Mobile Video, OTT and payTV
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Mobile Video, OTT and payTV
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YouTube launches live TV streaming service

YouTube launches live TV streaming service | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
YouTube has unveiled details of its much-anticipated television streaming service, describing it as “live TV designed for the YouTube generation”.

YouTube TV is set to go live “soon” in the US with a line-up of more than 40 channels, including the biggest US broadcast networks.

The service will be available across devices, includes a cloud DVR with “no storage limits” for recording TV shows, and will cost US$35 per month without commitments – substantially cheaper than a typical US cable subscription.

Live TV streaming will be available from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, regional sports networks and “dozens” more cable networks including MSNBC, USA, Disney Channel and Fox News.

Access to YouTube’s homegrown SVOD service, YouTube Red, is also included as part of the offering and users can add Showtime or Fox Soccer Plus to their line-up for an additional charge.

“We’re bringing the best of the YouTube experience to live TV,” said YouTube product management director, Christian Oestlien. “To do this, we’ve worked closely with our network and affiliate partners to evolve TV for the way we watch today.”

Announcing details of the service, YouTube said that membership comes with six accounts, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR.

Users can record as many shows as they want simultaneously and each will be available to access for up to nine months.

“Consumers have made it clear that they want live TV without all the hassle,” said Oestlien. “They don’t want to worry about their DVR filling up. They don’t want to miss a great game or their favourite show because they’re on the go. They tell us they want TV to be more like YouTube.”

YouTube TV will be available soon in the largest markets in the US before expanding to cover more American cities. YouTube has not announced any plans for an international version of the service.
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Mobile video to grow almost 900% by 2021, Cisco predicts

Mobile video to grow almost 900% by 2021, Cisco predicts | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Worldwide consumption of mobile video will grow nearly ninefold from 2016 to 2021, Cisco predicted, and will account for 78% of all mobile traffic by the end of that time period, up from 60% last year.

The technology giant said in its annual forecast that the number of global mobile users would increase from 4.9 billion last year to 5.5 billion in 2021, and the number of connected devices will grow from 8 billion to 12 billion. Worldwide mobile data traffic will see an annual run rate of 587 exabytes per year by 2021, up from 87 exabytes last year, marking an increase of roughly 700%.

Mobile video consumption will grow by 870% during that time, Cisco said, enjoying the fastest increase of any mobile application category. That growth will largely be driven by live video, which will represent 5% of all mobile video traffic by 2021.

“With the proliferation of IoT, live mobile video, augmented and virtual reality applications, and more innovative experiences for consumers and business users alike, 5G technology will have significant relevance not just for mobility but rather for networking as a whole,” said Doug Webster, Cisco’s vice president of service provider marketing, in a press release. “As a result, broader and more extensive architectural transformations involving programmability and automation will also be needed to support the capabilities 5G enables, and to address not just today’s demands but also the extensive possibilities on the horizon.”

Machine-to-machine devices will account for 29% of all mobile connections by 2021, Cisco said, up from just 5% last year.

Meanwhile, mobile usage will continue to gain steam in emerging markets but will grow slowly in more mature regions. Mobile uptake will increase by a compound annual growth rate of 4.1% in the Middle East and Africa over the next few years, for instance, and will increase by 3.2% annually in Asia Pacific. But it will increase in North America by only 1.2% per year, and in Western Europe by only 0.5% per year, Cisco predicted.
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Charter, Verizon Among Group to Trial New ‘Open Caching’ Architecture | Multichannel

Charter, Verizon Among Group to Trial New ‘Open Caching’ Architecture | Multichannel | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

Looking to pump more quality and scale into live and on-demand streaming, the Streaming Video Alliance said Tuesday that a group of ISPs, content delivery networks, vendors and content providers are set to test a recently approved “open caching” architecture that aims to drive more quality and scale into live and on-demand video streaming.
The SVA, a group formed in late 2014, to establish specs and best practices for video streaming, said the following companies will be the first to kick the tires on the new Open Caching Request Routing Functional Specification  – Charter Communications, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Qwilt, Verizon, Viacom, ViaSat and Yahoo.
SVA, which timed the announcement as the CES confab gets underway this week in Las Vegas, noted that those parties will conduct “a range of use cases” of the open caching architecture during the trial, and report results of those tests back to the organization’s Open Caching Working Group. Trials will involve live and VOD traffic over HTTP and HTTPS using the new request routing specification for open caching, the SVA said.
According to the problem statement posed by the SVA for the open cache project, current Internet architecture “does not support efficient, large-scale deployment of video services” across all elements of the delivery ecosystem. The solution envisioned by the SVA is to create a “symbiotic architecture” where video is distributed through a “universal cache function” from inside the operator network and close to the consumer.
The proposed architecture features a “building block” for interconnection called the open cache node (OCN) that can be applied to multiple types of CDNs (commercial, content provider and operator). Among the cited examples is a “last mile” CDN extension for network operators that can reduce overall network transport costs and latency, improve the quality of experience for streaming, and offload the heavy lifting of popular content to the open caching layer.
“This is a monumental milestone for the organization and for video streaming,” Jason Thibeault, the SVA’s executive director, said in a statement.  “In addition to demonstrating our ability to create, endorse and publish the technical specification that will improve streaming experiences across the value chain, we are now bringing our work to market through proof-of-concept trials. This is the strongest possible signal to the industry that our members are determined to put the Alliance’s work into practice and improve the future of streaming profoundly.”
“The OC architecture enables new applications, and superior QoE [quality of experience] by taking advantage of the principle that ’closer is better’ when it comes to delivering content,” added Alon Maor, CEO of Qwilt and chair of the Open Caching Working Group.
Other members of the SVA include Adobe, Arris, Cedexis, Ciena, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Concurrent Computer Corp., Conviva, Encompass TV, Ericsson, Fox Networks, Hughes Satellite Systems, IBM, IneoQuest, Intel, Irdeto, Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, MediaMelon,  Mobolize, Nagra, NBCUniversal, NCTA, NeuLion, Nice People at Work, Nokia, Nominum, Ownzonest, Sky, System73, Telecom Italia, Telstra, ViaPlay, Verimatrix, Vubiquity, and Wowza Media Systems.

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Canada declares ‘high-speed’ internet essential for quality of life

Canada declares ‘high-speed’ internet essential for quality of life | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Canada has recognized the obvious and declared high-speed broadband internet access a “basic telecommunications service” that every citizen should be able to access. Previously, only landline telephone services had received this designation from the country’s national telecoms regulator, CRTC, and the change is supported by a government investment package of up to $750 million to wire up rural areas.

“The future of our economy, our prosperity and our society — indeed, the future of every citizen — requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century," said CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais at a news conference. “These goals are ambitious. They will not be easy to achieve and they will cost money. But we have no choice.”

