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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Discovery joins Post Luxembourg’s IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Post Luxembourg has added several channels from Discovery to the pay-TV service Entertain Me on its IPTV platform PostTV.

The agreement, brokered by content consultant Alteox, covers channels such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, DMAX, Discovery Science and TLC, offered from package level S upwards.

Eurosport 1 German and French continue to be available in the basic tier whereas Eurosport 2 in French and German, another new addition to the Entertain Me package, as well as the Portuguese, German and French version of Eurosport 1 HD will be offered as part of the S package.

“The newly formed cooperation between Post Luxembourg and Discovery marks an exciting step for us, underlining our innovative distribution strategy,” said Thomas Bichlmeir, Director Distribution and Commercial Strategy Discovery Communications Deutschland. “With this first of its kind pilot project with PostTV, we are able to offer fans the possibility to individually pick and choose the channels they love and want for their TV bouquet.”

The new channels are already available on the platform. Instead of offering a specific bundle of channels, PostTV lets the customers decide which channels to include in their personalised pay-TV bundle. Subscriptions can be modified on a monthly basis, and every customer can decide between multiple package sizes, varying in the number of channels and price.

Ukraine reveals IPTV/OTT viewing stats

By Chris Dziadul

The regulator National Council and rating agency Big Data Ua have published their latest findings on the most viewed TV channels by users of IPTV and OTT services in Ukraine.

They show that in Q3 2018 the ten most popular channels included 1+1, Ukraina, ICTV, Inter, STB, Novy Kanal, 2+2, K1, Tet and NTN.

Looking at specific genres, 1+1, Ukraina, ICTV and Inter led in the entertainment and information sectors. Specifically in entertainment, STB and Novyj kanal were the most popular, while PlusPlus, Cartoon Network and Pixel TV led among kids channels.

Mega, Discovery Channel and National Geographic led in documentaries and 112, NewsOne and Espresso in information.

Fox, Creative Cinema+ Hit and Enter-film were the most popular film and M1, Music Box Ua and EUMusic music channels.

Futbol1, Futbol2 and Eurisport 1 led among sports TV channels.

The survey monitored 359.7 thousand home pages connected to the OTT/IPTV operators Volia, Triolan and you tv.

IPTV target for Makedonski Telekom

By Chris Dziadul

Makedonski Telekom (MKT) has adopted a framework agreement for the delivery of IPTV set-top boxes.

In a statement, the telco says the decision was made on December 12, 2018 by its board of directors and is for an indefinite period.

It adds that the initial obligation in 2018 was for 6,000 receivers costing a total of €150,000.

The telco also refers to Nikola Ljushev, an executive member of the board of directors and CEO of MKT, as having a conflict of interest as being an authorised representative of both MKT (Skopje) and Montenegro’s Crnogorski Telekom.

PostTV launches Entertain Me! a la carte pay-TV package on IPTV

By Robert Briel

Luxemburg-based PostTV is implementing a new pay-TV feature onto its IPTV-platform, offering a la carte tiering of channels.

Entertain Me! is a subscription-based package available for customers, offering up to 100 channels in multiple languages. This array of content offers programming for the young, sports, as well as movies and series.

The main attraction of this new bouquet is its customisability. Instead of offering sets of channels for the viewers, the users are now able to decide which (and how many) channels to include in the package. Channels can be added independently and removed just as easily: all subscriptions are based on a monthly runtime, which entails that users can easily opt out of existing subscriptions at the end of the month.

Alteox Media Consulting is the partner of Post Luxembourg for this pioneering project.

“PostTV is a progressive and modern company, always on the lookout for innovation in their market.”, said Sven Breckler, CEO of Alteox.

“When we approached them with this novel idea, of giving the audience more choice over content, it didn’t need much convincing to get them onboard.”

IPTV drives Spanish pay-TV market

By Chris Dziadul

Spain ended the second quarter with 6.6 million pay-TV subscribers, or 8.1% more than a year earlier.

