Viacom has agreed to buy Pluto TV, the free, ad-supported streaming television service with 12 million active monthly users. It gives Viacom a bigger presence on connected platforms and a new DTC outlet for some of its content. The Pluto TV subsidiary will help Viacom grow its advanced advertising business and creates a new opportunity to monetise library titles. Pay TV partnerships are unaffected, as Viacom continues its strategy to work with operators and seek incremental business via digital.
CMAF is gaining a lot of attention for its ability to reduce the latency in live video streaming. Limelight Networks has conducted successful tests in its CDN showing the technology can reduce delays to as little as two-seconds. But there are media companies who need to break the sub-second latency barrier, partly to make streaming the true equal of broadcast TV, in terms of the user experience, and partly to open up new interactive and monetisation opportunities. There is a new standards-based streaming technology that makes this possible.
Freeview Plus, Australia’s free-to-air, hybrid broadcast broadband platform, won the ‘Best service’ award at the 2018 Connies after its UI upgrade led to viewers spending an average of 5% longer on the platform per visit. With one week left to enter this year’s awards, Videonet spoke to Liz Ross, CEO at Freeview Australia, to hear about progress and her priorities for the service.
Videonet gathered three leading analysts to identify the stories that mattered at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The biggest was the upcoming integration of iTunes Movies and TV and AirPlay on Samsung smart TVs, giving Apple users a much wider choice of screens if they want to watch streaming content. The second was the way Amazon, a VOD disruptor, has embraced DVR so viewers can watch and record terrestrial broadcast TV.
We asked our judges for the international categories at this year’s Connies Awards what will happen in TV and media this year, and here are their predictions. They also revealed some trends and emerging technologies that excite them. And one judge tells entrants precisely what he wants to see in his Dropbox folder when the deadline for submissions closes on February 8.
Inside Secure, which offers set-top box and multiscreen content protection solutions but also a portfolio spanning anti ad-blocking, mobile payment protection and IoT security, has agreed to acquire Verimatrix. The combined company will be a leader in software-based revenue security, with sophisticated analytics capabilities and wide opportunities for cross-selling. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2019.
Here are the 25 most read stories on Videonet during 2018, in order, reflecting the never-ending interest in new compression technology, close interest in super-aggregation of OTT services, and the central importance of advanced advertising to TV strategy. Our two biggest stories covered the race to bring AV1 to market and Apple’s bid to become the super-aggregator of streaming TV.
Versatile Video Coding (VVC) has established a clear lead over rivals in benchmarks for efficiency and bit rate reduction but even its advocates concede it will not gain widespread deployment unless royalty issues are satisfactorily resolved. Standards completion is scheduled for 2020, so it arrives around six years after HEVC, demonstrating how the codec cycle is shortening. BBC tests indicate a 27% reduction in bit rate compared with HEVC for a given video quality, and a 25% reduction versus AV1.
Adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the broadcast and media industry is up from 2% to 13% in just six months, from April to September this year. As a tool for developing media applications with diverse uses, it is unlikely that these technologies will be a ‘flash in the pan’, but there is a view that in 2019 companies will want to see some payback from using them. There are some structural hurdles to using AI/ML, including the fact that it is best suited to working with large amounts of data.
The new DVB-I specification is focused on making it easier to deliver linear TV over the open Internet and the first big challenge is service discovery, harmonising the way that connected devices from different manufacturers, using different middleware, identify available content. It is expected that DVB-I will work ‘under the hood’ of apps and so make apps easier to develop, manage and update – reducing the expensive complexity associated with apps-based television.