As part of declaring broadband a “basic” or essential service, the CRTC has also set new goals for download and upload speeds. For fixed broadband services, all citizens should have the option of unlimited data with speeds of at least 50 megabits per second for downloads and 10 megabits per second for uploads — a tenfold increase of previous targets set in 2011. The goals for mobile coverage are less ambitious, and simply call for “access to the latest mobile wireless technology” in cities and major transport corridors.

The CRTC estimates that some two million Canadian households, or 18 percent of the population, do not currently have access to their desired speeds. The $750 million government fund will help to pay for infrastructure to remedy this. The money will be distributed over five years, with the CRTC expecting 90 percent of Canadians to access the new speeds by 2021.

The new digital plan also touches on accessibility problems, with CRTC mandating that wireless service providers will have to offer platforms that address the needs of people with hearing or speech disabilities within six months. Blais said this timeline was necessary, as the country “can’t depend on market forces to address these issues.”
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Report: Facebook in talks to licence its own video content 

Report: Facebook in talks to licence its own video content  | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Facebook has reportedly started talks with TV studios and video producers about licensing shows, in a bid to bolster its video efforts.

According to tech news site Recode, CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen, who joined Facebook as head of global creative strategy earlier this year, is leading the talks.

The report claims that Facebook is in negotiations about securing scripted shows, game-shows and sports, and is keen to experiment with different formats rather than make Netflix-style big-budget bets on original series.

In a statement supplied to Recode, Van Veen said that Facebook is “exploring funding some seed video content” to help boost its new dedicated Video tab on the social network.

“Our goal is to kickstart an ecosystem of partner content for the tab, so we’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook,” said Van Veen.

“Our goal is to show people what is possible on the platform and learn as we continue to work with video partners around the world.”

The news comes despite recent claims by Facebook’s head of global product marketing, Matthew Corbin, that the launch of Facebook Live had moved the social network away from a video strategy focused more heavily on licensing content.

Speaking at the OTTtv World Summit in London last month, Corbin single engineer came up with the concept of Facebook Live as a “weekend hack”, but after internal data showed that Live produced a ‘hockey stick’ spike in consumption, Facebook focused its efforts there.

This effectively diverted Facebook’s focus away from developing a video strategy focused around “content acquisition and partnership” – something it had spent some nine months developing internally, said Corbin.

He added that Facebook is looking to drive “very relevant discovery” with its dedicated video section and compared this new Video Home section of Facebook to “channel surfing” for videos that are uploaded to the social network.
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Global VR Association launches with backing from Google, Facebook, HTC 

Global VR Association launches with backing from Google, Facebook, HTC  | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Google, HTC VIVE and ’s Oculus are among the founding members of the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA), which was announced last week.

The non-profit organisation of international headset manufacturers is designed to promote the growth of the global virtual reality industry – developing and sharing best practices and fostering dialogue between public and private stakeholders.

Acer Starbreeze, Samsung, and Sony Interactive Entertainment are also founding partners of the association, which said it aims to “unlock and maximize VR’s potential” and ensure those gains are shared around the world.

“The goal of the Global Virtual Reality Association is to promote responsible development and adoption of VR globally,” said the GVRA in a statement announcing its launch.

“The association’s members will develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses. The group will also serve as a resource for consumers, policymakers, and industry interested in VR.”
Hughes Systique's curator insight, December 15, 2016 12:43 AM

Google, HTC VIVE and ’s Oculus are among the founding members of the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA), which was announced last week.

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Netflix reveals trend to match TV series and movies

Netflix reveals trend to match TV series and movies | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Netflix says it has identified a new trend among its members whereby they integrate movies into their series binge watching.

The US streaming service redefined and gave new life to the term ‘binge watching’, a term applied to its series. It has now lifted the lid on how its customers weave features into those viewing habits.

Netflix identified the trend by analysing the viewing habits of 86 million customers in 190 territories between January and October this year.

In a blog post on the research Ted Sarandos said that amid the ongoing talk of a golden age of TV drama, films still have an important role on the SVOD service.

“It’s interesting that in this golden age of television, movies are consistently in demand on Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix. “What we’ve come to figure out is that movies are really an important part of people’s viewing routines and complementary to the way they watch and enjoy TV.”

The comments came in the same week that Sarandos said movies do not differentiate TV services from one another. Noting that Netflix’s movie content accounted for about a third of viewing, he noted that consumers “passionate about watching” a particular movie would take steps to see it before the window in which it is available either to HBO or Netflix. The movie content on the platform is therefore intended for “a more dispassionate audience” and is “not likely to differentiate you from everybody else”, he said.

The new research, however, underlines an important accompanying role that films can play. Netflix – like rival streaming service Amazon Prime Video – is notoriously shy to reveal any viewing data. It has, however, now revealed more about its subs viewing habits.

“A new trend in watching has emerged with more than 30 million Netflix members around the world weaving film into their binge routines,” Netflix said.

It also revealed that 59% of customers take a break lasting about three days after finishing a drama series before embarking on a new one.

In that break period, 61% of members will tune into a movie. Netflix suggests series and feature film pairings including The Princess Bride and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt orThe Big Short and Orange is the New Black.

Other series-film matching examples Netflix subs are choosing include House of Cards and Beasts of no Nation, which was Netflix’s first original movie. Bloodline and Spotlight, Breaking Bad and Pulp Fiction, and Gilmore Girls and Dirty Dancing were other series and film matches.

Black Mirror fans, meanwhile, are switching to Hot Girls Wanted and of Marvel’s Luke Cage to 13TH.

In other instances viewers are turning to feature docs after bingeing a series. Narcos’ fans, for example, are switching to drugs docs Cartel Land and Narco Cultura.

The binge watching and movie matching trend does not apply, however, to comedy. Netflix says its customers choose comedy to break their viewing rhythm, for example lightening the mood after viewing horror offerings. To illustrate the point Netflix pointed to pairings including Stranger Things turned and Zootopia, and American Horror Story and Mean Girls.
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Ericsson: consumers see more value in VOD than linear, mobile viewing exploding 

Ericsson: consumers see more value in VOD than linear, mobile viewing exploding  | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Consumers are turning to on-demand services in unprecedented numbers, are spending longer searching for content on VOD sites than on linear TV and are viewing more user-generated content as a proportion of their total video viewing time, according to the latest findings of Ericsson’s Consumerlab research project.

Mobile video viewing is also growing dramatically, with time spent viewing content on mobile devices up 85% in six years, as previously reported by Digital TV Europe. Mobile viewing time has increased by four hours a week while fixed screen viewing has declined by 2.5 hours a week since 2012. In the US, 20% of increased mobile viewing is for paid-for premium content.

The survey found that 40% of consumers globally are interested in mobile data plans that include all-you-can-eat video time, rising to 46% among millennials.

The latest Consumerlab survey found, among other things, that consumers in the US spend 45% more time choosing what to watch on video on demand (VOD) services than scheduled linear TV services.

