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Today β€” January 17th 2019Broadband TV News: Channels

New website details extent of beoutQ piracy

By Julian Clover

BEIN Sports has created a new website that it claims “exposes the industrial scale theft of world sports and entertainment” carried out by the Saudi pirate TV channel beoutQ.

The website shows a timeline of the last 18 months from the barring of access to BEIN’s own content through to the staging of the 2019 Asia Cup.

There is also a list of content alleged to have been ‘stolen’ by beoutQ including Champions League, Bundesliga, Premier League, Formula 1 and NFL.

Yousef Al-Obaidly, Chief Executive Officer, beIN MEDIA GROUP, said: “For the past 18 months beoutQ has brazenly stolen on a daily basis the commercial rights of almost every major sports rights holder and every movie studio around the world; and attempted to sabotage our broadcast business at the same time. We have a very simple message on behalf of the whole sports and entertainment industry:- we will not cease our fight against this unprecedented piracy operation until it is eradicated.”

The site, lists not only sport, but also entertainment properties including Ocean’s 8 (Warner Bros. Pictures), The Incredibles 2 (Disney), Wonder (Lionsgate), Game of Thrones, Westworld (HBO), Altered Carbon (Netflix), American Horror Story (20th Century Fox), The Equalizer 2 (Sony), Elementary (CBS), Victoria (ITV) and Doctor Who (BBC).

Tom Keaveny, Managing Director, beIN MENA, said: “What started out as a concerted and targeted campaign against beIN has now morphed into the largest commercial theft that’s ever been seen in the world of sport and entertainment, affecting everyone from the biggest organisations in sport to Hollywood movie studios and international broadcasters. This Saudi-supported plague of piracy represents an existential threat to the economic model of the industry because every day that beoutQ exists piracy is becoming more normalised across the world. We, at beIN, will not let that happen and this new website of evidence shines a light on the shocking extent of beoutQ’s ongoing theft. Piracy cannot pay; the international rule of law should apply to all, not the few.”

BeoutQ was launched in August 2017, shortly after the boycott and has illegally broadcasted World Cup soccer matches as well as Hollywood entertainment. According to BeIN, beoutQ is based in Saudi Arabia. In August, digital security and technology companies Cisco Systems, Nagra and Overon all confirmed with technical evidence that proves beyond any doubt the involvement of Riyadh-based Arabsat.

Jaromir Soukup founds political party

By Chris Dziadul

Jaromir Soukup, the owner of the Czech national commercial broadcaster Barrandov TV, has set up his own political party.

According to idnes.cz, he announced his decision at the beginning of a news programme on Barrandov TV, adding that the party, which will be named after him, will aim to defend Czech national interests against corrupt politicians and oligarchs.

However, the Czech Interior Ministry said that it had received any registration of a new political party in the country since last November.

Soukup has also announced his candidacy for the European parliament.

Soukup founded Empresa Media in 2000 and bought Barrandov TV, of which he is also the head, seven years ago.

Yesterday β€” January 16th 2019Broadband TV News: Channels

Brexit: DAZN applies for licences in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

DAZN intends to operate its European sports streaming services under German licences in future.

At Berlin-based media authority MABB, Perform Investment Germany has applied for licences for DAZN in Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain as well as for the DAZN 1 Bar HD and DAZN 2 Bar channels targeting the hospitality industry.

The submission was received by MABB on December 20, 2018 and brought forward to regulatory body KEK on January 14, 2019, according to KEK.

The DAZN services have so far been operated under licences from UK-based media authority Ofcom.

Due to the unclear validity of the Ofcom licences in other European countries in the course of Brexit, Turner Broadcasting System and NBC Universal had also applied for German licences for their international channels previously licensed by Ofcom. Bavarian media authority BLM granted the licences in mid-December 2018.

Discovery recently opted for the Netherlands.

Sky Deutschland to launch Sky Cinema Awards

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland will accompany this year’s Academy Awards with a pop-up channel featuring numerous Oscar-winning films.

