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TDF expands UHD trial on DTT

By Robert Briel

The French media authority CSA has authorised TDF to operate a third pilot channel to broadcast in Ultra High Definition (UHD/4k) in Île-de-France, Nantes and Toulouse.

Channel 83 is in addition to channels 81 and 82, already in service since 2014, broadcast on DTT frequency channels 26, 35 or 29 respectively.

This new project confirms that the migration movement towards UHD is now well underway at the industrial level. This development is a central element of the DTT modernisation announced by the CSA and supported by TDF, by the time of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

For the past five years, TDF has been conducting tests via its Eiffel Tower facilities. DTT channels 81, 82 and now 83 are pilot channels broadcast in UHD quality. In May 2018, this experimental mode was extended to the Île-de-France region as well as Nantes and Toulouse. Several “multi-city” experiments have been carried out on DTT for viewers equipped with a UHD and DVB-T2/HEVC television set.

In partnership with manufacturers in the audiovisual sector, television channels and other partners such as the French Tennis Federation, TDF broadcasts signals incorporating the latest enhancement technologies – whether WCG (Wide Color Gamut for the colour palette), HDR (High Dynamic Range for contrasts) and soon HFR (High Frame Rate for movement restitution).
At the same time, viewers are gradually renewing their reception stations. The CSA notes, in the course of its consultation, that the migration movement towards UHD is now well under way at the industrial level.

In 2017, 31% of television sales in France were UHD models. The television fleet, which was significantly renewed from 2011 to 2016 following the switch from analogue to DTT and then to HD, has now entered a new phase of renewal.

As part of the UHD broadcasting experiments, Ateme, a TDF partner, is managing the improved digital compression of images. The compression gains achieved through improvements in the implementation of the HEVC standard have made it possible to consider the launch of a third UHD channel (reduction of the throughput required for UHD multiplex from 40 Mbit/s to 33 Mbit/s and encoding of variable-rate channels).

The UHD images of these experiments, filmed in SDR (Standard Dynamic Range), were provided by The Explorer, INA and St Thomas Production. A work of conversion and optimisation of these images in the HDR10 format, was carried out upstream thanks to the technology developed by the Institute of Technological Research BCOM, thus demonstrating the maturity of this new format.

TDF expands UHD trial on DTT

By Robert Briel

The French media authority CSA has authorised TDF to operate a third pilot channel to broadcast in Ultra High Definition (UHD/4k) in Île-de-France, Nantes and Toulouse.

Channel 83 is in addition to channels 81 and 82, already in service since 2014, broadcast on DTT frequency channels 26, 35 or 29 respectively.

This new project confirms that the migration movement towards UHD is now well underway at the industrial level. This development is a central element of the DTT modernisation announced by the CSA and supported by TDF, by the time of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

For the past five years, TDF has been conducting tests via its Eiffel Tower facilities. DTT channels 81, 82 and now 83 are pilot channels broadcast in UHD quality. In May 2018, this experimental mode was extended to the Île-de-France region as well as Nantes and Toulouse. Several “multi-city” experiments have been carried out on DTT for viewers equipped with a UHD and DVB-T2/HEVC television set.

In partnership with manufacturers in the audiovisual sector, television channels and other partners such as the French Tennis Federation, TDF broadcasts signals incorporating the latest enhancement technologies – whether WCG (Wide Color Gamut for the colour palette), HDR (High Dynamic Range for contrasts) and soon HFR (High Frame Rate for movement restitution).
At the same time, viewers are gradually renewing their reception stations. The CSA notes, in the course of its consultation, that the migration movement towards UHD is now well under way at the industrial level.

In 2017, 31% of television sales in France were UHD models. The television fleet, which was significantly renewed from 2011 to 2016 following the switch from analogue to DTT and then to HD, has now entered a new phase of renewal.

As part of the UHD broadcasting experiments, Ateme, a TDF partner, is managing the improved digital compression of images. The compression gains achieved through improvements in the implementation of the HEVC standard have made it possible to consider the launch of a third UHD channel (reduction of the throughput required for UHD multiplex from 40 Mbit/s to 33 Mbit/s and encoding of variable-rate channels).

The UHD images of these experiments, filmed in SDR (Standard Dynamic Range), were provided by The Explorer, INA and St Thomas Production. A work of conversion and optimisation of these images in the HDR10 format, was carried out upstream thanks to the technology developed by the Institute of Technological Research BCOM, thus demonstrating the maturity of this new format.