VOD satisfaction

The survey found that 63% of consumers are very satisfied with content discovery in their VOD service, while only 51% say the same for their scheduled linear TV provider

Consumer spending on VOD services in the US has increased by over 60% in just a few years, according to Ericsson.

Over a period of the last four years, consumers say they have increased their VOD spending from an average of US$13 (€12) to US$20 per month. While paid-for scheduled linear TV services continue to account for about half of the average household media spending in the US, and the average household uses 1.3 scheduled linear TV services, it also uses 3.8 VOD services, the survey found.

Report author Anders Erlandsson said that, while there are significant differences between the US and other markets in terms of the absolute numbers using VOD and the time they spend on it, the overarching trends are common across markets. “The levels are different internationally, but we are seeing similar growth patterns. The angle of the curve is similar,” said Erlandsson.

In general, people have a more positive opinion of VOD services than of linear TV, even though they spend more time looking for content on the former than on the latter.

“On demand services are outperforming linear TV in net promoter scores. That applies across all markets,” said Erlandsson. “They spend more time searching for content. That is interesting because. They have higher expectation of finding exactly what they are looking for [on VOD services].”

The portion of total viewing hours for scheduled linear TV content has decreased slightly by 16% since Ericsson’s 2010 survey. At the same time, on-demand viewing – such as streamed TV series, movies and other TV programmes – and short video clips have grabbed a growing portion of the total viewing time, increasing by 50% and 86% respectively. In total, all types of on-demand viewing now make up 43% of all active viewing, out of which movies, TV series and other TV programmes account for 74%.

Millennial habits

Among millennials, video consumption time is increasing significantly compared with older demographics, with a substantial portion of the increase attributable to viewing of YouTube-type content, with viewing on mobile devices growing in line with this.

“Globally, there is growth of four hours a week of viewing on mobile screens and a decline of two and a half hours spent on the big screen,” said Erlandsson, adding that the decline in fixed screen viewing was not universal. “In the UK there is a small increase in big screen viewing of about half an hour,” he said, with the overall increase in consumption outperforming other markets.

The robustness of fixed screen viewing in a market like the UK is likely be attributed to the availability of extensive catch-up and on-demand services and the high rate of penetration of connected TVs.

‘That might be an opportunity to limit the decline of fixed screen viewing going forwards,” said Erlandsson.

In general, while the survey highlighted the growing importance of mobile consumption – as reported by DTVE following Ericsson’s pre-briefing on the report at MIPCOM in Cannes last month – there is also growth in consumption of on-demand services on connected TVs.

On the mobile front, Erlandsson said there was a trend towards more viewing of long-form content, especially on devices with bigger screens.

“Historically mobile consumption was only about short-form content, but we are seeing more long form content on tablets and laptops. It is screen size that is a major barrier for long form content. It is also an age thing. Younger viewers can feel the smartphone is big enough for a TV series while commuting,” he said.

The extra viewing time recorded by younger consumers is directly related to time spent viewing online video.

“Lots of the extra viewing time in the younger age group comes from user-generated content. That is the number one type of content that millennials spend the most time on – the biggest chunk of the 34 hours a week that they are spending on video. It could be short or long-form content, and they watch a lot of downloaded content as well,” he said.

“UGC is increasingly appealing to many, and younger consumers in particular. Today 16-34 year-olds spend almost 2.5 hours more each week watching streamed on-demand user-generated content than 35-69 year olds. At the same time, 16-34 year-olds spend almost four hours less than 35-69 year-olds when it comes to watching live linear broadcast content.”

An increasing proportion of online viewing is accounted for not only by user-generated content but by genres such as eSports.

“Growth is happening both for longer-form content and TV series but there is even greater growth in short video clips on YouTube, Twitch and other eSports services. With eSports, viewing is often live rather than on-demand. Consumers don’t want one thing only,” said Erlandsson.“Across the board, eSports is not every significant. Online accounts for an average viewing time of 30 hours a week with eSports taking an hour. But for millennials it jumps up quite a bit and that is even more the case for under 24s. Millennials are spending 5% of their time on eSports.”

Binge evolution

The Consumerlab report also recorded more so-called ‘binge viewing’ – viewing of multiple episodes of TV series – which can be attributed to the evolution of the user experience on both SVOD and free-to-view catch-up services to encourage this type of behaviour by teeing up the next episode immediately – so that viewers have to actively switch off the next episode of the show they have just watched. It is also growing because free catch-up-type on-demand services increasingly have full series available on-demand rather than just the episode aired that week.

“Binge viewing is not just something for millennials but is done by older viewers too,” said Erlandsson. “Face-to-face interviews reveal that it is easy, because services promote ongoing viewing. One of the challenges historically with catch-up services was that they haven’t offered more than a couple of episodes. That is a serious limitation. Making more content available encourages binging.”

The Consumerlab report also looked at the way in which different groups can be defined by behavioural characteristics and the way in which those characteristics are changing over time – and how this will have an impact on existing business models.

Ericsson had previously identified six different groups for the purposes of its analysis: TV couch traditionalists, screen shifters – who flit between screens, computer centric – who most stream video to their PCs, mobility centric – who use mobile screens first, average TV Joes – who spend a bit of time on online video and watch an average amount of TV, and TV Zero – those who watch little.

“We looked at six different TV user groups and how they have evolved. Couch traditionalists are a declining group, and they are the 0high spenders when it comes to broadcast TV,” said Erlandsson. “The screen shifters and mobility-centrics on the other hand are growing at a staggering pace.”

Since 2010, the TV Couch Traditionalists group has shrunk by more than 30% while Screen Shifters has grown by 33% over the same time period. Mobility Centrics has increased by more than 300%, making this the largest group alongside Screen Shifters.

TV Couch Traditionalists spend 35 hours per week watching any type of TV and video content, but Screen Shifters spend significantly more – 62 hours per week, partly because this group tends to view content on multiple screens in parallel.

Could these shifts potentially have a deleterious impact on traditional pay TV service models? “People [in the US traditionally] spend US$85 a month on pay TV and spend less than US$10 on VOD. Screen shifters on the other hand spend US$10 less on pay TV but US$50 more on VOD. They are big spenders but they are spending on VOD, and SVOD is a significantly bigger portion than TVOD,” said Erlandsson.

He says that the challenges this poses for traditional pay TV providers crosses territories and is not specifically related to the largely US phenomenon of cord-cutting driven by the high price of pay TV, however. Pay TV providers therefore have an opportunity to adjust to the trend by evolving their offerings to meet the growing demand for non-linear viewing.

“Cord-cutting because pay TV is overpriced is not really the reason why people are cutting down on linear and viewing VOD. We are seeing similar patterns in other markets,” says Erlandsson.
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Netflix plans to raise US$1bn for content acquisitions

Netflix plans to raise US$1bn for content acquisitions | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Netflix is looking to raise US$1 billion in order to fund further content acquisitions, investments and strategic transactions.

