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18 April 2014 | Securing Multi-Screen Content Services17 April 2014 | CEO Insight: Why the Orange Spain service Caught the Eye at TV Connect?10 April 2014 | IPTV Standards – What Are They Good For?07 April 2014 | First Commercial Deployment: DEEP Amplifies “Game of Thrones” Experience31 March 2014 | TV Leaders Summit 2014 post #1: Where Leaders Transform Imagination into Reality28 March 2014 | Hot TV Industry News of the Week27 March 2014 | VO Secures Mobistar’s Move into Cable TV26 March 2014 | Secure Player Bolsters VO’s Protection Capability21 March 2014 | Hot TV Industry News of the Week14 March 2014 | Hot TV Industry News of the Week
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Categories: Industry

CEO Insight: The Future of Integrated Connected TV Sets

Viaccess-Orca CEO François Moreau de Saint Martin

In the near future, TV sets are going to be connected to private and/or public IP networks. In fact, according to Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts, by the end of 2016, we will see more than 1.8 billion devices, ranging from TVs, STBs, game consoles, Blu-ray players, and media streaming boxes, “with inbuilt Internet connectivity in use in over 570 million homes.”

 

Perspectives: Customer vs. Industry

From the customer’s perspective, the choice is between integrated connected TV sets, where the technology enabling access to IP-enabled services is embedded in the TV set, or systems where the technology enabling such access is located in other devices, such as set-top-boxes, streaming boxes and tablets, with the TV set used basically just as a screen.

Let’s assess both these options: 

Options

Pros

Cons

1. Integrated connected TV sets
  • Simplicity
  • Price (?)
  • Heterogeneity and legacy management for service providers
 

  • Lack of openness
2. Screens connected through other devices
  • Upgrades (security, user interface, etc.)
  • Flexibility for service providers, which allows for innovation and other advantages

 

  • The use of touch screens

 

  • Different life cycles (shorter)
  • Complexity
  

Things get interesting when viewed from the industry’s perspective.

TV set manufacturers could choose to concentrate on the first option of developing integrated connected TV sets. This would still leave open possibilities for the second option of creating systems where screens are connected through other devices. Chromecast is a good example of a company taking the second approach and maximizing the value in the “smart” connection. Apple is another outstanding case of a company focusing on screens connected through other devices, although it is rumored to be launching integrated TV sets at some point in the future.

Content services providers often experiment with integrated connected TV sets, but usually prefer working with screens connected through other devices. This is especially true for pay TV operators who still support set-top-boxes and want to retain control of the remote control, whatever it may be in the future.

Many issues arise from service providers juggling both options. For starters, they face a conflict of interest with TV set manufacturers seeking both to dictate the user experience design and to provide their own services in order to differentiate themselves in the market. Service providers must also contend with technical heterogeneity and lack of openness, which result in:

-       Different user experience designs for their customers depending on the brand of the TV set. Content service providers prefer to offer a consistent experience to all their subscribers.

-       Additional integration costs for inclusion of all possible devices in the content service provider’s ecosystem.

Suppressing the cost of the set-top-box is of course of interest to those content service providers who don’t charge for it, but this does not generally compensate for all the difficulties mentioned above.

The key to the success of integrated connected TV sets boils down to one of two choices:

  • Design your own closed platform or walled garden with a unique quality of experience. Currently, Apple is probably the only company in the world managing to do this. In order to become a trusted content service provider following this path, you must establish both differentiation and legitimacy.

 OR

  • Create an open ecosystem, compatible with various TV manufacturers and service providers. This is what TV set manufacturers are trying to do (as indicated in this Informa study), but it is not yet clear how they will overcome the challenges of fragmentation and of long-term management, which is definitely not their strong point.

Looking Ahead

With the exception of Apple’s ecosystem, the use of closed platforms will probably be marginal. Most users will end up interacting with IP-enabled services though another device.  Tablets are likely to emerge as the winner and may even become the first screen. The traditional big screen will become a digital TV set, with IP connectivity controlled by other devices. Installing “smart” features in TV sets themselves will not provide a great deal of value for their manufacturers. Still, penetration levels of pay TV and connected TV will vary between countries.

 

If you are interested in the value of display features of TV sets, I recommend reading this report by Rethink. It is very thought-provoking, and outlines today’s challenges for TV set manufacturers.

