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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Tricolor goes free

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor is making its main channel and film packages available for free to all people who are not its customers during the period of coronavirus quarantine imposed in the country.

In a statement, the company says that the packages can be accessed through the Tricolor Cinema and TV online application, as well as via DTH. Both new and existing customers will be able to view the content on up to five devices connected to the internet at the same time.

It adds that from March 19 until April 12, during the additional quarantine holidays introduced in Russian schools, new customers will be able to watch over 230 satellite channels, 37 of which are in HD, in the Single package, and over 240 channels, nine of which are in Ultra HD, in the package for free via DTH.

In addition, they will, like existing customers, have free access to 30 online channels, an online movie service and extensive library of over 350 films from the Lenfilm and Mosfilm gold fund and live broadcasts of sporting, cultural and other events.

Commenting on the development, Tricolor’s deputy DG for strategic and operational marketing Andrei Nesterov said: “In light of recent events, the issue of social responsibility of business is especially acute, therefore Tricolor, being the largest player in the pay-TV market, is ready to temporarily provide free access to content for all citizens of our country. We are confident that this decision will partially compensate for the lack of leisure that has arisen among residents due to the current situation in the country”.

Spanish IPTV revenues on the rise

By Chris Dziadul

IPTV revenues reached almost €400 million in Spain in Q3 2019, or 16% more than a year earlier.

At the same time, according to data published by the regulator CNMC, revenues from FTA services fell by 5.9% to around €320 million.

The pay-TV subscriber total at the end of Q3 2019 stood at 6.9 million, with the number increasing by 145,000 in the third quarter.

The leading technologies in terms of take-up were IPTV (offered through fibre and xDSL networks) and cable, with 4.5 million and 1.3 million subscribers respectively.

The overwhelming number of pay-TV subscribers (91%) received their services as part of packages.

In terms of distribution for both free and pay-TV, DTT accounted for 76.6%, cable and IPTV 21.5% and DTH 1.9%.

Compared to previous years, DTT and especially DTH continued to decline while cable and IPTV grew.

CNMC notes that this trend is related to an increase in pay-TV subscriptions, especially through fibre networks.

Iliad announces return to growth

By Julian Clover

The French telco behind the Freebox has made a strong start to the year.

In a statement, managing director Thomas Reynaud acknowledged the coronavirus epidemic and said it was the company’s priority to preserve the health of its 11,000 employees.

“We are also fully aware of our operator responsibility: to allow our country, in these times of crisis, to continue to function. Our 20 million subscribers in France and our 5 million subscribers in Italy must be able to continue to learn, exchange with their loved ones and exercise their professional activities,” he said.

Group sales increased by 9% to €5.33 billion. The 4th quarter saw its first subscriber growth in two years with the addition of 17,000 net subscribers.

The group has nearly 14 million FTTH connections, an increase of 4.3 million on the year.

IPTV maintains Croatian pay-TV lead

By Chris Dziadul

Croatia’s pay-TV market continues to be dominated by IPTV, with the technology accounting for around 52% of connections as of the end of last year.

Moreover, according to the regulator HAKOM, it still has significant potential for growth, given that nearly 43.93% of TV homes still watch terrestrial TV.

In comparison, 29.49% opted for IPTV, 11.95% for cable, 9.91% for DTH and 4.72% pay-DTT services.

HAKOM also notes that Croatia’s pay-TV market continues to grow, with operators generating HRK27 million (€3.55 million) more revenue in 2019 than the previous year.

At the same time, a total of HRK2.7 billion was invested in the country’s electronic communications market, or HRK200 million more than the previous year.

Deutsche Telekom to offer Disney+ for free for 6 months

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Deutsche Telekom will be the exclusive distribution partner of Disney+ in Germany and offer the streaming service for free for six months to its customers.

The offer is valid for the customers of Telekom’s IPTV platform MagentaTV and its fixed-line and mobile customers. After the free period, Disney+ will be offered at the reduced monthly rate of €5.00, €1.99 less than the regular fee.

Users of the OTT version of MagentaTV, which, in contrast to the IPTV service, is not tied to a fixed-line Telekom internet and telephony subscription, pay the standard fee of €6.99 per month for Disney+. In both cases, the subscription can be cancelled monthly.

At launch, Telekom customers will be able to use the Disney+ app on their tablet and smartphone as well as on their smart TV set through the MagentaTV stick.

Until the full deep integration of Disney+ on the MagentaTV set-top boxes has taken place, customers will be offered the new 24-hour linear channel Disney+ Select, showing a selection of Disney+ content.

Registration for Disney+ under Telekom’s conditions is possible from now on at www.telekom.de/disneyplus. The streaming service will launch in Germany on March 24, 2020.

Deutsche Telekom recently confirmed that the company is in discussions with Walt Disney regarding the distribution of Disney+. The deal follows similar agreements Disney has formed with platform operators in the UK and Ireland (Sky Q), France (Canal+), Italy (TIMVision) and Spain (Movistar).

T-Mobile Czech/Slovak Telekom opt for 24i

By Chris Dziadul

T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom have deployed the next generation 24i Smart Operator product.

It will be used to provide IPTV and TV Anywhere to T-Mobile TV Go, Magio Go and Digi Go customers in the two countries.

The deployment has now gone live on iOS, Android, Android TV, web and Smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Linux and Android IPTV set-top-boxes (STBs).

24i has provided a single code base approach across all three of the T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom services and includes data-driven content optimisation, discovery and engagement tools including recommendations, analytics, targeted content and audience measurement.

Commenting on the development, Marcel Satanek, head of PM connected home&terminal management, Slovak Telekom, said: “24i Smart Operator provides us with a productised solution that provides a next-generation, personalised video experience for each subscriber.

“A key motivation for choosing the solution is it’s unique ability to enable a ‘develop once, deploy everywhere’ content workflow, effortlessly handle device proliferation, legacy and third-party integrations, while providing instant access to new technologies and platform capabilities. Furthermore, Smart Operator has the ability to manage the linear and on-demand content services for all three brands via a single centralised back-end system. By combining the functionality to provide IPTV and TV Everywhere, 24i saves us time and effort managing our services and the power and flexibility of their solution enables us to provide our customers with an incredible video experience on all devices, both now and in the future”.

Martijn van Horssen, joint-CEO of 24i, added: “I am thrilled that Slovak Telekom is the first, large-scale multinational to deploy our new, next-generation Smart Operator product.

“We worked very closely with the Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic project teams to ensure that our platform provides all the functionality they need, as well new features that really excite customers such as continue watching (cross-platform), binge viewing, view showtimes and recordings to a STB or the cloud. Before creating our solution for operators, providing a unified experience across territories and so many devices would have required a massive engineering effort. Both operators are already seeing the benefits of combining IPTV and TV Everywhere in one platform with powerful branding capabilities. We’re looking forward to ensuring that the T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom video experiences we are powering continue to excite and attract consumers throughout the region.”

TNG Stadtnetz selects BrightBlue for IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telecommunications company TNG Stadtnetz plans to introduce a multiscreen TV platform based on the white-label TV solution from IPTV service provider BrightBlue.

“We are driving broadband deployment in the region and will increasingly ensure the availability of high bandwidths for our customers. In this context, we also want to be at the cutting edge with our TV service. We are therefore looking forward to working together with BrightBlue to provide our customers very soon with a high-end product offering excellent TV entertainment with HD and 4K content,” said Sven Schade, TNG managing director and deputy chairman of wholesale purchasing association BREKO Einkaufsverband.

TV reception will not only be possible via the classic set-top box, but also through Amazon Fire TV sticks and smart TV sets with Android operating system as well as iOS tablets and smartphones.

In addition, the IPTV offer will also be available as an app for customers – with full access to all services via various end devices. In addition to TV channels, the offer will also include interactive functions such as recording, time-shift and replay TV as well as personalisation options.

TNG will market the solution, which is offered by BREKO Einkaufsgemeinschaft and BrightBlue, under its own brand.

Monaco Telecom launches IPTV service with Zattoo and Apple TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Monaco Telecom has rolled out a multiscreen IPTV platform with Zattoo and Apple.

After Salt (Switzerland) and Eir (Ireland), Monaco Telecom is Zattoo’s third B2B partner to use the Apple TV box as the standard reception device for its customers.

Existing cable TV customers will get access to mobile applications (iOS/Android) they can use across Europe. Future customers benefit from the newly built fibre-optic network with Apple TV as the core component.

Zattoo operates the complete service as an end-to-end solution and also handles the operation of the entire TV platform, the management of the TV application on Apple TV as well as the ongoing development of the platform and all front-end applications.

The Apple TV box works like a set-top box with operator login, enabling the automatic installation of the TV application. This also applies to iOS devices.

In addition to more than 200 TV channels – 150 of them in HD quality -, the TV service includes interactive features such as instant restart, time-shift, catch-up TV and nPVR, available for the first time in Monaco, according to Zattoo.

A French-language bouquet with 35 TV channels is also part of the offer. Pay-TV packages are available as part of a cooperation with Canal+.

Deutsche Telekom adds 74,000 TV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom has added 74,000 new subscribers to its domestic TV platform MagentaTV in Q4 2019.

The increase was higher than in Q4 2018 in which 62,000 new customers were reported. In total, MagentaTV had more than 3.6 million subscribers at the end of 2019.

The number of fibre-optic-based lines in the Telekom network rose to 14.4 million at the end of 2019, 2.2 million more than a year earlier.

Children’s channel ducktv joins Swisscom TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Children’s channel ducktv has launched on Swisscom TV, the IPTV platform operated by Swiss telco Swisscom.

The deal follows the launch of ducktv on Post Luxembourg last month and it’s part of the brand’s ongoing expansion into Western Europe. The channel is already widely distributed in 150 countries across Central and Eastern Europe, North America and Asia.

“We are thrilled to expand our reach in Switzerland thanks to the partnership with Swisscom and to bring our much-loved ducktv characters to new viewers. Our content is a friend parents can trust their kids with,” said Pavol Miller, executive director of Slovakian media company Mega Max Media, operator of ducktv and ducktv plus.

With a focus on educational programming, the channel targets pre-school children from 6 months to 4 years of age, offering original animation and real-life content.

Europol hits Bulgarian IPTV pirates [Video]

By Chris Dziadul

[Watch Video] Europol has supported a massive crackdown on illegal IPTV distributors in an operation in Bulgaria.

In a statement, it says that the operation was supported by the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organised Crime of the Ministry of Interior and led by the Bulgarian Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation. It adds that this has been Bulgaria’s third successful operation, supported by Europol, against illegal IPTV distributors in the past year.

The investigation targeted six companies active in the Bulgarian cities of Sofia and Varna and the region of Burgas. The national authorities carried out 17 house searches and seized a large number of documents and digital information, with the examination of the evidence concluding that at least 30,000 people were subscribed to the illegally distributed signal. One of the six companies involved was fined €650 000, and following this action, six pre-trial proceedings were opened.

Europol notes that its Intellectual Crime Coordination Coalition (IPC3) supported the investigation on the ground by deploying two experts to Bulgaria. Europol officers exchanged information in real-time and cross-checked operational data gathered against Europol’s databases. The operational deployment, handled by Europol’s IPC3, was partly funded by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

Boost for Lithuanian IPTV

By Chris Dziadul

The Lithuanian IPTV service Mezon TV has added a number of Russian and music channels to its offer.

According to its operator Telecentras (Lithuanian Radio and Television Centre), it now includes a package of 25 Russian channels, among them RBK, NTV Mir, Ren TV and Dom Kino, with seven being in HD.

They can be received free of charge until March 3, after which subscribers will be required to pay €5.99 a month.

Meanwhile, the music package costs €2 a month and contains five channels, one in HD.

As previously reported by Broadband TV News, Telecentras introduced IPTV-delivered HD services to home TV screens last December.

RFT Kabel Brandenburg launches IPTV service with BrightBlue

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator RFT Kabel Brandenburg will introduce an IPTV offer based on the BrightBlue TV solution.

“The television of the future is IPTV: A smooth television experience via broadband internet with HD and 4k content on-demand. We will soon be able to offer this entertainment experience to our customers, and we are relying on the high-end platform of BrightBlue”, said Stefan Tiemann, managing director of RFT Kabel Brandenburg.

IPTV reception will not only be possible via the classic set-top box, but also through Amazon TV sticks and Android smart TV sets. In addition, the IPTV service will also be available as an app for customers – with full access to all features.

Martina Rutenbeck, head of sales and marketing at BrightBlue, said: “We are pleased to have won RFT Kabel Brandenburg as a customer and thank them for their trust in us and our product. Together with the network operator, we now want to enter the future of television entertainment.”

More kids channels for PostTV

By Chris Dziadul

Post Luxembourg has added the edutainment channels ducktv and ducktv plus to the PostTV line-up.

PostTV is the largest IPTV provider and both channels, aimed at children aged from six months to four years old, are now available to all subscribers in its Entertain Me package.

Alteox Media Consulting is the exclusive content provider for the PostTV offer and was at the forefront in facilitating this partnership.

Its CEO Sven Breckler said: “We are all about diversity on PostTV, and are happy to begin this year with a partnership that will make PostTV a wholesome family platform.”

Pavol Miller, executive director of Mega Max Media, the company behind ducktv & ducktv plus, added: “We are very excited about the partnership with PostTV and the opportunity to bring our kids channels to families in Luxembourg. We are focusing on the highest quality experience, which is not interrupted by advertisements and provides a safe environment for our little viewers”.

Swisscom to offer TV subscription with Netflix

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom will bundle its IPTV platform Swisscom TV with streaming service Netflix through a joint subscription from January 27, 2020.

For CHF50 (€47) per month, Swisscom TV X will combine several hundred channels, 1,200 hours of recording, 7-day replay and the Netflix standard tariff in HD for the parallel use of two streams. Notably, Netflix is not just available as an app, but integrated together with the TV content on a single user interface.

An upgrade to Netflix Premium for a surcharge of CHF5 per month allows the use of four streams simultaneously and also adds UHD and HDR. The Swisscom TV set-top box supports the HDR standard Dolby Vision, which is also used by Netflix.

Swisscom customers who already use Netflix can switch to Swisscom TV X and transfer their existing Netflix account to the subscription during the registration process.

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.