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Mobile Video, OTT and payTV
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BT in talks with Netflix over enabling 4K

BT in talks with Netflix over enabling 4K | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
BT is in discussions with Netflix about enabling the SVoD service’s 4K content on its latest-generation, Ultra HD-compatible YouView box.

Speaking to DTVE, Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operations officer, BT Sport, confirmed the discussions and said that BT had 4K aspirations that go beyond its recently launched, IP-delivered BT Sport Ultra HD channel.

Hindhaugh said that the operator has already experimented producing sports-themed content in 4K – such as the documentary One Day in May: The Story of The Bradford City Fire.

He explained that by using the “halo effect” of a large-audience Premier League game, BT will start scheduling docs and other content captured in 4K off the back of that.

“Across our wider portfolio, obviously movies will be of interest as more people capture in native 4K. We are in discussions with Netflix about enabling their 4K content to our box,” said Hindhaugh. However, he added there was no timeframe yet for when that content might be available.

The YouView platform, which BT uses for its pay TV offering, added the Netflix app to its set-top boxes last November. BT currently offers this app under the ‘Players & Apps’ section of the YouView menu, though does not yet support the 4K content from Netflix.

BT launched Europe’s first live sports Ultra HD channel in August as part of a new Entertainment Ultra HD package. Priced at £15 (€20) per month, the package includes the BT Sport Ultra HD channel, BT’s full Sport Pack in both SD and HD, 47 Premium channels including 13 in HD, up to 80 Freeview channels and catch-up TV from services like the BBC’s iPlayer.

The Ultra HD package is available on BT’s new UHD-compatible Humax T4000 YouView box, which includes a 1TB hard drive that enables storage of 600 hours in SD or 250 hours in HD.
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Go90 to leverage LTE Multicast, but Verizon isn't sure how much

Go90 to leverage LTE Multicast, but Verizon isn't sure how much | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) hopes to leverage LTE Broadcast technology, which the company calls LTE Multicast, for a significant number of live music and sports events that will program its new mobile video service, Go90.

Verizon's Go90 launch party.

However, the wireless company isn't certain how many LTE Multicast-capable devices will populate the Go90 customer base. Brian Mecum, VP of network for Verizon's West Coast operation, told FierceCable Editor-in-Chief Sue Marek earlier this month that Verizon has approximately 8 million devices in subscribers' hands that are outfitted with LTE multicast technology.

"We'll know a lot more in December, when hopefully we have a couple million users," said a Verizon executive to FierceCable during a Go90 launch event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Thursday. The executive was not authorized to speak to press and is thus unnamed. 

Verizon has already effectively used LTE Multicast to stream NFL games on its own network. The technology has enabled the company to reduce the heavy load on its network experienced when trying to stream live video to hundreds of thousands -- or millions -- of mobile devices. 

So far, the consumer base for Verizon's live NFL streams has included a high percentage of users with newer devices that are capable of receiving LTE Multicast signals. Verizon, however, is unsure what the LTE Multicast-capable device mix will look like once Go90's user base begins to take shape. Go90 will not only be available to Verizon Wireless customers, but users of rival mobile services as well. 

In launching its new streaming service targeted to younger millennial-aged customers, Verizon is hoping to avoid service interruptions for heavily viewed live-streamed events. The executive pointed to the network load issues being experienced by Dish Network's (NASDAQ: DISH) Sling TV service on an almost weekly basis.

Sympathizing with Sling engineers, the Verizon official said it's difficult to know before launching such a streaming service how robustly network infrastructure must be built out. However, he said Verizon's confident that its 2013 acquisition of the EdgeCast content delivery network, as well as its purchase of Cisco's OnCue video streaming assets, have given it the horsepower it needs to effectively launch Go90.

While Verizon executives continue to ponder the engineering specifics of their new mobile video service, there's also discussion of the business model. Go90 officially launched Thursday, and is exclusively supported by programmatic advertising driven by the assets acquired by Verizon's $4.4 billion purchase of AOL this spring.

The Verizon rep said the company is open to trying other models, but again is waiting to see initial feedback from at least a few months of usage. He said he's not an advocate of a subscription-based model. Go90's young target market, he explained, has too many other free video options to compete with.

"Again, we'll know a lot more in December," he said.

As Verizon officials celebrated the launch of Go90 with an outdoor party that featured a Between Two Ferns performance by Funny or Die comedian Zach Galifianakis, Verizon quietly added more programming to Go90's content menu.

According to Variety, Verizon has made a deal with studio New Form Digital to develop and produce six scripted series for the soon-to-launch mobile entertainment service.

Go90, which is named after the 90-degree tilt of a smartphone for viewing mobile video, has recently announced that it signed a multi-year deal with Vice Media to bring Vice's content to the service. Verizon has also pledged to offer 200 hours of original programming from YouTube video specialist AwesomenessTV, sports programming from ESPN and CBS Sports, and made-for-cable reality series from Scripps Interactive Networks.

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Over 80% of Traffic on Mobile Networks will be Encrypted in 12 months

Over 80% of Traffic on Mobile Networks will be Encrypted in 12 months | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Openwave Mobility, a software innovator enabling operators to manage and monetize encrypted and unencrypted mobile data, announced today that encrypted traffic travelling on many mobile networks has risen fivefold in just one year and has now reached 60% of all data. Based on current trends, encrypted traffic levels will exceed 80% within 12 months in several regions. This is now one of the biggest areas of concern for mobile network operators as sites such as Google, Facebook and Wikipedia use HTTPS encrypted protocols. The findings are based on observing and analyzing traffic trends at a number of mobile operator customers around the globe.

Graph - Mobile encrypted data traffic growth
As networks go "dark", carriers are unable to gain insight into the encrypted data travelling on their networks. Operators can struggle to optimize the traffic and this can seriously impact users' Quality of Experience (QoE). Moreover, some operators are unable to apply filters to block content such as adult material or to identify video streams that could even be used for extreme purposes such as to radicalize vulnerable individuals.

"The dangers with encrypted traffic are very real," said John Giere, CEO of Openwave Mobility. "Only a couple of years ago, it was mainly emails and financial data that were encrypted. Thanks to what some people call the "Edward Snowden effect", content providers are adopting ever-deeper encryption. Even YouTube videos are now delivered over HTTPS protocols. So, the higher the number of videos being consumed by subscribers, the bigger the headache".

Giere continues: "Operators need to consider solutions that optimize the TCP/IP layer of their networks and apply smart heuristics to achieve optimization in the application layer too. There are solutions that can identify bandwidth-hungry objects, even when encrypted, and achieve 50% data savings on HD video, audio and apps. Best of all, they do not compromise subscriber privacy."
Patrick Lopez's insight:

My clients report encrypted data traffic has more than doubled from last year, with peak rates between 40 to 50% of traffic depending on geographies.

