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Today β€” January 29th 2020Broadband TV News: Channels

Molotov reaches 10 million users

By Julian Clover

Three after its launch, the French streaming service Molotov has passed the 10 million user mark.

In a statement, Molotov said it reached the symbolic 10 million in January after enjoying a 63% increase in time spent on its platform and an 82% increase in subscriptions in 2019.

Molotov currently offers over 170 linear and non-linear channels and an on demand library consisting of 30,000 titles. It has struck distribution deals with Viacom, Turner and Altice.

Founded by JeanDavid Blanc and Pierre Lescure, who also started AlloCiné and Canal+ respectively, Molotov was recently selected to join the French Tech 120 index, a government-backed organisation set up to support the most promising startups

Insight TV debuts on D-Smart

By Chris Dziadul

The Turkish pay-TV platform has added the 4K UHD HDR service Insight TV to its offer.

As a result, Insight TV is now available to viewers in 45 countries.

Commenting on the development, Basar Basarir, CCO & CMO at D-Smart, said: “This exciting partnership marks a great start of the year for us. We are committed to take our viewers on new adventures and are thrilled to share Insight TV’s inspiring stories with them.”

Graeme Stanley, CCO, Insight TV added: “As we continue our global expansion, we are delighted to now be present in 45 countries with more to come throughout 2020. We strive to work with the best partners worldwide and the fast-growing D-Smart is the perfect platform to introduce our content to Turkish audiences.”

D-Smart is owned by the Demirören Group and offers TV and internet services to more than one million households in Turkey.

Yesterday β€” January 28th 2020Broadband TV News: Channels

BritBox debuts on netgem.tv

By Julian Clover

BritBox is launching on the netgem.tv platform.

The ITV-BBC subscription platform will be available in the HD format for £5.00 per month.

In addition netgem.tv is also adding an extra 15 HD channels to its line-up.

Sylvain Thevenot, managing director of netgem.tv said “British television has a rich and diverse heritage that BritBox is making accessible to an ever-increasing audience and, with our service already accessible via 12 Ultrafast Fibre provides with a reach of a quarter of a million TV households and growing with the Fibre rollout in the UK, we are delighted to be part of that heritage’s future.”

Britbox has also signed agreements with Freeview Play and YouView, in which the PSBs are leading partners, and the mobile network EE. However, it is yet to sign with Sky, Virgin or BT.

Com Hem complains over Telia streaming terms

By Julian Clover

Com Hem is crying foul over the bundling of rights by Telia in the auction ordered by the European Commission as part of the telco’s acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting.

It claims more rights have been included in the package than the Commission intended.

The cablenet says Telia is deliberately “locking in” streaming of commercial channel TV4, restricting competition in the media market. Com Hem has now reported Telia to the Commission’s Monitoring Trustee.

At issue are the terms of the auction that would mean only one player other than Telia itself would have access to TV4’s catchup services.

“It is regrettable that Telia continues to try to limit and lock in, instead of letting TV4 continue as a channel for the whole of Sweden. They’ve create Sweden’s first state pay channel, at the expense of TV4’s reach, Swedish media diversity and Swedish media production. It is surprising that the state continues to let this happen in silence,” says Anders Nilsson, CEO, Tele2 Group.

The basic agreement to broadcast TV4, Sjuan, TV12 and C More is fixed and carriage of the linear channels continues.

wilhelm.tel adds Stingray UHD music channels

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator wilhelm.tel is now offering its customers three music channels of Canadian media group Stingray in Ultra HD picture quality (UHD).

Stingray Festival 4K, Stingray Hits 4K and Stingray Ambiance 4K are included in the free-TV offer of the regular cable TV subscription and can be received at no additional cost.

The carriage is based on the framework agreement that German cable operator association Deutsche Netzmarketing (DNMG) concluded with Stingray in October 2019.

Other DNMG partners who intend to offer the UHD music channels from Stingray include Stadtwerke Konstanz, RFT and willy.tel.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Channels

Two British channels for Pluto TV

By Julian Clover

Pluto TV is to launch two channels aimed squarely at the UK market. Pluto TV Made in Britain will be home to some of the UK’s film and TV favourites, while Brit-pocalypse will showcase British mini-series.

