TV technology provider Kit Digital said that its plan to rebrand itself as Piksel and relaunch the business at IBC in September has been approved by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.Kit Digital filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection three months ago in a bid to “cleanse itself of legacy issues, including financial, legal and regulatory matters.”Under its reorganisation plan, the business will officially rebrand on August 29 and draw on its existing suite of software applications, industry partnerships, and professional and managed services. Kit added that Piksel’s new leadership team remains in place and is focused on “a number of new initiatives and opportunities that will create value for customers and shareholders.”Peter Heiland, interim Chief Executive Officer of Piksel said: “Piksel is set to emerge as a healthy, dynamic company with a great mix of talented employees, market-leading customers, profitable assets, and sufficient liquidity for operations and investments. I would like to thank all of those who dedicated so much time and effort, including our employees and advisors, to helping us complete our restructuring.”[adverrt_banner]
Ukrainian cable operator Volia is adding a Russian-language version of Ukrainian news channel 24 to its digital programming line-up on May 1.Volia said the move would enable viewers to choose the language they preferred for the channel.Only the Ukrainian-language version of 24 will air on Volia’s analogue tier.Separately, Volia has opened a free promotional window for nostalgia channels Retro and Nostalgia. Viewers with Easy and Starter packages will be able to watch the two channels free of charge between April 22 and August 1.Retro features library TV shows from years gone by, while Nostalgia features music from the ‘60s to the ‘90s, archive TV content and library movies.
Google has begun sending out developer units of its forthcoming Android TV platform to application developers ahead of the official launch of the platform.The test devices, dubbed ADT-1, are being shipped out to a select group of developers that signed up to receive them at Google’s I/O 2014 event, with Netflix and Hulu reportedly having received them ahead of that event.Other application developers can use an emulator to develop apps ahead of Android TV becoming available.Like Google’s successful Chromecast TV dongle, which has just celebrated its first birthday, Android TV will enable users to ‘cast’ media from other Android devices to the TV. The platform is expected to be available on devices including Sony’s 2015 range of smart TVs.The platform will include an optional recommendations engine, and Google is retaining close control of the overall look and feel of the platform, with limited scope for variations between device manufacturers. Games are expected to play a significant part in defining the appeal of the platform.
Civolution will be exhibiting at IBC on stand 2.B41. Applicaster will be exhibiting on stand 3.B20k Content identification specialist Civolution has teamed up with cross-screen technology provider Applicaster to integrate their technologies to enable broadcasters to launch second screen activities synced with content and ads being watched on TV, whether live or on-demand.The joint solution is based on integration of Applicaster’s second screen products and Civolution’s SyncNow automatic content recognition technology.Appicaster provides a range of second screen technologies including its FEED module, an aggregated timeline of all show-associated broadcaster activities combined with social elements, such as viewer comments, photos, tweets and replies. FEED serves as a hub for broadcaster and social activities, retaining users within the broadcaster’s TV app domain, while offering social TV elements to the viewer.Civolution automatically identifies TV shows and commercials in real time. Upon identification of an ad or a specific content segment, the technology enables synchronisation and triggering of pre-determined content or activity on second screens. This means that within seconds of a commercial or a specific content segment starting on TV, a digital ad, or other relevant engagement element appears on the viewer’s second screen app.“This successful integration with Civolution resolves two major challenges in relation to TV programming: recreating the live-feel to non-linear and long tail content, and retaining viewer attention and engagement levels during commercial breaks”, said Liron Deutsch, vice-president, corporate development, Applicaster.“With the real time triggering of unique and creative brand and content related activities – broadcasters, content owners and brands can bridge the attention gap and offer continuous cross-platform engagement and meaningful second screen activities.”“By linking TV and broadcaster companion apps, we now offer the ability to re-capture viewer attention and create compelling ad campaigns and programs on dual screens’, said Jean-Michel Masson, SVP watermarking solutions, Civolution.“Civolution enables advertisers, broadcasters and TV show producers to present consumers with related and complementary content and brand messages on the app, exactly in sync with what’s being watched on TV, even in case of time-shifted viewing.”