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Netflix now accounts for 4.8% of European web traffic

Netflix now accounts for 4.8% of European web traffic | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Netflix now accounts for 4.82% of peak downstream traffic on European fixed-line networks, up from 3.44% in autumn last year, according to Sandvine.

The broadband network solutions firm’s latest ‘Global Internet Phenomena’ report for Europe and Asia-Pacific said that Netflix accounts for more than 20% of network traffic in the UK and Ireland, while in countries where it has recently launched such as Austria and France it already accounts for approximately 10% of peak downstream traffic.

“Netflix is planning additional European expansion once again this October, with subscribers in Italy, Portugal, and Spain expected to be able to access the service for the first time. This continued expansion makes it a realistic possibility that Netflix will be among the top three applications on European networks in 2016,” said Sandvine.

The report currently ranks Netflix as the sixth-largest source of downstream web traffic at peak times of the day in Europe, behind services like YouTube with a 24.44% share, Facebook at 7.56% and BitTorrent at 6.07%.

YouTube was also found to be the top mobile application in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, making it the global leader in mobile traffic, while videogame-themed video site Twitch now counts as top-10 application for the first time in Europe.

Elsewhere, Apple Music, bolstered by a three-month free trial, surpassed Spotify as the leading music streaming service on mobile networks in Australia and New Zealand.

“The impact that Netflix’s and Apple’s expansion has had on networks in Europe and Asia should attract the attention of operators around the globe,” said Sandvine CEO, Dave Caputo.

“With Netflix announcing their intention to expand to over 200 countries by the end of 2016 and Apple’s Music service gaining popularity, every operator will have to think about how to deal with the increased demand these services will place on their network, and the types of service plans that would best suit subscribers’ needs.”
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{Core Analysis}: Video is eating the internet: clouds, codecs and alliances

{Core Analysis}: Video is eating the internet: clouds, codecs and alliances | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
A couple of news should have caught your attention this week if you are interested the video streaming business.

Amazon Web Services confirmed yesterday the acquisition of Elemental. This is the outcome of a trend that I was highlighting in my SDN / NFV report and workshops for the last year with the creation of specialized clouds. Elemental's products are software based and the company was the first in professional video to offer cloud-based encoding on Amazon EC2 with a PaaS offering. Elemental has been building virtual private clouds on commercial clouds for their clients and was the first to coin the term "Software Defined Video". As Elemental joins AWS, Amazon will be one of the first commercial clouds to offer a global, turnkey, video encoding, workflow, packaging infrastructure in the cloud. Video processing requires specific profiles in a cloud environment and it is not surprising that companies who have cloud assets look at creating cloud slices or segregated virtual environment to manage the processing heavy, latency sensitive service.

The codec war has been on for a long time, and I had previously commented on it. In other news, we have seen Amazon again join Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft Mozilla and Netflix in the Alliance for Open Media. This organization's goal is to counter unreasonable claims made by H.265 / HEVC patent holders called HEVC advance who are trying to create a very vague and very expensive licensing agreement for the use of their patents. The group, composed of Dolby, GE, Mitsubishi Electric and Technicolor is trying to enforce a 0.5% fee on any revenue associated with the codec's use. The license fee would apply indiscriminately to all companies who encode, decode, transmit, display HEVC content. If H.265 was to be as successful as H.264, it would account in the future for over 90% of all video streaming traffic and that 0.5% tax would be presumably levied on any content provider, aggregator, APP, web site... HEVC advance could become the most profitable patent pool ever, with 0.5% of the revenues of Google, Facebook or Apple's video business. The group does not stop there and proposes a license fee on devices as well, from smartphones, to tablets, to TVs or anything that has a screen and a video player able to play H.265 videos... Back to the Alliance for Open Media who has decided to counter attack and vows to create a royalty-free next generation video codec. Between Cisco's Thor, Google's VPx and Mozilla Daala, this is a credible effort to counter HEVC advance.

The Streaming Video Alliance, created in 2014 to provide a forum for TV, cable, content owners and service providers to improve the internet video streaming experience welcomes Sky and Time Warner Cable to the group already composed of Alcatel-Lucent, Beamr, CableLabs, Cedexis, Charter Communications, Cisco, Comcast, Conviva, EPIX, Ericsson, FOX Networks, Intel, Irdeto, Korea Telecom, Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, Limelight Networks, MLB Advanced Media, NeuLion, Nominum, PeerApp, Qwilt, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Ustream, Verizon, Wowza Media Systems and Yahoo!. What is remarkable, here is the variety of the group, where MSOs, vendors, service providers are looking at transparent caching architectures and video metadata handling outside of the standards, to counter specialized video delivery networks such as Apple's, Google's and Netflix'

All in all, video is poised to eat the internet and IBC, starting next week will no doubt bring a lot more exciting announcements. The common denominator, here is that all these companies have identified that encoding, managing, packaging, delivering video well will be a crucial differentiating factor in tomorrow's networks. Domination of only one element of the value chain (codec, network, device...) will guarantee great power in the ecosystem. Will the vertically integrated ecosystems such as Google and Apple yield as operators, distributor and content owners organize themselves? This and much more in my report on video monetization in 2015.
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Netflix, Amazon, Google partner on Open Media Alliance

Netflix, Amazon, Google partner on Open Media Alliance | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Seven major internet companies, including Netflix, Amazon and Google, have partnered to form the Alliance for Open Media, with an aim of developing a next-generation online video format.

The open-source project – which also includes Cisco, Intel, Microsoft and Mozilla – will aim to develop “next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies”.

The Alliance’s initial focus will be to deliver an open and interoperable next-generation video format that is optimised for the web, scalable to any modern device on any bandwidth and is capable of consistent, high-quality, real-time delivery.

The alliance said this video format should have a low computational footprint and be flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content – including user-generated content.

“This initial project will create a new, open royalty-free video codec specification based on the contributions of members,” said the Alliance, which is a project of the Joint Development Foundation – an independent non-profit organisation.

“Google launched the WebM Project in 2010 in the belief that web video innovation was too slow and too closed, and that broad collaboration — in the open — would fix both problems. The Alliance for Open Media is a big leap forward for these core philosophies, and we’re gratified that our AOMedia partners share this vision,” said Matt Frost, head of strategy and partnerships,  Chrome Media at Google.

Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group said: “We have been very vocal about our desire to deliver a royalty-free codec and we believe that joining the forces of the designers of the Daala, Thor and VPx codecs in AOMedia will multiply our collective efforts to deliver next-generation media codecs, formats and technologies.”
Patrick Lopez's insight:

The war for the next video codec is on with H265/HEVC VP9&10, Thor as possible contenders.