 

 

Image Credit: http://www.actualidadipad.com/

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Categories: Industry

Securing Multi-Screen Content Services

With the steady increase in global demand for multi-screen content services, serious concerns have been raised about their vulnerability to security threats. In a recent Rapid TV article for MWC 2014, David Leporini, Viaccess-Orca’s EVP of Marketing, Products and Security, explores security threats on mobile platforms and offers a strategy for securely delivering multiscreen services.

As owners of mobile devices spend on average over an hour a day browsing the Web, content services and social media applications, their popularity exposes them to cybercriminals, with apps environments and trend toward bring your own device [BYOD] among the most vulnerable ones. David writes that consumers use apps for anything from the entertainment to banking – more than 50 billion of them were reportedly downloaded from the Google Play Store in 2013 alone.  And he cites a January 2014 report from Kaspersky Lab which detected approximately 10 million malicious Android apps.

Cybercriminals can steal money from people who conduct internet banking, by installing malware on their phones; and they have created malicious apps that tap into a device’s text messenger to hike costs for premium rate services. Social networking apps are also being targeted, with their synchronising feature used by cybercriminals to simultaneously post mobile malware links to different social networks. This is a significant problem, David says, because more than half of the people who access social media sites do so through their phones.

David argues that the world of connected entertainment is facing a major challenge to secure premium content on secondary screens like tablets and smartphones. And protection can be achieved, he believes, by adopting end-to-end (E2E) solutions that cater for factors such as the heterogeneity of front-end devices, hardware and software environments and content delivery protocols.

Mobile devices such as tablets and set-top boxes (STBs) should have similar security requirements, and according to David, particularly with HD content, what’s needed is a hardware-based security solution and trusted video path management: “Leveraging technologies like Trusted Execution Environments (TEE), which protect the application processor of an electronic device, content service providers can securely deliver premium HD content on connected devices.”

David points out that Viaccess-Orca has been able to deliver such security on mobile device environments with Connected Sentinel, its TV Everywhere DRM solution through its recent partnership with Trustonic.

“Our Connected Sentinel end-to-end DRM solution provides comprehensive security management that can be achieved over the air through renewal of key security components running on Trustonic TEE, without requiring a full firmware upgrade. It is one of the most secure approaches to delivering multiscreen content in today’s connected world,” he concludes.

For the full article click here

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Categories: Events, Industry

CEO Insight: Why the Orange Spain service Caught the Eye at TV Connect?

During two recent shows (Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, and TV Connect, London), I have been impressed by the level of interest in the Orange Spain service.

 

It could be perceived as just another multi-screen solution demo. The user interface is nice, but not disruptive. There are many others at such shows. In fact,  we have another TV Everywhere demo, which actually embeds more features and more innovations than this service – yet the Orange Spain service gets more attention than this one. Why?

Because it is a real service, not a demo, and because it is emblematic of a key challenge for operators today, which is to switch to the “next generation TV solution”.

Orange Spain has operated television services for many years, both in IPTV and mobile TV. Orange Spain, like most operators 5-10 years ago, had built silos. It faces competition which is more and more multi-screen, leveraging OTT technologies. So what they did was to build a TV solution which was genuinely multi-screen, offering a secure, personalised service. That’s a “next generation TV solution”.

The results speak for themselves. At TV Connect, the VP of multi-screen TV at Orange, Philippe Rozes, shared Orange Spain’s deployment case study, mentioning the rapid growth in new customers – actually exceeding expectations – as well as the excellent retention rate results for existing customers.


The challenge of creating a “next generation TV solution” is faced by many other operators. Viaccess-Orca is working with Orange France on migrating mobile and Web TV services following the migration of IPTV. And we undertook a similar project a few years ago with Orange Poland, involving the migration of IPTV and hybrid IP-DVB-S services.

This challenge of producing a “next generation TV solution” is a real challenge that many operators are confronting these days – so they look to what we did with Orange for best practices.

More deployments of this sort are in the pipeline for Viaccess-Orca this year – stay tuned.

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Categories: Industry

IPTV Standards – What Are They Good For?

 

David Leporini, Viaccess-Orca’s EVP of marketing, products and security, contributed his industry knowledge and insights to a feature in the March issue of IP Television magazine, which explored the challenges and opportunities facing IPTV networks.

The feature, entitled “Setting the Standard”, focused on the enormous growth experienced by IPTV networks in recent years, and also assessed efforts to implement standards across the sector – including analysis and comments from leading industry executives.

