Sky to live-stream sport and news on Facebook > Digital TV Europe

Sky is planning to broadcast “a great deal of content” on Facebook Live in the coming months across both news and sports, according to digital director Lucien Bowater.

Sky meets Facebook
Sky meets Facebook

In a company blog post, Bowater said that Sky will give a “unique behind the scenes look” at a number of major sporting events and breaking news stories by streaming on the social network.“We’ve already been experimenting with it, and the results have been impressive. In less than 24 hours since its release, more than 100,000 people viewed Michael Atherton’s exclusive interview with Freddie Flintoff and Kumar Sangakkara at the T20 World Cup.


Mediaset CFO dampens Vivendi pay TV speculation – Digital TV

Marco GiordaniMediaset Premium is doing well and the Italian broadcaster sees it as a core part of its operation, according to Mediaset chief financial officer Marco Giordano.

Speaking to analysts, Giordano dampened speculation that Vivendi is about to buy the unit, which is majority owned by Mediaset, with Spanish telco Telefónica holding a minority stake.

Giordano did concede that there is a wider need for international consolidation of pay TV or an integration of pay TV and telecom operations.

Vivendi has a 24.9% stake in Telecom Italia and has recently moved to extend its control of the telco’s strategic direction. This week saw the ousting CEO Marco Patuano, a move attributed to Vivendi’s influence.

There has been considerable speculation in recent weeks that Vivendi could acquire Mediaset’s pay TV unit, or even the whole of Mediaset.

Giordano’s comments follow an interview with former prime minister and Mediaset boss Silvio Berlusconi on RTL radio in which he said that Vivendi and Mediaset were looking to collaborate on content, but that a sale was not on the cards.

Mediaset Premium has 2.01 million subscribers and posted revenues of €558.8 million for last year, up from €538.4 million the year before. Mediaset said this week that the unit’s revenue grew by 11% in the second half and that its expensive investment in flagship Champions League rights was paying off.

Mediaset said it expected Premium to generate more revenues and increase its customer base in the second half of this year, thanks to its hold on the Hampions league and new content deals with Warner and Universal.



Before Rachel Bloom was a Golden Globe winner, she was a YouTube star

Rachel Bloom accepts the award for Best Actress – TV Series, Comedy or Musical for ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ during the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California LOS ANGELES — Rachel Bloom became the first YouTube star to win a Golden Globe on Sunday for her CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend .


The comedy, which debuted on The CW in October of 2015, follows a Manhattan lawyer named Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) who impulsively moves across the country to where her old camp boyfriend Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) lives after they have a chance encounter. (more…)

Numericable-SFR takes on Canal+ with competition watchdog » Digital TV Europe

Numericable-SFR has lodged a complaint against Canal+ with France’s competition regulator, the Autorité de la Concurrence, over the pay TV group’s distribution practices, according to French financial daily Les Echos.

facade_campus_sfr_maxime_dufour__photographies_3According to Les Echos , citing unnamed sources, the Altice-owned cable and telecom group has taken issue with Canal+’s agreements with distributors such as Orange and Free whereby the pay TV group maintains and direct relationship with the end customer and the telecom operators receive a commission.

Numericable-SFR has adopted a strategy of seeking exclusive content deals, such as its recent acquisition of English Premier League football , and is less willing than other French telcos to accept the role of passive redistributor of content. (more…)

Canal+ strikes exclusive deal with Disney for new services » Digital TV Europe

Canal+ Group and Disney have struck a deal that will see Canalsat become the exclusive distributor in France of Disney Junior, Disney XD and Disney Channel and new premium service Disney Cinema, Disney catch-up services and new educational on-demand service Disney English.

Canal+ said that the deal marked a new stage in its partnership with Disney. The pay broadcaster said that the agreement would strengthen its position in family viewing, with exclusive carriage of four channels that together represent a 42% share of the 4-14 audience.

The Disney English on-demand service will be included in Canalsat’s Panorama package, while new premium movie service Disney Cinema will be included in the Grand Panorama package.