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Sky Germany plans UHD launch for next year

Sky Germany plans UHD launch for next year | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Sky Germany is gearing up to launch a new Ultra High Definition-compatible set-top box next year, DTVE has learned.

According to a source with knowledge of Sky Germany’s plans, the pay TV operator is likely to develop its UHD offering by first doing one-off UHD broadcasts, then regular UHD transmissions, before launching a full UHD channel. This will likely include a wide range of content, including sports and other types of programming.

Sky Germany is currently in the testing phase with UHD and hopes to include technologies like High Dynamic Range and audio enhancements in its deployment to give viewers a ‘wow factor’ that goes beyond higher resolutions.

A Sky Germany UHD launch next year will allow the market to further develop these aspects of Ultra HD, DTVE understands.

Though the source said it is currently unclear what form the Sky Germany UHD set-top will take, it will be in line with what Sky is working on in the UK, following the completion of BskyB’s takeover of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland to form a new combined company last year.

Sky UK has not announced plans for a next-generation set-top box, however, a Telegraph report from late July said that the pay TV operator will launch a UHD-capable advanced box, dubbed SkyQ. This has reportedly been developed under the codename Project Ethan and will provide advanced connected TV services with an experience similar to that of Netflix or Apple TV.

At the time of the Telegraph report, the paper said that it expected the hardware to be unveiled “within weeks”. However, sources told DTVE that a late 2015 deployment for the Qbox was now expected.

Sky Germany first started trialling UHD internally in 2012 and has since staged a number of tests around live sports broadcasts.

In May 2014 it claimed a world first by broadcasting a Bundesliga football match live over satellite in Ultra HD with 50 frames per second – encoded with the HEVC standard.

Meanwhile, in June this year it broadcast the UEFA Champions League final in UHD quality to 13 selected Sky Sports Bars in Germany.

A spokesperson for Sky Germany told DTVE: “We will launch a [UHD] product as soon as we are convinced that both the customer and the market is ready for it.”

A spokesperson for Sky in the UK declined to comment.
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US pay TV providers lose 470,000 subs in Q2

US pay TV providers lose 470,000 subs in Q2 | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
The 13 largest pay TV providers in the US, representing roughly 95% of the market, lost around 470,000 net video subscribers in the second quarter, according to new research.

The Leichtman Research Group study found that the subscriber drop-off widened from a loss of around 305,000 video subscribers in Q2 2014, with satellite TV providers the hardest hit.

The report said that satellite providers DirecTV and DISH lost a combined 214,000 subscribers in Q2 2015, compared to a loss of 78,000 in Q2 2014.

DirecTV’s 133,000 net losses in the quarter were more than in any previous quarter, while DISH lost 81,000 subscribers – despite making gains with its internet-delivered Sling TV service.

All of the top US cable companies also shed subscribers in Q2, with the three largest, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter losing 69,000, 43,000 and 30,000 respectively.

In total, the top nine cable companies lost about 260,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2015. However, this compared to a bigger loss of about 510,000 subscribers in 2Q 2014, according to the report.

“[Overall] the top pay TV providers lost about 470,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter, with net losses in 2Q 2015 exceeding the previous low-water mark of about 360,000 losses in 2Q 2013,” said Leichtman Research Group president and principal analyst, Bruce Leichtman.

“Cumulatively, telcos and DBS providers both had their weakest quarter ever for net video additions, leaving the door open for cable providers to have their fewest cumulative losses in a second quarter in seven years.”

Seprately, Leichtman Research Group found that the 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the US, representing about 94% of the market, acquired about 360,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter of 2015.

Earlier this month, an SNL Kagan report said that US multi-channel service providers lost more than 600,000 video subscribers in the three months ended June 30.
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AT&T calls FCC's proposed $100M fine for throttling 'unprecedented and indefensible'

AT&T calls FCC's proposed $100M fine for throttling 'unprecedented and indefensible' | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) hit back hard against the FCC's proposed $100 million fine for not being transparent enough with its grandfathered unlimited data plan customers about how and when their speeds would be reduced if they use too much data. In its formal response to the agency, the carrier called the fine "unprecedented and indefensible" and said a court would toss it out if the FCC decided to levy the penalty.

According to AT&T's response to the FCC's "Notice of Apparent Liability" in the case, the carrier wants the FCC to withdraw the proposed fine, which the FCC announced last month. AT&T said the FCC's decision in the case is arbitrary, excessive and exceeded its statutory authority.  

"The NAL is both unprecedented and indefensible," AT&T said in a filing to the FCC, according to a Multichannel News report. AT&T's response has not been made public by the FCC, but AT&T provided the filing to FierceWireless. 

AT&T said the NAL shows a "startling" lack of authority or reasoned decision-making, and said the number seemed arbitrary and would represent a "massive forfeiture" for conduct the FCC has endorsed in the past. (Just for some context on the size of the fine relative to AT&T's business: AT&T said total wireless revenue in the second quarter grew 2.2 percent year-over-year to $18.3 billion.)

AT&T said the FCC did not prove that customers were harmed and that the size of the fine is meant to coerce a settlement based on a prejudgment of AT&T's liability. AT&T said the commission was "abandoning any pretext" of being an impartial arbiter in the case. "It is absurd to suggest that AT&T intended to or actually did mislead the relevant Unlimited Data Plan customers. Those customers were repeatedly advised of AT&T's congestion management practices, and, for nearly four years, they chose to keep their service," AT&T said in its filing.

AT&T said it did not willfully mislead its customers. "While the NAL speaks of AT&T's 'culpability' and 'clear knowledge' that it was misleading customers, the evidence is to the contrary," AT&T said. "AT&T made multiple disclosures by email, bill message, text message, and online posting, precisely so that potentially affected customers would be informed about the MBR policy. And, for its part, the Commission has been well aware of AT&T's MBR website disclosures since 2011. Yet, until recently, it offered no hint that it viewed them as deficient in any respect."

Last month the FCC accused AT&T of violating the transparency rule of its 2010 Open Internet order on net neutrality. Although a federal court tossed most of those rules out last year before the FCC drew up new ones, the court let the transparency rule stand and it has been in effect since 2011. The FCC said that although AT&T disclosed its throttling policy in a July 2011 press release and notices to customers, it did not provide information on when or after using how much data customers would see their speeds throttled, how much their speeds would be reduced or how those speed reductions would affect their ability to use apps on their phones.

In June the FCC said that it would look for four things from AT&T in its written response: any measures that the company has taken to provide redress to consumers; how AT&T is correcting any "misleading statements" regarding its unlimited data plans; how it can inform its customers about its "previous violations" of the transparency rule; and whether it will provide its customers an opportunity to opt out of their unlimited plans without a penalty. 