Having grown from small-scale deployments by telcos looking to protect their revenue from cable and satellite competitors, IPTV networks are now nationwide operators dealing with the requirements of a variety of managed and OTT services.

At the same time, customers are demanding increased portability and availability of their content across a range of devices, placing demands on interoperability and quality of both service and experience.

Asked to what extent standards guarantee interoperability and QoS/QoE (Quality of Service /Quality of Experience), David had the following to say: “QoS/QoE can be achieved, as shown by existing proprietary ecosystems as the Apple one, by other methods than standardization (e.g., vertical integration or de facto standards).“

“One of the primary goals of standards is certainly though to enable interoperability. By defining technical specifications such as protocols and interfaces that all players could follow and implement, it seems logical that connecting various building blocks should just work.”

“However, standards developed in industrial standardization bodies usually rely on proprietary technologies, are not necessarily free of charge and are generally adopted on a voluntary basis.”

On the subject of user experience, David said it should be the cornerstone of TV Everywhere solutions: “With the objective of delivering content to a heterogeneous set of devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs, STB, OTT box, game consoles, Connected TVs), many of them being not controlled by the content service providers, every step simplifying interoperability should be leveraged.”

“We believe adaptive bitrate streaming formats to be a technology foundation onto which service differentiation can be built, and that MPEG-DASH along with Common Encryption (CENC) standards should become the main content streaming protocol addressing simplification of required streaming capabilities (adapted to standard Web servers with no need for dedicated equipment) and interoperability of DRM (standardization of content encryption of multiple DRM signalling).”

Asked whether content security and interoperability are compatible across differing devices, David said content security, along with CAS, DRM and related security services such as security renewability, serve two major needs: enforcing the business agreements between content service providers and content/rights owners, and enforcing the service business rules as defined by content service providers.

“We believe both needs are and will remain strong areas of innovation and differentiation facilitating new type of business agreements and enriched content services,” he said.

You can find the full article here, pages 14-20.

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Categories: Industry

First Commercial Deployment: DEEP Amplifies “Game of Thrones” Experience

 

DEEP is set to play its part in the television event of the year. In its first commercial deployment with Orange Cinema Series (OCS) our award-winning DEEP (data enrichment and engagement platform) solution has been selected to enhance its subscribers’ experience of the not-to-be-missed fourth season of “Game of Thrones”.

There has been much fanfare in the run-up to the start of the latest series of the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning drama, which chronicles the violent dynastic power struggles in a fictional kingdom. With DEEP featured on OCS’s interactive second-screen app, viewers will from, April 3rd, be able to access automatically generated, rich, informative and entertaining content related to the hit drama.

Delivered on tablet devices and branded as Le Mag for iPad, DEEP’s user-friendly, intuitive user interface, magazine-style format will enable subscribers to view multi-media features offering a wide range of in-depth background and context as well as profiles of its characters and actors. In essence, DEEP is designed to allow the viewer to delve deeper into whatever programme or film they are watching; before, during and after the show.


L’application “GoT4 officiel” : votre compagnon… by OCS
 

Serge Laroye, Executive VP for Orange’s Content Division and Chairman of the Board at OCS, pointed out that in today’s multi-screen world, subscribers are increasingly using second-screen devices to enhance the traditional television experience. He said DEEP – which can be deployed either as a standalone application or easily integrated within an existing app as in the case of the OCS “Game of Thrones” app – would provide both “dramatic” cost- and time-savings and an immersive second-screen content experience, helping to better engage users.

Increasingly, the TV industry perceives the second screen as a means of creating new ways to engage with content. During the last five years, in particular, it has dramatically enhanced the content experience.

According to our research on second-screen usage, 62% of adolescents and 65% of adults older than 55 use their tablets while watching television. Indeed, with so much focus on the second screen, many observers are beginning to wonder if it is replacing the first screen in significance.

Content service providers need to employ the right strategy to provide their subscribers the ultimate content experience on multiple screens. Viaccess-Orca’s vision for shaping the ultimate content engagement starts with protecting premium content, continues with enabling the smooth delivery of content to users — at any time, on any device and personalized according to users’ preferences — and ends with an immersive user experience.

DEEP provides this immersive experience on a second screen. It delivers the ultimate end-to-end entertainment experience by supporting content consumption during the discovery phase prior to viewing, the engagement stage when a program is being viewed, and lastly in the exploration phase when viewers might want to know more about what they’ve just watched. This is facilitated through DEEP’s unique functionalities, such as an intuitive user interface; the ability to aggregate compelling data from a growing set of data sources; and its use of semantic algorithms to extract relevant data about and from content, as well as transform data into content.