Brexit: Turner and NBC secure German licences

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Bavarian media authority BLM has granted Turner Broadcasting System Deutschland and NBC Universal Global Networks Deutschland broadcast licenses for six international TV channels each.

Turner Broadcasting received licenses for TCM (Ireland/Malta), TCM (Greece), TCM (France), WBTV (France), TNT (Poland) and TNT (Romania) while NBC Universal was awarded licences for Syfy, E! Entertainment (2x), 13 Ulica, SCIFI and DIVA. The licences for the 12 channels – all of them pay-TV services – are subject to approval by German anti-media concentration commission ZAK.

As licences issued by UK-based media authority Ofcom can no longer serve as a legal basis for broadcasting in Europe once the UK has left the EU (Brexit), Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal applied for new permissions at BLM, according to the media authority.

Even though the channels are not broadcasting in Germany, but in other EU member states, BLM is still responsible: The head offices of both applicants are based in Munich, Bavaria, and the editorial decisions about their programmes are also made here. According to the BLM, both companies are planning to create new jobs in Munich when starting operations under a German licence.

“For Bavaria, the new licences further strengthen the location, while for the companies they mean legal security,” said BLM president Siegfried Schneider.

The background of the licence applications from Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal is that the country of origin principle stipulated in the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive will no longer apply to UK-based media companies with the expected Brexit.

For EU member states, the ruling stays in place: If a media company has a broadcast licence in a European country, the broadcaster’s channel may also be legally broadcast in the other EU member states.

Brexit: Turner and NBC secure German licences

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Bavarian media authority BLM has granted Turner Broadcasting System Deutschland and NBC Universal Global Networks Deutschland broadcast licenses for six international TV channels each.

Turner Broadcasting received licenses for TCM (Ireland/Malta), TCM (Greece), TCM (France), WBTV (France), TNT (Poland) and TNT (Romania) while NBC Universal was awarded licences for Syfy, E! Entertainment (2x), 13 Ulica, SCIFI and DIVA. The licences for the 12 channels – all of them pay-TV services – are subject to approval by German anti-media concentration commission ZAK.

As licences issued by UK-based media authority Ofcom can no longer serve as a legal basis for broadcasting in Europe once the UK has left the EU (Brexit), Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal applied for new permissions at BLM, according to the media authority.

Even though the channels are not broadcasting in Germany, but in other EU member states, BLM is still responsible: The head offices of both applicants are based in Munich, Bavaria, and the editorial decisions about their programmes are also made here. According to the BLM, both companies are planning to create new jobs in Munich when starting operations under a German licence.

“For Bavaria, the new licences further strengthen the location, while for the companies they mean legal security,” said BLM president Siegfried Schneider.

The background of the licence applications from Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal is that the country of origin principle stipulated in the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive will no longer apply to UK-based media companies with the expected Brexit.

For EU member states, the ruling stays in place: If a media company has a broadcast licence in a European country, the broadcaster’s channel may also be legally broadcast in the other EU member states.

Facebook Watch seeing 400 million viewers a month

By Julian Clover

Three months after its global launch, Facebook says it is getting 75 million daily viewers and 400 million a month for its Watch service.

In a blog post, head of video Fidji Simo said viewers to the social network’s video area were watching more than 20 minutes at a time.

Facebook has developed the ‘Watch Party’ to continue television’s role as something that people watch together – in this case, the party is remote – nevertheless, there have been more than 12 million Watch Parties in Groups alone, and Watch Parties garner eight times more comments than regular videos in Groups.

“We want to make the experience of watching video feel immersive no matter where you discovered it,” explained Simo. “As part of this effort, we’ll be testing a few things in the coming months, like creating a darker background whenever you immerse yourself into a video on mobile, unifying these different viewing experiences under one.”

Simo said polling and ‘gamification’ tools had been introduced to help content creators make their output more interactive.

In a back to the future style idea, Facebook is rolling out ad breaks across the world. Already available in five territories, it’s designed to get away from the pre-roll often seen in online video.

Facebook Watch seeing 400 million viewers a month

By Julian Clover

Three months after its global launch, Facebook says it is getting 75 million daily viewers and 400 million a month for its Watch service.

In a blog post, head of video Fidji Simo said viewers to the social network’s video area were watching more than 20 minutes at a time.