Marcus ArthurBBC Store, the UK public broadcaster’s planned electronic sell-through proposition, will be launched in the second quarter of next year and will later be integrated with the BBC iPlayer catch-up service, according to Marcus Arthur, president of UK and ANZ, BBC Worldwide.Speaking on a panel session at the PEVE Entertainment Business Futures conference in London this morning, Arthur said BBC Store will allow people to browse and purchase content from BBC iPlayer in a locker that could include both iPlayer free-to-view videos alongside purchased content.“This is a massive opportunity to drive EST,” said Arthur. To ensure platform neutrality, BBC Store will inform consumers that they can also buy content elsewhere, for example via Amazon or iTunes.Arthur said that the platform would enable the BBC to monetise a vast bank of content that has not been available until now. “Only 6% of BBC product has ever been available to buy. We hope this will do for downloading what iPlayer has done for catch-up,” he said. “Crucially for us it is as much about the archive as it is about current content,” he said.Arthur said the corporation had a huge challenge in educating licence fee players that content that is available for free up to 30 days after broadcast would be available for purchase via a button on iPlayer after that. “We are going into this deep,” he said.Arthur said BBC Worldwide had a number of options to roll out internationally. Admitting that Global iPlayer, the corporation’s trial run at taking iPlayer to international markets as a commercial service “remains very small”, he said BBC Worldwide would look at other ways to commercialise its content in different markets. “We will be able to roll out what we have in the UK internationally under other business models. SVoD is an option for us,” he said.Arthur said that DVD sales remained an important part of BBC Worldwide’s business. He said BBC Worldwide had hoped that the UltraViolet digital locker system would be a “silver bullet” to halt the decline in DVD sales. However it had been “a bit disappointed” that the technology had not been adopted more rapidly in the UK in particular. He pointed out that the UK DVD business had declined from sharply over the last few years but digital sell-through business remained tiny by comparison.“Access and convenience for the consumer is crucial. Make it convenient for the punter to get their DVD archive onto the TV and they will adopt,” he said.UPDATE: A spokesperson for BBC Worldwide said that while the BBC Store is due to launch as a standalone product by Q2 2015, no date has yet been set for its integration with the iPlayer.
Alarab’s HQAlarab TV, the new Middle East news channel backed by Prince Alwaleed bin Talalm has chosen Elemental to deliver technology to support its live linear and multiscreen offerings. The Bahrain-based channel, for which Bloomberg is supplying a programming block, will deliver a mix of news programming as well as regular news roundups and travel content.The Alarab TV broadcast workflow includes multiple Elemental Live encoders paired with Elemental Conductor management systems. Elemental Live will be used to process live video into H.264 streams for both linear television and multiscreen delivery to smartphones and tablets supporting the HLS protocol. Video streams also may be stored as archives for video-on-demand (VOD) retrieval and catch-up TV content. Elemental’s regional channel partner in Dubai, Qvest Media, designed and installed the entire broadcasting infrastructure.“Image quality and high availability are both extremely important to us as we aim to offer the very best level of service possible to our end-viewers,” said Jamal Khashoggi, general manager at Alarab TV. “For these reasons, we chose software-based solutions from Elemental, which are able to meet our stringent demands for service quality.”
LG Smart TVLG will end plasma TV production by the end of November to concentrate on OLED and liquid crystal displays, according to a Reuters report that cites a regulatory filing by the firm. LG reportedly attributed the decision to a decline in demand for plasma TVs, with the move widely expected by industry watchers.Launching its first next-generation curved OLED TV in the US in August, LG Electronics USA’s head of marketing, Dave Vanderwaal, said: “OLED TV represents a major breakthrough in display technology. And in the wake of plasma’s decline, it’s more important than ever to bring OLED to consumers who are looking for the highest level of contrast and color performance.”
Vittorio Colao, VodafoneVodafone is mulling an acquisition of Liberty Global among other potential acquisitions, according to Reuters, citing five unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.Vodafone’s interest in Liberty Global, which owns UK cable operator Virgin Media, has been accelerated by the likelihood of consolidation in the UK market, following last week’s news that BT is in talks to buy either EE from Deutsche Telekom and Orange, or Telefónica’s O2.According to Reuters, Vodafone is also mulling the acquisition of TalkTalk as a possible alternative in the UK market, but Virgin Media, with its extensive high-speed fibre network, is seen as a bigger prize.Any deal could face regulatory attention, notably in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. Vodafone already owns Germany’s leading cable operator Kabel Deutschland and Germany regulators have been resistant to further cable consolidation. Liberty owns the second largest cable operator in the country, Unitymedia KabelBW.Vodafone has been linked with Liberty Global previously this year. In September CEO Vittorio Colão said that Vodafone could acquire the pan-European cable giant at “the right price” and would consider a “transformational” M&A deal in the longer terms, leading Liberty Global’s stock to rise in value.Liberty Global have has a market value of about US$40 billion (€32 billion) and a similar amount of debt. However Vodafone has a large amount of cash at its disposal following its sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless in the US.Separately, the Telegraph newspaper has reported that Vodafone is looking to acquire Tesco’s Blinkbox OTT TV business, which the supermarket chain is looking to sell.According to the paper, the pair are in detailed talks and other parties have pulled out of the bidding. Vodafone is not expected to pay a large amount for the video streaming service, which Tesco has reportedly been considering shutting down. Tescoshut down its free video streaming service Clubcard TV in October.