The FCC will likely be disappointed. According to Mutlichannel News, AT&T said the FCC cannot require it to let customers escape Early Termination Fees, stop using the term "unlimited" or wear the "scarlet letter" of having to inform its customers that it violated the transparency rule, which it said would be a violation of the First Amendment.

The FCC will review AT&T's response before moving forward with a formal decision on the fine.

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Ofcom finds smartphones overtake laptops as UK’s main internet device

Ofcom finds smartphones overtake laptops as UK’s main internet device | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
The UK telecoms regulator’s 2015 Communications Market Report finds that a 33% of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% for laptops.

This marks quite a major change from the findings in last year’s report, which showed that 40% of UK consumers still identified laptops as their primary internet access device, compared to just 22% for smartphones.

Ofcom puts this down to a surge in smartphone ownership, with two thirds of adults now carrying one around. Unsurprisingly 90% of 16-24 year olds have a smartphone, but the growth in ownership seems to owe a lot to older punters belatedly getting the memo and half of them now owning a smartphone, more than double the level of three years ago.

The other main underlying reason for this growth identified by Ofcom is the rapid increase in 4G subscriptions. Over the course of 2014 UK 5G subscriptions increased almost ten-fold from 2.7 million to 23.6 million. On the whole 4G users are doing almost twice as much online than 3G ones and spending more time surfing the web than on PCs.

“Smartphone users with 4G are shopping online more than those without 4G (55% of 4G users do this compared with 35% of non-4G users); banking more online (55% versus 33%); watching more TV and video clips online (57% versus 40%); making more face-to-face and voice calls over the internet (28% versus 20%); using services such as Snapchat to send more photos and videos (49% versus 36%); and instant messaging more with services such as WhatsApp (63% versus 50%).” said the report.

All this 4G smartphone goodness doesn’t seem to be making it onto the bottom line for UK operators, however, with 2014 continuing the trend of declining revenues. Ofcom attributes this mainly to a 0.8 (12.%) decrease in wholesale revenue due to cuts in call termination rates. Here’s Ofcom’s full operator data table.

“Today’s report shows just how important reliable, fast internet access is to millions of consumers and businesses,” said Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive. “Improving the coverage and quality of all communications services across the UK is a priority for Ofcom, for people at work, home or on the move.”

“4G has supercharged our smartphones, helping people do everything from the weekly shop to catching up with friends with a face-to-face video call,” said James Thickett, Ofcom Director of Research. “For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular internet device and are now the hub of our daily lives.”
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Report: Verizon's mobile OTT video service to be called 'Go90,' will have some content exclusively for Verizon Wireless subs

Report: Verizon's mobile OTT video service to be called 'Go90,' will have some content exclusively for Verizon Wireless subs | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) forthcoming over-the-the-top mobile video service will be called "Go90" and will offer users both full episodes of TV shows from certain networks as well as music videos and other shorter pieces of content, according to a Variety report. The report, citing information from a pre-launch website for the service that was live but has since been taken down, said that initially the service will be entirely free of charge.

According to the report, while Go90's iOS and Android apps are going to be free to download from the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play store, at least some of the content will be exclusive for Verizon's wireless subscribers.

Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo confirmed last week that the OTT video product will be launched in "late summer," which technically could come as late as the third week of September. Shammo and other Verizon executives have discussed a variety of business models the carrier may employ for the service, and the company has announced some content deals, but Variety's report adds more details to the service that Verizon has been largely mum about, including the service's brand name and pricing.

The website stated that Go90 will deliver "live music, exclusive events, best of web content, sports, prime time and more." Users will be able to watch "full length shows and short highlights, all for free," the site said.

An "About" section stated: "We didn't want to mimic TV--that's just an appliance you rearrange your living room around. Instead, we wanted to create a mobile-first, video-based app that can keep up with you and your on-the-go social life. One that features completely immersive live and on-demand content, no matter where you are or where you're going. No cord required."

Earlier this month Verizon announced that it signed a multi-year deal with Vice Media to bring Vice's content to the service. Verizon has also pledged to offer 200 hours of original programming from YouTube video specialist AwesomenessTV, sports programming from ESPN and CBS Sports, and made-for-cable reality series from Scripps Interactive Networks.

According to the Variety report, the Verizon website also listed other as-yet unannounced content partners, including Victorious, GoPro and Vevo, and screenshots of the Go90 app published on the site indicated that the service will also have content from Fox and AMC. Go90 will also include content from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV via a partnership with Viacom, the report said. There were also references to NFL content, for which Verizon owns the mobile right, the report noted.

A Verizon spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, a Verizon spokesperson told Variety said that the content listing on the site was inaccurate but declined to comment further.

Verizon has not revealed the brand name of the service. However, according to Variety, in May Verizon used a shell company called 2342 Holdings LLC to register four trademarks for Go90 and also used that same company to register the domain

Shammo said last week that at launch Verizon will not have the full range of content, or "everything that we contemplate within the product set" for the video service, but it will be "an initial launch and as the year goes on it will progress." Shammo also noted that AOL content will be part of the offering thanks to Verizon's $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL, including content from the Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

"This is a lineup that is really around all live-type news clips and sports and events, so very different than what anyone else is bringing to the marketplace," Shammo said, according to a Verizon transcript of his remarks.

Shammo told Reuters last week that the video service will have advertising-supported content and will include some free sponsored content. "A sponsored data model down the road... that will generate the usage and the eyeballs that are very appealing to advertisers," Shammo added.

That fits with what Verizon executives have said before. "Ad-sponsored data is part of the product offering," Marni Walden, EVP and president of products and new business innovation at Verizon, said in June during a conference call with the media to discuss the completion of Verizon's AOL deal.

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{Core Analysis}: Building a mobile video delivery network? part III

{Core Analysis}: Building a mobile video delivery network? part III | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Part I
Part II

Content providers and aggregators have obviously an interest (and in some case a legal obligation) to control the quality of the content they sell to a consumer. Without owning networks outright to deliver the content, they rent capacity, under specific service level agreements to deliver this content with managed Quality of Experience. When the content is delivered over the “free” internet or a mobile network, there is no QoE guarantee. As a result, content providers and aggregators tend to “push the envelope” and grab as much network resource as available to deliver a video stream, in an effort to equate speed and capacity to consumer QoE. This might work on fixed networks, but in mobile, where capacity is limited and variable, it causes congestion.

