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Yesterday β€” April 19th 2018Broadband TV News: Mobile TV

Movie previews for mobile Netflix viewers

By Julian Clover

Netflix is bringing in mobile previews for subscribers watching on the go.

Mobile previews are launching today (Thursday) on iOS and will follow on Android.

Each preview is about 30 seconds long and presented in a vertical format, so they can be watched them without turning your phone. By showing the previewa as a slideshow, subscribers can either tap to play, add to their list, or simply swipe the screen to advance to the next preview.

Last year, previews were added for large screen viewing.

Strategy Analytics: Mobile screens essential for live TV services

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

The continual expansion of display real estate, faster data speeds, specialised data plans and improved video displays, presents a real opportunity for live TV streaming services like Sling TV to be marketed as mobile.

A recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) service at Strategy Analytics, Sling TV Hits 2.2 Million Subscribers: How UX will Determine Future Growth has identified key factors in the success of Sling TV in addition to consumer motivations to replace traditional pay TV services. Smartphones should be prioritized as an alternative screen to consume live TV services – not just for ‘on the go.’

There is a rejuvenated focus on mobile viewing, particularly with 5G, from companies such as Facebook and Snapchat in addition to mobile operators such as Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. Live streaming TV will also be an important part of this evolution.

Mobile media enthusiasts, whether video or music, have grown accustomed to the instant gratification of streaming content on smartphones, particularly to consume new content. Failing to make a large impact on this space as a video streaming service allows competitors to gain further market share.

Dedicated mobile apps create a starting point to capitalize on an existing customer base. Developing a live TV service within an existing app will allow users to instantly access all types of content remotely.

“Sling TV is losing to a much bigger competitor, Hulu, mainly because of Hulu’s SVOD catalog and history. Hulu has also incorporated their new live streaming TV service into their existing mobile app, thus enabling them to gather a different wave of subscribers from their existing, large subscriber base,” commented Chris Dodge, Associate Director and report author.

“What really helps to drive mobile usage from YouTube, Hulu, and to a lesser extent DirecTV, are their existing dedicated mobile apps. Both Hulu and YouTube have very prominent mobile apps which are optimized for mobile viewing.”

Added Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “DirecTV as a traditional pay TV service provided a mobile app allowing users to view their DVR and live TV content remotely. However, like YouTube TV, DirecTV built their new live TV streaming app outside of their preexisting popular app. Building from within like Hulu will be key for live TV services such as Sling TV to generate a stronger mobile presence and ramp up their subscriber base.”

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Mobile TV

German regulator greenlights Deutsche Telekom’s mobile data flat rate

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Germany’s Federal Network Agency has no objections against Deutsche Telekom’s new mobile phone tariff offering unlimited data volume despite a clause fixing the data allowance in other EU countries at 23 GB per month.

“In principle, companies have the option of restricting the domestically unlimited data volume when it is used in other EU countries,” a spokesman of the regulatory authority told Broadband TV News. He added that, after an initial cursory examination, the authority considers the product to be in accordance with EU roaming rules.

The new MagentaMobil XL tariff Deutsche Telekom unveiled on March 6, 2018 comprises unlimited data volume within Germany. However, when the customer travels to other EU countries, the data volume is restricted to 23 GB per month.

“After use of the 23 GB, Deutsche Telekom is entitled to apply a surcharge of €6 (net) per GB with 1kb accuracy. The customer must explicitly confirm the continued use at http://pass.telekom.de,” a Telekom spokesman told Broadband TV News, adding that this practice was based on EU regulation regarding the appropriate usage of regulated roaming services.

The zero-rating option StreamOn Deutsche Telekom introduced almost a year ago, is, however, encountering resistance from the Federal Network Agency. The regulator prohibited parts of the service on the grounds of violation of EU roaming regulations and net neutrality. The decision is not yet final; Deutsche Telekom appealed against it.

Germany rolls out TV broadcasting via 5G trial

By JΓΆrn Krieger

A test site for TV broadcasting over 5G networks is being set up in the Bavarian Oberland region as part of research project 5G Today.

Under the leadership of the German Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcasts in the Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (FeMBMS) mode over 5G networks.

The project is supported by associated partners Telefónica Germany and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Bavarian affiliate of German public broadcaster ARD. BR is operating the 5G FeMBMS broadcast network as a test site at its transmitter locations.

