UK video-on-demand regulator ATVOD has named Paul Whiteing, CEO of PhonepayPlus, to its board as an independent member and director.Whiteing, who will take up his post in January, will replace Sara Nathan, who is standing down after three years.“We are delighted that Paul has agreed to join the Board. He offers a wealth of experience in regulation and consumer protection and will help to ensure that ATVOD understands the perspectives of the consumer as we work to ensure that users of on demand services enjoy the regulatory protection provided for in law,” said ATVOD chair Ruth Evans. “We would also like to express our thanks to the outgoing director – Sara Nathan – for her outstanding contribution to the development of ATVOD, especially in its crucial first years as the co-regulator for UK video-on-demand services.”
German cable operator KDG has passed the landmark of one million HD subscribers.The operator said it had added 600,000 new HD customers this year.KDG offers a total of 45 HD channels in various packages. It faces competition from HD Plus, the DTH service from SES that counted 761,456 paying subscribers at the end of September.
Germany-based technology provider TechnoTrend Görler has changed its name to Kathrein TechnoTrend following its strategic reorientation as part of the Kathrein group, which began at the end of last year, and has named a new chief sales officer.Kathrein TechnoTrend will position itself as specialist in partnerships with network operators and platform providers, providing receivers for cable, satellite and IPTV operators.The company has also named Volker Belz as chief sales officer, completing the line-up of its management board. Belz was previously senior director of strategy, media politics and new business at the third largest German cable network operator, Tele Columbus.Kathrein TechnoTrend will focus on providing hybrid system solutions for the operator market. This includes the development of its own high-performance receiver hardware and middleware solutions as well as the technical integration of suitable middleware from strong partners. In addition to central, eastern and southern Europe, its target markets are the Middle East, Latin America as well as new markets in North and South Africa.“The new name of the TechnoTrend company under the umbrella brand of Kathrein highlights the growing significance of the operator business for the entire group,” said Frank Ullmann, managing director, Kathrein TechnoTrend. “The operator CPE market will now see enormously dynamic growth in the direction of hybrid and convergent devices. Kathrein TechnoTrend and its partners are well positioned to make an important contribution to this development and profit from the coming growth. The appointment of a new CSO who knows the strategic needs of the market and comes to us with an extensive network of international contacts is a further important step for the reorientation of our receiver business on the international operator market.”Kathrein TechnoTrend will be exhibiting at ANGA COM on Stand B.19, Hall 10.2. read more
Virgin Media Business has completed the build out of a superfast fibre network for communications and media services company, Arqiva.The dedicated Arqnet2 ‘data superhighway’ network connects up to 40 sites across the UK, transmitting data bundles of up to 16 terabytes.Arqiva said the new capacity will help it meet customer demand from broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and BskyB. It could also help Arqiva launch new services for its customers, like +1 and HD channels, without having to worry about its network buckling under pressure.
Communications infrastructure and media services company Arqiva has signed a new three-year contract with IMG Media to distribute Barclays Premier League globally in HD.Arqiva will provide the encoding, encryption and satellite capacity and says it has implemented new distribution technology that will allow it to transmit at a higher bit-rate, without the need to increase satellite bandwidth –the equivalent to a 15% improvement in efficiency.Arqiva has already provided distribution services for live Barclays Premier League matches and supplementary programming for IMG Media for the past six seasons. Under the new deal, Arqiva will be the sole distributor of approximately 190 live fixtures globally per season.“Working with IMG and the Premier League since 2007, we have provided valuable and trustworthy continuity, while persistently delivering new levels of technical innovation. Arqiva is proud to work with IMG to support the global distribution of the Barclays Premier League,” said Barrie Woolston, managing director of satellite at Arqiva. read more