From February 15 to 24, 2019 Sky Cinema Awards will screen 57 productions which have won a total of 145 Oscars.

Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy drama The Shape of Water, awarded four Oscars in 2018, will be the highlight of Sky Cinema Awards on February 24, the evening of this year’s awards ceremony, at 20.15 CET. The channel will also show almost all the other Oscar winners of the past year on this day.

Sky Cinema Awards will temporarily replace Sky Cinema Emotion. Many of the films will also be available on demand and on streaming service Sky Ticket.

Discovery Denmark adopts Clipsource for metadata

By Julian Clover

Discovery Networks Denmark has appointed mediatech specialists Clipsource, to provide a comprehensive metadata and press platform for its linear and on demand channels in Denmark.

The new platform allows Discovery Networks Denmark to automatically structure and share metadata and PR content across a range of recipients.

“We were looking for a provider able to deliver agile and flexible solutions demanded to serve the many new digital media outlets, such as news publishers, EPG’s and TV guides, and Clipsource was able to deliver on all parameters,” said Lena Bøgild, Manager PR & Digital, Discovery Networks Denmark. “The automation of internal collection and external sharing of rich metadata allow us to distribute more attractive information about our content, to a larger number of recipients, which is crucial in a changing media landscape.”

The delivery to Discovery Networks Denmark includes the collection and merging of data from various internal systems into one coherent metadata structure and sharing process for all Discovery channels and programs, and the automated distribution of schedules and marketing metadata to external parties.

“We are very happy to welcome Discovery Networks Denmark as a customer, and will make sure their teams get super efficient and smooth workflows for their metadata and PR. They will have full access to our platform, to which we constantly introduce new features and functions to serve the fast-changing market for TV and VOD”, said Ola Scholander, Chief Commercial Officer at Clipsource.

Discovery Networks Denmark runs 13 channels in the Danish market including Kanal 5, Kanal 4, 6’eren, Canal 9, Eurosport 1 & 2 and Discovery-branded Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet as well as the streaming services Dplay and Eurosport Player.

Turner Africa builds reach and ratings

By Julian Clover

Turner Africa says its kids multiplex and general entertainment channel TNT have between them achieved greater reach and rating results than ever before.

In November, Turner Kids celebrated 51 consecutive months as the most popular pay-TV multiplex in South Africa, while Cartoon Network celebrated its highest-ever monthly share, and remained the No.1 pay-TV Kids channel among kids aged four to 14-years-old.

Cartoon Network also remains the favourite kids’ TV channel in South Africa, dominating the Top 15 places in the chart of the best performing shows.

Original Cartoon Network productions and Warner Bros content represented 77% of the most viewed content on the channel.

Meanwhile, TNT benefitted from its September rebranding with its highest-ever ratings performance. In November, TNT Africa broke a new record with 40,700 viewers tuning in (a 13% increase month-on-month) and achieved its second highest performance in share since December 2016.

In November TNT achieved movies on the Top 10 list including the top three placings.

Netflix raises prices in the US

By Julian Clover

Netflix is to increase the cost of subscribing to its service in the United States as the streamer continues to put money into new production.

“We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members,” Netflix said in a statement.

The Basic, Standard and Premium plans will all rise by between one and two dollars.

The increase will be applied gradually to existing subscribers, while new members will have to pay the cost immediately.

Media analyst Paolo Pescatore said he expected the price increase to be rolled out across international markets. “For many users, Netflix is an indispensable video services. There will not be much backlash (for now). This is certainly one way to increase revenue significantly. It needs to focus on financials as well as subscriber growth.”

In 2018 Netflix spent a record $8 billion on content, a $2 billion increase on the previous year.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Channels

UKTV updates on demand app

By Julian Clover

UKTV has announced an update to its on demand video service, UKTV Play.

The new generation app launched Monday on iOS, Android and Amazon FireOS.