The introduction of 5G could open up a worldwide market with millions of smartphones and tablets acting as potential TV receivers able to combine live TV services, media libraries, social networks and many other media services, according to the project partners. With the cooperation of European broadcasters and industry players, international standardisation work to enable efficient broadcasting in large 4G and 5G networks was completed in June 2017.

“Together with EBU, BBC, RAI and SWR and industry partners, we have defined the broadcasting requirements for 5G and successfully incorporated them in the international standard,” said Jochen Mezger, General Manager, Business Area Network Technologies at IRT. “Requirements include a 100% broadcasting mode and increased channel spacing. We are pleased that the 5G Today project allows us to implement and evaluate standardisation results at a test site.”

Large and smaller transmitter cells are combined to create a large coverage area. The first test broadcasts using TV signals are expected to take place at the end of 2018. They will be simultaneously broadcast on channel 56 from the BR’s Wendelstein transmitter site (pictured above) and other locations in the Munich area. Until then, components for transmission and reception will be developed and installed, and theoretical studies and preliminary investigations will take place.

Professor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer, Director Production and Technology at BR, said: “With the development of 5G, the standard approaches the classic parameters of a broadcasting system which will enable widespread and economic distribution of television channels. We welcome the opportunity offered by the 5G Today project to test the network of the future with our existing broadcasting infrastructure.”

Jaime Lluch, Director Radio Access Network at Telefónica Germany, added: “As a global network operator and a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, we want to support testing of media content distribution over modern and converged 5G networks. That’s why, if needed, we will give 5G Today another 700 MHz spectrum, one of the 5G frequency bands prioritised by the EU Commission.”

Manfred Reitmeier, Senior Director of R&D Transmitter Systems at Rohde & Schwarz, explained: “The 5G standard offers a unique opportunity to intelligently link the strengths of broadcasting transmission with the extensive opportunities in mobile communications. We are actively involved in this groundbreaking research project, contributing our leading technological expertise in terrestrial transmitter technology and mobile communications T&M technology in order to create the basis for efficiently transmitting media content to mobile and portable devices.”

Ralf Exler, Head of Innovation Management at Kathrein, feels that this project plays an important role in the convergence of broadcasting and mobile communications: “Young people in particular want to receive broadcast content on all user devices. The new standard brings the convergent network a little bit closer.” Customers do not have to worry about how they receive the content they use. “In 5G Today, we will be optimising the antennas and network parameters in the field and conducting test drives in order to be able to offer innovative technology to our automotive customers.”

The 5G Today research project will be funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation over the course of 28 months.

Deutsche Telekom launches unlimited mobile data flat rate

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German telco Deutsche Telekom has introduced a mobile tariff with unlimited data volume.

MagentaMobil XL costs €79.95 per month, Michael Hagspihl, managing director of the consumer business department, announced at the presentation of the new offer in Bonn.

A domestic telephony and SMS flat rate is also part of the tariff; data access includes LTE. There are 23 GB of data allowance per month for use in other EU countries.

MagentaMobil XL is available through all distribution channels from today.

Up to now, tariffs with unlimited data usage have been available in Germany mainly in the business customer segment at high costs. Deutsche Telekom is the first mobile player entering the B2C mass market with an unlimited data volume.

MagentaMobil XL complements the zero-rating option StreamOn Deutsche Telekom introduced in April 2017. More than 200 video and audio streaming partners have so far been won for StreamOn, said Dirk Wössner, head of Deutsche Telekom’s German business. Their data traffic is not reduced from the high-speed allowance in the customers’ mobile tariff.

Almost a year after its launch, StreamOn now has more than one million users, said Wössner.

Survey: Mobile video streaming can be a pain

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Streaming services are frustrating consumers according to a new survey in the US conducted by Penthera.

Complaints are often related to a poor user experience, which could be improved with D2Go. Penthera is a pioneer in download-to-go (D2Go) functionality.

“Whether they are heading to the beach or the daily commute, consumers recognize they cannot rely on always having video-grade data connectivity. The Penthera survey data shows they see download-to-go functionality as an important tool in assuring the availability of their favorite videos, even if only used occasionally,” said Colin Dixon founder of nScreen Media, a video industry analyst.