ANGA COM is set to return to Cologne this year with 450 exhibitors and what it claims will be its “most multifaceted congress programme ever.”Now in its 15th year, its second under its new moniker following the 2013 rebrand from ANGA Cable, the international expo will play host to companies from 34 countries and will seek to discuss all facets of broadband and video distribution.Over the course of three days ANGA COM will feature speakers from major players operating in the space, including Deutsche Telekom, Liberty Global, Astra, ProSiebenSat.1, Tele Columbus, RTL, Sky Deutschland, Unitymedia, KabelBW and Kabel Deutschland, the latter of which Vodafone acquired for €7.7 billion last year.The first day’s opening panel discussion is entitled ‘Broadband, Television, Online – Business Models for the Connected Media World’ and includes participation from: Liberty Global president and CEO, Mike Fries; Kabel Deutschland CEO and Vodafone Deutschland managing director (MD), Manuel Cubero; Astra Deutschland MD, Wolfgang Elsäßer; Telekom Deutschland’s MD of marketing, Michael Hagspihl; and Tele Columbus Group CEO Ronny Verhelst; ProSiebenSat.1 executive board member Conrad Albert; and ZDF’s corporate counsel, Peter Weber.This will be followed by the NRW Media Summit, marking the first year that ANGA COM will work with the media congress Medienforum NRW – a media convention that has been running for 25 years and is supported by the government of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).Held in cooperation with the ANGA COM congress programme, this portion of the even will include debate about future media regulation, publishing houses’ video and digital strategies, the role of VoD usage in the German media market and current developments in television and online entertainment.The NRW Media Summit kicks off with keynotes by Tom Buhrow, director general of public broadcasting body WDR, and Thomas Lindner, chairman of the board of directors of German newspaper FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). It will also feature discussion from Unitymedia KabelBW CEO Lutz Schüler and Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan about future market structure strategies.Across the ANGA COM there will a total of 20 congress panels. Strategy panels will focus on topics such as personalised TV, multi-access strategies, new broadband business models, platform regulation, copyright, pay TV and competition with new online OTT services. The nine technology panels will cover topics such as fibre optic expansion, multiscreen, IPTV, DOCSIS 3.1, CCAP, RDK, recommendation engines, and WiFi.ANGA COM, managing director Dr. Peter Charissé says that a feature of this year’s show will be a greater focus on ANGA’s foreign delegates: “For the first time, all technology panels will be held in English so that the congress programme becomes even more attractive for international visitors.”Day three of ANGA COM will feature seven panel events in total, including four expert panels as part of the ‘Connected Home Special’. Now in its second year, this is organised in cooperation with BITKOM, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, and will include a high-level summit on the topic of the connected home, plus panels on media home gateways, apps for TV usage, home security, and smart metering.“In recent months, the in-home distribution of TV and Internet has proven to be a driving force for home networking. This is not about mere scenarios, but about actual products. Therefore, in unison with the exhibition, there will be an even stronger focus on the ‘connected media home’ in 2014,” said Charissé.Due to appear as part of the Connected Home Summit will be: the president of ANGA (Association of German Cable Operators), Thomas Braun; the CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Deutschland Wilhelm Dresselhaus; chairman of the management board for Microsoft Deutschland, Dr. Christian Illek; Arris’ president of network & cloud and global services, Bruce McClelland; Cisco’s vice president and general manager of service provider video for EMEAR, Yves Padrines; and Telekom Deutschland’s MD of sales Dr. Dirk Wössner.ANGA COM, which carries the tagline ‘where broadband meets content,’ will play host to a new speaker’s corner this year alongside its regular congress panels, offering an additional presentation platform where exhibitors can present new products, projects and solutions.Located on the exhibition boulevard in hall 10.1, this 150-seater space will be accessible by all exhibition visitors and congress attendees without the need for additional registration.Last year ANGA COM attracted 17,000 visitors, up 6% on the previous show, with half of these from outside Germany, and it aims to build on this in 2014.“With 450 exhibitors we tie in smoothly with the success of our record year, 2013. With our numerous co-operations we have managed to further add value to the congress programme. With the combination of exhibition and congress we make the connected media world tangible, dealing with the broadband and media topics practical and to the point,” says Charissé.ANGA COM is organised by a subsidiary of the Association of German Cable Operators and for many years has been supported by ZVEI (Satellite & Cable) – a business lobby group and forum for manufacturers of broadcasting transmission and broadband communication systems. Other partners for this year’s show include ABTA Expo & Conference Sao Paulo, Cable Europe, NCTA Cable Show and Medienforum NRW. Sponsors of the event are Alcatel-Lucent, Astra, AVM, Nagra, QVC and Unitymedia KabelBW. ANGA COM will be held at the Koelnmesse conference centre in Cologne, Germany, and runs from May 20 – 22. read more