Canal+ strikes exclusive deal with Disney for new services » Digital TV Europe

Canal Plus

Canal+ Group and Disney have struck a deal that will see Canalsat become the exclusive distributor in France of Disney Junior, Disney XD and Disney Channel and new premium service Disney Cinema, Disney catch-up services and new educational on-demand service Disney English.

Canal+ said that the deal marked a new stage in its partnership with Disney. The pay broadcaster said that the agreement would strengthen its position in family viewing, with exclusive carriage of four channels that together represent a 42% share of the 4-14 audience.

The Disney English on-demand service will be included in Canalsat’s Panorama package, while new premium movie service Disney Cinema will be included in the Grand Panorama package.

Facebook launches live video streaming » Digital TV Europe

FB-live-videoFacebook has started to test live video streaming in the US, allowing users to broadcast from their phone in real-time.

Facebook said it had rolled out the new feature to a “small percentage” of iPhone users based in the US, having first tested the feature with a handful of celebrities in the summer.

To share a live video, users can tap on their Update Status and then select a new Live Video icon. They will be able to see which of their friends are tuned in and the video will be saved to their Facebook Timeline once they have finished broadcasting.

“No matter where you are, Live lets you bring your friends and family right next to you to experience what’s happening together,” according to Facebook. (more…)

BeIN Media: boosts entertainment ambitions with Front Row deal

Al Jazeera-owned BeIN Media Group has signed a first-run output deal with Middle East film distributor Front Row Entertainment as it continues to diversify its offering an up its portfolio of entertainment content.
The five-year deal will see BeIN Media acquired rights to titles including It Follows, Snowden, Deephan and Free Fire.

Front Row managing director Gianluca Chandra described the deal as one of the biggest in the company’s history.

BeIN deputy CEO Yousef Al-Obaidly said that it was imperative for the company to align with independent content aggregators as it launched its entertainment portfolio.

BeIN Media unveiled a suite of entertainment channels last month to complement its sports offering. The company is offering 20 HD channels across multiple genres.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Hollywood studio Miramax’s owners were intalks with BeIN Media to sell the company to the Qatar-basedoutfit, without naming its sources.

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which also backs Al Jazeera, is an existing shareholder in the Hollywood studio.


Ofcom: children now prefer YouTube to TV » Digital TV Europe

This year for the first time, children aged 12-15 who watch both television and YouTube clips stated a preference for YouTube, according to new research by Ofcom.

The UK broadcast regulator’s ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report’ found that 29% of children in this age group who watch both types of content said they prefer YouTube, compared to 25% who opted for television – 45% said they liked them both the same, while the remainder said they didn’t know.

The results mark a shift from 2014, when 30% of the 12-15 year-olds said they preferred TV versus 25% who liked watching YouTube more, with Ofcom noting that YouTube in particular is becoming “an increasingly important alternative to traditional TV”.

“The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries, including providers like YouTube and Google,” said Ofcom in its summary of the key themes of the report.

“As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites.” 

Ofcom found that while the BBC remains the preferred source of “true and accurate information about things that are going on in the world” among 12-15 year-olds (52%), there has been an increase in the numbers of children this age saying they would turn to YouTube for this information – 8% compared to 3% in 2014.

Some 52% of those who watched YouTube knew that it is funded by paid advertising from companies, a proportion that is unchanged compared to 2014. Meanwhile, 47% of 12-15 year-olds who go online were aware that vloggers might be being paid by the company to say favourable things.

Overall, Ofcom found that in 2015, 69% of 8-11 year-olds and 86% of 12-15 year-olds who watch television also watch YouTube.

EBU taps Mobile Viewpoint for news over IP » Digital TV Europe


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has teamed up with IP transmission specialist Mobile Viewpoint to deliver news and other content to EBU members and clients over IP networks.

IP encoding and decoding devices, using Mobile Viewpoint’s technology, will be gradually rolled out in 2016 with the launch of the Eurovision Open Smart Virtual IP Network and its online portal. This deal will enable both companies to complement their respective competitive strengths, and push for innovation and cross-compatibility of IP broadcast technologies, according to the EBU.

EBU network director Graham Warren said, “This alliance enables the EBU to continue developing our open IP hybrid network for our clients. It will empower media professionals to manage their transmissions wherever and whenever thanks to the latest IP digital technology and our enhanced online portal.”