Tom Davidson, UKTV’s General Manager for UKTV Play said: “UKTV Play is focusing on delivering the most personalised viewing experience in the marketplace. Our investment in machine learning, coupled with constant algorithm adjustments, allows our viewers to surface an enormous variety of content that suits not only their interests but their mood too.”

The latest version of the UKTV Play app features increased personalisation, the addition of the broadcaster’s Home channel and synchronised viewing history and favourites across devices. This allows viewers to pause on one device and resume on another. In addition, iOS and Android apps now fully support Chromecast.

Users can browse and discover content by genre and the app will learn viewing preferences and interests to serve a personalised selection of shows, box sets and collections from across UKTV’s selection of free-to-air channels (Dave, Yesterday, Really, Drama and Home).

As with the majority of the UK’s leading broadcasters, UKTV asks viewers to register to use the full suite of features within its catch up service.

HD Austria adds four pay-TV channels

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian DTH satellite platform HD Austria offers its customers four new channels: BonGusto, Heimatkanal, Playboy TV and Romance TV.

The additions are part of the hybrid offering, which reaches TV screens through the internet. The channels can be received via the HD Austria Kombi package with the HD Austria satellite receiver (MZ-101) or recorder (MP-201), the HD Austria Now app for smart TV sets, smartphones, tablets and laptops or the web player via the internet.

The new channels appear automatically in the channel list, a search is not necessary.

TVP reveals Lithuanian plans

By Chris Dziadul

The Polish public broadcaster TVP plans to expand its presence in Lithuania by launching a channel.

According to Satkurier, quoting Maciej Stanecki, a member of the board at TVP, and Mariusz Pilis, a journalist and producer, it will be known as TVP Wilno and target the Polish diaspora living in the country.

Furthermore, it will share a frequency currently used by the long-established TVP Polonia, distributed in Lithuania on the basis of agreements signed between the two countries.

TVP Wilno will be broadcast in Polish and made available to DTT viewers in Lithuania.

Unitymedia to change cable line-up / New carriage fee dispute

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator Unitymedia will perform several changes to its TV and radio line-up including a controversial move on January 22, 2019.

Regional channel Radio Bremen TV HD and educational channel ARD-alpha HD will join Unitymedia’s cable network, the two last channels from public broadcaster ARD launching in HD quality.

In federal state Baden-Württemberg, financial news channel CNBC will be added to the line-up.

The Deutschlandfunk radio channels operated by national public German broadcaster Deutschlandradio will be removed from the cable network at the same time. According to a Unitymedia spokesman, Deutschlandradio cancelled its carriage contract with Unitymedia effective December 31, 2018 and declined the cable company’s offer to enter negotiations regarding a new distribution agreement. He stressed that Unitymedia would be prepared to conclude a new contract any time if the broadcaster was interested in gaining cable carriage again.

Broadband TV News understands that the contract cancellation is based on a dispute regarding carriage fees. The removal of Deutschlandradio’s channels could, however, be legally problematic as the broadcaster is financed by the public licence fee and has a public service obligation from which must-carry status could be derived.

As a result, Deutschlandradio could legally challenge the exclusion from Unitymedia’s cable network and demand the channels’ reintroduction.

“We take note of Unitymedia’s unilateral announcement on January 14, 2019 to remove Deutschlandradio’s channels from its cable network in Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and North-Rhine Westphalia on January 22, 2019,” a Deutschlandradio spokesman told Broadband TV News. “We regret this step and are currently evaluating how to proceed. The three Deutschlandradio channels remain available in digital via DAB+, internet and satellite while Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandfunk Kultur additionally stay available via FM in many regions.”

XITE leaves German cable

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Dutch music broadcaster XITE has terminated the distribution of its German channel on Unitymedia’s cable network.

On the channel’s former slot, Unitymedia informs viewers in a caption: “Dear customers, XITE has discontinued distribution on Unitymedia’s cable network at its own request. Thank you very much for your understanding.”