Obviously, delegating the selection of the quality of the content to a device should be a smart move. Since the content is played on the device, this is where there is the clearest understanding of instantaneous network capacity or congestion. Unfortunately, certain handset vendors, particularly those coming from the consumer electronics world do not have enough experience in wireless IP for efficient video delivery. Some devices for instance will go and grab the highest capacity available on the network, irrespective of the encoding of the video requested. So, for instance if the capacity at connection is 2Mbps and the video is encoded at 1Mbps, it will be downloaded at twice its rate. That is not a problem when the network is available, but as congestion creeps in, this behaviour snowballs and compounds congestion in embattled networks.
As more and more device manufacturers coming from the computing world (as opposed to mobile) enter the market with smartphones and tablets, we see wide variations in the implementation of their native video player.
Consequently, operators are looking at way to control video traffic as a means to maybe be able to monetize it differently in the future. Control can take many different aspects and rely on many technologies ranging from relatively passive to increasingly obtrusive and aggressive.

In any case, the rationale for implementing video control technologies in mobile networks goes beyond the research for the best delivery model. At this point in time, the actors have equal footing and equal interest in preserving users QoE. They have elected to try and take control of the value chain independently. This has resulted in a variety of low level battles, where each side is trying to assert control over the others.
The proofs of these battles are multiple:
Google tries to impose VP9 as an alternative to H.265 /HEVC: While the internet giant rationale to provide a royalty-free codec as the next high efficiency codec seems innocuous to some, it is a means to control the value chain. If content providers start to use VP9 instead of H.265, Google will have the means to durably influence the roadmap to deliver video content over the internet.
Orange extracts peering fees from Google / YouTube in Africa: Orange as a dominant position for mobile networks and backhaul in Africa and has been able to force Google to the negotiating table and get them to pay peering fee for delivering YouTube over wireless networks. A world’s first.
Network operators implement video optimization technologies: In order to keep control of the OTT videos delivered on their networks, network operators have deployed video optimization engine to reduce the volume of traffic, to alleviate congestion or more generally to keep a firmer grip on the type of traffic transiting their networks.
Encryption as an obfuscation mechanism: Content or protocol encryption has traditionally been a means to protect sensitive content from interception, reproduction or manipulation. There is a certain cost and latency involved in the encoding and decoding of the content, so it has remained mostly used for premium video. Lately, content providers have been experimenting with the delivery of encrypted video as a means to obfuscate the traffic and stop network operators from interfering with it.
Net neutrality debate, when pushed by large content providers and aggregators is oftentimes a proxy for commercial battle. Th economics of the internet have evolved from browsing to streaming and video has disrupted the models significantly. The service level agreements put in place by the distribution chains (CDNs, peering points...) are somewhat inadequate for video delivery.

We could go on and on listing all the ways that content providers and network operators are probing each other’s capacity to remain in control of the user’s video experience. Ultimately, these initiatives are isolated but are signs of large market forces trying to establish dominance over each other. So far, these manoeuvres have reduced the user experience. The market will settle in a more collaborative mode undoubtedly as the current behaviour could lead to mutually assured destruction. The reality is simple. There is a huge appetite for online video. An increasing part of it takes place on mobile devices, on cellular networks. There is money to be made if there is collaboration, the size of the players is too large to establish a durable dominance without vertical integration.
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Facebook set to ‘take on’ YouTube’s video dominance

Facebook set to ‘take on’ YouTube’s video dominance | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Facebook is making a “serious play” for content owners and looks poised to take on YouTube’s dominance in video content, according to a new research report. 

Ampere Analysis said that Facebook’s video views are “rocketing” and that recent trials with content owners like NFL and Fox Sports “suggest it’s primed to become a plausible alternative to YouTube.”

The report claims that Facebook’s video views are “catching up” with YouTube’s and will exceed two trillion this year – two thirds of YouTube’s projected total for the same period.

Ampere said it expects Facebook to trigger an “advertising ‘arms race’” by competing directly against YouTube for user-uploaded video audiences and predicted that it would start to introduce pre-roll ads on some of its video content to improve revenue-return for key content partners.

“As Facebook moves from testing its advertising models to more actively soliciting content creators to join the platform, it will come under increased pressure to match the opportunities and per view returns generated by other platforms – notably YouTube,” said Ampere research director and former IHS analyst, Richard Broughton.

“Ultimately, despite Facebook’s current reticence around offering pre-rolls, it may have to bite the bullet and add them to its repertoire. If the social network’s own video ambitions are to be realised, and if it is to convince content owners it is a viable alternative to YouTube, it must deliver comparable returns.”

According to Ampere estimates, almost 15% of internet users across Western Europe and the US have watched videos on Facebook in the last month, while a sixth of Facebook video viewers have not watched YouTube in the same time period.

At its F8 developer conference earlier this year, Facebook said it would now let viewers watch and interact with Facebook videos from anywhere on the web, with the launch of its new embedded video player. At the same time the social network previewed an “immersive, 360-degree video experience” in the service’s news feed that lets viewers choose the viewing angle to explore your surroundings.

Earlier this year, Facebook reported an increasing shift towards visual content, claiming that in the past year the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US. Since June 2014, Facebook claims it has averaged more than one billion video views every day.
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YouTube gears up for subscription launch

YouTube gears up for subscription launch | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
YouTube is reportedly gearing up to launch its much-speculated about subscription service in the US, after prompting content owners to agree to new site licensing terms.

According to a letter to YouTube content creators, which was published in full by tech site Re/code, YouTube is planning to roll out an ad-free version of the video service for a monthly fee, with the new service terms to kick in by the end of next month.

“This service will create a new source of revenue over time that supplements your advertising revenue. That’s why an overwhelming majority of our partners – representing over 95% of YouTube watch time – have asked for and signed up for this service,” said YouTube in the letter.

The video service asked its content makers to update their agreement to reflect the updated ad-free terms, and said that if anyone doesn’t follow the prompts to do so by October 22 their videos will “no longer be available for public display or monetisation in the United States.”

“We believe these new terms will greatly strengthen our partnership for the future. We went through a similar process three years ago when we began distributing and monetising your content on mobile devices. Today, mobile represents over half of all watch time and mobile revenue is up 2x in just the last year,” said YouTube.

“Just as with mobile, we’re confident this latest update will excite your fans and generate a previously untapped, additional source of revenue for you.”

The latest information comes after YouTube sent an initial letter to content owners in April, confirming plans for an ad-free version of YouTube that users will be able access by paying a monthly fee.  At the time, tech site The Verge reported that YouTube will charge users roughly US$10 (€9) per month and launch the feature in the next few months.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki first hinted at YouTube’s subscription plans at a conference in the US last October, when she said that while YouTube’s ad-supported approach has allowed it to build massive scale, “there’s going to be a point where people don’t want to see the ads.”