Mobile Viewpoint managing director Michel Bais said, “The cooperation with the EBU opens up a whole new market and group of customers who like to use IP as a cost-effective alternative to traditional satellite and fibre with outstanding quality of service. EBU’s global network reliability and reach make it possible to deliver these services in combination with our adaptive encoding devices.”

Sky unveils Sky Q service, UHD offering to follow next year » Digital TV Europe

Sky Q Silver and tablet

Sky today launched its much anticipated, advanced Sky Q home entertainment system and confirmed plans to launch an Ultra HD service later in 2016.

With Sky Q, the UK pay TV operator will introduce an additional family of products, designed to work together to offer “fluid viewing” across screens and smart devices.

The new Sky Q box – which also comes in a ‘Silver’ version – features up to 12 tuners, 12TB of storage and lets viewers record up to four live shows while watching a fifth.

An accompanying Sky Q Mini box lets users wirelessly access Sky Q in other rooms of the home – without needing to be connected to the main dish. Meanwhile a new Sky Q app lets users watch live, on-demand and recorded content from a tablet.

Speaking at the Sky Q launch event in London this morning, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that Sky Q will be available in the UK and Ireland from early 2016. He described the launch as “the start of a journey” with voice search, smartphone compatibility and an Ultra HD service to follow “quickly afterwards”.

Sky said that Sky Q will be Ultra HD-ready in advance of the launch of “the UK’s most comprehensive Ultra High Definition service later in 2016” – which will include a range of sports, movies and entertainment content.

Describing Sky’s new offering, Darroch said: “in short, our ambition was to reimagine TV for the way people live their lives today, and the result is Sky Q.”

Other new features of Sky Q include a completely redesigned Sky interface, a Bluetooth-connected touch-screen remote control, and a Sky Q Hub.

The latter is a device that is designed to turn Sky Q boxes into WiFi hotspots and has ‘Powerline networking technology’ that uses in-home electrical wiring as well as WiFi to communicate with Sky Q boxes.

The new Sky Q interface will include a ‘My Q’ section that will let users continue watching shows where they left off – no matter what screen they are using – and get recommendations for programmes based on their tastes.

There is also a new online video section that will give users quick access to YouTube and web content from publishers the likes of Conde Nast Entertainment, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired and GoPro.

Viewers can still use Sky Q to access the Sky Store and on-demand content from broadcasters like the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, but they will also be able use their new Sky Q box to stream music over Bluetooth or Apple Airplay. A Q Sync feature lets users sync recordings from their box to their tablet to enable offline and out-of-the-home viewing.

The Sky Q Silver box will come with a 2TB hard disk and will be capable of storing up to 350 hours of HD recordings – more than five times the storage of existing Sky+HD boxes. The standard Sky Q box will come with a 1TB hard drive and will support 150 hours of HD recordings.

Sky said that pricing for the service will be announced closer to launch. Sky Q will join Sky’s existing line of TV products alongside Sky+ and its standalone Now TV streaming service.

TV France International appoints new president » Digital TV Europe

France Télévisions executive Hervé Michel has been elected president of TV France International and will take the helm at the French distributors industry group from early next year.

He replaces Laetitia Recayte, the former head of distribution at Newen, the production group controversially being bought by TF1. She resigned at TVFI president after leaving Newen for a commercial role at France Télévisions. She had replaced Xavier Gouyou-Beauchamps as president earlier this year.

Michel is one of the founders of TVFI and takes over as president on January 4. The TVFI board elected him to the role of president earlier this week.

At French public broadcaster France Télévisions Michel is director of international affairs, a role he has held since 2012.

Prior to that he created the commercial arm of the French broadcaster, France Télévisions Distribution, running the sales division between 1992 and 2007. He has also been in commercial roles at French production company Télé-Images and at Disney’s production division.

“As a founding member of TV France International, I am particularly proud to be chosen by the Board as the new President of the association. I am delighted to bring to French TV program exporters the international experience gained at independent producers and at such a prestigious broadcaster as France Televisions,” Michel said.