Intriguingly, the announcement of a US$1 billion debt offering in senior notes was an adjustment on an plan to raise US$800 million revealed just hours before.

Los Gatos-based SVOD giant Netflix said the funds would be used for “general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions”.

The company made a similar move in February 2015, when it raised US$1.5 billion. It also made senior debts offers in 2009 and 2013, raising US$200 million and US$400 million respectively.

Netflix has already committed to spending US$6 billion on content this year, and it wasn’t immediately clear if those funds were separate to the new offer. Around US$1.3 billion will go on originals this year, though that number will jump as Netflix looks to move towards a 50-50 commissioned/acquired split.

In effect, Netflix is taking on more debt, which could affect its share price, particularly after a shaky 2016 on the stock market.

However, it recently recorded excellent third quarter financial results, and has been heavily linked with a sale to The Walt Disney Company, meaning the digital firm remains a Wall Street darling and is nearing its 2015 share high of US$133.27.

In further Netflix news, the company’s CEO, Reed Hastings, told a Wall Street Journal tech conference he supported AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner providing it doesn’t lead to an “unfair advantage” for HBO.

Netflix and HBO should be “treated the same” in terms of distribution, he said, adding: “The key thing is whether there is going to be net neutrality, which hasn’t been AT&T’s favorite topic.”

In the US, HBO goes up against using its premium cable network and direct-to-consumer platform HBO Now.

Whether AT&T and Time Warner ultimately end up as a merged unit will depend on thorough regulatory investigations of the US government.
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YouTube ups original content focus with more YouTube Red commissions

YouTube ups original content focus with more YouTube Red commissions | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
YouTube has commissioned a raft of new content for its subscription service YouTube Red, following a commissioning strategy that aims to tap into the popularity the site’s home-grown stars.

Speaking at MIPCOM yesterday, YouTube’s global head of content, Susanne Daniels, said that the Google-owned video service’s goal is to be “uniquely YouTube” and to not mirror Netflix or Amazon by “bringing TV to digital”.

“Our thesis is simple: Identify YouTube’s most engaging stars and top genres, and invest in the content that fans tell us they want. In other words, let our community drive our content,” she said.

Among the new content announced for the platform was Impulse, a sci-fi drama about a young girl who discovers her ability to teleport away from danger that will feature “top YouTubers”.

YouTube is working with Universal Cable Productions on the show. Lost writer Jeff Lieber will write and produce while Bourne Identity director Doug Liman will direct.

YouTube announced a new half-hour scripted comedy series about a newly-formed team of eSports players. The series will feature YouTube stars Dan Avidan and Arin Hanson from the Game Grumps channel and will be produced by Starburns Industries.

Pro wrestler-turned actor, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – who has 1.3 million YouTube subscribers – will make a show for YouTube Red with Studio 71 and Corridor Digital. The Rock will executive produce the half hour action series, about a life insurance company that send its agents forward in time to prevent the accidental deaths of its clients.

YouTube also commissioned a second run of Joey Graceffa’s murder mystery series, Escape the Night, ordered a sequel to Burnie Burns’s Lazer Team movie and renewed for second seasons existing YouTube Red shows Foursome and Scare PewDiePie.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen our original series become one of the leading drivers of YouTube Red subscriptions, with viewership that rivals cable shows in the US,” said Daniels.

“Over half the time people spend watching Originals is on their mobile phones. And in the living room, we’re seeing Red members watching over 75% percent more YouTube on their TV’s than the average YouTube viewer.

“We’re also seeing a virtuous cycle between YouTube Red and our ad-supported experience, with creators featured in Originals seeing a significant boost in YouTube subscribers and watchtime on their main channels as well – often from new fans.”

Last October YouTube unveiled YouTube Red, a US pay-monthly offering that lets viewers access an ad-free version of the service and watch videos offline on phones and tablets.

In April, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Google’s Q1 earnings call that YouTube was going to work on “a lot more original content” throughout the year for YouTube Red.
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BT and EE make first combined move with sport app promotion

BT and EE make first combined move with sport app promotion | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
One of the first fruits of the BTEE mega-merger has been borne with mobile operator EE offering six months free access to the BT Sport app to all its pay-monthly customers.

In the initial aftermath of the merger, BT opted to keep the operations and brands separate, even going so far as to refresh its own MVNO offering despite now being the largest mobile operator via EE. The thinking was that EE is the stronger mobile brand and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

However it was inevitable that BT would begin to experiment with ways in which the two operations could help each other out commercially and this is the first. BT broadband subscribers get access to a couple of BT Sport subscription channels, which form a significant part of the bundle for many as BT has invested heavily in things like Champions League football and top-flight Rugby, as well as the app for watching on the go.

Now any EE customer gets six months free access to the BT Sport app with no apparent strings attached. BT says this is just the first of a bunch of offers set to be unveiled and leaves open the possibility of BT eventually presenting a ‘super-bundle’, offering the best of BT and EE for a single subscription.

“Our customers have been telling us for a long time that they are watching more and more sport on the go, and this summer’s European Championship football tournament has driven traffic peaks that we’ve never seen before,” said EE CEO Marc Allera.

“Now, as part of BT Group, we are able to offer customers the chance to watch the very best in live domestic and European sport when out and about. With our ambition to reach 95% of the geography of the UK by 2020, EE customers will be able to watch Premier League football while on Hackney Marshes, or the America’s Cup in the middle of Lake Windermere.”

“Fundamentally, we cannot overstate the importance of this deal as BT Sport continues to grow from strength to strength,” said Analyst Paolo Pescatore of CCS Insight. “Within months of launching BT Sport added millions and now three years on, its potential audience will grow to more than 15 million. This is a significant achievement within a short period of time.

“Timing could not be any better in light of the new Premier League season and we are expecting a busy second half of the year with Sky’s entry to mobile, Vodafone into TV and Virgin Media’s new set-top-box. Let battle commence, but Sky’s close relationship with content and rights owners still puts it in a far stronger position over its competitors.”

This promotion is set to move to a £5 monthly rolling contract at the end of the offer period but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it extended indefinitely. As Pescatore indicated the real battle here is for the UK multiplay market, with competitors such as Sky still holding some distinct advantages. A fully converged BT + EE offering has the potential to dominate, but BT will be hesitant to cannibalise too many of its own revenue streams too quickly.
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{Core Analysis}: SDN / NFV: Enemy of the state

{Core Analysis}: SDN / NFV: Enemy of the state | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
I want to talk today about an interesting subject I have seen popping up over the last six months or so and in many presentations in the stream I chaired at the NFV world congress a couple of months ago.