Arris and Charter Communications have established a joint venture to buy cloud TV specialist ActiveVideo for roughly US$135 million (€127 million). Arris will own 65% of the joint venture company and will be the sales channel for ActiveVideo’s CloudTV software platform, with Charter holding the other 35%.ActiveVideo’s CloudTV platform is designed to let service providers, content aggregators, and consumer electronics manufacturers quickly deploy new services by virtualising consumer premises equipment functions in the cloud.CloudTV can be used to deliver user interfaces, online content, and interactive advertising to set-top boxes and connected devices and already powers Charter’s new cloud-based Spectrum Guide.ActiveVideo’s other partners include Cablevision, Liberty Global, Deutsche Telekom, Time Warner Cable, J:COM and Roku.“This joint venture signifies Arris’ continued investment in advanced software solutions that will create value across the entire video ecosystem,” said Bob Stanzione, Arris chairman and CEO.”“Arris and Charter are paving the way for an all IP network migration and enabling the software-defined TV experience that will deliver the unified, next-gen content experiences that today’s consumers demand.”Tom Rutledge, president and CEO of Charter Communications, added: “ActiveVideo’s CloudTV platform is one of the enabling technologies behind Spectrum Guide. We have worked very closely with ActiveVideo on the development of this technology, and now, as a 35% shareholder, are uniquely positioned to support the continued innovation and marketplace adoption of ActiveVideo’s solutions.“Today’s announcement extends Charter’s long-standing relationship with Arris, which continues to be a key provider of both infrastructure and consumer premises equipment.”The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.
TiVo has launched a free web portal designed to make it easy for viewers to find programmes they want to watch from both cable services and streaming apps.TiVo Online is designed to be a comprehensive, personalised search service across all sources of programmes.Available for PC or Mac, users can also use it to stream live and recorded TV when on their home network, or click to watch shows from supported programmers and streaming sites.“TiVo Online is the service you can rely on to guide you right to what you want from cable and video on demand, streaming services and web videos and opens the renown value of TiVo’s search to find and connect straight to your favourite content in a simple, easy to use fashion,” said TiVo president and CEO, Tom Rogers.“With TiVo Online, viewers who have yet to experience TiVo can utilise the powerful search and discovery features TiVo subscribers have appreciated for years.”
Vodafone España has revamped its Vodafone One converged offering, increasing the speeds available via its Ono fibre network and the mobile data volume available to customers, and making Vodafone TV available free of charge to subscribers of its Vodafone One L offering.Vodafone One will include four fixed broadband speed options – 300Mbps, 120Mbps, 50Mbps and up to 30Mbps, with the lower-speed option available only to VDSL customers rather than those on the cable network.Vodafone is adding 1GB to the data volume available to its Vodafone One M and Vodafone One L customers, taking the volumes for each tier up to 3GB and 5GB respectively.Vodafone One L customers will have free access to Vodafone TV Esencial, with over 70 channels including Fox HD, AXN HD, TNT HD, Canal Hollywood HD and Disney XD HD. The TV service allows users to record up to three channels simultaneously, pause and rewind live TV, receive personalised recommendations and access internet applications including YouTube.
Arthouse film service Mubi is one of a host of new content applications that are due to launch on the EE TV platform in the UK in September.The video-on-demand service join the service alongside a “huge range of international and foreign language TV apps”, including France 24, Cinefun TV, Brazil TV and CaribBe TV, according to EE.Mubi offers a curated, on-demand film service, focused around independent and foreign cinema. The firm recently agreed deals with Sony Pictures, eOne, StudioCanal and Icon films.“We are really excited to be able to expand MUBI to such a wide audience as the EE TV community. We are looking forward to offering EE customers a variety of the best films, from multi award-wining movies to action blockbusters, classic renown gems or incredible comedies,” said Efe Cakarel, founder and CEO of Mubi.UK mobile operator EE announced the new content as part of a mobile-focused update to its EE TV service.