“XITE is indeed no longer available through Unitymedia,” a XITE spokesman told Broadband TV News. “This has to do with our current focus on a very new exciting product that we are currently rolling out in the U.S. We are delighted to say that we’re also working on launching this product in Germany in the near future.”

XITE launched as a free-to-air service on Unitymedia’s cable network on September 2, 2014. The German channel can still be received on German internet TV platform waipu.tv and as a live-stream on its own website.

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.

Investment in UK TV shows by multichannel broadcasters tops Β£1bn

By Julian Clover

Commercial Broadcasters Association COBA has heralded a “watershed moment” in the UK production sector.

In a study released Monday, COBA reveals an investment in the creation of home-grown television programmes by multichannel broadcasters has hit £1.1 billion a year, topping the £1 billion mark for the first time. The organisation says it underscores how newer channels are investing in domestic production as well as the traditional Public Service Broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five).

The study from Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates shows how financing into the UK production sector is coming not only from household names, but from specialist channels further down the EPG.

COBA’s newly appointed chair Heather Jones said: “This report signals the coming of age of the multichannel TV industry. It is not just about the record levels of spend; it is also about creative competition and plurality, giving opportunities to a greater array of voices than ever before. Along with the thriving UK production sector, the biggest beneficiaries are UK viewers – who now have an even better and broader choice of excellent British TV shows to watch than ever before.”

The majority of investment, £965 million during 2017, is on new so-called “first-run” UK content.

Investment in UK content by multichannel broadcasters has grown by 75% on 2011, yielding an increase in annual investment by multichannel broadcasters of £416 million. Investment in UK content by multichannel broadcasters has grown significantly faster than that of Public Service Broadcasters.

Paramount Network replaces Comedy Central on Canal Digital

By Julian Clover

Canal Digital is dropping Comedy Central in favour of the Paramount Network.

The Danish arm of the DTH platform announced the change, pointing out that shows such as South Park, The Daily Show will be available on Paramount Network.

The Paramount Network brand has been rolled out in Europe across a number of territories including the UK, Spain and Romania.

New sports channel for A1 Bulgaria

By Chris Dziadul

A1 Bulgaria will launch its fourth sports channel on January 21.

According to the company, it will be known as Max Sport 4 and offer the most interesting football matches from Spain’s La Liga. In addition, it will show matches from the two most prestigious football competitions in South America, namely Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamerica.

A1 Bulgaria notes that it this is another step in the expansion of its Max Sport channels. This season they have already begun to broadcast matches from the UEFA Champions League, Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.

All told, the A1 sports channels broadcast over 10,000 hours of live content a year, with their output including the most popular sporting events in the world.

Brexit: Discovery moves European HQ to Amsterdam

By Robert Briel

Discovery Communications will establish a European operational headquarter for its pay-TV channels in the Netherlands.

As a result of the UK’s plan to leave the European Union – known as the Brexit – the broadcaster has applied for EU licences for its pay-TV portfolio throughout Europe in the Netherlands.

Discovery has been based in the Netherlands since 1989, when the company launched its first TV channel in the country, Discovery Channel. Discovery’s brand portfolio in the Netherlands consists of eight channels, including Discovery, TLC, ID and Eurosport.

“This decision ensures continuity of our services for the viewer across Europe. This change means that a number of new roles will be created in Amsterdam and a number of roles will move from London to Amsterdam,” the company said in a statement

JB Perrette, President and CEO Discovery International: “The Dutch government and regulators have been a great partner in our discussions with them regarding our EU-pay-TV portfolio. They have shown a tremendous commitment and understanding of our business needs. They have also created the right stability and conditions for us to create a dynamic content and creative hub that meets Europe’s needs and wishes. I would like to thank them for the pleasant cooperation throughout this process.”

Kasia Kieli, President and CEO Discovery EMEA: “We have had an important base in the Netherlands for many years with our office in Amsterdam. It is a dynamic market and I look forward to further deepening our relationship with the Netherlands by establishing an operational pay-TV head office for our European channels.”

“Discovery is retaining a large hub in the UK and has renewed on a long term the lease for its main London office in West London, which houses more than 1,000 people,” the broadcaster added in a statement. Discovery is retaining UK licences for its 16 channels in the country, and holds stakes in UKTV, All3 Media Group and Play Sports Group.

Discovery follows other international broadcasters, who are moving their European operators away from London, including Turner Broadcasting System and NBC Universal. The BBC is in talks with Irish and Dutch authorities to obtain broadcast licences for its international services. WarnerMedia is reportedly talking to German media authorities, while Sony Pictures Television will also need to find a new home for its European channels.

Viacom International Media Networks has obtained licences in The Netherlands for its bouquet of channels aimed at France and Denmark.

21st Century Fox has always held licences for National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild in Spain, as well as the Dutch language versions of Fox and National Geographic Channel intended for Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. Viceland is using a Dutch licence for its Dutch and Belgian (Dutch language) channels.

No relaunch for CanalPlay

By Julian Clover

The chairman and CEO of Canal Plus Group has denied the French paycaster is planning a relaunch for CanalPlay.

Les Echos reported CanalPlay would be revamped in the spring as a 10-euro-a-month subscription video service for young people.

But Maxime Saada wrote on Twitter that while there was much within the article that was correct there would be no return for CanalPlay.

.@LesEchos Beaucoup de choses exactes dans cet article mais une chose inexacte et d’importance : il n’y aura pas de relance de @canalplay mais nombreuses idées à l’étude chez @canalplus dont une déjà évoquée par @Satellifax avant les fêtes https://t.co/nXIXI1fTw8

— Maxime Saada (@maxsaada) January 10, 2019

Canal has not been promoting its video service, instead concentrating its efforts on the newer MyCanal.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Culture last June, Saada blamed a regulatory environment for preventing an exclusive deal with Netflix or Amazon that in turn had led to a collapse in subscriber numbers for CanalPlay from 800,000 to 200,000 over two years.

Saada also criticised the authority for previously preventing it from carrying exclusive content while paying taxes and employing thousands of people in France – while Netflix had no such burdens.

Spanish broadcasters face €100m fines

By Chris Dziadul

Spain’s two leading broadcasters Atresmedia and Mediaset could each be fined up to €100 million for abusing their dominant market positions to the detriment of third parties.

According to El Economista, the regulator CNMC has told them they could be required to pay a sum of up to 10% of their sales in 2018.

However, industry sources believe the actual figures could be much lower, but still in the range €15-30 million each.

The only way to avoid the fines would be for Atresmedia and Mediaset to enter into a ‘conventional termination agreement’ that commits them to immediately cease these abusive practices. They in fact agreed to sign such an agreement a year ago but failed to do so.

Moreover, they have previously maintained that such commercial practices are common in the TV industry throughout the world.

The actions of Atresmedia and Mediaset relate to the contracts they have with advertisers and media agencies and have ben deemed by CNMC to be in violation of the Law on the Defence of Competition.

However, some of these contacts have since ben modified.

Both broadcasters have indicated they will appeal to the National Court should they be fined by the CNMC.

IMDb launches free US streaming video channel

By Julian Clover

IMDb, the Amazon-owned Movie and TV review site, is launching its own free-to-view streaming video channel.

Freedive will be available in the United States across laptop or personal computer and Amazon Fire TV devices.

The advertising-supported channel won’t be showing the latest content. A statement from IMDB mentions series Fringe, Heroes, The Bachelor and Without a Trace as well as movie titles Awakenings, Foxcatcher, Memento, Monster, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist and The Last Samurai.

“Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch,” said Col Needham, Founder and CEO of IMDb. “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.”

Freedive will take advantage of X-Ray, the Amazon video feature, which allows users to call up actor bios and background information from IMDb directly onscreen.