In addition, DEEP closely monitors user interaction throughout the viewing process, and with the meta data generated during the exploration phase, it enables service providers to deliver targeted and contextual advertising content to viewers.

Our CEO François Moreau de Saint Martin sums it up more succinctly: “DEEP makes it easy and cost-effective for content owners and service providers to increase viewer engagement.”

We’re delighted with DEEP’s first commercial deployment; stay tuned for future deployments and innovative enhancements of this immersive second screen platform.
To discover the OCS “Game of Thrones” app and discuss it with our experts, drop by the Orange stand (R8C14) at MIPTV, April 7-10, in Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France.

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Categories: Events, Industry

TV Leaders Summit 2014 post #1: Where Leaders Transform Imagination into Reality

 


Following on from last year’s inaugural event in Athens, the 2014 TV Leaders Summit in Madrid – scheduled for May 15-17 – promises to be just as thought-provoking, wide-ranging and inspirational. An opportunity for prominent industry figures to discuss and debate trends and developments within the TV sector, the summit will once again cover a variety of topical subjects, ranging from content strategies in an OTT World to content security.

As a tagline for this event, I have chosen a Pablo Picasso quote: “Everything you can imagine is real”. Imagination is the main driver of our industry; it is the imagination of creators that inspires a lot of the programmes content service providers offer; and the imagination of marketers and engineers that builds the services and user experience.  Our business is the outcome of this imagination and the industry is continuously turning imagination into reality.

This summit is all about market leaders and experts gathering to discuss, present and transform vision into reality.

Among the principal sessions, Brett Sappington, Director of Research at Parks Associates and the event moderator, will unveil insights from his new research about TV Everywhere 2.0 and what’s next for multi-screen, followed by a case study of Orange Spain’s new multi-screen service, as well as the following interactive panel sessions:

Content Strategies in an OTT World

Content licensing remains one of the most expensive and complex issues in video services today. With new business models, use cases, delivery mechanisms, and competitors, the world of content rights continues to evolve. This session explores the ongoing evolution of content rights and the impact of those changes on the video ecosystem.

Fighting to be Favourite: The New Emphasis on the User Experience

With increased competition on all fronts, the user experience has become a key differentiator and a point of focus for any company offering a content-related service. This session will explore success factors for a “good” user experience, innovations that impact the user experience, and how the changes in the user experience can affect the business of video services.

Guarding the Gates: New Challenges in Content Security

The growth of multi-screen services worldwide and the increasing diversity of connected devices make security of content a constant battle for content creators and distributors. New innovations and consumer use cases for moving and streaming content has added further complexity and new security risks. This session assesses global trends in content security and piracy, the impact of current connected home trends on content security, and how the industry is responding to new threats.

A number of top industry executives are scheduled to address this year’s conference. The speakers include Jean Marc Vignolles, CEO, at Orange Spain, ; Dave Alpert, CTO of HBO Europe; Tom Mohler, CEO at Olympusat; Jan van Voorn, VP Content Protection Operations EMEA at Motion Pictures Association; Antonio Russo, Director of Innovations TV Products at Deutsche Telekom; Alex Terpstra, CEO of Civolution; Olivier Dhotel, Director New TV & Video Services at Orange France; Marla Shapiro, Director – Strategic Partnerships and Content Acquisitions at Voddler and Owen Hanks, General Manager Europe at Yume.

Some of our distinguished speakers will be hosted on our blog in the coming weeks, in a series of posts running up to the event. Stay tuned for our weekly TVLS post and register here to receive notifications of each new post.

Last year, there was much debate on the subject of content consumption, addressing the question of how a company can be successful in the new era of the content services. We discussed subjects such as the rise of the second screen; how to make money in multi-screen, as well as rights and licensing. Here’s our YouTube playlist to recap last year’s event.

We are very confident that the forthcoming TVLS event in Madrid will build on the successes of last year – and, just as it did in Greece, give attendees a broad appreciation of the scope of Viaccess- Orca’s work and an in-depth understanding of our fast-moving industry.

I am looking forward to this event. There will be great speakers and a great audience, and I expect amazing discussions and networking.  It will provide a fresh perspective on the era of multi-screen content consumption and the way TV leaders lead it.