Asian entertainment company Huanxi has invested US$50 million (€45 million) in arthouse film service Mubi with a view to launching the video-on-demand offering in China.The pair will form a joint venture to launch Mubi China later this year.Huanxi will invest US$40 million in Mubi China and take a 70% stake in the business.The remaining US$10 million will be invested in Mubi directly and will see Huanxi take an 8% stake of the curated SVoD service – an investment that values Mubi at US$125 million.“As China’s movie market grows rapidly, the online video and movie sector is also expanding quickly. As a result, there is a growing demand by Chinese audiences for quality content online,” said executive director of Huanxi, Dong Ping.Mubi China will offer subscribers a new film every day, with each title available to watch for 30 days – the same model that Mubi uses in its other international markets.Commenting on the Mubi China launch, Mubi CEO and founder Efe Cakarel said through the partnership with Huanxi, it will “introduce a curated film offering in the country with the largest population in the world – and soon the largest film market in the world.”London-headquartered Mubi is currently available in more than 200 territories globally. Huanxi invests in, produces and distributes movies in China, with founder Dong Ping formerly the founder and chairman of production company ChinaVision Media Group.The news comes a week after Netflix launched in 130 new countries, extending its worldwide footprint to 190 countries – though not China, where Netflix said it continues to “explore options”.Announcing the expansion at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said: “the Netflix service has gone live in nearly every country of the world but China, where we hope to also be in the future.”
The Royal Television Society (RTS) has launched its undergraduate bursary schemes for 2017, investing over £75,000 to support UK students from lower income backgrounds.The RTS is offering 20 bursaries to students studying accredited Television Production and Broadcast Journalism degree courses. A further five technology bursaries, aimed at encouraging some of the most talented students to consider a career in television, are available to students studying computing and engineering at UK universities.Bursary recipients will receive £1,000 per year of their studies, as well as free membership of both the RTS and affiliate membership of private members club The Hospital Club while studying and one year’s free membership of the RTS post-graduation. They will also have access to mentoring from RTS members as well as partners including BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky.Theresa Wise, RTS CEO, said: “As an educational charity, the Royal Television Society is committed to helping young people from diverse backgrounds, particularly those who display a real passion to work in TV, realise their potential and get a foothold on the careers ladder. The television industry is a fast moving and varied one offering many different opportunities, and we are keen to hear from students wishing to pursue careers in all areas of the industry – from researcher and producer to camera operators, sound recordists and script-writers to news reporters and potential directors.”
The world’s leading multiscreen TV service providers grew their subscriber bases by just under 1%, or 4.03 million new homes in the fourth quarter of 2016, with leading US operators posting losses of about 50,000 overall, according to Informitv’s Multiscreen Index.The index, which measures the performance of 100 leading service providers worldwide, said that 61 of the companies it tracks reported net subscribers gains in the quarter, compared to 67 for the same period the previous year.The Europe, Middle East and Africa region saw net gains of 1.72 million, with Sky adding 397,000 customers in Europe, including 170,000 in the UK and Ireland. Canal+, which continued to see losses in its domestic subscriber base – with 130,000 customers departing during the quarter – made big gains in Africa, adding 516,000 subscribers.While the relatively small decline in subscribers in the US suggests that cord-cutting is still contained, the top 10 US operators did see more significant losses of 162,000 subscribers, partly compensated by gains elsewhere. AT&T’s IPTV service U-verse lost 262,000 customers, while its DTH and OTT unit, DirecTV, gained 235,000.The Asia-Pacific region made the biggest gains, adding 2.36 million subscribers in the quarter.By operator type, DTH satellite showed the biggest gains, adding 2.28 million customers, with cable adding 1.14 million and IPTV 0.61 million globally.“While the subscriber numbers for some services in the Americas are flat or falling, we are still seeing growth in other regions, with cable and satellite remaining robust worldwide,” said William Cooper, the editor of the Multiscreen Index.“Eighty-eight of the 100 services offer some form of multiscreen access, now available to 90% of homes subscribing to services in the index,” said analyst Sue Farrell.“The adoption of multiscreen viewing is much lower, although the next generation of online services is now aiming at a new generation of video viewers.”