Facebook has developed the ‘Watch Party’ to continue television’s role as something that people watch together – in this case, the party is remote – nevertheless, there have been more than 12 million Watch Parties in Groups alone, and Watch Parties garner eight times more comments than regular videos in Groups.

“We want to make the experience of watching video feel immersive no matter where you discovered it,” explained Simo. “As part of this effort, we’ll be testing a few things in the coming months, like creating a darker background whenever you immerse yourself into a video on mobile, unifying these different viewing experiences under one.”

Simo said polling and ‘gamification’ tools had been introduced to help content creators make their output more interactive.

In a back to the future style idea, Facebook is rolling out ad breaks across the world. Already available in five territories, it’s designed to get away from the pre-roll often seen in online video.

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.”

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.”

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.”

Yahoo Finance launches Apple TV app

By Robert Briel

Yahoo Finance has launched its first standalone app for Apple TV.

The Yahoo Finance app provides users with free access to live-streamed market coverage, as well as on-demand video clips and editorially curated playlists, live-streamed events, original series, personal finance content, and more. Designed to include the best of Yahoo Finance in one place, the app will also offer a persistent player, allowing users to simultaneously search for content so they never miss out on critical moments.

“Yahoo Finance users are highly engaged, and they want to stay on top of the latest market news no matter where they are,” said Joanna Lambert, General Manager of Finance, Tech and Auto at Verizon Media Group/Oath.

“Our new app for Apple TV enables us to reach the Yahoo Finance audience at home, where they’re already tuning in to live news programming. Our goal has always been to make it as seamless as possible for our users to obtain the crucial information they need to stay ahead, and this app does just that.”

Yahoo Finance’s original live and on-demand video content is viewed by more than five million unique users each week. The news platform’s daily programmes – Market Movers, Morning Meeting, Midday Movers, and The Final Round – have attracted a dedicated following of more than 400K viewers, an increase of 50% since last year. The Apple TV app will make it easier for users everywhere to access their favourite Yahoo Finance programming, as no cable or satellite subscription is required.

Today’s announcement builds on Yahoo Finance’s ambitious video strategy, which centers around the expansion of its live daily programming to span eight hours of bell-to-bell coverage in January 2019. Yahoo Finance previously announced its first OTT distribution partnership with The Roku Channel, where its original programmes are also available. In early 2019, the news platform will launch Yahoo Finance Premium, a paid subscription offering that will provide members with exclusive access to new premium tools, proprietary data sets, and industry-leading research.

Yahoo Finance launches Apple TV app

By Robert Briel

Yahoo Finance has launched its first standalone app for Apple TV.

The Yahoo Finance app provides users with free access to live-streamed market coverage, as well as on-demand video clips and editorially curated playlists, live-streamed events, original series, personal finance content, and more. Designed to include the best of Yahoo Finance in one place, the app will also offer a persistent player, allowing users to simultaneously search for content so they never miss out on critical moments.

“Yahoo Finance users are highly engaged, and they want to stay on top of the latest market news no matter where they are,” said Joanna Lambert, General Manager of Finance, Tech and Auto at Verizon Media Group/Oath.

“Our new app for Apple TV enables us to reach the Yahoo Finance audience at home, where they’re already tuning in to live news programming. Our goal has always been to make it as seamless as possible for our users to obtain the crucial information they need to stay ahead, and this app does just that.”

Yahoo Finance’s original live and on-demand video content is viewed by more than five million unique users each week. The news platform’s daily programmes – Market Movers, Morning Meeting, Midday Movers, and The Final Round – have attracted a dedicated following of more than 400K viewers, an increase of 50% since last year. The Apple TV app will make it easier for users everywhere to access their favourite Yahoo Finance programming, as no cable or satellite subscription is required.

Today’s announcement builds on Yahoo Finance’s ambitious video strategy, which centers around the expansion of its live daily programming to span eight hours of bell-to-bell coverage in January 2019. Yahoo Finance previously announced its first OTT distribution partnership with The Roku Channel, where its original programmes are also available. In early 2019, the news platform will launch Yahoo Finance Premium, a paid subscription offering that will provide members with exclusive access to new premium tools, proprietary data sets, and industry-leading research.

Smithsonian Networks launches premium OTT SVOD service

By Robert Briel

Smithsonian Networks is launching Smithsonian Channel Plus, a new ad-free subscription on-demand streaming service featuring over a thousand hours of content.