The survey finds that 92% of consumers have been frustrated trying to stream video, with the three most common frustrations identified as:

· Buffering, per 65% of participants
· The stream is slow to load, according to 40% of participants
· The placement of advertising, per 50% of participants

Consumer who struggle to stream video retaliate with their pocketbooks. When asked how they react, respondents said:

· 53% will just give up on that streaming session
· 26% said they stop using the unsatisfactory service
· 11% will cancel their subscriptions

“Consumers expect content anywhere, on any device, but delivery on that promise is still at the mercy of robust, ubiquitous Wi-Fi connectivity. We just are not there yet, and consumers are dissatisfied,” said Dan Taitz, president and COO, Penthera.

“Our survey shows that fewer than 9% of respondents said they are ‘never frustrated’ when streaming. The technology exists to satisfy, and even delight, consumers.”

The survey indicates that offering D2Go functionality is also beneficial to the streaming services:

· 39% of survey participants said they are more likely to subscribe to a service offering D2Go
· 34% said they are more likely to watch programming from a service offering the feature
· 18% said they are less likely to cancel a service with D2Go

Some of the survey respondents indicated they already use D2Go to eliminate their streaming frustrations:

· Nearly half of those surveyed said they use D2Go so they don’t have to worry if Wi-Fi is available or robust where they are going;
· Another 21% use D2Go to avoid depleting their mobile data plans
· 17% don’t want to pay for Internet access at their destination (e.g. an airline or a hotel).

A further 53% said they’d be willing to pay more (up to $5 per month) to have download as a feature from their favourite streaming service.

The online survey was conducted in January and attracted responses from 804 men and women, aged 18-64, who stream videos on mobile devices.

Deutsche Telekom wins 260,000 IPTV customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

IPTV platform Entertain TV has emerged as a growth driver for German telco Deutsche Telekom in 2017 with 260,000 new customers added.

This corresponds with an increase by 9% to a total of 3.14 million customers. In 2016, just 196,000 new customers were recorded.

The number of broadband customers rose by 287,000 to 13.21 million in 2017 with 5.8 million of them having fibre-optic connections (including Vectoring).

For its controversial zero-rating tariff option StreamOn in the mobile business, Telekom has won almost 800,000 customers so far. Comparable options are offered by Telekom’s subsidiaries in Croatia, Poland, Romania and Greece as well as by T-Mobile US.

EXCLUSIVE: M7 launches DTH platform in Germany [Analysis]

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group will launch a DTH platform in Germany on Astra (19.2° East) on February 14, 2018.

The hybrid service branded Diveo (a reshuffle of the word Video) will combine the worlds of DTH and OTT, enabling on-demand, interactive and cloud-based PVR services, Oliver Rockstein, Executive Vice President of M7 Group, told Broadband TV News. The full offer will also be available on smartphones and tablets through Android/iOS apps, both via Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile networks.

The set-top-box will connect the linear TV channels from Astra with the streaming and interactive services from the internet on the TV set. There will also be a CI+ solution.

The basic package Erlebnis (‘Experience’) contains more than 50 HD channels, among them the free-to-air channels of public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and commercial broadcasters including RTL, ProSiebenSat.1, Discovery and Viacom for €7.90 per month.

The basic package also comprises non-linear functions such as live pause, restart, the broadcasters’ catch-up portals, a T-VOD service from Videociety with over 5,000 movies and a network PVR enabling cloud-based recording. 10 hours of storage capacity are included in the basic package with customers being able to sign up for larger packages with 100, 250 and 500 hours.

The Entdecker (‘Discoverer’) package for €11.90 per month additionally contains three pay-TV channels subscribers can choose from the Diveo premium line-up. The selection can be changed each month.

The all-in bouquet Vielfalt (‘Variety’) for €16.90 per month comprises the full line-up of more than 20 pay-TV channels, for example 13th Street HD, auto motor und sport channel, AXN HD, Fox, Gute Laune TV, Heimatkanal, kabel eins classics, Kinowelt TV, Marco Polo TV, Mezzo Live HD, MTV Live HD, NatGeo Wild, Penthouse HD, Planet, ProSieben Fun HD, RCK TV, Sat.1 Emotion, Sony Channel HD, Silverline Movie Channel, Sport1 US HD, sportdigital HD, Syfy HD and Universal Channel HD.

The set-top-box is sold online for the special introductory price of €79 with the CI+ module costing €49. Rental options are currently not available. The minimum subscription period is 12 months. Initially, Diveo will distribute subscriptions and the hardware through its website with large electronics market chains and local retailers to follow as the next step.