Vodafone Ghana has teamed up with Naspers-owned subscription video-on-demand service Showmax to provide content for its broadband customers.Vodafone is offering new and existing ADSL and fibre broadband customers in the country with unlimited access to Showmax content and 3GB of additional data for 30 days at no extra cost to promote Showmax to its customers.Following the promotional period, which will close at the end of July, Vodafone customers will be able to purchase the Showmax entertainment bundle for a monthly fee.Vodafone Ghana has previously teamed up with Nigeria-based iROKOtv to bring Bollywood movies to its customers.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has announced plans to transfer business services to a new subsidiary called Eurovision Services on January 1, 2019.The new unit will be fully owned by the EBU, be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will continue to deliver live content to media organisations, sports federations and their audiences across traditional channels or online and on demand services.EBU director general, Noel Curran, said the move was “proactive and logical” and responds to a rapidly changing media industry with digital transformation at its core.“Business services is a core field of activity for the EBU alongside member services, and it is vital that it maintains and grows its position as the media industry’s premier producer and distributor of high-quality live news, sport and entertainment content, to better anticipate and meet the needs of all its stakeholders,” said Curran.“The rationale for giving greater independence to our business arm is to enable it to grow in stature and value and to continue to pioneer innovative media solutions across the value chain – from content production to broadcast services and distribution.”Eurovision Services CEO, Marco Tinnirello, added: “Our new strategy will see us expand our portfolio of products and services in order to help our clients and EBU Members connect audiences with their content, and bring together our trusted ability to deliver new innovations.”Eurovision Services is currently known as Eurovision Media Services. The EBU said the new fully owned subsidiary to offer more innovative services – from content production and broadcast services to content distribution.
Showtime boss David Nevins has been named chief creative officer at CBS Corporation, effective immediately.David NevinsThe news arrived from Joe Ianniello, who is CBS’ president and acting CEO after the departure of Leslie Moonves last month.Nevins has also been promoted to chairman of Showtime Networks and will remain the business’s chief executive officer. He will work from Los Angeles.As CBS creative chief, Nevins will be responsible for oversight of programming, marketing and research across CBS Television Studios, the CBS Television Network’s Entertainment division, Showtime Networks and, in conjunction with CBS Interactive, programming for CBS All Access.He will also oversee CBS’ interest in The CW, a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment.At Showtime, Nevins manages the company’s programming, distribution, business development, finance, marketing, creative, digital media, scheduling, research, acquisitions, network operations, home entertainment, business affairs and corporate communications teams, as well as Showtime Sports and Smithsonian Networks.Julie McNamara (CBS All Access), David Stapf (CBS Television Studios), Kelly Kahl (CBS Entertainment), George Schweitzer and Radha Subramanyam will continue in their leadership roles in these respective areas.“David has a brilliant creative mind and an impressive track record of success at Showtime and in the entertainment industry,” said Ianniello. “He is a forward-thinking leader who has driven programming excellence and subscriber growth for the cable network and its growing over-the-top service. The combination of David working with the outstanding and proven creative leaders we have in place will continue to build our position as a global premium content powerhouse.”
Alain WeillMicrosoft and Altice France have announced the launch of the RMC Sport app on XBOX ONE. The new partnership will enable XBOX ONE users to access RMC Sport content such as UEFA Champions League and Europa League, the English Premier League as well as the sports including basketball, tennis and athletics.The RMC Sport channels are available, without commitment, from €9 per month for subscribers to Altice-owned SFR or €19 per month for non-subscribers.Altice France is a leading player in French telecoms and media convergence with 14 TV channels and annual turnover of €10.2 billion. Through SFR, which has extensive 4G and fibre optic networks, it currently serves 22 million customers.Sport has been a key driver in company’s growth, though it received a setback in November 2018 when Canal+ wrested control of the English Premier League rights away from Altice for the period starting 2019/2020. Altice is hoping to sub-licence the rights for RMC Sport – and is currently in negotiations about this with Canal+ (with a possible rights swap deal on the cards). Altice president Alain Weill told local French media outlets this week that he is confident the two companies will come to an arrangement. Further out, Altice faces a similar issue with relation to domestic Ligue 1 rights, secured by Spanish rights agency Mediapro starting from 2020/2021.
ShareTweet TWO people have been rushed to hospital following a serious road traffic collision on the main Derry-to-Belfast road this morning.The two-vehicle collision happened on the Foreglen Road between Claudy and Dungiven early this morning.Police said a car and a van were involved in the collision. ALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALAMBULANCE SERVICEclaudydungivenFOREGLEN ROADPSNITRAFFIC & TRAVEL UPDATE: TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CRASH ON DERRY TO BELFAST ROAD The Ambulance Service say it has whisked two people to Altnagelvin Hosptial with “serious injuries”.The road is closed in both directions.Diversions are in place and motorists are being warned to expect delays.TRAFFIC & TRAVEL UPDATE: TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CRASH ON DERRY TO BELFAST ROAD was last modified: December 5th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: