triple-play packages also increased in the quarter to 34.6%, while double play, though become less popular, remained unchanged on Q1 at 10.2%.

Standalone broadband claimed a 9.1% share and converged service that do not include service packages 5.6%.

Meanwhile, IPTV was the most used technology for receiving pay-TV services, with its share increasing to 55.3% in Q2.

Cable fell to 38.4%, DTH remained unchanged on 5.3% and MMDS claimed a 1.1% share.

In other areas, fixed broadband penetration of households increased to 82.1% in Q2.

However, fixed broadband penetration by population remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 32.5%.

Viacom launches MyMTV Music in Switzerland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Viacom International Media Networks has launched MyMTV Music, a personalised linear music channel, in Switzerland.

MyMTV Music allows users to curate their own video channel by tapping into MTV’s library of music videos, clips from MTV performances and events like MTV Unplugged, and exclusive bonus content.

The service goes live today on IPTV platform Swisscom TV, marking its debut in the German-speaking territories, following launches in France, Spain and Denmark. Users can create different channels based on genre, mood and date.

“At Viacom we are dedicated to exploring new and innovative ways for our consumers to experience music. MyMTV Music extends this experience by empowering listeners to connect to the music they love in their own way,” said German Groba, Senior Vice President for all brands for Viacom International Media Networks Southern & Western Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“We are delighted to offer audiences in this market a personalised way to enjoy their music, with a vast content offering from music videos to unique live events.”

Yes ready for online move

By Julian Clover

Subscriber numbers at Israel’s Yes slipped by 7,000 on the quarter as the Beseq-owned operator prepared to begin the transition from satellite to online delivery.

Ran Guron, CEO of yes, said its strategic alliance with Apple would deliver the most advanced streaming service in Israel.

“This marks the start of our transition from satellite-based broadcasting to Internet-based broadcasting, which is a significant change in the Company’s history,” said Guron. “Even now, just a few short weeks after the launch, we can already see that the service is in high demand, with thousands of new subscribers.”

As at September 30, 2019, the total number of subscribers was 558,000.

Revenues in the third quarter of 2019 were NIS 334 million, compared to NIS 367 million in the same quarter of 2018, a decrease of 9.0%.

The company is working with unions to reduce its headcount.

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.”

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