Rockstein stressed that all linear TV, on-demand and interactive services are integrated on a single user interface. “It’s not just a line-up of different apps.” The deep integration enables functions such as searching for series, movies or actors across several broadcasters’ catch-up services. Through the Android and iOS apps, the full service is available on smartphones and tablets, enabling, for example, remote recording.

Rockstein acknowledged that it’s been a challenge obtaining all the rights required for the on-demand, interactive and mobile services. “But we’ve got everything possible.” This excludes rights, for example for certain programmes, broadcasters were unable to provide.

The platform uses a smartcard-based conditional access solution provided by Viaccess-Orca. For the CI+ module, Diveo has created a smart TV app combining the module with the TV set’s internet connection. This enables the user interface on CI+ to look like the user interface on the set-top box. The first partner offering the Diveo app on its smart TV sets is Samsung with other manufacturers to follow.

The linear SD and HD free-to-air channels are distributed to households through Astra with the pay-TV channels using OTT streaming. Diveo recommends a minimum internet bandwidth of 10Mbps “to be on the safe side”, said Rockstein (pictured), but lower speeds worked during tests.

Interestingly, M7 didn’t rent its own Astra capacity for the Diveo service, but co-uses existing transponder space of partners. Rockstein didn’t go into detail, but it is likely that one of these partners is Astra: The satellite operator’s German DTH platform HD+ offers exactly the same 23 commercial HD channels as Diveo.

Asked about the differences compared with HD+ and Sky Deutschland, Rockstein pointed to Diveo’s strong non-linear and mobile offer. This is resembled in the platform’s slogan: Mit Diveo wird Fernsehen unverpassbar (‘With Diveo, you won’t miss anything on TV any more’). With this approach, Diveo reacts to the growing demand for non-linear content among satellite households, said Rockstein.

Diveo will only be offered to DTH households in Germany, but Rockstein hinted that it could act as a role model for rolling out hybrid platforms in existing M7 markets. The group, active in Austria, the Benelux countries and Central and Eastern Europe, already uses synergies between its local operations, for example in the areas of set-top-boxes, CI+ modules, OTT, apps and content provision.

The launch of Diveo marks M7’s entry into the German B2C market. The company previously only offered B2B services for cable operators, IPTV platforms and the housing industry, providing TV channels, a multiscreen app and other white-label services. Rockstein doesn’t see a conflict of interest as Diveo just targets the DTH community and not cable households. In fact, the venture would strengthen M7’s foothold in the German market, also for the benefit of its B2B partners.

Broadband TV Views: The launch of a German DTH platform doesn’t come as a surprise as M7 always stressed that this was an option, dating back to May 2014 when the company acquired the KabelKiosk platform from satellite operator Eutelsat.

Diveo will undoubtedly have a positive impact on competition in the German DTH market so far dominated by Sky Deutschland and HD+. Following their removal by Sky, third-party channels such as the pay-TV services from ProSiebenSat.1, AXN and Sport1 US have found a new home on the Diveo platform just like smaller channels that have never been marketed to DTH households, for example Silverline Movie Channel, RCK TV and Gute Laune TV.

Renting no extra Astra capacity, but co-using existing feeds, is a clever move by M7 to save costs, thus making the venture less risky. It should be kept in mind that previous attempts to compete with Sky for DTH households – arenaSAT from Unitymedia and easy.tv from Primacom – failed, not least because of the high costs involved. Nevertheless, Diveo resembles a major strategic move for M7 as Germany is the largest market in the company’s footprint, offering strong growth potential.

But M7 might not remain the only new player in the German DTH market: Transmitter network operator Media Broadcast is understood to continue preparing a DTH version of its DVB-T2 platform Freenet TV targeting Astra satellite households, effectively making Freenet TV available nationwide.

Zattoo adds Eurosport 1 HD in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Eurosport 1 HD has joined OTT platform Zattoo in Germany as part of subscription package Zattoo Premium.

Only the SD version of the sports channel had been available on Zattoo previously which has now been removed.

Through the Recording function, Eurosport’s programmes can be stored in the cloud and started from the beginning through the Restart function. This also applies to sister channels TLC HD and DMAX HD that are also part of Zattoo Premium.