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Categories: Industry

Hot TV Industry News of the Week

 

The attention-grabbing headline this week is Apple and Comcast’s reported discussions about a new streaming-television service. Meanwhile, concerns over piracy have prompted TV industry players in the Mena region to set up a coalition tasked with combating the problem. And a new study forecasts a significant rise in digital pay-TV subscription in North America over the next few years.

Learn more below and share your thoughts by leaving a comment. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Apple and Comcast Discuss Joining Forces (Guardian)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple and Comcast are discussing the possibility of collaborating on a streaming-television service. The Guardian says consumer campaigners are worried by such a move, which would give Apple special treatment and bypass congestion on the web.  Streaming services using the public internet can encounter problems over the so-called “last mile”, when customers try to access too much bandwidth simultaneously. Apple has reportedly asked for a separate “flow” for its traffic, but not requested that its service have priority, as this would challenge “net neutrality”. Talks between the two companies are still at an early stage, but Apple’s intention is to enable users to stream live and on-demand TV programming. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is said to want his company to be more involved in TV, but the Guardian reports that efforts to date have been “disappointing”. However, the paper points out that the company’s set-top box business, Apple TV, had sales of $1 billion in 2013.  Should consumer groups be concerned about a possible deal between Apple and Comcast?

Mena Region Gets Tough on Piracy (Emirates247.com)

TV industry players across the Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) – including broadcasters, satellite operators and service providers – have joined forces to raise awareness about the impact of piracy on the region’s TV industry; and mobilise support to put a stop to pirate channels. In the past, piracy is only thought to have affected pay-TV operators, but now all of the region’s broadcasters are said to be at risk of falling victim to the scourge. According to one member of the newly formed Anti-Piracy Coalition, David Butorac, chief executive officer of OSN, intellectual property crime inhibits the capacity of companies such as OSN to help create “a viable and robust” entertainment industry. Another member, Sam Barnett, chief executive officer of the MBC group, says pirate channels are stealing hundreds of movies a week and broadcasting them across tens of millions of homes.  How effective are such regional anti-piracy initiatives?

Digital TV Growth Expected in North America (Broadband TV News)
The number of digital pay-TV subscribers in North America will increase by 5 million between 2013 and 2020, according to a new report by Digital TV Research. But it predicts that pay-TV penetration will fall from 87.0% in 2010 to 83.8% by 2020.  It also forecasts that satellite TV will surpass cable in 2015 as the biggest pay-TV platform revenue generator. The report notes that while there’s been a recent slowing in IPTV subscriber growth, the figure will rise by nearly 50% between 2013 and 2020, to reach 18.2 million – or 13.1% of TV households. Another report from Parks Associates shows more than half of US broadband households now use paid OTT video services. It concludes that online video is one of the most important sources of video for broadband households in the US.  Is the predicted fall in pay-TV penetration related to the rise of OTT?

Photo credit: NS Newsflash / Foter / CC BY

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Categories: Industry

VO Secures Mobistar’s Move into Cable TV

 

Prime Sentinel helped to make a bit of Belgian TV history earlier this month. Our smart-card based content protection solution is set to play a key role in Mobistar’s expansion into cable television.

Mobistar’s new venture came about as a result of new regulation in Belgium which permits alternative operators access to cable networks. Having established itself as a consumer mobile phone business, Mobistar’s adoption of a content protection solution will allow it to explore further opportunities within the television and broadband sectors – especially given Prime Sentinel’s ability to provide flexible, scalable security for a wide range of TV service models.

Commenting on Viaccess-Orca’s role in the telecommunications operator’s new cable TV service – scheduled to launch later this year – our CEO Francois Moreau de Saint Martin said we were honoured to be selected for what he described as a “ground-breaking project”.

In a deal covered by many of the industry news sites, Mobistar said it chose Prime Sentinel to secure the delivery of premium live television content to its subscribers’ set-top boxes.

Francois Moreau de Saint Martin’s opposite number at Mobistar, Marc Harion, was no less enthused by the contract, remarking that Prime Sentinel “exceeds our requirements for content protection”. He said it would enable Mobistar to offer Belgian consumers competitive cable TV services.

Piracy is posing an increasing threat to the pay-TV industry. For instance, with card and control-word sharing schemes, television bouquet subscriptions are being illegally distributed at a very low cost.

