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Today β€” August 20th 2019Your RSS feeds

Illegal sports streamers targeted in FACT-Premier League crackdown

By Julian Clover

Suppliers and resellers of illegal sports streaming services have been targeted in a joint initiative by FACT and the Premier League.

Last month, FACT investigators and UK law enforcement agencies attended 16 premises across the UK. They served Cease and Desist notices to individuals they suspected of supplying illegal sports streaming content.

The initiative came ahead of the new Premier League season that began last week (August 16).

Kieron Sharp, FACT Chief Executive said: “This is just one of the tactics we deploy against people committing offences that affect sports rights holders and broadcasters. We have a programme of continuous activity targeting different elements of the global piracy landscape, with consideration given to the scale of the offending so that the most effective and proportionate response is deployed.

FACT has been working with the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) to disrupt organised crime groups. The suspects are all thought to be of low level, but the initiative was aimed at preventing them from undertaking further criminal activity and deterring others from getting involved.

National GAIN Coordinator Lesley Donovan said: “In this case, these Cease and Desist notices intend to highlight the real harm those trying to make a quick buck out of illegal streaming are inflicting. Their actions are feeding a wider illicit industry which not only denies the economy of millions both in copyright theft and undeclared income but poses a direct risk to our communities due to their lack of parental controls and fire safety. This type of activity is also often a cog in a larger criminal machine, often ultimately funding drugs, weapons and people trafficking.”

The action follows a series of successful prosecutions by FACT working with the Premier League. In March 2019 three sellers of illegal streaming devices from a pirate streaming organisation were given a combined total of 17 years imprisonment for defrauding the Premier League, some of the longest sentences for piracy-related crimes.

Japan’s Rugby World Cup first in 8K format

By Julian Clover

The organisers of Rugby World Cup 2019 are anticipating record audiences for the tournament that gets underway on September 20.

It’s estimated Japan 2019 will reach the broadest audience to date with the action being seen in 800 million households in 217 territories, surpassing the 683 million homes record in 2015.

Coverage is being offered to broadcasters through multiple feeds in multiple formats, meaning broadcasters will have the opportunity to tailor content and transmit the tournament in UHD/4K format.

Meanwhile, the innovative public broadcaster NHK will bring coverage in 8K to the Japanese domestic market.

“We identified the areas where we could enhance the experience and looked at the ways in which we could deliver more content and in ways that rugby viewers have not seen before,” said International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) co-project director Dan Miodownik. “By matching World Rugby’s ambition with our experience, I believe we have achieved that objective. It is going to be an exciting project.”

A total of 34 cameras will cover all angles for the semi-finals and the final, rising from the 28 and 23 camera plans used for other categories of matches during the six-week tournament.

Augmented Reality graphics will be incorporated into the coverage, in 34 of the 48 matches for elements such as team line-ups, player comparisons, statistics and tables. IGBS will also provide a range of content, including infographics for social and digital platforms.

Japan’s Rugby World Cup first in 8K format

By Julian Clover

The organisers of Rugby World Cup 2019 are anticipating record audiences for the tournament that gets underway on September 20.

It’s estimated Japan 2019 will reach the broadest audience to date with the action being seen in 800 million households in 217 territories, surpassing the 683 million homes record in 2015.

Coverage is being offered to broadcasters through multiple feeds in multiple formats, meaning broadcasters will have the opportunity to tailor content and transmit the tournament in UHD/4K format.

Meanwhile, the innovative public broadcaster NHK will bring coverage in 8K to the Japanese domestic market.

“We identified the areas where we could enhance the experience and looked at the ways in which we could deliver more content and in ways that rugby viewers have not seen before,” said International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS) co-project director Dan Miodownik. “By matching World Rugby’s ambition with our experience, I believe we have achieved that objective. It is going to be an exciting project.”

A total of 34 cameras will cover all angles for the semi-finals and the final, rising from the 28 and 23 camera plans used for other categories of matches during the six-week tournament.

