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Yesterday β€” March 22nd 2019Broadband TV News: IPTV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex IPTV platform

By Julian Clover

Comcast is launching a new IPTV-only service to its internet-only customers.

Xfinity Flex comes with a 4K HDR streaming TV device, complete with Comcast’s award-winning voice remote, a single interactive guide for accessing popular streaming video and music choices, as well as Comcast’s home Wi-Fi, mobile, security, and automation services.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our Internet customers and provide them with real value,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president, Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable. “For just five dollars a month, we can offer these customers an affordable, flexible, and differentiated platform that includes thousands of free movies and shows for online streaming, an integrated guide for accessing their favorite apps and connected home devices, and the ease of navigating and managing all of it with our voice remote.”

Xfinity is backed by more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows including live streamed channels from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. There is also access to apps from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime.

Later, the full Xfinity X1 cable service will be available through the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: IPTV

Czech IPTV service set to expand

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech IPTV service sledovanitv.cz is considering adding Ultra HD channels to its offer, employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) from this year.

According to Rozhlas.cz, AI is available in 8K TVs and can convert lower image quality to higher. Samsung, for instance, is already addressing the absence of sufficient native content.

Rozhlas.cz adds that although 4K channels are available to Czech operators, none has so far included them in their offers.

Sledovanitv.cz aims to ideally be available in a unified form via the web, its own set-top boxes, mobile apps and internet-connected TVs.

It is already available on Samsung, Panasonic and LG (Netcast and WebOS) and has been on Hisense since 2016.It is supported on Android, iOS and Apple TV.

M7 and Deutsche Glasfaser extend partnership

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 and Deutsche Glasfaser strengthen their content partnership with a new multi-year agreement.

The largest FTTH provider in Germany can thus continue to access around 80 German and international TV channels from the M7 portfolio Pay-TV, Basis HD and International TV. Deutsche Glasfaser links M7’s TV rights portfolio with its in-house developed IPTV technology platform for end customers.

“Deutsche Glasfaser is seen as the driver of the future technology fibre optics with outstanding customer orientation and is planning investments of €1.5 billion in the next years to connect one million households to its network across Germany,” said Christian Heinkele, managing director of Eviso Germany, the M7 business partner for marketing and channel management in Germany.

“We are therefore pleased about the extension of the cooperation and the opportunity to continue accompanying Deutsche Glasfaser on its successful journey by supplying the rights for excellent premium TV channels and providing our full support,” added Heinkele.

Uwe Nickl, managing director of Deutsche Glasfaser, said: “As the market leader, our mission is to provide our customers with the best service and entertainment on our FTTH networks. M7 has long been a reliable partner for high-quality TV content and rights. Both companies are regarded as innovation drivers in their respective markets and the bundling of our strengths primarily serves our customers. The decision to continue the cooperation was therefore a logical step for us.”

Kabel-TV Lampert continues to rely on Zattoo for IPTV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator Kabel-TV Lampert will continue offering its IPTV service through Zattoo’s end-to-end solution.

The partnership has been extended by several years. The complete operation of the platform and the IPTV service remains in the hands of service provider Zattoo, which also ensures ongoing updates and further developments.

The service scope can be extended by additional reception devices and will in future include a marketing option for further network operators interested in a TV product, but not wanting to invest in their own hardware and software. For these operators, Kabel-TV Lampert and Zattoo will offer a fully hosted TV-as-a-service solution.

“One of the key reasons for Zattoo as a long-term partner is the company’s unique strength as an innovator. This is necessary to continuously improve our TV product and to deliver it to our customers, ensuring the highest quality,” said Karoline Lampert, managing director of Kabel-TV Lampert. “With Zattoo as our partner, we are ensuring our long-term competitiveness against the major communications groups.”

Zattoo gained Kabel-TV Lampert as the first Austrian customer for its white-label IPTV platform in 2015.