As a new feature, the three Discovery channels can now be streamed on mobile networks in addition to the user’s Wi-Fi home network. Soon, the Live Pause function will be added, according to Zattoo, enabling the pausing and rewinding of the currently running programme.

The Replay function through which the programmes of the past 7 days can be watched in full length had to be removed on all three channels for copyright reasons, according to Zattoo.

Furthermore, DMAX and TLC decided to remove the SD versions of their channels from the ad-supported, free of charge service Zattoo Free. The channels are now only available in HD resolution as part of subscription package Zattoo Premium.

Special Olympics programming for Uber riders

By Robert Briel

NBC Olympics is partnering with Uber to bring a custom in-ride video experience to US Uber riders during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games.

Riders across the country will be able to access Olympic athlete interviews and highlights, curated each day of competition by NBC Olympics.

Once a rider begins their trip, the Uber app will feature a link to an NBC Olympics site, where they can access the interviews, highlights, and content from NBC Olympics’ broadcast team. As part of the series, NBC Olympics will produce exclusive “in-car” interviews for Uber riders. These interviews will feature US athletes and broadcast announcers as they are in transit to and from competition venues, providing a sense of anticipation leading up to an important event, or reaction from a performance or medal win.

“We’re excited to partner with Uber to reach Olympic fans on the go,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics and Business, NBC Sports Group.

“Through great partner platforms such as Uber, fans have more ways than ever to connect with the Games.”

“The Olympics unite the world in sport and we are thrilled to be teaming up with NBC to connect Olympics fans across the country with exclusive content through the Uber app,” said Amy Friedlander Hoffman, Head of BD & Experiential Marketing at Uber.

“For the first time ever, Uber riders will have access to Olympic highlights while on trip, bringing them closer to the action no matter where they are going.”

Germany evaluates TV broadcasting via 5G

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German broadcast technology institute IRT wants to examine through a research project to what extend the new mobile network standard 5G is suitable for the large-scale transmission of TV channels.

The 5G broadcast mode FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), a further development of eMBMS, will be employed at the project 5G Today for which a test field is currently set up in the Bavarian Oberland region.

The partners are technology companies Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz; associated partners are mobile network operator Telefónica Deutschland and Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) which will operate the 5G-FeMBMS broadcast network at its transmitter sites.

With the introduction of 5G, a global market could emerge with millions of smartphones and tablets as potential TV reception devices using live TV, catch-up services, social networks and other media services through 5G networks.

“Together with EBU, BBC, RAI and SWR as well as industry partners, we have defined the broadcasting requirements for 5G and successfully submitted them to international standardisation. These include, among other things, a 100% broadcast mode and increased space between transmitter sites. We are pleased that we are now able to implement and evaluate the standardisation results in a test field in the 5G Today project,” said Jochen Mezger, Head of the Network Technology Department at IRT.

The research project, which has a duration of 28 months, combines the far-reaching distribution of TV signals through the major BR transmitter site Wendelstein with smaller BR transmitter locations in the Munich area. The first transmissions are scheduled to begin at the end of 2018.

Professor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer, Director of Production and Technology at BR, explained: “The developments in 5G bring the standard closer to the classic parameters of a broadcasting system. This will enable widespread and economic transmission of TV channels. We welcome the opportunity in the 5G Today project to test the network of the future using our existing broadcast infrastructure.”

UPC opts for Swisscom’s mobile network

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Swiss cable operator UPC will change the mobile network it uses for its mobile services by moving from Orange to Swisscom.

As a result, UPC customers will be able to continue benefiting not only from attractive offers, but also from an “outstanding” mobile network (as rated in the test by Connect magazine) with exceptional coverage throughout Switzerland, according to the Liberty Global subsidiary.

The switchover is expected to take place in early 2019. UPC has been using the mobile network of Salt, belonging to Orange, since 2015, providing services to more than 100,000 customers who have opted for a mobile tariff.

“Good is not good enough for our customers. And so we are delighted that we will be able to offer our attractive mobile products with one of the best Swiss mobile networks,” said Eric Tveter, CEO of UPC. “Our superior superfast fibre-optic internet network combined with this new partnership in mobile creates the best overall telecommunications network throughout Switzerland.”

“In future, we will also continue to launch subscriptions that are unique in Switzerland, such as the still unrivalled offer with EU roaming included, while at the same time increasing the quality of the network coverage,” added Tveter.