Pluto TV Made in Britain includes Harry & Meghan: A Royal Wedding and the fascinating Diana – The Royal Truth. There’s also biographical crime drama Bronson and The Black Panther, the 2012 remastered true crime story of serial killer Donald Neilson. But Made in Britain also features comedy-dramas Skins and Ackley Bridge.

“In the midst of turbulent times, we at Pluto TV want to create a safe haven for British highlights that show the country and its people in all their facets”, stated Olivier Jollet, Managing Director Europe at Pluto TV. “Pluto TV Made in Britain celebrates the incomparable British humour, traditional institutions and big stars of the entertainment industry. Tune in and celebrate with us!”

Pop-Up channel Pluto TV Brit-pocalypse takes viewers on a thrilling ride across the country — one disaster after another. Starting with the mini-series Flood, in which a threatening tidal surge floods the Thames, to the carnivorous plants of Day of the Triffids and rounding out with the apocalyptic disaster series Ice – which is actually set in the year 2020.

Sky on verge of Disney+ deal

By Julian Clover

Sky could be the first pay-TV operator in the UK to sign a deal with Disney+.

The Sunday Telegraph reported on Sunday that Sky had gained an edge over rivals BT and Virgin Media by being able to fully integrate the streaming service into its linear output, rather than just include an app.

This what Sky has already achieved with its Sky Q-Netflix integration that is able to highlight shows within the main EPG. Customers can also access Netflix through the apps section and it is anticipated that this is where Disney+ will also be found.

Sky recently renewed its multi-year deal with Netflix as part of its strategy to become a ‘super aggregator’ of streaming and linear content.

Disney is expected to make its debut on Sky on March 24, when it will also roll out across the UK, a week earlier than originally anticipated.

Sky to launch Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature

By Julian Clover

Sky is to launch two new factual channels as part of its Entertainment portfolio.

The launch of Sky Documentaries and Sky Nature follows the launch of Sky Crime in October and Sky Comedy, which makes its debut today (Monday).

The factual pair will both launch in the spring, both as linear and on demand channels. They’ll also be available on streaming service NOW TV as part of its Entertainment Pass.

“Premium documentaries and nature series are increasingly important to our customers, with them wanting to get to the shows they want as quickly as possible,” said Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content, Sky. “These new channels will offer our customers an unrivalled destination for brand new, world class documentaries and nature programming as well as an extensive on demand library of the world’s best factual programmes.”

New Sky originals on Sky Documentaries will include Bitter Pill: Primodos and Tiger Woods: The Comeback; alongside HBO exclusives McMillions from executive producer Mark Wahlberg and After Truth directed by Andrew Rossi. SHOWTIME exclusive The Kingmaker directed by Lauren Greenfield will also be available, along with an on demand library that includes What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali and Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.

Sky Nature will feature landmark Sky original series, including Sky’s existing David Attenborough collection, and be the home of Love Nature programming on Sky. New Sky originals will include Extreme Animals: One Wild Day and Extreme Animals: Life’s First Steps, with two further premium originals currently in development. Love Nature originals will include Amazing Animal Friends, produced by Emmy & BAFTA award winning producers, Oxford Scientific Films and; Wild Tales from the Farm, filmed in the UK and narrated by Hugh Bonneville.

Netzkino launches free film channel on Joyn

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The users of German streaming service Joyn, operated by ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery, can now also receive movies from video-on-demand provider Netzkino.

Currently, 15 films are available for free; a subscription is not required. The line-up includes titles such as Redemption (Jamie Foxx), Manolete (Penelope Cruz), Moving McAllister (Mila Kunis) and Looser (Woody Harrelson).

The range of movies will be expanded by further 35 titles and new productions will be added at regular intervals, according to Netzkino.

The Netzkino channel can be accessed directly from the main page under the menu button Mediathek.

More kids channels for PostTV

By Chris Dziadul

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

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

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

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

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

German RTL secures UEFA Europa League and Conference League

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German broadcaster Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland has acquired the TV rights to the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League from the 2021/22 season.