Without going into details, Wojcicki said at the time that YouTube was “thinking about how to give users options” and said that giving users the choice to either watch ads or pay a fee was “an interesting model.”
Patrick Lopez's insight:

That would be the third attempt in as many years to try and monetize the free service...

Experience so far shows that users are ready to put up with some annoyance (advertising, sub-optimal quality,...) for a free service but need to be really emotionally invested to make the transition to a paid service.

I doubt that paying just to not have advertising will be a winning value proposition.

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Netflix and Amazon content spend to hit US$9bn

Netflix and Amazon content spend to hit US$9bn | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Amazon and Netflix’s combined content spend will top US$9 billion (€8 billion) by end 2020, according to new research.

Ampere Analysis says Netflix alone will have over 130 million subscribers around the world within five years and the streaming service’s annual content spend is expected to rise.

Ampere Analysis says the US streaming service will up its programming spend from US$5 billion to US$6 billion over the next couple of years. It will, however, actually reduce spend on acquired fare with the increase coming from budget allocated to original programming.

Netflix wants to spend 50% of its content budget on originals, Ampere noted, adding that the amount it devotes to acquisitions could start falling from 2017.

The streaming service had 63 million paying subs at last count and Ampere says that it will have “at least” 130 million by end-2020.

At that point its nearest rival, Amazon Prime Instant Video, will have about 50 million users.

There is also crossover between the two services. In the US, UK and Germany half of all Amazon Prime subs also take Netflix, Ampere said. However, the growth of both services is bad news for traditional pay TV operators, as customers churn for cheaper and more flexible SVOD alternatives.

As the rate of pay TV subscriber additions slows, Ampere says that 2015 will be a record year in terms of new SVoD subs.

With Netflix focused on newer (acquired) TV and film titles and Amazon a having a wider array of less recent content, the services are differentiated to the extent consumers can justify having both, Ampere said.

Richard Broughton, research Director at Ampere said: “The differing title acquisition strategies have allowed each provider to thrive in its own content niche – consumers are quite happy to spend on both Amazon Prime and Netflix. Netflix subscribers across the US, Germany and UK are over 60% more likely than the average internet user to also watch videos via Amazon Prime.”
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Broadband World Forum | Interview with Patrick Lopez – CEO of Core Analysis

Broadband World Forum | Interview with Patrick Lopez – CEO of Core Analysis | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Are current telecoms networks fit for purpose? If not, what are the current indications showing that the current Internet is reaching its limits?
Video currently accounts for over 60% of mobile data traffic and it is the fastest growing service in telecommunications. Multiple polls and surveys show that more than 66% of video sessions suffer from late start, buffering interruption, poor picture quality or do not even start. Our networks have not been designed to deliver video efficiently or in a managed fashion and the current work that is being done to chart 5G, network function virtualization or software defined networking is not really taking video as a dominating use case. With 2k, 4k and 8k video formats emerging over the next years, our industry must look at video as a specific service if it wants to have a chance to grow profitably.

Fixed access networks are hitting 2Gbps – is the increase in speed delivering more value? What are the downsides (beyond cost) of offering ever more access speed?
More speed or more capacity without control results in more congestion and a poorer user experience. The answer to our current issues resides in a better controlled and managed video delivery. If net neutrality provisions prevent operators from managing actively video traffic, the user experience will continue to suffer, independently to the increased speed offered by networks.

If not speed, then what should we invest in to deliver returns?
Active traffic management, traffic steering and intelligent video policy engines are the key to decrease pressure on congested networks and increase user experience.

Can we measure latency and variability of latency enough to base pricing on them?
No. Specifically, video streaming services are an end-to-end system and overall latency depends on a variety of factors from devices, radio access networks, core networks, backhaul, CDN and content providers. These systems are not well integrated to be able to accurately measure and manage latency end to end.

Are the Internet of Things and Virtualization glossing over underlying network problems?
They are not taking into account the increasing tendency for encrypted traffic. Additionally, as an industry, we tend to research new technologies and try and find an application to them, instead of designing services and then adjusting / creating technology to fit our purposes.

What will be the key new technology or trend that will shift operator thinking towards investing Network QoE?
Mobile video advertising is one of the largest network operators’ revenue opportunity in the next five years and it will be realized only if a more integrated QoE measurement and management is implemented in mobile networks.

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Ericsson Announces Agreement to Acquire Envivio, Inc.

Envivio, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENVI), a leading provider of software-based video processing and delivery solutions, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Ericsson, a provider of communications technology and services.

“The uniting of Envivio’s pioneering software solutions and Ericsson’s strength in the marketplace is a great combination for our customers and stockholders,” said Julien Signès, founder and CEO of Envivio. “Ericsson shares a similar vision for the future of video processing and shift to software defined and virtualized encoding solutions. Ericsson brings tremendous resources, a broad product and solutions portfolio and reach that will accelerate the adoption of Envivio’s software-based video solutions.”

As part of Ericsson’s TV and Media business, Envivio will continue to work with its customers and partners to develop its current software based video solutions for video processing, delivery and monetization. Envivio’s customers will be able to rely on the global stability and scale and the strong commitment of Ericsson in the TV and Media business with access to Ericsson’s full portfolio of products, solutions, and global services expertise.

“Our consumer research clearly shows that viewers are demanding TV on their terms on any device, and expecting experiences that continually evolve,” said Per Borgklint, Senior Vice President and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson. “We are committed to offering our customers a clear path towards fully agile cloud agnostic platforms that delight TV consumers. I look forward to welcoming the market leader in pure software-defined video encoding, processing, and packaging into Ericsson. The combination will strengthen our encoding position with both custom silicon and pure software encoding, delivering performance and flexibility.”

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Ericsson will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all of Envivio’s outstanding shares, with a merger following the completion of the tender offer which would result in all shares not tendered in the tender offer being converted into the right to receive $4.10 per share. Certain of Envivio’s major stockholders, collectively owning approximately 34 percent of Envivio’s outstanding common stock, have entered into a tender and support agreement with Ericsson committing to tender all of their Envivio shares in the tender offer and to vote in favor of the merger. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

The board of directors of Envivio has unanimously agreed to recommend that Envivio’s stockholders tender their shares to Ericsson in the tender offer.

For further information regarding all terms and conditions contained in the definitive merger agreement, please see Envivio’s Current Report on Form 8-K, which will be filed in connection with this transaction.
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Amazon buys video processing company Elemental Technologies to bolster AWS

Amazon buys video processing company Elemental Technologies to bolster AWS | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Public cloud provider Amazon Web Services today announced that it has acquired Elemental Technologies, a startup with video processing services to repurpose traditional video content into digital formats.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but a report from The Information earlier today pegged the deal at $500 million.