The decision to switch mobile networks was made as part of a tender process in which Swisscom “made us an extremely attractive offer”, according to UPC. Until the transfer to the Swisscom network, Salt will remain UPC’s mobile network operator partner. UPC will automatically switch over to the new network – customers do not need to do anything.

Regulator objects to A1 Telekom Austria’s zero-rating service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian telco A1 Telekom Austria must make adjustments to its zero-rating tariff option Free Stream.

The Austrian Telekom-Control Commission (TKK) decided after examining the offer that the throttling of the bandwidth during video streaming (“traffic shaping”) violates the EU rules on net neutrality. The rules prohibit such “disadvantageous traffic management measures” in customers’ data streams, according to TKK.

In the opinion of the regulator, the product Free Stream itself, however, does not violate the EU’s net neutrality rules as not deducting the data traffic generated by certain services from the customer’s data allowance is not explicitly prohibited, but permissible within certain limits.

“It’s an important task of the national regulatory authorities to examine whether the rules of the EU’s regulation on net neutrality are being complied with,” said Austrian telecoms regulator Johannes Gungl. “With this decision, TKK is in line with the regulatory authorities of other EU member states.”

With the Free Stream tariff option launched in mid-November 2017, A1 mobile customers can use selected video and music streaming services without using up the data volume included in their tariff. According to the telco, any interested legal streaming provider can join the partner programme.

A1 Telekom Austria has to terminate the proscribed video bandwidth throttling within a period of eight weeks from the date of delivery of the regulator’s notification. The telco stresses that it reserves the right to take legal action against the regulatory decision as it does not share its legal view.

Zero-rating is also a controversial issue in neighbouring Germany: The German Federal Network Agency recently prohibited parts of Deutsche Telekom’s zero-rating service StreamOn. Vodafone’s counterpart Vodafone Pass is still being examined by the authority.

Regulator blocks parts of Deutsche Telekom’s zero-rating service

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Germany’s Federal Network Agency has prohibited parts of the zero-rating option StreamOn in Deutsche Telekom’s mobile phone tariffs.

The decision will ensure compliance with European rules on roaming and net neutrality, according to the regulator.

“StreamOn can still be offered by Deutsche Telekom. In the interest of consumers, however, it is necessary to adapt the configuration,” explained Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency. “StreamOn must comply with the roam-like-at-home principle and customers must have video streaming available in an unthrottled bandwidth.”

“In the customers’ interest, we ensure that StreamOn meets the requirements regarding roaming and net neutrality. The stipulation of equal treatment is a cornerstone of European regulations on net neutrality. The principle of equal treatment has made the internet an innovation driver,” added Homann. “The diversity of applications and services benefits all consumers. The ban on throttling video streaming not only safeguards the diversity of the internet, but also strengthens providers of video streaming services offering high-resolution content.”

With StreamOn, the data volume consumed is not deducted from the customers’ inclusive volume if the audio or video services of content partners are used. In certain tariffs, however, the video streaming data rate is reduced to SD resolution when the customer has opted for StreamOn. In the opinion of the regulator, this is not permitted.

All tariffs with the StreamOn option must also be redesigned in such a way that consumers within the European Union can benefit from the roam-like-at-home principle, according to the authority. The data volume used by StreamOn must no longer be deducted from the data allowance of the tariff in other EU countries.

In October 2017, following an examination of StreamOn, the Federal Network Agency already found violations of the roaming and net neutrality rules and asked Deutsche Telekom to comment on the situation and resolve the issues.

The telco has until the end of March 2018 to implement the adjustments. If Deutsche Telekom fails to meet its obligations on time, the regulator may impose a penalty payment.

Deutsche Telekom doesn’t accept the Federal Network Agency’s decision. “In the interest of our customers, we see no reason to deviate from our legal opinion at present and will therefore file an objection,” a Telekom spokesman told Broadband TV News. “By taking legal action, we will fight to ensure that our customers can continue using StreamOn – also during the legal clarification.”

“Today’s decision is clearly against customers’ interest because it threatens the economic basis for a free service. The authority’s decision is therefore completely incomprehensible,” added the spokesman. “There are no complaints from partners or customers – on the contrary: the number of partners (currently 153) continues to grow each month. For our customers and partners nothing will change for the time being. StreamOn is a free product that is very popular with more than 700,000 customers. We have a weekly growth of around 20,000 customers.”