The contract with European football association UEFA runs for three years (until May 2024) and comprises the exclusive broadcasting rights to both competitions for the two free-TV channels RTL and Nitro as well as streaming service TVNow.

UEFA had jointly tendered the UEFA Europa League and the newly created UEFA Europa Conference League. In the bidding process, RTL was able to secure all three rights packages and thus exclusive access to the total of 282 matches of the two competitions per season. The contract includes both free-TV and pay-TV rights.

The current UEFA Europa League rights holder DAZN, which has the pay-TV rights and shows a large proportion of the matches, will be left empty-handed.

Deutsches Musik Fernsehen launches Volksmusik.TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German music TV channel Deutsches Musik Fernsehen has launched a sister channel for fans of traditional and modern German folk music.

Volksmusik.TV is an advertising-financed free-TV channel broadcasting via cable and satellite. DTH satellite households across Europe can receive the channel unencrypted via Astra (19.2° East) on the frequency 12.633 GHz H (SR 22,000, FEC 5/6). Volksmusik.TV uses the former channel slot of Shop24direct.

Deutsches Musik Fernsehen itself launched in 2007 under the name Volksmusik.TV and adopted its current name in 2011. At the same time, further musical genres were added to the programme line-up.

Sky subscribers increase as Comcast contracts

By Julian Clover

Sky’s increase of 77,000 subscribers in the last quarter helped buoy parent company Comcast. Over the course of the 12 months Sky grew its ‘customer relationships’ comprising TV, broadband and telephony subscriptions by 394,000.

Revenues of $5 billion were consistent with 2018, increasing by 1.4%, as higher direct-to-consumer and content revenue were partially offset by lower advertising revenue.

12-month revenue decreased 3.0% to $19.2 billion compared to 2018.

Sky, like other broadcasters, have been hit by changes in legislation governing the advertising of gambling that have been introduced in the UK and Italy.

Sky’s adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months to December 31, 2019 increased by 7.1% to $3.1 billion.

Comcast itself lost 140,000 video customers in the third quarter, higher than the 139,000 anticipated by analysts and the 11th consecutive quarter of losses.

MTV in podcast tie-up

By Julian Clover

MTV has announced a partnership with the radio group Global as it launches its first-ever UK podcast series.

MTV will produce five podcast series based around its smash hit linear titles including Celebrity Ex on the Beach and Geordie Shore. The series will be distributed Global Player, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and TuneIn.

Global’s digital ad exchange, DAX, has been named as the advertising sales and distribution partner. It will take advantage of DAX’s suite of targeting and measurement tools.

Each podcast series will contain a minimum of 12 episodes and cover different themes throughout the series. The first podcast to go live will be Celebrity Ex on the Beach: The Podcast, which makes its debut following the show’s linear premiere earlier this week on MTV UK. Further episodes will be made available weekly.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reach audiences and with the growing popularity of podcasts, it’s a natural move to build out some of our biggest and best loved MTV titles for an audio format.” said Arran Tindall, CCO, EVP, Commercial & Content Distribution for ViacomCBS Networks International. “By partnering with Global, through their digital ad exchange DAX, we’re able to tap into their international network of audio publisher brands and advanced advertising capabilities in this space, enabling us to reach listeners across the globe, on all relevant platforms.

Global will promote the new podcasts on-air and online, to MTV’s target 16-34 audience across its commercial radio brands, Heart and Capital, which reach 9.8 million and 8.1 million weekly listeners respectively.

Ollie Deane, Director of Commercial Digital at Global, said: “This latest move into audio from MTV will not only be welcomed by podcast and TV fans but brands and advertisers too. Podcasts create context for brands to connect with hard to reach audiences, one to one.”

In addition, ads will feature on the Global Player app, where listeners can easily access all Global’s radio brands, award-winning podcasts and curated playlists. Meanwhile, MTV will support the podcasts across its linear channels, social platforms and on MTV.co.uk.

Last year, Geordie Shore attracted over 1 million 16-34s, whilst Ex on the Beach remains MTV’s second-highest show ever reaching 4.1 million 16-34s since launch. On social, Celebrity Ex on the Beach has amassed over 6.7 million video views across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the Geordie Shore account has an Instagram following of over 1.7 million.