In NFV and to a certain extent in SDN as well, service availability is achieved through a combination of functions redundancy and fast failover routing whenever a failure is detected in the physical or virtual fabric. Availability is a generic term, though and covers different expectations whether you are a consumer, operator or enterprise. The telecom industry has heralded the mythical 99.999% or five nines availability as the target to reach for telecoms equipment vendors.

This goal has led to networks and appliances that are super redundant, at the silicon, server, rack and geographical levels, with complex routing, load balancing and clustering capabilities to guarantee that element failures do not impact catastrophically services. In today's cloud networks, one arrives to the conclusion that a single cloud, even tweaked can't performed beyond three nines availability and that you need a multi-cloud strategy to attain five nines of service availability...

Consumers, over the last ten years have proven increasingly ready to accept a service that might not be always of the best quality if the price point is low enough. We all remember the start of skype when we would complain of failed and dropped calls or voice distortions, but we all put up with it mostly because it was free-ish. As the service quality improved, new features and subscriptions schemes were added, allowing for new revenues as consumers adopted new services.
One could think from that example that maybe it is time to relax the five nines edict from telecoms networks but there are two data points that run counter to that assumption.

The first and most prominent reason to keep a high level of availability is actually a regulatory mandate. Network operators operate not only a commercial network but also a series of critical infrastructure for emergency and government services. It is easy to think that 95 or 99% availability is sufficient until you have to deliver 911 calls, where that percentage difference means loss of life.
The second reason is more innate to network operators themselves. Year after year, polls show that network operators believe that the way they outcompete each others and OTTs in the future is quality of service, where service availability is one of the first table stakes. 

As I am writing this blog, SDN and NFV in wireless have struggled through demonstrating basic load balancing and static traffic routing, to functions virtualization and auto scaling over the last years. What is left to get commercial grade (and telco grade) offerings is resolving the orchestration bit (I'll write another post on the battles in this segment) and creating a service that is both scalable and portable.

The portable bit is important, as a large part of the value proposition is to be able to place functions and services closer to the user or the edge of the network. To do that, an orchestration system has to be able to detect what needs to be consumed where and to place and chain relevant functions there.
Many vendors can demonstrate that part. The difficulty arises when it becomes necessary to scale in or down a function or when there is a failure.

Physical and virtual functions failure are to be expected. When they arise in today's systems, there is a loss of service, at least for the users that were using these functions. In some case, the loss is transient and a new request / call will be routed to another element the second time around, in other cases, it is permanent and the session / service cannot continue until another one is started.

In the case of scaling in or down, most vendors today will starve the virtual function and route all new requests to other VMs until this function can be shut down without impact to live traffic. It is not the fastest or the most efficient way to manage traffic. You essentially lose all the elasticity benefits on the scale down if you have to manage these moribund zombie-VNFs until they are ready to die.

Vendors and operators who have been looking at these issues have come to a conclusion. Beyond the separation of control and data plane, it is necessary to separate further the state of each machine, function service and to centralize it in order to achieve consistent availability, true elasticity and manage disaster recovery scenarios.

In most cases, this is a complete redesign for vendors. Many of them have already struggled to port their product to software, then port it to hypervisor, then optimized for performance... separating state from the execution environment is not going to be just another port. It is going to require redesign and re architecting.

The cloud-native vendors who have designed their platform with microservices and modularity in mind have a better chance, but there is still a series of challenges to be addressed. Namely, collecting state information from every call in every function, centralizing it and then redistribute it is going to create a lot of signalling traffic. Some vendors are advocating some inline signalling capabilities to convey the state information in a tokenized fashion, others are looking at more sophisticated approaches, including state controllers that will collect, transfer and synchronize relevant controllers across clouds.
In any case, it looks like there is still quite a lot of work to be done in creating truly elastic and highly available virtualized, software defined network.
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Akamai: Euros to generate twice the streaming traffic of last World Cup

Akamai: Euros to generate twice the streaming traffic of last World Cup | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
The Euro 2016 football tournament will generate double the amount of peak online streaming traffic compared to the 2014 World Cup, according to CDN provider Akamai.

Revealing stats and predictions ahead of England’s group-stage match against Wales, Akamai’s director of product marketing, media solutions, Ian Munford, said that so far in the Euros the maximum peak traffic for streaming matches was 4.03 Tbps – a figure that will “no doubt” be surpasses as the tournament progresses.

“We’re expecting to see peak traffic for Euro 2016 hit the 10-13 Tbps. So in two years we’re actually seeing a doubling in traffic,” said Munford, adding that prior to the Euros, the 2014 World Cup was the biggest online audience the content delivery network (CDN) services company had delivered.

Akamai logged 7 Tbps in peak traffic during this tournament – an indicator of both audience size and the resolution of video being streamed.

Prior to yesterday’s Euro games, the peak audience that Akamai has recorded so far during Euro 2016 was 1.63 million people for Sunday’s Germany vs. Ukraine match. The top countries so far for streaming the matches are Germany, France, US, UK and Turkey, though this may change as fewer countries remain in the tournament during the knock-out stages, according to Munford.

He also said that “about 45% of the audience are watching what we would classify as being high def resolutions – 3Mbps and above. In fact the vast majority of that 45% is the upper echelons of about 3.5 Mbps, so it’s real high def.”

The news came as the BBC revealed that yesterday’s England vs. Wales match resulted in 2.3 million unique browsers watching the game online – more than double the BBC’s previous digital record.

A peak audience of 9.3 million people tuned in on BBC, while an all-time high audience of14.6m unique global browsers visited the BBC Sport website on Thursday to follow coverage – though not necessarily live footage – of Euro 2016, according to the broadcaster.

“The BBC has pioneered live digital event coverage from London 2012 Olympics to Glastonbury, and our record breaking figures highlight its increasing importance to audiences,” said BBC Sport director, Barbara Slater.
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The Logical Happens: Open-O Merges with ECOMP

The Logical Happens: Open-O Merges with ECOMP | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

We’ve noted in the past that two Linux Foundation open source projects seemed to be working on similar things: The Open-O project and open source ECOMP. Today, the Linux Foundation announced that the two groups are merging. The new name for the combined group is the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). The goal of ONAP is to enable end users to design, orchestrate, manage, and automate network services and virtual functions. 