Discovery facing Finnish switch off

By Julian Clover

DNA has become the latest operator to fail to reach agreement with Discovery and sister channel Eurosport.

The Finnish operator says it is preparing to discontinue distribution of the two brands from January 1, 2018, blaming unreasonably high distribution fees.

Several other operators in the Nordic region, including Com Hem and Canal Digital, and the UK’s Sky have also been faced with an increase in distribution fees, which Discovery categorises as being no more than the price of a cup of coffee.

“We are actively working on reaching an extension agreement with Discovery. Negotiations are ongoing, and we hope that they will lead to a resolution as soon as possible,” says Pekka Väisänen, Senior Vice President of DNA’s Consumer Business.

Should DNA go ahead with its threat Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Discovery HD Showcase, Discovery Science, Discovery World, Investigation Discovery, Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 will be pulled from cable, IPTV and mobile networks.

“We find it strange that DNA are going out with this information now, as we are currently discussing how we can structure our partnership for the future,” a spokeswoman for Discovery Networks Finland Oy told Broadband TV News. “Our hope is to find a solution together with DNA before the current deal expires, so that Finish viewers can continue consuming our sports and entertainment, including the Winter Olympic Games.”

Although likely to go down to the wire, previous disagreements have been solved within a week of screens going dark.

DNA says its aim is to be able to continue providing its customers with diverse viewing opportunities without an effect on the consumer prices. But Discovery has invested heavily in Eurosport since its acquisition, most notably with rights to the Winter and Summer Olympics.

The current agreement expires at the end of the year.

RTLplus HD launches at Vodafone Deutschland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German broadcaster Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland offers its TV channel RTLplus in HD quality for the first time.

The first distribution partner is Vodafone Deutschland where RTLplus HD is available on cable, IPTV and mobile devices through the GigaTV app. All free-to-air channels from RTL are, thus, now carried by Vodafone in HD resolution.

Vodafone customers can also receive pay-TV channels GEO Television HD, RTL Crime HD and RTL Living HD. In total, the network operator offers 78 channels in HD quality and 69 catch-up TV services.

Netflix app on one in three Dutch smartphones; YouTube reaches 83%

By Robert Briel

Almost a third of Dutch people with a smartphone have the Netflix app on their mobile phone.

This corresponds to approximately 4 million Dutch people. 2.7 million of them use the app at least once a week, according to the latest edition of Telecompaper’s Dutch Apps Market report.

Netflix’ popularity is strongly age-related. 68% of teenagers have the app on their smartphone, compared to 9% of the over-65s. A similar age-dependent effect can be seen at YouTube. This app is on more than 7 million smartphones. Where Netflix looks at episodes of series or movies, YouTube focuses on short-form – short films. The number of viewing minutes per week for the last app is therefore considerably lower than for Netflix: at 76 minutes per week. On average, users watch Netflix content for 120 minutes a week.

Netflix is not only as an app the most popular streaming video service in the Netherlands. In the third quarter of 2017, Netflix reached 32% penetration in Dutch households in the Netherlands, according to Telecompaper’s mid-October survey. That is 2.4 million households with several users per account within (and outside) the household. Competitor Videoland has 390,000 subscriptions, NPO Start Plus has 360,000.

In related news, GfK reported that in the month of October 2017, more than 11.8 million people visited the YouTube website or app (11,825,000 people, 83% of all Dutch citizens aged 13 and older).The daily reach of YouTube was 31% in October (4,430,000 people aged 13 and over).

Compared to previous years, the range has increased in all age groups. More than half of the 13-24 year olds visit YouTube daily (54%), mainly via mobile devices. Of the total daily reach in October 7% came from the PC/laptop, 3% overlap between all devices and 21% from mobile devices (smartphone/tablet).

Deutsche Telekom reaches 600,000 zero-rating customers

By JΓΆrn Krieger

More than 600,000 mobile network customers of German telco Deutsche Telekom have opted for zero rating service StreamOn since its launch in April 2017.

StreamOn enables customers to use selected video and audio streaming services without reducing the high-speed data volume included in their tariffs. In the past four weeks, around 100,000 new customers were added, according to Telekom.

On December 1, 2017, further 10 video and 27 audio streaming services were added to StreamOn which now has a total of 153 partners. The new services include Fashion TV, Horizon Go, T-Online.de, Videobuster and YouTube Kids.