In response to the piracy threat, content service providers are employing sophisticated security technologies, such as Prime Sentinel, a key element of which is its combination of smartcard security features with advanced set-top-box (STB) models, known as Trusted STB.  As part of a unique 360 degree security approach, VO keeps on developing new generations of state of the art smartcards and offers the most dedicated and advanced security services to ensure providers are able to combat piracy.

We believe VO’s Prime Sentinel will be the “security cornerstone” of Mobistar’s foray into cable TV and we are delighted to partner Mobistar on this exciting new venture in the Belgium market.

Photo credit: Olivier Bruchez / Foter / CC BY-SA

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Categories: Industry

Secure Player Bolsters VO’s Protection Capability

 

Some big news on the content protection front. With our acquisition of the Secure Player business from Discretix, we’ve significantly strengthened our ability to cater for customers’ ever-growing appetite for second-screen services.

Brett Sappington, Director of Research at Parks Associates, in his recent TV Everywhere report, highlighted how important this move is in today’s market: “Security is a differentiator that is growing in importance among TV Everywhere solution vendors. The move to mobile devices has increased the attention on security issues due to diversity of mobile platforms. Security for Android-based platforms in particular has proven to be a challenge for operators. Today, only a handful of companies offer products and expertise in content security.”

Secure Player, a multi-platform media player, will enhance Viaccess-Orca’s content protection offering for Android™ and iOS® tablets and smartphones.  A hallmark of the Secure Player is that it enhances security without compromising the user experience.

Secure Player will be integrated into VO’s Connected Sentinel solution, which is a key element of our TV Everywhere end-to-end solution for multiscreen. These days, protecting premium content distribution and consumption is becoming increasingly complex and in order to create a rich and differentiated offering, content services need to support a wide variety of business models. Maintaining a position of trust with content owners requires intricate rights management and protection of content; from distribution through consumption across every device type.

Secure Player features digital rights management (DRM) for premium VOD and live content. It enables providers to offer branded services to the full range of connected mobile devices, with a very short time-to-market.  Key benefits include superior video playback, optimized for mobile devices; quick and easy deployment; full localization support with subtitles and multi-audio; and robust security for quick content owners’ approval.

VO’s CEO Francois Moreau de Martin described our latest acquisition as “a leading” content protection product for mobile devices, pointing out that the company was constantly looking for ways to improve and enhance its security solutions “to better meet our customers’ unique requirements”.

Discretix CEO Coby Sella believes the acquisition of Secure Player by VO will contribute greatly to the growth of the product, as its existing and future customers “will benefit from VO’s global presence, scale and proven capabilities in the OTT and Pay TV markets”.   Discretix clients, as featured on the company’s website, include Telecom Italia, Singtel, Vodafone, Digiturk and D-smart.

For more information on the product, contact us.

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Categories: Industry

Hot TV Industry News of the Week

The main talking point this week is Vodafone’s purchase of Spanish cable company Ono. Another eye-catching acquisition is Warren Buffet’s surprise decision to buy his first TV station.  This as demand for TV sets around the world shows signs of the flagging.

Away from the headlines, this was also a big week for Viaccess-Orca with our attendance at TV Connect 2014 – the world’s leading connected entertainment event – in London. As ever, it was a great opportunity for us to network and showcase our products and solutions, and we look forward to sharing our thoughts on this year’s event in an upcoming blog post.

Learn more below and share your thoughts by leaving a comment. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Ono Deal Broadens Vodafone’s Spanish Offering (The Telegraph)

With its acquisition of the Spanish cable company Ono for US$10 billion, Vodafone will become Spain’s second-biggest telecoms operator. The move is seen as challenging Telefonica’s market dominance, with Vodafone’s chief executive Vittorio Colao saying the deal has created “a leading integrated communications provider in Spain”. He said his company was now “a more unified provider, not just a mobile one”.

Vodafone has reportedly struggled to compete in Spain with Telefonica, Jazztel and other companies offering a combination of high-speed home internet, pay-TV and mobile phone services. Industry watchers said that other than purchasing Ono, Vodafone had few options for benefiting from Spain’s emerging economic recovery.  Do you think Vodafone’s move could lead to other telecoms players diversifying their offering?