Augmented Reality graphics will be incorporated into the coverage, in 34 of the 48 matches for elements such as team line-ups, player comparisons, statistics and tables. IGBS will also provide a range of content, including infographics for social and digital platforms.

Morten Bentzen to leave Telia

By Chris Dziadul

Telia Denmark’s CEO Morten Bentzen has decided to leave after four years in the position.

He has been with the company for a total of 15 years and responsible for, amongst other things, business and partner sales.

Commenting on his departure, he said: “It’s one of the hardest decisions of my career. I love my talented and dedicated colleagues in Telia incredibly much. And the technological development and relentless competition in the telecommunications industry has a particular dynamic that I will miss. However, the time is right to try out new challenges. I will use the time to come to consider carefully what the next step in my career should be. Telia Denmark has a strong management team, so I am perfectly confident passing the baton on”.

Emil Nilsson, who is responsible for Telia’s activities in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Eurasia, added: “I fully understand Morten’s decision, but I am personally sorry that our paths have to be separated. Morten is a fantastic colleague who has made a valuable contribution to Telia Denmark’s development over the last several years. I will miss his winning mentality, professionalism and indomitable prowess – and wish him all the best in the future. At the same time, I am pleased that Thomas Kjærsgaard, who has delivered great results for Telia’s commercial business, has agreed to step in as interim CEO of Telia in Denmark”.

Kjærsgaard as been director of Telia’s business operations in Denmark since the summer of 2018. As a member of the executive board, he has helped define the direction for Telia in Denmark with a focus on digitalisation, IoT solutions and new business and partnership models.

Prior to joining Telia, Kjærsgaard was a sales director at Microsoft and at the forefront of digitisation projects for some of the largest companies in Europe for more than 10 years.

Work to find Telia Denmark’s new CEO has begun. Bentzen will continue in the role until the end of August, after which Kjærsgaard will take over.

Morten Bentzen to leave Telia

By Chris Dziadul

Telia Denmark’s CEO Morten Bentzen has decided to leave after four years in the position.

He has been with the company for a total of 15 years and responsible for, amongst other things, business and partner sales.

Commenting on his departure, he said: “It’s one of the hardest decisions of my career. I love my talented and dedicated colleagues in Telia incredibly much. And the technological development and relentless competition in the telecommunications industry has a particular dynamic that I will miss. However, the time is right to try out new challenges. I will use the time to come to consider carefully what the next step in my career should be. Telia Denmark has a strong management team, so I am perfectly confident passing the baton on”.

Emil Nilsson, who is responsible for Telia’s activities in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Eurasia, added: “I fully understand Morten’s decision, but I am personally sorry that our paths have to be separated. Morten is a fantastic colleague who has made a valuable contribution to Telia Denmark’s development over the last several years. I will miss his winning mentality, professionalism and indomitable prowess – and wish him all the best in the future. At the same time, I am pleased that Thomas Kjærsgaard, who has delivered great results for Telia’s commercial business, has agreed to step in as interim CEO of Telia in Denmark”.

Kjærsgaard as been director of Telia’s business operations in Denmark since the summer of 2018. As a member of the executive board, he has helped define the direction for Telia in Denmark with a focus on digitalisation, IoT solutions and new business and partnership models.

Prior to joining Telia, Kjærsgaard was a sales director at Microsoft and at the forefront of digitisation projects for some of the largest companies in Europe for more than 10 years.

Work to find Telia Denmark’s new CEO has begun. Bentzen will continue in the role until the end of August, after which Kjærsgaard will take over.

Bridge Technologies says HTML5 video monitor is β€˜Transformative’

By Julian Clover

Bridge Technologies is showcasing a new capability at IBC2019. The Oslo company says the Widglets API HTML5 video monitor for the company’s VB440 network probe is ‘Transformative’.

Widglets API can deliver a full-motion, colour-accurate and ultra-low latency video monitoring capability to any location or any application through a laptop and a network connection.