Vodafone adds Fix&Foxi TV to German cable

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Vodafone Deutschland will make German children’s and family channel Fix&Foxi TV available on its cable network.

The pay-TV channel will join the HD Premium Plus subscription package of Vodafone’s GigaTV platform at the end of February 2020, according to parent company Your Family Entertainment (YFE).

Vodafone will also increase the amount of YFE content on its video-on-demand service. For example, children’s series will also become available in foreign languages such as English, French, Arabic and Turkish.

The Munich-based media company can draw on a portfolio of more than 3,500 episodes of half-hour children’s programmes, including series such as Heroes of the City, Urmel and The Little Bear.

Swisscom to offer TV subscription with Netflix

By JΓΆrn Krieger

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

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

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

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

Brexit blamed for drop in UK-based channels

By Julian Clover

The number of channels based in the UK has seen an annual drop of 5%, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory’s MAVISE TV and VOD database.

The UK remains the largest contributor to the overall supply of channels within the EU28.

As reported previously in Broadband TV News, international TV networks that want to ensure continued international distribution after Brexit have begun licensing their services outside of the UK. These include Discovery, Viacom, Sony and SPI International. The Observatory notes that this applies to the migration of localised versions but also of standalone TV channels addressing foreign markets.

Half of the TV channels targeting foreign EU markets were UK-based in 2018, as opposed to just over one third at the end of 2019.

However, Discovery and Viacom are leading an increase in the number of localised versions of their properties.

The main destination for new channel launches in 2019 has been the Netherlands, followed by Spain.

The top three hubs for international networks, still accounting for a cumulative 69% in 2019 of all TV channels targeting other EU28 were represented by the UK (37%), the Netherlands (22%) and Spain (11%) as opposed to 2018 ranking positions occupied by the UK (52%), the Czech Republic (9%) and Luxembourg (8%) at the end of 2018.

Major change for Ukrainian sports channels

By Chris Dziadul

The procedure for receiving the Media Group Ukraine (MGU) channels Futbol 1 and Futbol 2 will change on February 1.

According to the channels, in connection with the transition to a new distribution model, the channels will be made available on a subscription basis on the networks and platforms of Oll TV, Xtra TV, Vega Telecom, Ukrtelekom, Volia, Kyivstar and Vodafone.

Separately, Volia says that all providers will charge UAH109 (€4) a month for the two channels.

Ukraine’s four largest media groups will encode their satellite channels on January 28.

Meanwhile, MGU is due to shortly launch a third football channel.

Serbian β€˜cable war’ intensifies

By Chris Dziadul

Telekom Srbija has claimed that United Media does not want a solution to the dispute with cable operators over the carriage of its channels.

Quoting a letter from United Media to Supernova, the grouping of cable operators, disclosed by Prva TV, b92 reports that United Media is effectively seeking no further cooperation if its terms are not met.

Although Supernova has called from a public contract proposal, United Media announced a bid for only the channel N1, with a price of €0.4 per customer and a three-year contract.

Telekom meanwhile suggested that the contract by two to three months in order to reach an agreement during the period, but this was rejected by United Media.

This, in turn, led Vladimir Lucic, Telekom’s director of commercial affairs, to say that United Media does not want a solution to the dispute.

He added that the most significant terms of United Media’s offer – price and length of time – had been accepted but the other party was constantly changing the terms.

Formula 1 to remain on Canal+ until 2022

By Julian Clover

Canal+ has extended its exclusive agreement to broadcast Formula 1 motor racing in 2021 and 2022.

The Canal+ channels will provide full coverage of each Grand Prix weekend, including the three practice sessions, qualifying session and race. Coverage will be broadcast on Canal+, Canal+ Sport and Canal+ Sport Weekend. myCanal will carry extra features such as onboard cameras, race scores, race highlights and live timekeeping.

“After recently securing the Ligue 1 games starting next autumn, the two best Champions League clashes, and the Europa League’s top match starting in 2020, the renewal of the Formula 1 rights is excellent news for our subscribers,” said Thierry Cheleman, Director of Sports, Canal+.

Last season, audiences peaked at over 1.1 million for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.