Purtel.com: OTT operators are β€œmodern robber barons”

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German service provider purtel.com calls for local cable and fibre-optic network operators to set up their own multiscreen TV and video-on-demand offers instead of just passing through OTT services such as Netflix or Amazon.

“Network investments can’t be refinanced by the ‘modern robber barony’ of OTT providers,” purtel.com managing director Dr Markus von Voss said in Munich. On the contrary: They threaten to destroy the investments of local network operators.

“The arguments put forward by free-riders such as ‘increase in competitiveness’ are lip service from operators in order to use externally financed infrastructures free of charge. This is to the considerable disadvantage of the local network operators and their investments,” warns von Voss.

Instead, he advises to focus on first-class original services, local content and closeness to customers – while maintaining the customer relationship.

Purtel.com offers a white-label platform for TV, internet and telephony used by over 90 network operators in Germany.

Salzburg AG chooses IPTV system from Ocilion

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian cable operator Salzburg AG has opted for the IPTV system solution from Austrian service provider Ocilion.

Ocilion will provide Salzburg AG with an individual on-premises end-to-end system that is directly integrated into the existing infrastructure and hosted on site.

The IPTV platform, which extends the existing TV offer, includes the entire system environment, software, tablet and smartphone app in the network operator’s design as well as 4K receivers.

The project is already in the implementation phase and should become available to customers in the course of 2019.

Salzburg AG supplies the federal state of Salzburg and parts of Styria with multimedia services, and has more than 130,000 TV customers.

Swiss 3 Plus Group to launch new TV channel 6+

By JΓΆrn Krieger

With 6+, Swiss TV group 3 Plus will launch its fourth TV channel after 3+, 4+ and 5+ on March 27, 2019.

The advertising-supported channel will show free-TV debuts of series such as The Blacklist, blockbuster movies like Bad Teacher, After Earth, Captain Phillips and new titles of the James Bond franchise, documentaries such as Asphalt Cowboys as well as original productions.

6+ will also become 3 Plus Group’s laboratory for new, innovative forms of advertising.

The free-to-air TV channel will be distributed as part of the digital offers of local cable and IPTV operators UPC, Swisscom TV, Digital Cable Group and Sunrise, among others.

As with 3+, 4+ and 5+, the advertising slots will be marketed by long-standing partner Goldbach Media (Switzerland).

Sky and Comcast already working together

By Julian Clover

Jeremy Darroch says there are already benefits In both directions between Sky and its new owners Comcast.

In a speech to the Deloitte Enders Media and Telecoms Conference 2019 in London, the Sky CEO said he and his colleagues were pleased to have the sale process behind them. The broadcaster was, Darroch said, now returning to its process of constant renewal to the benefit of the consumer.

Darroch told delegates Comcast’s voice interface would be brought to Sky Q later this year, while broadband customers in Italy will benefit from Comcast’s xFi product. But the traffic is more than one way. “When NBCU launch an AVOD service in the US next year, it’ll be Sky’s OTT technology platform that has helped to enable that. We are making good use of each other’s content on screen, are working to serve our global advertisers better and all the while becoming a more capable and a more efficient organisation.”

There has also been movement between Sky staff in the UK and their US counterparts at Comcast.

Darroch said Sky took seriously its responsibilities as a family broadcaster, and not just as a result of regulation. He announced the rollout of a new product, Broadband Buddy, which he said puts control of the family’s screen time in the hands of parents.

There was also a partnership with Common Sense Media to create another level of safeguarding for parents and children.

Wojciech Rzazewski joins nc+

By Chris Dziadul

Wojciech Rzazewski has been appointed the director of digital products at the Polish DTH platform nc+.

In his new role, effective March 4, he will be responsible for the development of digital products and services.

Rzazewski has many years of experience in this field and was most recently at Ringier Axel Springer Polska, where he was the development director for online products and oversaw the company’s digital activities, including internet services, mobile applications and social media.

Prior to that, as the chief digital officer, he was responsible for, amongst others, the creation and implementation of a product strategy for online channels and the digital transformation of print titles in the Ringier Axel Springer Polska portfolio.

