Deutsche Telekom recorded “significant gains” in Europe in the third quarter, including 361,000 new TV customers, which is it attributed in part to its acquisition of Digi Slovakia earlier this year.Announcing its quarterly results, Deutsche Telekom said that as of September 30 it had a total of 3.4 million European TV customers for IPTV, satellite and cable services – up 21.8% year-on-year and 11.7% compared to the previous quarter.“[The] TV business again proved to be a consistent growth driver in the first nine months of 2013. The total TV customer base increased by 17.4% compared with the end of 2012 to 3.4 million, driven mainly by the increase in satellite TV customers,” said Deutsche Telekom.The firm said that this was mainly driven by an increase in satellite TV customers and that Slovakia made a “significant contribution” due to the buyout of Digi Slovakia.The €53 million acquisition was agreed in May, approved by the Slovak competition authority at the end of July, with the company becoming part of the Deutsche Telekom business on September 1.Other TV gains noted by Deutsche Telekom in the last quarter include subsidiary T-Mobile Austria’s inclusion of television in its product portfolio with the launch of simpliTV. This offers up to 40 terrestrial TV stations, nine of them in high definition and has been available in all its Austrian shops since mid-September 2013, said Deutsche Telekom.Overall in the third quarter, the Deutsche Telekom Group reported revenues of €15.5 billion, up 6.0% year-on-year. Adjusted EBITDA fell by 2.6% over the same time period to €4.7 billion due to “investments in customer growth”. Net profit was €588 million compared to a loss of €7.0 billion last year.
Google has released a software developer kit (SDK) for its Chromecast TV dongle, opening it up to companies and developers that want to launch their content on the platform.Announcing the release, Google said that the Google Cast SDK will mean that “even more of our favourite movies, TV shows and music will become available on Chromecast.”Developers will now be able to build Chromecast support into their apps and websites across Android, iOS and the Chrome browser.Chromecast is designed to make it easy for viewers to watch web-powered content on their TV by pressing a button on their smartphone, tablet or computer.The HDMI dongle launched in the states last June, and though it is currently not available internationally, Google is rumoured to be preparing to launch the device in Europe and elsewhere.Services already supported by Chromecast include YouTube, Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and music streaming service Pandora.
Latvian service provider Lattelecom has failed to strike a distribution deal with Modern Times Group (MTG) for the latter’s TV3 commercial channel. Lattelecom will no longer carry TV3 from tommorrow. The operator said that MTG had attempted to raise carriage fees for the channel by 60% and that this was not warranted by the amount of home-produced content on the service.The company’s consumer business division director Inga Alika said that she was confident that Lattelecom would be able to compensate viewers for the absence of the channe. She said that 80% of TV3’s content was available eslewehere and that Lattelecom would seek to provide an alternative for the remaining 20% of original content on the service.Lattelecom said that it would cooperate closely with national broadcaster LTV to develop home produced content.
Chris Albrecht21st Century Fox reportedly met with top executives from US premium cable channel Starz to discuss a possible takeover.Numerous reports from the States say Fox met with Starz as a “courtesy” and is not interested in a deal. Starz CEO Chris Albrecht was present at the meeting this week, according to the Los Angeles Times, which broke the news.Starz, which counts Spartacus, Black Sails and Outlander among its biggest original series to date, spun out of Liberty Media last year, and has been considered ripe for a takeover since then.The company has reportedly retained investment bank LionTree Advisors as it considers what direction to take next.Based on its current share value, Starz could cost more than US$3 billion should a deal materialise. Along with sister channel Encore, Starz counts more 56 million subscribers in the US.It is two months since Fox abandoned its chase to acquire rival Time Warner for around US$80 billion.
Studio 100 Media’s ZigbyThe distribution arm of France Televisions has struck a deal with Studio 100 Media to mange several of the latter’s brands as French channels on YouTube and Dailymotion. France TV Distribution’s MCN francetv division will make kids series Blinky Bill, Flipper & Lopaka, and pre-school animation Zigby available on the free digital platforms.“We are delighted to join forces with Studio 100 Media and to welcome Zigby, Blinky Bill and Flipper & Lopaka in our leading multichannel kids offer. French children and their parents will enjoy discovering their adventures in non linear as they have enjoyed them on TV for years,” said Julien Borde, executive director new projects of France Televisions.MCN francetv was set up specifically to distribute content on online platforms like YouTube and Dailymotion and currently manages content on more than 200 channels.Studio 100 Media is a Munich-based subsidiary of Belgian firm Studio 100 Group.
Subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Now TV will see their UK user numbers almost double by 2019, according to Futuresource Consulting.The research firm claimed that the UK SVoD space – driven by these three key players – is going “from strength to strength” and predicted that the 7 million individual SVoD subscribers at the end of 2014 will rise to 13.6 million by 2019.Futuresource said that the rollout of fibre broadband and the availability of services on a fast growing connected device base, has led to a “vastly improved viewing experience for many in the online video sector”, encouraging consumers to pay for premium content.The total value of the UK SVoD market will cross the £1 billion mark by 2019, according to the report. It also predicted that Netflix’s global subscriber base will rise from 60 million to “at least 80 million” by the end of 2016.Elsewhere, Futuresource said that 2014 was a “breakthrough year” for electronic sell-through and claimed that the total digital video market in the UK will continue its growth momentum.“The digital video market came of age in 2014, attracting new customers to both transactional and digital video. The total digital market grew by an impressive 55% to reach over £600 million, almost four times the level of 2011,” said David Sidebottom, senior marketing analyst at Futuresource Consulting.“Although SVoD more than doubled in 2014 and now accounts for over half of total digital video at £350 million, nearly 30% growth in transactional digital video in 2014 was perhaps more impressive given the disappointing performance in 2013 and 2012.”
YouTube has rolled out its dedicated YouTube Gaming video service in the UK and US, in a move that puts it head-to-head with Amazon-owned rival Twitch.YouTube Gaming offers gaming videos and live streams of videogame play and is available on the gaming.youtube.com site or as dedicated apps for Android and iOS devices.YouTube said that the new service automatically pulls in “all gaming-related videos and live streams from YouTube” and will roll out in more countries soon.“Viewers get personalised gaming recommendations based on the games and channels they collect. With over 25,000 game pages and even more gaming channels, it’s never been easier to connect with your gaming community,” said YouTube engineering manager, Frank Petterson, in a blog post announcing the launch.YouTube first said it would launch a gaming site in June in an effort to establish “the biggest community of gamers on the web.”The move comes after Amazon agreed to buy Twitch – a rival video platform and community for videogame enthusiasts – for US$970 million (€860 million) last August.
Orange CEO Stéphane Richard has reiterated that his company will not bid for premium football and contribute to rights inflation, and has opened the door to collaboration in content, including with rival Altice-owned SFR.Stéphane RichardSpeaking at an investor event in London, Richard said that content remained part of Orange’s diversification strategy but that its role would be as an aggregator and distributor primarily.“In content, we have one objective: to ensure that our customers have access to the best content at a reasonable price, principally through aggregation and distribution. In France, Orange will not take part in the likely inflation in football [costs],” he said.Reflecting on the recent troubles of Altice, Richard said that Orange could see more partnerships between operators taking the place of head-on competition.Orange already has a content partnership with Altice’s major rival in the French content market, Canal+, providing Canal+ packages as part of its multi-play offering.Richard, confirming that he will be candidate for a third four-year term as CEO, said his main focus would be on upgrading its fixed network to fibre and developing fixed and mobile bundled offerings in the French, Spanish and Polish markets.Richard said that Orange’s bet on fibre-to-the-home was paying off. The group has invested €3.4 billion in fibre over the last two years.
Nokia’s chief operating officer (COO) Monika Maurer is leaving the company and will be replaced by long-standing Nokia executive Joerg Erlemeier.Joerg ErlemeierNokia said in a statement that Maurer, who has held the COO role since April of this year, will support Erlemeier during a transition period and then leave “to pursue new opportunities outside the company”.Erlemeier worked most recently as senior vice president of Nokia Transformation and has more than 20 year’s experience in various leadership positions at Nokia – including COO of the mobile networks business group, and head of the Middle East and Africa region.As COO he will report to Nokia president and chief executive officer Rajeev Suri. He also becomes a member of the Nokia’s Group Leadership Team (GLT) with immediate effect.Maurer joined Nokia as part of its acquisition of Alactel-Lucent, which closed in 2016. She initially became COO of Nokia’s fixed networks business before taking up the COO role earlier this year.“I want to thank Monika for her contributions to Nokia, and Alcatel-Lucent before that,” said Rajeev Suri. “I warmly welcome Joerg to the GLT, and look forward to working together to further strengthen our disciplined operating model.”
Swisscom has tapped TV technology provider Ateme to provide its Titan virtual encoding platform for its MediaCloud project.Swisscom’s MediaCloud project is designed to create an IPTV virtualized video headend system based on video transcoding to manage numerous TV input formats.Ateme said that its virtualised and containerised transcoder enables Swisscom to enhance its MediaCloud project with virtualised, cloud-based technology, delivering lower operating costs and flexibil8ity through its ability to run on private and public cloud infrastructure both on and off premises.According to Ateme, Titan is a pure software-based encoder that can run on any commercial off-the-shelf or virtualised server.“Ateme is a leader in the world of cloud-based transcoding. The team understood our needs to build an IPTV virtual video headend which offers rapid channels set up and tear down, along with providing agility to keep up with consumer demand and technology changes. Our new virtualized headend has the ability to onboard a new channel in minutes, enabling it to match consumer technology demands by rapidly adding popular new programming, offering dedicated channels for big events, upgrading channels to 4K and adding new compression standards to support the latest TV-watching device,” said Bruno Haug, head of TV development, Swisscom.“We are very proud to be Swisscom’s trusted partners and support them in building a virtualized video headend to dynamically adjust channel line-ups very quickly,” said Claude Stoffel ATEME EMEA director.