It was only logical for these two groups to merge. They were doing many of the same things, and they were both hosted by the Linux Foundation. What’s fascinating is that the new group brings AT&T together with two major Chinese mobile operators. AT&T originally created its Enhanced Control, Orchestration, and Management (ECOMP) platform for its own use as it pursues network virtualization. Mazin Gilbert, AT&T’s VP of advanced technologies, platforms, and architecture, recently told SDxCentral that the company needed to open source the project to get the help of others in order to reach its virtualization goal. Meanwhile, some big Chinese mobile operators joined Open-O as founding members: China Mobile and China Telecom. Together, those two carriers count more than 1 billion subscribers. This dwarfs AT&T Mobility’s 131 million subscribers. But now, employees from of all these carriers will work collaboratively within ONAP. In addition, Bell Canada and Orange had already started working with AT&T’s ECOMP. So now, those providers will be working within ONAP, as well. “By combining two of the largest open source networking initiatives, the community is able to take advantage of the best architectural components of both projects,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in a prepared statement. ONAP Governance The Linux Foundation will establish a governance and membership structure for ONAP. A governing board will guide business decisions and marketing and ensure alignment between the technical communities and members. A technical steering committee will provide leadership on the code merge and guide the technical direction of ONAP. The Linux Foundation isn’t specifying yet who will lead the governing board and the technical steering committee for ONAP. For Open-O, those roles were filled by Marc Cohn and Chris Donley, respectively. Arpit Joshipura, who recently became the general manager for networking and orchestration with the Linux Foundation, was instrumental in the merger between Open-O and ECOMP. Joshipura says, “Marc is helping with the Open-O transition team and will also help in multiple areas within ONAP. A new technical steering committee will be created based on the new ONAP charter, and positions will be announced at a later stage. Joshipura said in January that he would be working on harmonizing the many open source groups within Linux that are working on SDN and NFV. This looks like the first step in that harmonization plan.

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Google set to sell satellite business and cool connectivity ambitions

Google set to sell satellite business and cool connectivity ambitions | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Sources close to the deal have commented to Bloomberg that execs at holding company Alphabet are currently in discussion with Planet, a satellite imaging start-up, to take Skybox off its books in an equity transaction. Alphabet acquired Skybox is a deal believed to worth in the region of $500 million three years ago, though the equity deal will see its finger remain in the connectivity pie, though exposure would be reduced.

The initial purchase of Skybox was to provide more detailed imagery to the Google Maps platform to improve accuracy, though the team did also highlight the network would be used to provide connectivity. It is believed that as part of the deal some of the Skybox staff will be moved over to Planet, though others would be reallocated around the Alphabet business.

The ambitious move into the world of connectivity was not only fuelled by the acquisition of Skybox but also notable investments in the Google Fiber business unit, which was put on the shelf during the latter stages of 2016. The move to compete with traditional ISPs was certainly a bold one, though if there was a company with the cash, credibility and cajones to pull it off, it’s Google.

The deal has not been confirmed by Alphabet, though it would not come as a huge surprise as there have been signs of this cooling off in recent months. Aside from the Google Fiber shelfing, the team put the brakes on its rollout in California, telling Palo Alto and Mountain View, to explore cheaper alternatives. Wireless broadband is seemingly of particular interest, especially since the acquisition of Webpass, as a substantially cheaper connectivity alternative than laying a fibre network.

While this could be viewed as an ominous sign for the Google connectivity ambitions, it might not be the end of the world. Yes, the business is retreating from the idea, but it might simply be a case of now not being the right time. If the development of wireless broadband technology is on track for the Google team, it might well be the case of prioritizing cash outlays for the right time.

Irrelevant as to whether this is a case of putting plans on ice or completely retreating from the idea, the whole saga is evidence of why Google is a successful company, and how the fail-fast business model can be a triumph. Google has invested money and time aggressively in the plan but this time it didn’t work out.

The fact it hasn’t worked out is not a bad thing, as Google found out quickly. Now the plan can sit on the shelf and wait for the technology to catch up, or the Google team can chalk this one up to a learning experience and prioritize cash else-where. In any case, I wouldn’t read too deeply into the situation; Google is still in a very good place, and it only needs a couple of these ventures to work out to discover a couple of extra billion dollars in revenues.
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Comcast set to license home automation to Charter, Cox, Rogers, others in the same way it licenses X1 in video | FierceCable

Comcast set to license home automation to Charter, Cox, Rogers, others in the same way it licenses X1 in video | FierceCable | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |

As it touts the integration of its latest home-automation partner, Zen Ecosystems, into the Xfinity Home platform, Comcast used CES to quietly meet with executives of Charter Communications and other cable companies, and plot a future in which Comcast will license home automation and security services in much the same way it does the X1 video platform. In June, Comcast announced its intent to purchase Austin, Texas-based home-automation vendor Icontrol Networks, whose client roster not only serves Comcast, but Charter, Cox Communications, Canada’s Rogers Communications and a host of other cable operators around the world, according to Dennis Matthew, VP of Xfinity Home. \Home vendor Icontrol Networks, will maintain Austin offices With Icontrol providing the backbone of these other cable companies’ home automation and security services, Comcast is poised to manage these operations once its Icontrol purchase finally closes. (Matthew would not speculate on when he thinks the regulatory proceedings will end.) Icontrol was founded in 2003 and offers connected home technology to a handful of MSOs, marketed under brand names including Cox Homelife, Bright House Home Security and Control, Mediacom Home Controller, Time Warner Cable Intelligent Home and others. (Bright House and Time Warner are now owned by Charter, of course.) Once Comcast closes on Icontrol, it will license the full range of Xfinity Home services, which have grown in recent years to include such nationally distributed third-party devices as August Smart Locks, Chamberlain MyQ garage controllers, Lutron Caseta wireless controllers and dimmers, and now, Zen thermostats. With prices for Zen thermostats starting out at around $150, the inclusion of the product into the Xfinity Home portfolio does not mean that Comcast is bumping aside Nest. Matthew said it merely gives Xfinity Home flexibility to offer a lower price option to the more premium Nest, which retails for around $250.

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Comcast licenses X1 to Canada’s Rogers

Comcast licenses X1 to Canada’s Rogers | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Canada’s Rogers Communications has become the latest cable operator to license Comcast’s X1 video platform. 

Rogers expects to launch a white-label version of the video service in early 2018, enabling such features as 4K content.

Rogers joins fellow Canadian cable operator Shaw Communications and privately held U.S. operator Cox Communications, both of which have begun deploying their own versions of X1. 

RELATED: Canada's Shaw to deploy white-label X1 across footprint by end of 2017

“We’ve seen growing desire of other operators to leverage the industry-leading innovations we’ve created at Comcast,” said Neil Smit, president and CEO Comcast Cable, in a statement. “Comcast is excited to bring the experiences of the award-winning X1 platform to Rogers’ customers in Canada.”

RELATED: Cox's white-label X1 platform, 'Contour,' comes to OKC

“This partnership is great news for our customers,” added Alan Horn, chairman and interim CEO, Rogers Communications. “We’re bringing our customers a world-class IPTV service with the most advanced features available in the market today. On top of that, our customers will be future-proofed thanks to Comcast’s innovative and robust product roadmap.”

Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh told investors earlier this month that X1 is currently in about 45 percent of its video homes. Executives for the cable company have also said that licensing revenue for white-label versions of X1 aren’t highly lucrative, at least not directly.

The benefit, Comcast said, is longer term; the broader reach of the platform would be able to, say, enable robust addressable advertising revenue.

Comcast has begun growing its video base again and credits X1 with yielding reductions for churn in 32 consecutive quarters.
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PwC: the future of video is mobile first 

PwC: the future of video is mobile first  | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
The future of video is mobile-first, with 70% of 18-24 year-olds now claiming that their phone is the primary place that they view video content, according to new US research.

PwC’s ‘Videoquake 4.0: Binge, stream, repeat – how video is changing forever’ report claims that the mobile viewer is “changing content creation and curation” with 91% of survey respondents owning a smartphone and 76% viewing video on their mobile devices.

This proportion is even higher among younger ‘gen Z’ viewers, who are “leading the charge in mobile phone viewership.” The research found that 90% of those aged 18-24 watch video on their phones, compared to 86% of those aged 25-34, 79% of 35-49 year-olds and 52% of 50-59 year-olds.

Overall, across all age groups, 60% of respondents said that their smartphone was the primary place where they view video content, 76% said they are watching more video on their phones than they were a year ago and 90% said they believe that using a mobile for video is on the rise.

PwC found that while, in general, people tend to watch short-form content from YouTube and social networks on their mobiles, 62% of 18 to 24-year-olds reported watching TV shows on their mobile devices.

“Screens are ubiquitous. So are content offerings. Therefore, the mobility of content across screens has never been more important,” said Deborah Bothun, PwC’s global lead on entertainment and media.

“In order to gain and retain consumer share of voice, content should be customised to this multiscreen lifestyle and flow from platform to platform, best optimised for each unique user experience.”

Despite the growing importance of mobile, PwC said it did not see the surges in cord cutting that many expected – even though there was a continued dip in traditional pay TV subscribers this year.

“When we ask pay TV subscribers as a whole if they expect to subscribe to cable one year from now, we don’t see huge declines over time. In fact, we see a slight uptick in 2016, indicating that cord cutting may continue at a much slower rate than predicted,” said the report.

The research sampled more than 1,200 US consumers via a national online survey of adults aged 18-59 with households incomes above US$40,000. PwC also conducted two consumer focus groups in Los Angeles – one group focused on millennials and Gen Z, the other on traditional pay TV subscribers and ‘cord trimmers’.
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Facebook launches live 360° video streaming

Facebook launches live 360° video streaming | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Facebook is launching live 360° video streaming, with National Geographic to be the first publisher to use the new functionality.

Facebook: Live 360 will go live at 3pm Eastern Time today with a National Geographic live stream from the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah.

Facebook said that Live 360 video will be available to more pages in the coming months and will roll out to all pages and profiles in 2017.

“Live video on Facebook gives people an immediate, authentic window into what’s happening in the world right now; 360 video immerses viewers fully into the scene, letting them explore on their own and experience a new environment,” said Facebook in a blog post.

“We’re excited to combine these two formats with Live 360 video. Live 360 transports people into new experiences – right as they happen.”

Facebook first started to roll out 360-degree videos in the service’s News Feed last year, in an effort to take immersive content “a step further.”

It started to test live video streaming in the US in December, allowing users to broadcast from their phone in real-time. Facebook Live functionality was rolled out site-wide earlier this year.
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Facebook to expand dedicated video efforts 

Facebook to expand dedicated video efforts  | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Facebook is due to roll out its dedicated Video Home section widely across the service and could consider launching it as a standalone app in the future.

Speaking on the company’s third quarter earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that while there are no current plans for a standalone video service, other Facebook services have been separated out in the past.

“I think it [Video Home] is a good experience inside Facebook, but we also have had examples over time, like Messenger for example, where we started it in Facebook and decided that in order to fulfil their potential, it needed to be its own experience over time,” said Zuckerberg.

“We will look at all those options, but for now I really think that Video Home is going to be a great experience, and I’m excited to roll that out.”

Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s trials of Video Home in a few markets earlier this year had gone well and that it is “hoping to roll that out pretty soon widely”.

He described the new feature as a section for people who “specifically want to watch different kinds of videos” and for those looking to see what videos a recent page that they follow has posted.

“Video is naturally becoming a larger share of the content in News Feed because both people and pages are sharing more videos as a mix and people want to consume that content,” said Zuckerberg.

“There’s not really a question of whether that should be a separate app. This is what people want News Feed to be increasingly, so this is what it will become.”

Discussing Facebook’s broader ‘video-first’ strategy, Zuckerberg said that the number of people using Facebook Live has grown four-fold since May and that the social network is working to put video first across its apps.

“People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important,” said Zuckerberg.

“In addition to making it easy to share video, we also want to make it easier to capture video. In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share. Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share.”

In Ireland Facebook is already testing a version of its app that includes a camera with Snapchat-style ‘creative effects’ for photos and videos.

Zuckberg said that in Messenger it is also testing new camera and video features, and added that Facebook will be “experimenting with even more visual messaging tools over the next few months as well.”

Also speaking on the call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that in the past month alone, more than three million small businesses have posted a video on Facebook, including organic posts and ads.

Overall for the quarter, Facebook said it had an average of 1.79 billion monthly active users as of September 30, an increase of 16% year-on-year. Monthly average mobile users stood at 1.66 billion, an increase of 20% year-on-year.

Total revenue was up 56% year-on-year for the quarter to US$7.01 billion while net income was up 166% to US$2.38 billion.
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Netflix surges as revenues top US$2bn

Netflix surges as revenues top US$2bn | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Netflix has reported better than expected results, with quarterly revenues topping US$2 billion (EUR1.8 billion) for the first time.

Summer hits Stranger Things and Narcos drove the growth, and investors rushed to back the US streaming company in pre-market trading after a period of share price volatility.

Speaking to analysts in the wake of the third quarter results, Netflix bosses said they will continue efforts to localise its international services and will push more heavily into unscripted originals.

The company does not break out country specific subscriber numbers, but reported 33.9 million subscribers across its international footprint, compared to 24 million at the same point a year ago. The SVOD operator said it expects to hit 40 million by year-end and cited its original drama series as the reason for its growth in the quarter.

In the US subscriber numbers hit 46 million compared to 42 million a year earlier. Quarterly US revenues were US$1.3 billion versus US$1.1 billion and international delivered US$853 million versus US$517 million across the same period. The quarterly loss from international was marginally up at US$69 million.

“I would say we’re having broad success around international,” Reed Hastings told analysts. “We’re continuing to make those investments. We’ve got a lot of room to go to improve the service.”

Addressing the effort to localise its service in specific markets, the Netflix chief said: “We’ve only just now localised Poland and Turkey. That brings us up to 22 languages. YouTube is at 50. So we’ve got a long way to go in that localisation effort.”

Finance chief David Wells added: “It makes sense that people want to consume in their language, but it’s not going to make sense to localise in a super small territory. But for the larger territories, it’s going to make sense and then even for the medium-sized territories. We’ll get there eventually.”