“There are many challenges in all-IP remote production, and applications throughout the broadcast chain that would gain enormous insight and benefit from being able to see and understand what’s going on with the picture – and this new Widglets API allows that,” said Simen K Frostad, Chairman, Bridge Technologies. “Using the new Widglets API for the VB440, video monitoring can be embedded within any HTML code – making it available to anyone connected via a web browser.”

One use-case is in international sports events where commentators can be given access to every video and audio stream – from an uncompressed source at location, with colour accuracy, in full-motion, with effectively zero latency, all essentials in remote production.

The VB440 IP probe supports interface speeds including 10, 25, 40, 50 and up to 100 Gigabit on dual interfaces, so that even the largest of media networks can be accommodated with analysis of SD, HD i and p, HD HDR, 4K and 4K HDR and above.

EBU, Sony, Facebook and PlutoTV join IBC speaker line-up

By Julian Clover

The organisers of IBC2019 have announced a series of additions to this year’s line-up of speakers.

Working around the theme Consumers First: A New Era in Media, this year’s conference begins on Friday 13 September.

Gina Nieri, Executive Board Member, Mediaset; Olivier Jollet, Managing Director Europe, Pluto TV; and Dominique Delport, President International, VICE, will speak in Global Business Gamechangers: where’s the money coming from?, while Noel Curran, Director General, EBU and Dee Forbes, Director General, RTE, feature in Global Strategy Gamechangers: can public broadcasters stay relevant? session.

On Monday 16 September, Jens-Uwe Bornemann, Director of Media Partnerships, Central & Eastern Europe and Erin Connolly, Product Manager, Social Video, both from Facebook, will discuss how the company is evolving its video strategy to build a deeper relationship with online communities.

Hiroshi Kawano, Senior VP, Sony Corporation will keynote The future of media technology. And lastly Thomas Jacques, CTO, TF1 le Groupe, has been added to the panel on the session Secrets of implementing successful technology projects on Tuesday 17 September.

RAI loses Champions League appeal

By Julian Clover

Free to air coverage of the Champions League in Italy will be broadcast by Mediaset after a Milan court rejected a second appeal from public broadcaster RAI.

Mediaset will now sign an agreement with Sky, which holds the rights to broadcast the majority of matches on its pay-TV platform.

The court also ordered the public broadcaster to pay €25,000 in costs.

Rai believed it had an option that would have granted it the right to sublicense rights for the European football competition from Sky for the period between 2018 and 2021. However, Sky did not recognise the right and instead went to Mediaset, with who the paycaster is beginning to form a closer relationship.

The court established Sky was not under an obligation to share the rights with RAI.

Mediaset is reputed to have offered €50 per season for the FTA package. It includes the first pick of an Italian club on Wednesday nights and a match featuring teams from outside of Italy on Tuesdays.

Joe Chow to head CommScope’s CPE business

By Julian Clover

CommScope has hired industry veteran Joe Chow as the new head of its Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) business.

Chow takes over from Larry Robinson, the latest former Arris employee to depart the company.

Chow started the IPTV business at Cisco, later becoming the general manager for the company’s CPE division, before seeing the business integrated into Technicolor after its sale by Cisco. Most recently Chow was the SVP of product and programme management at Wi-Fi chipset manufacturer Quantenna.

“I’ve been through all types of company experiences, including multiple mergers and acquisitions, consolidations and integrations—as CommScope, ARRIS, and Ruckus are going through now — and it’s given me a strong perspective on how to distill a company’s strengths and build competitive positioning, said Chow.

Earlier this month, CommScope removed former Arris CEO Bruce McClelland from his role as COO following a tough second quarter. Former Ruckus boss Ian Whiting left in June.

Sky launches Ultrafast broadband offering

By Julian Clover

Sky has announced a significant upgrade to its broadband platform with speeds up to 12 times faster than its standard broadband.

An initial 2 million households will have access to Sky Ultrafast Broadband, which will have average download speeds of 145Mbps and 285Mbps, with no usage caps.