TVFI represents French content owners in international markets, organising delegations and stands at industry events. It also organises and hosts the long-running Rendez-Vous market, which is now held in Biarritz.

Liberty Global: Netflix showed the way but won’t dominate OTT

Jim Ryan

Netflix has taught the slow-off-the-mark pay TV industry the value of over-the-top video, but will not be one of just a few sole players in this space in the future, according to Liberty Global’s Jim Ryan.

Speaking at the OTT TV World Summit yesterday, Liberty Global SVP and chief strategy officer Ryan said that while Netflix’s consumer appeal is “enormous” the OTT space would not revolve around just a handful of key online content providers.

“When you ask the question, are there going to be two platforms, three platforms, I don’t think that’s really the right question, because there’s going to be hundreds of platforms,” said Ryan.


Future of Storytelling | Google Expeditions

By Weronika Jurkiewicz on January 29, 2016

History class: For most of us, it conjures images of heavy textbooks with never-ending columns of text, dry, monotonous lectures, and uninspiring maps and diagrams. Classes like these may soon become a thing of the past, though, with the introduction of Google ExpeditionsUsing the Google Expeditions app and a simple Google Cardboard viewer, teachers and students can take virtual trips to more than one hundred places, including landmarks like Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, Buckingham Palace, and even Mars. Suddenly, places that had once been inaccessible to most students are within arm’s reach.

Expeditions has already attracted an array of high-profile partners, from PBS and the Wildlife Conservation Society to British documentarian David Attenborough. But the virtual trips are not limited to topics related to history or geography. As part of its collaboration with the Starship Foundation, which provides young women of color from low-income families with resources to finish college, Google has prepared a series of “day in the life” tours in which you will be able to follow various professionals, like a veterinarian and a computer scientist, through a typical work day. It’s a fun way to let young people explore potential future career options. Michelle Obama and her Reach Higher initiative also joined the Expedition project to prepare a series of virtual college tours.

No matter the latitude, whenever Google Expeditions visits a school, the classrooms tend to be filled with “oohs” and “aahs.” We’re certain that soon enough VR headsets will become indispensable parts of any classroom. If only they had been around when we were kids!

4 Things Broadcast News Needs To Stop Doing Immediately

It’s time TV news gives us a break

By Matt Dusenbury

It’s tough out there for a reporter. Hey, I get it. Writers, publishers, editors and photojournalists, they’re all in a bad way these days. What was once considered a noble profession, the lynchpin of democracy, now finds itself perpetually on the brink. It’s besieged on all sides by brands and bloggers and politicians who can easily bypass the once established gatekeepers. It’s constantly under threat of “disruption.” This is a world where people customize their news, and they’re beginning to think quite little of the fourth estate. We are witnessing the steady erosion of the media landscape, with journalists’ integrity following closely behind. After all, they’re in the same business as the producers of Jersey Shore.

Kent Brockman doing what he does best

It’s lead to the rise of ridiculous TV news tropes that no one enjoys but from which we can never seem to escape. Tropes that hurt media’s credibility as an authoritative voice operating on the public’s behalf with little to show for it. So, I’m begging you: step back from the brink, and knock this off. (more…)

The Future of Transcode


By Bruce Devlin,

A long time ago in a time in a laboratory far, far away, a small team unpacked a shiny new server and ran their media software. Discovering that they could get standard definition video to decode and encode at almost real time, the transcode market was born. Thanks to Moore’s lawand a little performance optimization, things progressed rapidly and, for a little over a decade, the bulk of the transcoding market was all about getting the codecs right. (more…)

HoloLens comes to NYC

By Saif Tase

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out HoloLens, Microsoft’s mixed-reality eyewear now in development, which promises to change the way we work and play. My experience began at the Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue, where the distance between my pupils was measured* and I learned the different gestures I could use to interact with the device.

The HoloLens was surprisingly comfortable. While it could stand to shed some weight (a common problem among these headsets) and have a little more padding between the glass and bridge of the nose, the fit of the headset was otherwise superb. The device is built around a cushioned ring that wraps around the forehead to the back of the crown, allowing you to adjust the tightness with the scroll of a wheel. (more…)