Spanning genres including history, air and space, nature and wildlife, science, travel, pop culture and more, the programming, which includes 4K UHD series and documentaries, is now available anytime and anywhere in the US at $4.99 per month.

Smithsonian Networks is expanding in the streaming space with a direct-to-consumer offering that allows streamers access to its diverse and entertaining nonfiction programming. With past full seasons of series like Aerial America, America in Color, Million Dollar Princesses, The Lost Tapes and Air Disasters, viewers can watch programmes from the library of Smithsonian Channel. The new service also includes all of Smithsonian Earth’s nature and wildlife offerings, all in 4K UHD.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Smithsonian Channel’s acclaimed programming to new audiences in an easily accessible way at a time when viewing habits and consumption are rapidly changing,” said Tom Hayden, President, Smithsonian Networks.

“With a deep and varied programming library, including one of the largest offerings of 4K UHD content, launching Smithsonian Channel Plus allows us to super-serve viewers who love documentaries and series across a wide variety of genres.”

Smithsonian Channel Plus is now available through the Smithsonian Channel app on Apple, Amazon, Roku Players and TVs, and Android devices, as well as online at watch.smithsonianchannel.com. Amazon Prime members can subscribe to Smithsonian Channel Plus through Prime Video Channels by the end of 2018.

Smithsonian Channel, owned by Smithsonian Networks, is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution.

Smithsonian Networks launches premium OTT SVOD service

By Robert Briel

Smithsonian Networks is launching Smithsonian Channel Plus, a new ad-free subscription on-demand streaming service featuring over a thousand hours of content.

Spanning genres including history, air and space, nature and wildlife, science, travel, pop culture and more, the programming, which includes 4K UHD series and documentaries, is now available anytime and anywhere in the US at $4.99 per month.

Smithsonian Networks is expanding in the streaming space with a direct-to-consumer offering that allows streamers access to its diverse and entertaining nonfiction programming. With past full seasons of series like Aerial America, America in Color, Million Dollar Princesses, The Lost Tapes and Air Disasters, viewers can watch programmes from the library of Smithsonian Channel. The new service also includes all of Smithsonian Earth’s nature and wildlife offerings, all in 4K UHD.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Smithsonian Channel’s acclaimed programming to new audiences in an easily accessible way at a time when viewing habits and consumption are rapidly changing,” said Tom Hayden, President, Smithsonian Networks.

“With a deep and varied programming library, including one of the largest offerings of 4K UHD content, launching Smithsonian Channel Plus allows us to super-serve viewers who love documentaries and series across a wide variety of genres.”

Smithsonian Channel Plus is now available through the Smithsonian Channel app on Apple, Amazon, Roku Players and TVs, and Android devices, as well as online at watch.smithsonianchannel.com. Amazon Prime members can subscribe to Smithsonian Channel Plus through Prime Video Channels by the end of 2018.

Smithsonian Channel, owned by Smithsonian Networks, is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution.

Okast launches 5 new SVOD services

By Robert Briel

Okast, the French data-driven OTT video platform solution has announced several SVOD platform launches as well as the development of a solution allowing content owners to access the B-to-B market.

Among the latest OTT platforms launched using Okast: a theatre streaming service (Opsis TV), an Indian Ocean films and series platform (OI Films), an international African online film festival (OAFF), an aviation network (I’m Airborn) and a bilingual African film and series platform (Numiaa TV).

Other new platforms will be launched in 2019, such as the OTT version of the UK TV channel Men & Motors. With Youtube channels with more than 100k subscribers, One Media IP group has chosen Okast to deploy its premium lifestyle digital subscription video on demand service.

“We’ve created Okast with the aim of bringing a differentiating cultural offer and enabling the emergence of content that does not find any profitable distribution channels in the existing media ecosystem. Today, there is a need to make accessible to the public cultural films, heritage works or simply niche contents. These types of premium contents do not necessarily need to end up on Youtube for free, the SVOD makes it possible to enhance their distribution and online visibility” comments Simon Le Deaut, Founder and Chief Content Officer.

Initially created to launch platforms for the B2C market, Okast now offers its customers the opportunity to deploy VOD platforms for the B2B market: companies, educational institutions (universities, schools, media libraries, local authorities, etc.).