The announcement comes against a background of governmental pressure on the rollout of superfast broadband that has seen similar announcements from Openreach and Virgin Media.

The Comcast-owned company claims Sky Ultrafast Broadband will give an advantage to gamers because its upload speeds are faster than those of its nearest competitor.

Sky Broadband Ultrafast 1, with average download speeds of 145Mbps, will be priced at £39 a month for 18 months. Broadband Ultrafast 2, offering average download speeds of 285Mbps will be £49 a month.

An ‘upgrade fee’ of £34.95 will also be payable by existing customers.

“Fast and reliable broadband is an essential part of the family household today, and it’s only going to get more important in future” comments Kathryn Imrie, Director of Broadband at Sky. “We want our customers to be able to do even more online, on more devices, without seeing their connection lag or drop. As a Sky Broadband Ultrafast customer, you will be able to seamlessly watch an HD movie, while your partner surfs the web and your kids are gaming in their bedroom.”

Ultrafast Broadband will continue to rollout during 2019 and 2020.

Orange Polska unveils new 4K box

By Chris Dziadul

Orange customers in Poland who opt for the Orange TV service, as well as the Love package, can now choose a modern 4K decoder.

According to the company, the 4K Premium decoder (ICU100) or a 4K decoder (IWU200) with a multirecorder service includes live TV replay and seven day catch-up.

It also allows users to record an unlimited number of programmes, which can then be stored in the cloud and watched for 30 days.

The multirecorder service will be continually enriched with more channels and is also available to Orange TV Go customers.

Users of Orange’s Multi Premium service who use the 4K decoders will be able to watch programmes recorded on the multirecorder service on other devices.

Meanwhile, subscribers to Orange TV’s extended fibre optic packages will also receive access to the extensive film library of Paramount Pictures – Paramount Play, MTV, Comedy Central, Nick Jr and Nickelodeon.

Orange Polska unveils new 4K box

By Chris Dziadul

Orange customers in Poland who opt for the Orange TV service, as well as the Love package, can now choose a modern 4K decoder.

According to the company, the 4K Premium decoder (ICU100) or a 4K decoder (IWU200) with a multirecorder service includes live TV replay and seven day catch-up.

It also allows users to record an unlimited number of programmes, which can then be stored in the cloud and watched for 30 days.

The multirecorder service will be continually enriched with more channels and is also available to Orange TV Go customers.

Users of Orange’s Multi Premium service who use the 4K decoders will be able to watch programmes recorded on the multirecorder service on other devices.

Meanwhile, subscribers to Orange TV’s extended fibre optic packages will also receive access to the extensive film library of Paramount Pictures – Paramount Play, MTV, Comedy Central, Nick Jr and Nickelodeon.

Prima expands HbbTV service

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech broadcaster Prima has widened its HbbTV offer of children’s programmes and documentaries.

As a result, kids can now access over 1,000 fairy tales, while viewers interested in documentaries can chose from over 200 videos from an expanded Prima Zoom range.

In another innovation to Prima’s HbbTV service, users will find it easier to select programmes in the menu via the Red Button.

Commenting on the development, Daniel Grunt, director of new media at Prima, said: “Our goal is to provide users with even more entertainment, and that means more video content that is engaging, easily accessible and safe for the viewer. Of course, a long-term trend in online video ratings is in-house shows as well as children’s shows. HbbTV, available via the familiar red button on the remote, already hosts 90% of all children’s videos”.

Prima notes that all the videos are free to watch.

Prima expands HbbTV service

By Chris Dziadul

The Czech broadcaster Prima has widened its HbbTV offer of children’s programmes and documentaries.

As a result, kids can now access over 1,000 fairy tales, while viewers interested in documentaries can chose from over 200 videos from an expanded Prima Zoom range.

In another innovation to Prima’s HbbTV service, users will find it easier to select programmes in the menu via the Red Button.

Commenting on the development, Daniel Grunt, director of new media at Prima, said: “Our goal is to provide users with even more entertainment, and that means more video content that is engaging, easily accessible and safe for the viewer. Of course, a long-term trend in online video ratings is in-house shows as well as children’s shows. HbbTV, available via the familiar red button on the remote, already hosts 90% of all children’s videos”.