Tesco-owned movie and TV rental service Blinkbox has launched a dedicated app for the Xbox One games console and is working on an app for Google’s Chromecast streaming stick.The web service, which lets users watch or buy content on a pay-per-title basis, already has apps available for the Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Apple and Android tablets, Windows 8 devices, smart TVs, set top boxes and PCs and Macs.Blinkbox managing director Adrian Letts said that games consoles have already overtaken computers in terms of popularity for accessing Blinkbox, and that with its in-the-works Chromecast app, the service will be “even more accessible to those who want to enjoy the latest movies and TV without being tied into a subscription.”“Our developers are working harder than Hugh Jackman’s personal trainer to give customers access to the very latest movies and TV shows on their favourite platforms and devices,” said Letts.The Blinkbox app for Xbox One lets users browse, search and buy from a large catalogue of movies and TV shows as well as filter by best sellers, new releases, top selling titles and genres. read more
The global market for conditional access (CA) technology used in set-top boxes is set to peak in 2015 then decline as pay TV services reach saturation, according to IHS Technology. The research firm predicts that the CA market will expand in 2014 and 2015, driven by Chinese and Indian cable TV digitisation and “further pay TV growth in emerging markets.”By 2015, IHS predicts that the CA market will climb to US$2.2 billion (€1.6 billion) – up from US$2.1 billion in 2013 – with set-top CA client shipments to reach 279 million units in 2015.However, worldwide revenue for pay TV CA technology is then tipped to decline to US$1.9 billion in 2018, with a high level of pay TV penetration limiting further growth opportunities for conditional access systems.“The CA market is largely dependent on pay TV growth. Shipments of STB CA clients have grown strongly during the past 10 years from 44 million units in 2003 to 246 million in 2013, driven by a decade of rampant pay TV growth. However, this dependence will make further growth for CA challenging as the pay-TV market begins to slow,” said Wajahat Abbassi, senior analyst for connected home at IHS.The research firm predicts that 53% of TV-owning households worldwide will subscribe to pay TV services by the end of 2015In terms of the CA market, Cisco Systems lead with a 32% market share of total revenue in 2013. Kudelski Group’s Nagravision was the second largest with 27% share.Nagravision’s 2014 acquisition of Telenor’s conditional access subsidiary, Conax, will see the top two players control nearly 65% of the market, at 2013 values, according to IHS. read more
Sky has reportedly been in talks with Telefonica about partnering with its UK mobile arm O2, in a move that could see the UK operator move into the quad-play space.According to a Financial Times report, Sky and Telefonica have been in talks since late 2014. The report says that while Sky is unlikely to buy O2, it would instead partner to combine O2’s mobile service with Sky’s pay TV, broadband and fixed-line phone offerings.Separately, Bloomberg reported that Sky is in talks with Telefonica to buy access to O2’s wireless network, with a similar deal having also been discussed with Vodafone.The news follows recent reports that Hutchinson Whampoa, owner of UK mobile network Three, has been in merger talks with O2.Last month BT said that it in exclusive talks to acquire the UK’s leading mobile operator EE in a £12.5 billion (€15.8 billion). BT had been widely expected to make a bid for either Telefónica’s O2 or EE and re-enter the UK mobile market, building on its launch of fibre services and aggressive entry into the UK pay TV market. read more
The BBC has announced plans to sell and sublet its Media Village site in west London as part of its plans to “dramatically reduce the size and cost of BBC buildings.”The BBC said that it will receive £87 million for the sale of four acres of freehold land and the lease of six buildings – three of which will continue to be occupied by the BBC. This will result in £33 million of annual running cost savings.The three buildings being vacated by the BBC – White City One, Media Centre and Garden House – will be fully refurbished and brought back to the market from late 2016.“This will mean the corporation’s property footprint is now reduced by around 40 per cent since 1998 – a significant achievement within the public sector,” said the BBC.