AWS, a fast-growing division of and the biggest public cloud available today, intends to roll out new services based on Elemental’s technology, according to a statement from Amazon.

Other recent AWS acquisitions include ClusterK, Amiato, and 2lemetry.

Elemental started in 2006 and was based in Portland, Ore. Investors include Sky, Telstra, General Catalyst Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Voyager Capital.

Customers included ABC, BBC, Comcast, ESPN, and HBO, NASA, NHK, and Warner Bros.
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Vantrix, C360 and ImmerVision Showcase Live 6K 360-Degree Broadcast

Vantrix, a global provider of media optimization and delivery solutions to video and mobile service providers, announced today that it will be showcasing the world’s first demo of live 360° broadcast video using a 6K single panomorph lens on C360’s broadcast camera system. This demo, along with live HD immersive 360° videos streamed in real-time on TVs, VR head-mounted displays and mobile devices, will be featured at IBC 2015 (Stand 14.J06) taking place in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
This breakthrough panomorph super-wide angle single lens, designed by ImmerVision for C360, allows broadcasters to capture and stream live 360° videos without panning or stitching. Users can view 360° broadcasted events live, in full HD, from multiple angles and views on a second screen across multiple platforms including: TVs, VR displays and mobile devices—all from one single video source.
“Vantrix is excited to partner with ImmerVision and C360 to offer a breakthrough integrated live HD streaming solution for 360-degree experiences,” said Jean Mayrand, CEO and president of Vantrix Corporation. “Our ultra-high-density media processing solution provides the power to optimize immersive, real-time multiscreen video experiences for consumers.”
“Collaborating with Vantrix and C360 ensures that broadcasters have access to a complete end-to-end solution–capturing and delivering live 360° HD content with a single panomorph lens camera,” said Pascale Nini, president and CEO of ImmerVision. “For the first time, TV viewers will have an immersive viewing experience and the ability to access 360° HD content through their second screens on their TVs, computers, VR headsets and mobile devices.”
“Imagine seeing a football game, auto race, boxing match or concert from the best seat in the house broadcasted live in 360° on your TV at home. Then imagine discovering new details from different angles on your VR headset, smartphone or tablet, as if you were there live,” said Evan Wimer, CEO of C360. “Broadcasters have an opportunity to leverage the C360, Vantrix and ImmerVision team solution to deliver an immersive 360° experience to their viewers.”
Vantrix Media Platform is a software-defined video processing, optimization, caching and analytics platform deployed as a turnkey appliance for deployment on-premises or in the cloud. Built on OpenStack for virtualization, it offers a modular, pluggable and extensible architecture for video transcoding and optimizing media experiences via adaptive bitrate streaming for delivery to TVs, PCs and mobile devices.
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EE personalises ‘mobile first’ TV service » Digital TV Europe

EE personalises ‘mobile first’ TV service » Digital TV Europe | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
UK mobile operator EE is set to add personalisation and social sharing features to its EE TV service, in an update that was developed “with mobile front of mind.”

The new features for the EE TV app are designed to give users a personalised TV experience that they can control through their phone or tablet, with EE claiming it reaffirms its offering is “the UK’s only mobile-first TV service.”

The update, which was unveiled today and is due to roll out next week, includes a new ‘My TV’ section that is available on the EE TV app’s home menu.

This is designed to let users easily select and access their favourite programmes and channels. It also allows users to ‘flick’ media from their mobile or tablet to the TV screen.

Also new is Fetch function, which allowing customers to bring content from the main TV screen onto their mobile device so they can continue watching in another room. This is compatible with live TV, recordings and content that users have clicked to restart and replay.

A new Companion Screen on the app lets users control what they are watching on TV – including playback and volume. It will also provide additional information about a show and let users share details of what they’re watching through different social media options.

The update also includes “significant improvements to navigation on mobile devices”, and a better search capabilities on both the set top box and the app, according to EE.

“EE TV received outstanding reviews at launch, however we will continue to use our unrivalled knowledge of mobile behaviour in order to update and enhance the service over time,” said Simeon Bird, director of home broadband and TV, EE.

“The new EE TV features take the personalisation capability that all smartphone and tablet owners are familiar with, and incorporates it to create what we believe is the best multi-screen TV service available today.”
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Apple TV licensing talks said to have stalled

Apple TV licensing talks said to have stalled | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Apple is now aiming for a 2016 launch for its planned cloud TV with licensing talks progressing slowly, according to a Bloomberg report, writes Digital TV Europe.

Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans,Bloomberg said that Apple had scrapped plans to launch the online TV service at an event in San Francisco on September 9, but will still launch an updated version of its Apple TV set-top box then.

The report claimed content licensing talks with the likes of CBS and 21st Century Fox were moving slowly and that price was “the main stumbling block.”

Apple has also reportedly encountered capacity issues related to offering a fast and glitch-free viewing experience.

Reports earlier this year claimed that Apple was aiming to launch an online TV service this autumn in partnership with broadcasters including ABC, CBS and Fox.

Apple is said to be planning a “slimmed-down” cable-style bundle of roughly 25 channels that will be available to view across Apple devices.
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Verizon Wireless customers to get HBO Now access; HBO content coming to OTT video service

Verizon Wireless customers to get HBO Now access; HBO content coming to OTT video service | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) said that its subscribers will be able to access HBO Now, the offering from the premium TV network that lets customers access its content without a TV subscription. Verizon also said that HBO content, though not necessarily HBO Now, will be part of its over-the-the-top mobile video service, which is continuing to get fleshed out.

HBO said it struck a deal with Verizon to bring HBO Now "to Verizon digital platforms, including to more than 100 million Verizon Wireless customers and other consumers with handsets and/or tablets." Verizon and HBO did not say when Verizon Wireless customers will be able to access HBO Now via their cellphone service, but The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter, said it will happen "soon."

The service is also immediately available to all Verizon standalone broadband customers, including FiOS and high-speed Internet customers, for a 30-day free trial. 

Importantly, the companies said in a statement that "HBO content will also be coming soon to Verizon's upcoming mobile video platform." However, it's unclear what that means exactly.

According to Re/code, HBO Now will not be a core part of Verizon's new service, which reports have indicated will be free at launch and supported by advertising. Instead, Re/code reported, HBO may decide to distribute some of its shows as samplers on the service, as it currently does on YouTube and Facebook. The Journal also reported that the OTT video service is likely to offer some sampling of HBO content, and not a full subscription.

The OTT mobile video service will reportedly be called "Go90" and will offer users both full episodes of TV shows from certain networks as well as music videos and other shorter pieces of content, according to a recent Variety report. The report, citing information from a pre-launch website for the service that was live but has since been taken down, said that initially the service will be entirely free of charge.