According to Cédric Monnier, CEO: “We are responding to some of our customers need of being able to distribute their content offers as widely as possible. First by offering complementary distribution channels through mobile and TV applications, and now by opening up access to new B2B markets. We do not believe in a single model, which is why we continue to develop a multitude of features to support our customers in the most extensive distribution of their videos. In parallel, we also hope to expand and diversify the content offer available to cultural and educational networks.”

Okast launches 5 new SVOD services

By Robert Briel

Okast, the French data-driven OTT video platform solution has announced several SVOD platform launches as well as the development of a solution allowing content owners to access the B-to-B market.

Among the latest OTT platforms launched using Okast: a theatre streaming service (Opsis TV), an Indian Ocean films and series platform (OI Films), an international African online film festival (OAFF), an aviation network (I’m Airborn) and a bilingual African film and series platform (Numiaa TV).

Other new platforms will be launched in 2019, such as the OTT version of the UK TV channel Men & Motors. With Youtube channels with more than 100k subscribers, One Media IP group has chosen Okast to deploy its premium lifestyle digital subscription video on demand service.

“We’ve created Okast with the aim of bringing a differentiating cultural offer and enabling the emergence of content that does not find any profitable distribution channels in the existing media ecosystem. Today, there is a need to make accessible to the public cultural films, heritage works or simply niche contents. These types of premium contents do not necessarily need to end up on Youtube for free, the SVOD makes it possible to enhance their distribution and online visibility” comments Simon Le Deaut, Founder and Chief Content Officer.

Initially created to launch platforms for the B2C market, Okast now offers its customers the opportunity to deploy VOD platforms for the B2B market: companies, educational institutions (universities, schools, media libraries, local authorities, etc.).

According to Cédric Monnier, CEO: “We are responding to some of our customers need of being able to distribute their content offers as widely as possible. First by offering complementary distribution channels through mobile and TV applications, and now by opening up access to new B2B markets. We do not believe in a single model, which is why we continue to develop a multitude of features to support our customers in the most extensive distribution of their videos. In parallel, we also hope to expand and diversify the content offer available to cultural and educational networks.”

Trace acquires UK music channels from Sony Pictures Television

By Robert Briel

Trace has acquired the UK-based music channels Chart Show TV, Chart Show Hits, Starz and The Vault from Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

With this agreement, the media group has acquired, amongst other assets, four Sky EPG (electronic programme guide) positions and the associated brand assets.

Through this deal, Trace signals its return on the UK market, 22 years after the brand was first launched there as an iconic print magazine.

Since then, Trace has grown into a global multimedia brand for Afro Urban music and lifestyle, operating 24 themed pay TV channels as well as radios, events, content, mobile and digital services in 180 countries.

“Trace is extremely excited to be back in the UK, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets for both music and urban culture,” said Olivier Laouchez, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Trace Group.

“We are looking forward to bringing the Trace brand, touch and expertise to these 4 UK music channels as well as synergies with the rest of the Trace ecosystem. This new and strong UK presence will ideally complement and strengthen our existing operations in Africa, France, the USA, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.”

“With this strategic acquisition, we will bring together the best of Trace and the best of the UK Afro Urban scene,” said Laurent Dumeau, Managing Director Trace UK.

“Having four Trace-owned channels in the UK is a great asset on which to build the future of Trace music networks, just as Trace channels are transitioning from simple linear TV feeds to hybrid platforms with strongly integrated broadcast, digital, mobile and social components.”

Trace acquires UK music channels from Sony Pictures Television

By Robert Briel

Trace has acquired the UK-based music channels Chart Show TV, Chart Show Hits, Starz and The Vault from Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

With this agreement, the media group has acquired, amongst other assets, four Sky EPG (electronic programme guide) positions and the associated brand assets.

Through this deal, Trace signals its return on the UK market, 22 years after the brand was first launched there as an iconic print magazine.

Since then, Trace has grown into a global multimedia brand for Afro Urban music and lifestyle, operating 24 themed pay TV channels as well as radios, events, content, mobile and digital services in 180 countries.

“Trace is extremely excited to be back in the UK, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets for both music and urban culture,” said Olivier Laouchez, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Trace Group.

“We are looking forward to bringing the Trace brand, touch and expertise to these 4 UK music channels as well as synergies with the rest of the Trace ecosystem. This new and strong UK presence will ideally complement and strengthen our existing operations in Africa, France, the USA, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.”