Prima notes that all the videos are free to watch.

ProSiebenSat1 Puls 4 selects Dalet for production workflow

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian TV broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Puls 4 has chosen French service provider Dalet to revamp its media operation.

The company will use the Dalet Galaxy five media asset management workflow orchestration and editorial platform for a state-of-the-art media production workflow that realigns production and delivery to optimise cross-functional team collaboration and multi-platform content output across its three channels Puls 4, ATV and ATV2.

The aim is to better manage the news, sports, archives and programme preparation workflows, according to Dalet.

“We have a rapidly growing pool of content that needs to be centralised and enriched with metadata. In addition, we need tools that enable our staff to easily search, prepare and distribute that content,” said ProSiebenSat.1 Puls 4 broadcast system engineers Christoph Stadlhofer and Dirk Raschig.

“Facilitating these needs combined with managing a much higher output of programme and news content to our digital platforms is what we expect to accomplish with the move to Dalet Galaxy five.”

The full implementation of Dalet Galaxy five will allow ProSiebenSat.1 Puls 4 to build an end-to-end, cohesive digital content supply chain that unifies all operations and processes from the newsroom, programme preparation and post-production to distribution and archives.

New BBC Studios role for Zbigniew Pruski

By Chris Dziadul

Zbigniew Pruski has been appointed the commercial director for branded services, Central and Eastern Europe, BBC Studios.

At the same time, Pierre Cloete will take on the same role for sub-Saharan Africa. According to BBC Studios, the appointments follow the recent reorganisation of CEMA from general market management to a focus on specialist lines of business.

Both roles will report into Louise La Grange, SVP branded services commercial and will be responsible for delivering branded services revenue and profit across CEE and sub-Saharan Africa, in line with targets and growth ambitions and through expert client management and new business development.

Pruski, who will be based in Warsaw, takes up this new and expanded position for the region after a successful tenure as head of affiliate sales for BBC Studios in Poland, where he was responsible for developing strategic distribution initiatives for the BBC channel portfolio.

He joined BBC Studios (formerly BBC Worldwide) in 2011 from Discovery Networks Central Europe where he was affiliate sales administration executive.

He began his TV career at distribution and management agency Program as the key account manager for broadcasters such as CNBC Europe, BBC Worldwide and NGC.

Commenting on the two appointments, Louise La Grange, said: “The appointments of commercial directors for sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Eastern Europe signals our on-going commitment to the African and CEE markets and a continued local presence on the ground. Pierre and Zbigniew have proven track records in the industry and I am confident that their local insight, expertise, and great relationships will give us the focus, consistency, and effectiveness we need to put us in the best position to achieve our ambitions for growth.”

New BBC Studios role for Zbigniew Pruski

By Chris Dziadul

Zbigniew Pruski has been appointed the commercial director for branded services, Central and Eastern Europe, BBC Studios.

At the same time, Pierre Cloete will take on the same role for sub-Saharan Africa. According to BBC Studios, the appointments follow the recent reorganisation of CEMA from general market management to a focus on specialist lines of business.

Both roles will report into Louise La Grange, SVP branded services commercial and will be responsible for delivering branded services revenue and profit across CEE and sub-Saharan Africa, in line with targets and growth ambitions and through expert client management and new business development.

Pruski, who will be based in Warsaw, takes up this new and expanded position for the region after a successful tenure as head of affiliate sales for BBC Studios in Poland, where he was responsible for developing strategic distribution initiatives for the BBC channel portfolio.

He joined BBC Studios (formerly BBC Worldwide) in 2011 from Discovery Networks Central Europe where he was affiliate sales administration executive.

He began his TV career at distribution and management agency Program as the key account manager for broadcasters such as CNBC Europe, BBC Worldwide and NGC.