Content boss Ted Sarandos talked up the benefits of producing its original programming in house as it did with hit series Stranger Things. “I think when we see something like Stranger Things come across, it doesn’t come with the studio mark-up attached,” he said.

“That is just purely expenses not on screen and the other is much, much more flexibility in terms of the rights that we have  – and how we continue to exploit and how we continue to maintain exclusivity – but we’re not seeing the content going to other markets in the syndication, in DVD and elsewhere, against our wishes.”

The streaming service will increase the volume of original content from about 600 hours in 2016, to 1000 hours in 2017. Its programming budget will top US$6 billion next year. As well as more, and returning, original drama series, there will be more unscripted programming on the OTT service.

“Being able to have a good steady flow of high-quality unscripted programming is something we want to focus on because I think we can do it well and efficiently,” Sarandos said.

Netflix said a China launch is unlikely because of a challenging regulatory environment and it will concentrate on licensing its content in the country rather than roll out a full service.

The streaming service added it will continue to strike deals with pay TV operators, having already struck agreements with Liberty Global and Comcast.

Rumours have been circulating The Walt Disney Company has assessed buying Netflix, but nothing concrete has yet emerged.
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Netflix and Amazon outspend HBO, CBS, Turner 

Netflix and Amazon spent more money on programming last year than CBS, HBO, Turner and most countries – including South Korea and Australia – according to new research.

The IHS Markit report claims that between 2013 and 2015, Netflix and Amazon more than doubled their annual expenditure on programming, with the internet firms spending a combined US$7.5 billion on content in 2015.

Netflix’s content spend rose from US$2.38 billion in 2013 to US$4.91 billion in 2015, while Amazon’s climbed from US$1.22 billion to US$2.67 billion over the same timeframe, according to the report.

“The levels of investment we are seeing from Netflix and Amazon are only topped by Disney (US$11.84 billion) and NBC (US$10.27 billion),” said Tim Westcott, senior principal analyst at IHS Technology.

However, he added that while more people are watching content online “it’s premature to declare that the era of linear TV is already over, and Netflix and Amazon have come hard on the heels of a boom in production of original drama and comedy by the likes of AMC and FX in the US”.

The IHS stats claim that 148 new scripted shows were aired by basic cable networks in the US in 2015, up from 138 the year before and 96 in 2013.

So far In 2016, there have been 113 scripted basic cable shows, compared to 78 on the networks, 31 on premium cable, and 57 online.

In 2012 there were only three online scripted US TV shows, rising to 20 in 2014 and 41 in 2015.
“We estimate that in 2015, the US represented 33% of worldwide expenditure on TV programming, with US$43 billion invested across free-to-air, pay TV and online,” said Westcott.

“Amazon and Netflix, though they are US companies, are now commissioning for multiple territories, so we have treated them as global platforms.”

Western Europe accounted for US$38.6 billion of content spend last year, according to the research, with the UK the biggest market (US$10.7 billion), followed by Germany (US$7.3 billion), France (US$6.6 billion) and Italy (US$4.6 billion).
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Google buys OTT technology provider Anvato » Digital TV Europe

Google buys OTT technology provider Anvato » Digital TV Europe | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
Google has bought Anvato, a video platform provider for over-the-top and TV everywhere content.

Anvato, which offers a software platform that automates the encoding, editing, publishing and distribution of video across multiple platforms, is joining the Google Cloud Platform team.

Announcing the deal, Google said that Anvato will complement its efforts “to enable scalable media processing and workflows in the cloud”, claiming that OTT technologies are critical for delivering media via the web.

“With OTT adoption rapidly accelerating, the Cloud Platform and Anvato teams will work together to deliver cloud solutions that help businesses in the media and entertainment industry scale their video infrastructure efforts and deliver high-quality, live video and on-demand content to consumers on any device,” said Google in a post on its Cloud Platform blog.

Anvato CEO Alper Turgut said that the deal will “allow us to supercharge our capabilities, accelerate the pace of innovation, and deliver tomorrow’s video solutions faster, enabling media companies to better serve their customers.”

Turgut said that Anvato will continue to deliver a full range of video processing software solutions for pay TV operators, programmers, broadcasters and live event producers, “and will do so on the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure”.

Anvato’s current customers include NBCUniversal, Univision, Scripps Networks, Fox Sports and Media General.

The deal was agreed for undisclosed terms.
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England v Wales Euro 2016 game sets new mobile data traffic record

England v Wales Euro 2016 game sets new mobile data traffic record | Mobile Video, OTT and payTV |
UK mobile operator EE has revealed the recent football match between England and Wales delivered a new record for mobile data consumption on its network.

The Euro 2016 fixture was the first time the two countries had faced each other in one of the big two international football tournaments. The match kicked off at 2pm, which probably coincided with a belated lunch-hour for many fans. It was broadcast by the BBC and also streamed live via the BBC website, which will have prompted many fans to watch it on mobile devices.

The chart below shows yesterday’s data traffic superimposed on the data for a week ago. As you can see the traffic curves were almost identical until 2pm, at which point mobile data consumption almost doubled. A few people stopped streaming at half time then even more tuned in for the second half, peaking when Daniel Strurridge scored England’s late winner before quickly dropping back to normal levels.

“This was a perfect storm for mobile data usage – a huge event, with massive build up, taking place during the working day, and live streamed on a great app,” said Matt Stagg, Head of Video and Content at EE. We’ve built our 4G network to be able to deliver an amazing live video experience for our customers for events exactly like this. People don’t want to miss these big events, and a reliable, high capacity mobile network makes sure that they don’t.”

According to EE that peak was 50% higher than the previous peak, which resulted from people streaming footage of Tim Cahill’s volleyed goal for Australia against the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup, which you can see below.

Video Player
EE also shared an update to its Wembley Stadium mobile data consumption numbers. Apparently this year’s FA Cup final topped one terabyte of mobile data in the stadium, almost double last year’s level.

Here’s some more info from EE: “The magic of the cup final fuelled a surge in picture and video posts to social media with uploads representing 31% of total traffic inside the stadium, a significant increase from previous events. Usage of Snapchat peaked at the start of the first half, as lucky fans from both sides looked to share their big day out with friends and family.

“Web browsing and video streaming made up the vast majority of data downloads during match day, with fans utilising access to video replays and match feeds via the likes of BBC Sport.

“Over 12,000 EE customers nationwide were tuned into BBC’s live coverage of the game via their mobile devices, the peak occurring shortly after Jesse Lingard smashed the winner in the 110th minute. iPhones (64%) made up the majority of devices streaming BBC’s live coverage, followed by Android (24%) and iPads (7%). Video on demand was the second most popular BBC service during the game, with approximately 3,000 mobile users, followed by live radio (approx. 2,000).”
Claude Seyrat's curator insight, June 17, 2016 8:05 PM

We've known for some time now that special, live events create peaks in mobile data consumption. Euro 2016 provides another example.