“With this strategic acquisition, we will bring together the best of Trace and the best of the UK Afro Urban scene,” said Laurent Dumeau, Managing Director Trace UK.

“Having four Trace-owned channels in the UK is a great asset on which to build the future of Trace music networks, just as Trace channels are transitioning from simple linear TV feeds to hybrid platforms with strongly integrated broadcast, digital, mobile and social components.”

BBC widens reach in Latvia

By Chris Dziadul

The Latvian public broadcaster’s channel LTV7 has started carrying Russian-language news from the BBC.

On Wednesdays, as part of the LTV7’s Russian-language programming from 19.00, there will be a live linkup with the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London. A BBC News Russian presenter will introduce the day’s story that especially resonates with the Latvian audience.

Commenting on the development, Americo Martins, head of journalism, BBC World Service Americas and Europe Region, said: “Collaboration partnership with LTV7 is a great development for the BBC News Russian presence in Latvia, where we are now operating a newsgathering bureau. Our correspondents in Riga help expand the BBC’s coverage of Latvia and the Baltic states. Our linkups with the national channel LTV7 will help showcase to Latvia’s Russian-speaking audience the BBC’s global and regional reporting.”

Sergey Nesterov, LTV board member, added: “For Latvian TV and LTV’s Russian broadcasting, collaboration with the BBC means an opportunity to add high-quality content to the Russian-language output. Importantly, linkups with BBC News Russian will be part of the daily news bulletins. LTV appreciates opportunities for international cooperation, and this is not the only project we have with leading global public media. Our collaboration with the BBC is very important, and I believe that our viewers, too, will appreciate its results.”

In addition to the website bbc.com/russian, the BBC connects with its Russian-speaking audiences via social media such as Facebook, VKontakte, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube, Google+, LiveJournal and OK.ru.

BBC News Russian is part of the BBC World Service.

Eleven Sports UK faces closure

By Julian Clover

Online sports network Eleven Sports could shut down its UK operations after just four months.

The broadcaster had picked up UK rights to La Liga (Spain), Serie A (Italy), Eredivisie (Netherlands), Chinese Super League (from 2019) and Allsvenskan (Sweden).

However, it appears Eleven Sports ran into trouble after UFC exercised an exit clause, because the streaming service was unable to secure distribution on Sky, BT and Virgin.

The company, backed by the Leeds United owner, Andrea Radrizzani, is now trying to renegotiate some of its smaller contracts in a bid to remain on the air.

Eleven Sports’ deal with the mixed martial arts sport gave it the rights to all 42 live UFC events in 2019, as well as over 150 hours of UFC original and archive programming in a multi-year agreement. On announcement in September Danny Menken, Group Managing Director, Eleven Sports described it as a “perfect fit for our fan centric strategy”.

The Daily Telegraph reports Eleven Sports has 50,000 subscribers to its UK service paying a monthly £5.99.

BBC widens reach in Latvia

By Chris Dziadul

The Latvian public broadcaster’s channel LTV7 has started carrying Russian-language news from the BBC.

On Wednesdays, as part of the LTV7’s Russian-language programming from 19.00, there will be a live linkup with the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London. A BBC News Russian presenter will introduce the day’s story that especially resonates with the Latvian audience.

Commenting on the development, Americo Martins, head of journalism, BBC World Service Americas and Europe Region, said: “Collaboration partnership with LTV7 is a great development for the BBC News Russian presence in Latvia, where we are now operating a newsgathering bureau. Our correspondents in Riga help expand the BBC’s coverage of Latvia and the Baltic states. Our linkups with the national channel LTV7 will help showcase to Latvia’s Russian-speaking audience the BBC’s global and regional reporting.”

Sergey Nesterov, LTV board member, added: “For Latvian TV and LTV’s Russian broadcasting, collaboration with the BBC means an opportunity to add high-quality content to the Russian-language output. Importantly, linkups with BBC News Russian will be part of the daily news bulletins. LTV appreciates opportunities for international cooperation, and this is not the only project we have with leading global public media. Our collaboration with the BBC is very important, and I believe that our viewers, too, will appreciate its results.”

In addition to the website bbc.com/russian, the BBC connects with its Russian-speaking audiences via social media such as Facebook, VKontakte, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube, Google+, LiveJournal and OK.ru.

BBC News Russian is part of the BBC World Service.

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