Global TV Market Sees Slowdown (IHS)

For the second year in a row, there’s been a contraction in the global television market, according to a new report by IHS Technology. Worldwide shipments of TVs fell by 6 per cent in 2013 – to 225.1 million units – and 7 per cent the year before. This contrasted markedly with a big expansion of the market in 2010.  IHS said the trend suggests that the global TV market continues to be in transition after a period of “tremendous growth”. IHS concludes that financially-stretched North Americans and Western Europeans are not showing much interest in buying new TVs, and demand in China has been dampened by the expiry of government subsidies for new sets, which had been a powerful purchasing incentive for consumers. Meanwhile in Asia-Pacific, manufactures have stopped production of CRT and older-generation LCD TVs as well as plasmas because of vanishing profit margins.  We think the shrinkage in the global TV market is linked to the growth in demand for second screens. Do you agree?

Buffet’s Surprise TV Station Purchase (CBS)

In a move that has surprised some industry observers, US business magnate Warren Buffet, who owns scores of American newspapers, has bought one of South Florida’s top-rated television stations. The acquisition of WPLG from Graham Holdings Co – in a stock-swap deal valued at US$1.1 billion – comes at a time of industry consolidation with a number of major print publishers purchasing TV stations. While this is his first foray into the TV sector, Buffet has previously considered dipping his toe in the market. He reportedly chided himself for not buying an NBC affiliate when he had the chance. Industry commentator Gordon Borrell said Buffet’s move was puzzling because “he tends to buy underdog companies at low prices, such as newspapers, betting on a ‘comeback’.” But Borrell pointed out that TV stations tend to remain profitable because, unlike newspapers, they don’t require lots of employees. Could Buffet’s latest acquisition presage further moves into the TV sector?

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Categories: Industry

Hot TV Industry News of the Week

 

There has been a mix of interesting TV industry news making the rounds this week. A survey by Verizon reveals 16-34 year-olds’ strong preference for on-demand TV, as the BBC makes headlines with plans to move a popular young adults channel online. Meanwhile, in Australia, the government is hinting that it may scrap laws restricting TV channel ownership and audience reach.

Learn more below and share your thoughts by leaving a comment. You can also find us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Survey Reveals Millennials Preference for Video On-Demand  (VideoNuze)

According to new research by Verizon, millennials, people aged 16-34, the largest population demographic in the US, have markedly different video-viewing habits than those aged 35-64 – with 59 % of the former opting for on-demand and the same proportion of the latter preferring live TV. Verizon found that 64 % of millennials subscribe to an OTT video source, compared with 33 % of non-millennials. Verizon says millennials are watching three times as much TV online as non-millennials.  It found that 87 % of 16-34-year-olds reported subscribing to some sort of Pay-TV service, and that 40 % of those who don’t say that it is because they can get all the programming they need online. The company believes TV Everywhere applications need to be a strong priority for media companies as millennials “demand access to TV on their own terms”. Do you agree with Verizon’s contention that millennials will change the TV industry by consuming content online?

 

BBC Moves Youth Channel Online  (BBC News)

In a surprise development, the BBC is set to move its young adult TV service, BBC3, online. The service will now only be available on iPlayer, the BBC’s own internet television and radio service. The move is being driven by the Corporation’s attempt to make substantial budgetary savings.   But some industry commentators say transferring online would make sense for the station’s target audience of 16-34 year-olds. “Increasingly, it’s thought the youth audience are switching to accessing content online. They’re watching in their bedrooms and watching on tablet devices,” said one media correspondent. The controller of BBC3, Zai Bennett, said the channel will become an online-only offering from autumn 2015. “It will definitely be smaller originator than it used to be, with about half of its current budget, but that money can be focused on being the best in class rather than filling a linear schedule,” he said. Do you think the BBC might be tempted to move other channels online?

 

Australian Government Mulls TV Industry Reforms (C21 Media)

The Australian government is reportedly considering reforms of laws governing the ownership and audience reach of TV channels. In an interview with Foxtel’s Sky News, the communications minister Malcolm Turnbull hinted at a relaxation of rules that limit their reach to 75% of the population and prevent ownership of a TV channel, a radio station and newspaper in the same city. The Nine Entertainment Co and Ten Network Holdings have been reportedly pressing for the scrapping of both restrictions. Turnbull, who has been meeting media bosses, said in his view there should be less regulation and more freedom now that the internet offers such diversity and competition. “We are committed to a lot less regulation right across the board, including in the telecom and media sectors that I’m responsible for,” he said, stressing that the government has yet to decide on the two issues. In the age of the internet, do you think such laws are anachronisms?

Photo credit: (Mick Baker)rooster / Foter / CC BY-ND