Deutsche Telekom adds Nick+ to MagentaTV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom will offer more than 900 episodes of series from children’s channel Nickelodeon on the video-on-demand service of its IPTV platform MagentaTV from March 1, 2019.

The new Nick+ service will include series such as Paw Patrol, SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The content will be available to all MagentaTV customers without commercials and at no extra charge.

MWC 2019: Zattoo unveils Android TV for Operators on IPTV platform

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Zattoo is expanding its end-to-end white label IPTV platform and makes it available as an Android TV solution for operators.

The Swiss company presents the platform’s latest development stage and the new application for Android TV for operators’ set-top boxes at Mobile World Congress 2019 (MWC) in Barcelona in hall 5 at stand 5D10.

“We are proud to be an innovation leader in this industry, and now also when it comes to Android TV for operators”, said Gernot Jaeger, Chief Officer of B2B at Zattoo, adding that the company will launch an Android TV for operators solution for a leading European network operator “very soon”.

Zattoo is also showcasing other innovations and enhancements of its end-to-end platform live at MWC 2019. Examples include 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) and the next generation of ‘Bridge’, the platform’s central monitoring and control module for B2B customers.

4K/UHD was launched a few weeks ago for Swiss network operator Salt, enabling the company to strengthen its disruptive approach in the Swiss TV market: Together with Zattoo and Apple, Salt is relying on a new TV solution that uses Apple TV (with Operator Login for the first time) as the main TV reception device.

Deutsche Telekom wins 62,000 IPTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German IPTV platform Entertain TV continues to be a growth driver for Deutsche Telekom.

In Q4 2018, 62,000 new customers were added – more than in Q3 2018 in which 51,000 new subscribers were acquired.

Entertain TV had a total of 3.35 million customers on December 31, 2018.

In 2018 as a whole, the platform grew by 214,000 customers. The figure was lower than in 2017 (260,000 new customers), but exceeded the 2016 result (196,000 new customers).

Innogy rolls out IPTV service with Zattoo

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German energy supplier Innogy has introduced a multiscreen IPTV service, offering internet, telephony and TV from a single source.

The entire technical platform is hosted and managed by Zattoo. Innogy is the 10th German network operator using Zattoo’s white label IPTV solution.

Innogy TelNet’s customers can receive up to 130 TV channels, many of them in HD quality, access popular catch-up TV services and apps and schedule TV recordings on the go via smartphone and tablet.

Innogy TV can be used on several devices simultaneously: on the TV set through an IPTV box as well as on mobile devices and PC/laptop.

“Fibre-optic networks can de more than providing fast internet access and comfortable telephony services. We are using our powerful broadband network to bring the Innogy TV product to our customers on the devices of their choice and complete our range of services with the IPTV solution from Zattoo,” said Robin Weiand, managing director of Innogy TelNet.

For the end-to-end solution provided by Zattoo, Innogy is using the framework agreement German cable operator association Deutsche Netzmarketing GmbH (DNMG) concluded with the Swiss service provider in April 2015.

Swisscom increases number of TV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss telco Swisscom won 52,000 new customers for its IPTV platform Swisscom TV last year.

The increase was stronger than in 2017, when only 49,000 new customers were added.

In total, Swisscom TV grew by 3.5% to 1.52 million customers. At the end of 2017 there were 1.47 million customers.

The number of fixed-line broadband subscriptions rose by 0.9% to 2.03 million.

KPN: IPTV up, DTT down

By Robert Briel

During the last quarter of 2018 the trend of KPN’s television services continued with IPTV up, and DTT down.

The Dutch operator’s number of IPTV subscribers rise with 22,000, but the number of Digitenne DTT homes went down with 16,000, resulting in a net addition of 6,000 TV subscribers.

However, over the past twelve months, KPN added 52,000 IPTV homes, while losing 58,000 DTT subs, resulting in a net loss of 6,000 television customers.

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.