“Each provider of legal audio and video content can become our partner, there is no discrimination. This is illustrated by the monthly increase in the number of both large and small partners,” said Michael Hagspihl managing director of the consumer business department of Telekom Deutschland.

StreamOn has been disputed since its launch. Consumer protectors accuse Telekom of violating net neutrality and creating a two-class internet. In its recent decision regarding StreamOn, federal network agency Bundesnetzagentur concluded that zero rating services are generally permitted, but details of the tariff break net neutrality and roaming rules.

Vodafone Deutschland also announced a zero-rating service. The federal network agency is currently examining the project.

Motorvision TV expands international distribution

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German car and motor sports channel Motorvision TV has launched on six additional TV platforms in Europe, Africa and Asia.

In Africa, parent company Motorvision Group has reached a distribution agreement with content provider Vubiquity to deliver Motorvision TV as one of the launch channels on Black, the new OTT platform set up by mobile operator Cell C.

Cell C serves more than 20 million mobile subscribers in South Africa. Its new service Black, however, is open to subscribers across any network from 52 Sub-Saharan African countries including Angola, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Uganda.

Black offers Motorvision TV as part of the part of the BTV Unlimited and Sports packages. They can be watched on iOS and Android devices as well as through a dedicated set-top-box.

Meanwhile, audiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo can subscribe to the Celebrite package from Bleusat in order to watch Motorvision TV in French. Bleusat provides its TV service via DTT.

By teaming up with Asian Cable Communications (ACCION), Motorvision TV can be received in the Philippines for the very first time. Established in 1993, the company connects Filipino audiences with the world by distributing international pay-TV channels through local cable and IPTV platforms. Thanks to the deal with ACCION, Motorvision is currently available on 12 local platforms.

In the Maldives, Motorvision TV agreed a new distribution partnership with local telecommunications company Dhiraagu. The channel can be watched via Dhiraagu TV which launched in 2015 as the first nationwide IPTV service and the only TV service available on mobile and fixed broadband.

Building on their existing distribution agreement in Germany and France, Motorvision TV and Watch-it extended their partnership to Australia. The recently launched OTT service is developed by digital distribution company Alchimie and brings more than 25 international channels to Australian homes; many of them have not been available in the market before.

Watch-it subscribers can receive Motorvision TV as part of the On TV and Ultimate packages and watch its programming via browser and apps for iOS and Android devices which are also compatible with Apple Airplay and Google Chromecast.

The launch of Watch-it in Australia marks the return of Motorvision TV in Australia. From 2014 to mid-2017, the channel had been carried on the now defunct Wizzie TV platform.

Motorvision TV also expanded its reach in the Netherlands with its introduction on YoufoneTV, an OTT live television and video-on-demand service recently launched by virtual network operator Youfone Nederland. The channel is available via the Total package and Mix 10 package and can be watched on smartphones and tablets as well as on smart TV apps and a dedicated YoufoneTV receiver.

Motorvision TV continues to be available on T-Mobile’s Knippr service in the Netherlands.

With the newly agreed contracts, Motorvision TV can now be watched on traditional pay-TV platforms as well as OTT and on-demand platforms by over 13 million subscribers in more than 99 countries around the world.

The distribution deals with Bleusat (Congo) and Watch-it/Alchimie (France, Germany, Australia) were negotiated by G & Co, Nicolas Gorse, while the partnership with Dhiraagu (Maldives) has been accomplished by Superswiss, Stefan Knobloch.

Sport1 US HD and Motorvision TV to join waipu.tv

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German IPTV platform waipu.tv will expand its pay-TV line-up by sports channels Sport1 US HD and Motorvision TV on December 1, 2017.

The US sports channel and the motor sports channel will be available to subscribers of the pay-TV packages Comfort and Perfect without additional charge until January 31, 2018.

Another new service is a ‘fireplace channel’ (see video below) bringing winter atmosphere into the households.

Additionally, the Perfect package is now also available without the mobile option for a reduced monthly price of €9.99. The option which enables reception outside the customer’s home Wi-Fi network on mobile networks and third-party Wi-Fi hotspots, was previously included in the monthly subscription fee of €14.99.

Customers not requiring this feature, will now be able to save €5.00 per month. The mobile option can be signed up for at any time.