According to the report, while Go90's iOS and Android apps are going to be free to download, at least some of the content will be exclusive for Verizon's wireless subscribers.

Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo confirmed last week that the OTT video product will be launched in "late summer," which technically could come as late as the third week of September.

Earlier this month Verizon announced that it signed a multi-year deal with Vice Media to bring Vice's content to the service. Verizon has also pledged to offer 200 hours of original programming from YouTube video specialist AwesomenessTV, sports programming from ESPN and CBS Sports, and made-for-cable reality series from Scripps Interactive Networks.

According to the Variety report, the Verizon website also listed other as-yet unannounced content partners, including Victorious, GoPro and Vevo, and screenshots of the Go90 app published on the site indicated that the service will also have content from Fox and AMC. Go90 will also include content from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV via a partnership with Viacom, the report said. There were also references to NFL content, for which Verizon owns the mobile rights, the report noted.

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{Core Analysis}: Citrix selling Bytemobile?

{Core Analysis}: Citrix selling Bytemobile? | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
In a press release dated July 28, Citrix Systems has announced that it will collaborate with Elliott Management, an activist investment firm who has amassed 7.5% of the company's common stock and has been advocating for strategic changes in Citrix' product portfolio and operations.

Elliott had announced their plans to actively be involved in Citrix' strategy in a letter to their board on June 11. The letter laid out a plan for Citrix' stock growth and investor value creation including executive and operational changes, as well as spin off or sale of business units, including ByteMobile, acquired for $435m in 2012.
Citrix is rumored to have retained financial advisors for the sale of ByteMobile.

Concurrent with the announcement that Citrix will collaborate with Elliott and give them a board seat, Citrix' CEO has announced his retirement effective as soon as a replacement is found.
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TV operators favour mixed SVoD and TVoD OTT

TV operators favour mixed SVoD and TVoD OTT | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
TV operators are looking to launch OTT services to provide multiscreen access and compete with the likes of Netflix, with most favouring a hybrid model, according to research by MPP Global.

MPP found that 60% of operators said that hybrid OTT, combining transactional and subscription video-on-demand in a single service, was the model best suited to their business.

According to MPP, four out of five operators see changes in how their customers are accessing goods and services, and three out of four are integrating new pricing and delivery models such as SVoD and TVoD. The research found that 86% of operators anticipate that revenue from SVoD and TVoD services will increase over the next 18 months.

According to MPP, 37% of organisations believe that these new pricing models deliver competitive differentiation, while 32% believe they provide additional revenue opportunities and 32% believe they reduce churn.

The research found that TV operators favour three broad pricing and packaging models. The first is to introduce smaller, tailored or personalised bundles of content and channels users have chosen for themselves, rather than a big bundle. Second, they are favouring time-limited passes, such as the day, week and month passes offered by Sky for its Now TV service, and third, they are looking to make use of video metering technology to offer freemium services, providing consumers with limited free access to video content, based on a choice of considerations which the operator can define, such as happy hours offering free access at low usage periods. With the latter model, operators have an opportunity to attract customers by offering free access before asking them to sign up for a transactional or subscription service.

Some 56% of organisations surveyed believe that cloud technology has been the primary driver for new delivery models.

“This research shows how the OTT market is constantly evolving and growing. With an increasing need to reach and attract customers and stand out from competitors, more and more TV operators are shaping their business models to accommodate consumer demands while offering a reliable revenue stream. We can expect to see the number of OTT models continue to increase with consumers embracing the changing way they can view and pay for video content,” said Paul Johnson, CEO of MPP Global.
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Verizon's OTT mobile video service will support sponsored data

Verizon's OTT mobile video service will support sponsored data | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) forthcoming over-the-the-top mobile video service will support sponsored data, with advertisers subsidizing the cost of consumers' video consumption, according to a senior Verizon executive.

"Ad-sponsored data is part of the product offering," Marni Walden, EVP and president of products and new business innovation at Verizon, said during a conference call with the media to discuss the completion of Verizon's $4.4 billion deal to buy AOL.

Verizon plans to launch the OTT video service sometime this summer, and Walden provided a preview of the product and also discussed, along with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, how the telecommunications giant will incorporate AOL.

Walden's comments on the ad-supported data consumption echo those of Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo. "We're going to bring a product to market where people can enjoy that product and they won't necessarily pay for it through their data bundle," he said in May during an investor conference, according to a Verizon transcript of his remarks. "Some people have called it the sponsored data model, but it's really going to be monetized through the advertising model."

Walden said on the call that such a business model would comply with the FCC's net neutrality rules. "We believe we're well within the ability to do that within the rules we need to abide by," she said. She also said there would be "some premium offers" with the video product as it evolves.

While Walden did not say when exactly Verizon would launch the mobile video offering, she said Verizon is in the process of securing deals with content providers for live content, "emerging" content that will be mostly Web-based, and on-demand content. She said Verizon is "planning on having a number of fresh titles" with the service, but she did not elaborate.

The service will work over Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks, including competing wireless networks in the U.S., though Walden said the service will work best on Verizon's network. Verizon, for instance, will be the only one using LTE Multicast technology to stream live events, she said.

Verizon does not have plans to launch the service globally, at least not initially, Walden said, but she added that what is "so exciting" about the AOL deal is that it gives Verizon global capabilities to launch and support advertising. "We think that's the next obvious step," she said.  

Live content will encompass things like sports and concerts, Walden said. In April Verizon announced content deals with ESPN, CBS Sports and several other college-sports-focused platforms. The deal with Disney's ESPN, the priciest of all cable channels, isn't full-fledged--the Verizon service is only acquiring select college football games and "30 for 30" documentaries. But Verizon did license the full CBS Sports portfolio and the ACC Digital Network, as well as digital video services Campus Insider and 120 Sports. Verizon has also licensed content from Viacom, as well as YouTube programming network AwesomenessTV.

As part of the AOL deal, Armstrong will become the head of Verizon Digital Media Services, Walden said. Bob Toohey, who had been president of the unit, will now report to Armstrong.

Walden said Verizon intends to become the No. 1 "global media-technology company" for content creators, advertisers and consumers. She said AOL's advertising technology will let Verizon create value ad revenue on top of its access networks, especially for the OTT video product.  

Armstrong said he thinks that in the coming years, 80 percent of consumers' media consumption will be over mobile devices and that joining forces with Verizon will help AOL take advantage of that trend. He also said that the content delivery network and video delivery markets "will be one of the most important for the future." Armstrong said that AOL's global reach and advertising technology will be used for both video on demand (VOD) or audio and video on demand (AVOD) services.

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