According to data published by the regulator CNMC, almost two-thirds of the total (4.2 million) used IPTV, with the technology gaining 640,000 customers in the year to June 30. In contrast, cable and satellite lost around 100,000 each in the same period.

CNMC also notes that the number of quadruple and quintuple packages in Spain reached 12 million in June, or 602,000 more than a year earlier.

However, the latter accounted almost entirely for the growth, rising by 649,000 to 5.7 million, while quadruple play fell by 46,000.

In the fixed broadband sector, there were 14.7 million connections at the end of Q2, with 10.3 million, or 1.8 million more than a year earlier, having a contracted speed of 30 Mbps or higher. More than half (55%) had a contracted speed of 100 Mbps or higher.

IPTV shines in Moldova

By Chris Dziadul

IPTV continues to grow in Moldova’s otherwise shrinking pay-TV market.

The latest stats published by the regulator ANRCETI show that the number of IPTV subscribers rose by about 10% in the first nine months of this year to reach 153,400. At the same time, IPTV revenues in the first nine months were, at MDL56.5 million (€2.9 million), 2% higher than in the corresponding period in 2017.

Meanwhile, the number of cable TV subscribers fell by 10.6% to about 164,700, and sales were 2.8% lower at MDL62.6 million.

All told, the number of pay-TV subscribers in the country fell by 1.6% in the first nine months of this year to 318,600.

Furthermore, pay-TV sales fell by 0.6% to MDL119.1 million and ARPU by 8.2% to MDL41.

In the case of digital subscribers the majority (68.5%) opted for IPTV, with the remainder (31.5%) choosing cable. Just over three in five (61.8%) of pay-TV subscribers were digital and the remainder (38.2%) analogue.

Moldtelecom (34.4%) was the leading provider of pay-TV services, followed by Sun Communications (20.5%) and TV Box (12.7%), with other having a combined market share of 32.4%.

M7 Deutschland wins eight new customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Deutschland has aquired eight network operators from the municipal utilities and energy supplier sector as new customers in the past six months.

The companies include Thüga SmartService, BiTel, K-NET Telekommunikation, Stadtwerke Erkrath, OstTelCom, EmslandTel.Net and bn:t Blatzheim Networks Telecom. They will use M7’s technical and distribution licence wholesale products. In addition to the TV offer from the pay-TV, Basis HD and International TV portfolios, this increasingly includes technical services for IPTV as well as M7’s 360° all-round service with sales-supporting measures for customer loyalty and promotion of new business, according to M7.

M7 also renewed a large number of existing contracts with market partners.

“We are the market leader for TV entertainment for cable and IP network operators in Germany and Austria regarding licenses for premium channels, turnkey TV wholesale products and innovative IPTV services. With the eight new customers, we were able to further strengthen this market position,” said Martijn van Hout, Vice-President and Country Manager Germany and Austria of M7 Group.

“For these network operators, a full and innovative TV offer for private customers and the housing industry in their served areas is a very important precondition for providing competitive products on the market and being able to survive the tough competition,” added van Hout. “The new partnerships also confirm that we have struck a nerve in the market with our products specially designed for IPTV providers and municipal utilities.”

The new M7 services include in particular the turnkey white label solution DVB-IP. The channel packages are transmitted via satellite through the teleport in Usingen near Frankfurt on M7’s direct-to-cable platform in DVB-S2 to the network partners’ head-ends. The satellite uplinks are handled by German service provider Media Broadcast Satellite. At the head-ends, the Conax-encrypted channels are processed in IP format and distributed on the fibre-optic networks to end customers. M7 offers bundled licenses for 140 free-to-air and pay-TV channels as well as international packages in nine languages.

Network operators can also make use of a multiscreen IP product from M7. With the white label TV app, customers can receive around 70 public HD channels and commercial SD channels within their Wi-Fi home networks as well as – if subscribed to – the around 30 channels of the Family HD pay-TV package on mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.

IPTV drives piracy in Italy

By Chris Dziadul

Close to 5 million Italians now watch sports and movies illegally on IPTV.

Quoting data from Ipsos research commissioned by the Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content (Fapav), Il Sole 24 ore reports that three out of four pirates watch football, with the next most popular sports being Formula One, Moto GP and tennis.

All told, live sports events are pirated 21 million times a year, and IPTV has increased the possibility ten-fold. It is also the technology favoured by 35% of streaming pirates, and all told 4.6 million Italians over the age of 15 watch sports content illegally.

Illegal IPTV allows them to access all TV channels, including paid content, for between €10-15 a month. Moreover, many choose to pay by credit card, knowing the content is being offered illegally and their card is traceable.

Federico Bganoli Rossi, the president of Fapav, has estimated the impact of piracy on the industry in Italy to be over €1 billion and also putting 5,700 jobs at risk.

Meanwhile, Maria Vittoria De Simone, deputy national prosecutor of the DNA (national anti-mafia and anti-terrorism), has said that piracy results in the loss of €369 million to Italy’s GDP.

The most effective of fighting it is to adopt a “follow the money” strategy.

German TV.de expands TV streaming service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German streaming provider Couchfunk is expanding its live TV platform TV.de by adding a pay-TV package and extending the free basic package.

Furthermore, the service which launched on December 1, 2015 is now also available in Austria.

With Fernsehen mit Herz, TV.de is now offering a classic pay-TV package for the first time. Aboard are the channels Heimatkanal, Romance TV and GoldStar TV, operated by German media company Mainstream Media. As with Zattoo, where the bouquet launched on February 1, 2018, the subscription costst €4.99 per month.

“We are proud to have in TV.de another OTT partner for the distribution of Fernsehen mit Herz, meeting the demands of many subscribers for new reception options,” said Tim Werner, board member of Mainstream Media. “We are particularly pleased that we can now also offer our channel package in Austria.”

Meanwhile, German children’s and family channel RiC TV, operated by media company Your Family Entertainment, is a new addition to TV.de’s free basic package.

In total, TV.de offers more than 50 TV channels as live-streams of which 30 are available free of charge and without registration as well as on-demand content from over 140 channels. Access is possible on the open Internet at www.tv.de and via apps for operating systems iOS, Android and Windows, for example on smartphones and tablets.

Ocilion wins R-KOM, komro, SWU Telenet for IPTV solution

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Three regional German network operators have jointly opted for the IPTV solution developed by Austrian IPTV service provider Ocilion.

R-KOM from Regensburg, komro from Rosenheim and SWU Telenet from Ulm will use the company’s B2B solution for IP and hybrid offers (IP/DVB-C). The decision was made following a market evaluation.

The more than 100,000 TV customers of R-KOM, komro and SWU Telenet will have the opportunity to use the new IPTV offer which comprises an HD package, pay-TV, video-on-demand and interactive functions such as time-shifted television, pause/play and PVR.

Customers will receive Ultra HD/4K-compliant set-top boxes from Ocilion as reception devices. Smartphones and tablets can be connected via apps.

With the white label solution, the entire product will appear under the brand and in the design of the local network operator which continues to maintain the customer relationship.

“R-KOM, komro and SWU Telenet have a clear vision of what their future TV product will look like,” said Hans Kühberger, managing director of Ocilion IPTV Technologies. “Therefore, I am even more pleased that we have been chosen to provide our turnkey IPTV wholesale service to three large networks in Southern Germany, individually adapted to the respective needs of the network operators.”

Salt launches Ultra HD service with Zattoo

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telecommunications provider Salt has launched an Ultra HD/4K offer on its IPTV platform which is available to all customers.

The first UHD channels carried by Salt include Stingray Ambiance 4K, Now 4K, Festival 4K and Insight TV. Further channels will follow shortly.

In total, the Salt TV platform launched in March 2018 comprises 380 channels, 180 of them in HD quality, and more than 10,000 films and series. For the first time in Europe, customers receive the Apple TV 4K box as the standard receiver from a platform operator.

Swiss service provider Zattoo operates the whole technical platform with its white label solution and handles the development of all front-end applications including Apple TV.

Salt’s Ultra HD offer on the Zattoo platform was announced in September 2018. Other Zattoo B2B customers using the company’s white label platform solution can now also make Ultra HD services available to their customers.

UPC Romania sells Focus Sat shares

By Chris Dziadul

UPC Romania has sold shares in the DTH platform Focus Sat to two other companies in the Liberty Global group.

Quoting information published in the Official Gazette, Ziarul Financiar reports that the companies in question are UPC DTH and UPC DTH Leasing, both of which are based in Luxembourg.

It adds that the move is in preparation for the sale of Liberty’s assets in Romania to Vodafone, as well as the possible sale of its satellite interests in the CEE region.

RTL UHD launches at MagentaTV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German Ultra HD channel RTL UHD is now available on Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV platform MagentaTV.

The channel shows films, series and live sports in ultra-high resolution, including all Formula 1 races, international football matches and selected games of the UEFA Europa League.

RTL UHD expands MagentaTV’s Ultra HD line-up, which includes content from Videoload, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Sky Deutschland.

RTL UHD launched on Astra (19.2° East) in April 2018 and has so far only been available to German DTH satellite households via the HD+ platform. In September 2018, access was granted to Sky Deutschland satellite customers who receive HD+ via Sky.

LIWEST to launch IPTV service with Ocilion

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator LIWEST will roll out a new multiscreen TV service on December 1, 2018 in cooperation with Austrian IPTV service provider Ocilion.

‘LIWEST läuft’ (translated ‘LIWEST up and runnig’) offers more than 90 TV channels, many of them in HD quality, 7-day replay, live pause and an online recorder with 20 hours storage capacity which can be increased to 100 hours.

Access is possible on smartphones and tablets via an app (iOS/Android), through Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV as well as via the Ultra HD-capable ‘LIWEST läuft’ box.

Internet and TV customers of LIWEST pay €3.90 per month for the TV offer based on Ocilion’s IPTV solution, pure internet customers pay €7.90 per month. The box can be rented for €3.90 per month.

“With ‘LIWEST läuft’ and the ‘LIWEST läuft’-Box we set new benchmarks for our customers: Television, when and where they want it. This is our response to the needs of our customers, who are becoming increasingly mobile and flexible,” LIWEST’s managing director Günther Singer said in Linz.

LIWEST serves over 131,000 customers in Upper Austria with TV, telephony, internet and mobile communications. The collaboration with Ocilion was announced in September 2018.

Slovak Telekom, T-Mobile Czech opt for MediaKind

By Chris Dziadul

Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic have selected MediaKind, the new brand identity for Ericsson Media Solutions, to upgrade and further extend their IPTV services.

The solution will allow them to deliver a range of highly personalised services to subscribers including linear and on demand video, extensive metadata, archive TV and advanced privacy and parental control.

Commenting on the development, Andrej Pinak, director of IP and service platforms in Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic, said: “Viewers have more choice and access to content than ever before and it’s increasingly on their own terms. Following the successful deployment of Mediaroom and the delivery of our Magio IPTV service in Slovakia, we are delighted to increase the scope and breadth of our collaboration with MediaKind by expanding our service into the Czech Republic. By working alongside a trusted and proven strategic partner, we are able to invest in the best possible infrastructure and ensure our customers receive the most exciting and extensive range of rich, immersive and highly personalised viewing experiences across all screens.”

Angel Ruiz, CEO, MediaKind, added: “Consumers today are embracing a wider range of converged and seamless multiscreen content. Service providers must find new ways to evolve their offering and deliver ever-more immersive media experiences. This latest deployment of Mediaroom will enable Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic to modernize software and introduce new high quality, live, video on demand and time-shifted services to its viewers. We look forward to further enhancing the IPTV service capability and introducing new, flexible and cost-effective methods of video delivery in the Czech and Slovak TV markets.”

1+1 tops Ukrainian IPTV/OTT chart

By Chris Dziadul

1+1 was the most popular channel amongst IPTV/OTT users in Ukraine in the second quarter.

According to the findings of a joint project undertaken by the regulator National Council and Big Data Ua, it was followed by Ukraina, STB, ICTV, Inter, Noviy Kanal, 2+2, Tet and PlusPlus.

The findings show that in the entertainment/information category 1+1, Ukraina and ICTV were the most popular services, while STB, Noviy and K1 topped the entertainment category.

Meanwhile, PlusPlus, Cartoon Network and Pixel TV led in the children’s category and Mega, Discovery Channel and Nat Geo Wild in documentaries. 112, NewsOne and Espresso were the most watched information channels and Fox, Enter-film and Volia Cine+Hit the most popular movie channels.

The music category was led by M1, Music Box UA and EUMusic, while Futbol1, Futbol2 and Eurosport 1 were the most watched sports channels.

The survey covered 311,000 home pages connected to the IPTV/OTT operators Volia, Triolan and you tv.

The full findings can be viewed by following this link.

DAZN launches on Swisscom TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom has integrated sports streaming service DAZN into its IPTV platform Swisscom TV.

The move marks the first time DAZN becomes available as an app on a third-party platform. Customers can use the service at home with the Swisscom TV box and on the move with the Swisscom TV app on smartphones and tablets.

DAZN costs CHF12.90 (€11) per month and can be cancelled monthly. Billing via Swisscom is not yet possible at the start, but the telco wants to offer this option in future.

Deutsche Telekom sees stronger growth in IPTV again

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Deutsche Telekom acquired a total of 51,000 new customers for its IPTV platform Entertain TV in Q3 2018.

The total number of customers amounted to 3.24 million as of September 30, 2018, as the company announced during the presentation of its quarterly figures.

Growth was stronger than in Q2 2018, when 47,000 new customers were acquired. In Q3 2017, however, Telekom recorded an increase of 65,000 customers.

It remains to be seen whether the recent transformation of Entertain TV into MagentaTV and the additional commercialisation as an OTT product will accelerate customer growth again.

Swisscom increases number of TV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom acquired a total of 9,000 new customers for its IPTV platform Swisscom TV in Q3 2018.

This is significantly more than in the third quarter of the previous year, when 6,000 new customers were added. Over the past 12 months, the number of Swisscom TV customers rose by 57,000 to 1.51 million.

Swisscom also increased its number of fixed-line broadband customers by 30,000 to around 2.03 million.

Telekom operates new ARD/ZDF catch-up services

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The new catch-up TV services ARD Plus, ZDF select, ARD Plus Kids and ZDFtivi, which Deutsche Telekom offers within its redesigned IPTV and OTT service MagentaTV, are not operated by the German public broadcasters, but by Telekom.

The programmes available on the services are licensed to MagentaTV by the commercial subsidiaries of ARD and ZDF, as spokespeople from ARD and ZDF confirmed to Broadband TV News.

“As with the content licensed to Telekom in the past by ZDF Enterprises GmbH to supplement the ZDFmediathek, the new offers are not channels organised by ZDF or ZDF Enterprises GmbH, but a completely normal programme licensing process,” explained a ZDF spokeswoman. “ZDF Enterprises GmbH, the commercial subsidiary of ZDF, has licensed the corresponding programmes to MagentaTV. The sole operator of MagentaTV is Deutsche Telekom.”

An ARD spokesman said: “The new offers are operated by Telekom. ARD licenses the content and the ARD Plus brand as well as the right to offer the content under the brand. The choice is made by Telekom.”

Telekom offers ARD Plus, ZDF select, ARD Plus Kids and ZDFtivi to its customers exclusively, as a Telekom spokesman confirmed to Broadband TV News. This dashes hopes that the new catch-up services will also be available to other platform operators.

The licensing of programme content from the public broadcasters to commercial video-on-demand services is a common practice in the industry. However, the fact that a company operates its own business models under the ARD and ZDF brands could be seen as a more controversial move.

Public licence fee payers could be surprised that the new ARD/ZDF services are not accessible on the open internet or on other platforms and could see this as contradictory to the public service obligation. No doubt: The deal between ARD, ZDF and Telekom is likely to spark discussions.