Commenting on the two appointments, Louise La Grange, said: “The appointments of commercial directors for sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Eastern Europe signals our on-going commitment to the African and CEE markets and a continued local presence on the ground. Pierre and Zbigniew have proven track records in the industry and I am confident that their local insight, expertise, and great relationships will give us the focus, consistency, and effectiveness we need to put us in the best position to achieve our ambitions for growth.”

New BBC Studios role for Zbigniew Pruski

By Chris Dziadul

Zbigniew Pruski has been appointed the commercial director for branded services, Central and Eastern Europe, BBC Studios.

At the same time, Pierre Cloete will take on the same role for sub-Saharan Africa. According to BBC Studios, the appointments follow the recent reorganisation of CEMA from general market management to a focus on specialist lines of business.

Both roles will report into Louise La Grange, SVP branded services commercial and will be responsible for delivering branded services revenue and profit across CEE and sub-Saharan Africa, in line with targets and growth ambitions and through expert client management and new business development.

Pruski, who will be based in Warsaw, takes up this new and expanded position for the region after a successful tenure as head of affiliate sales for BBC Studios in Poland, where he was responsible for developing strategic distribution initiatives for the BBC channel portfolio.

He joined BBC Studios (formerly BBC Worldwide) in 2011 from Discovery Networks Central Europe where he was affiliate sales administration executive.

He began his TV career at distribution and management agency Program as the key account manager for broadcasters such as CNBC Europe, BBC Worldwide and NGC.

Commenting on the two appointments, Louise La Grange, said: “The appointments of commercial directors for sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Eastern Europe signals our on-going commitment to the African and CEE markets and a continued local presence on the ground. Pierre and Zbigniew have proven track records in the industry and I am confident that their local insight, expertise, and great relationships will give us the focus, consistency, and effectiveness we need to put us in the best position to achieve our ambitions for growth.”

Zee5 teams up with Eurostar Group

By Chris Dziadul

The global digital entertainment platform Zee5 has entered into a strategic partnership with the UAE-based digital retail company Eurostar Group.

It will allow people across the GCC counties to access Zee5’s library of 100,000 hours of entertainment content in 17 languages, on up to five different devices at any given time, through subscription packs available at any Eurostar and its partner outlets across GCC.

The packs will be offered on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis, costing AED1.49 (€0.37), AED5.99, AED18.99 and AED149.99 respectively.

Commenting on the development, Archana Anand, chief business officer, Zee5 Global, said: “With the largest range of Indian content including 2000+ movies and exclusive TV shows across genres, Zee5 is fast becoming the go-to destination for Indian content for multiple audience segments in the GCC who want compelling stories in the language of their comfort. Reaching these audiences through every touchpoint, to enable them to discover and experience Zee5 Is critical and enabling offline subscriptions via retail is a key initiative. We’re very happy to announce our partnership with Eurostar, one of the leading digital retail Groups across the GCC to make Zee5 available through their outlets.”

Shaan Jethwani, executive director of Eurostar, added: “We are thrilled and privileged to join hands with Zee5. The current paradigm shift on consumers TV watching, coupled with Eurostar’s legacy on pay-TV distribution along with Zee5’s unmatchable content prepositions are poised for sure success and it’s going to create a new experience for audiences in their living room.”

Fibre drives Netia’s TV business

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s Netia saw its TV RGU total grow by 13% in the year to June 30.

In its latest set of results the company says that this was down to the modernisation of its fibre network, now offering broadband access of up to 1Gbps and allowing it to effectively sell packages that include TV services.

It adds that the number of B2C TV subscribers stood at 221,000 at the end of June, or 4,000 more than three months earlier.

Netia had revenues of PLN326 million (€74.8 million) in Q2. Although the figure was similar to that in the first quarter (PLN327 million), it was down 5% on the same period in 2018.

EBITDA, in accordance with MSR 17, was PLN 90 million, up 9% on Q1 but 3% down on a year earlier.

Netia is the leading alternative telco in Poland and has been majority owned by Cyfrowy Polsat since May 2018.

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