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Thread: News 22.11.2007

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    Default News 22.11.2007

    Virgin signs deal for 'Star Trek' on demand

    Virgin Media has signed a deal to add content from the Star Trek library to its on-demand service.
    The deal with CBS Paramount is for hundreds of hours of the cult sci-fi franchise, including The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. It follows on from the broadcaster's acquisition of the linear TV rights to the franchise for its recently-launched entertainment channel Virgin 1.
    All Virgin Media customers will be able to access episodes broadcast on Virgin 1 in the last seven days through the 'Catch Up TV On-Demand' section of the EPG, while XL TV subscribers will be able to access the entire library for free through the 'TV Choice On-Demand' section of the EPG. Content will be added progressively to the on-demand service over the coming months.
    Celia Taylor, Virgin 1's director of programmes, said she was "thrilled" to have secured the rights to the show. "Virgin 1 has promised to offer a multi-platform experience to its viewers," she said, "and this deal delivers on our commitment to offer top-drawer content whenever our viewers want to watch it."
    Virgin Media content CEO Malcom Wall added: "Virgin Media is already the undisputed leader of the on-demand revolution. We have the most comprehensive on-demand service in the UK, and adding the world's premier sci-fi franchise to our lineup adds even more value for our customers."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Tension over Ofcom HD plans

    Ofcom has unveiled plans that would allow HD channels to be made available over DTT as early as 2009. The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the four major terrestrial broadcasters: the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five announced their own plans to use DTT for new HD channels.
    The non-binding memorandum of understanding would see BBC HD, ITV HD and Channel 4 HD launch their HD services in late 2009/early 2010. Forever the technical laggard, Five HD would launch soon afterwards as capacity becomes available. There is suspicion that the announcement, coming shortly after the approval of BBC HD and ahead of Ofcom’s own announcement, was timed to take the wind out of the regulators sails.
    The Ofcom plan, detailed in a new consultation and effectively leaked by the four PSBs, would take advantage of a 20% increase in DTT capacity created by a change in technical standards following the switchover process. Channels currently using the so-called Multiplex B would be moved to one of the five other multiplexes to allow room for the new HD channels.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Canal launches Spanish HD service

    Canal Plus Spain is making a belated entry in to the HD market next January. Canal Plus Alta Definicion will commence test transmissions on Sogecable’s Digital+ platform before going fully live later in the year.
    In September Digital+ introduced its iPlus HD compatible personal video recorder. However, the only HD content available has been the German channels that share the Astra satellite at 19 degrees East.
    Barcelona’s TVC has an HD service, but this is not currently available on Astra.
    According to Sogecable, 13% of Spanish TV sets are HD Ready, with Digital+ subscribers representing a higher than average 21%.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Numericable to add Canal+ HD and M6 HD

    The French cable operator Numericable has added Canal+ HD to its line-up of HD channels. In the coming weeks, the cabler will also add M6 HD on a yet to be confirmed date. Following these additions, the complete line-up will consist of seven channels: TF1 HD, M6 HD, Canal+ HD, Arte HD, National Geographic HD, NRJ 12 HD and Luxe.TV HD.
    Next year the offer will als be augmented with Disney CinéMagic HD and possibly more channels. All HD channels on the networks are distributed in DVB-C/MPEG-4 with speeds up to 13Mbps on the entire network. In a press release, Numericable subtly said such speeds can only be reached on parts of the competing France Telecom network, which offers HD channels on its Orange TV service.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    French plan to offer 8 HD channels on DTT

    Yesterday the French media authority CSA ruled that two commercial broadcasters will each receive a license for an HD channel on the DTT network; a third channel is already reserved by the government for public broadcaster France2.
    TF1 HD and M6 HD were chosen by the authority as they will broadcast free to air and thus reach the largest potential audience possible. The three channels should start their broadcasts as early as the spring of 2008. The two broadcasters have committed themselves to airing at least 100% and 80% of their programme output in HD by 2012. The broadcasts will take place in MPEG4.
    Before the end of the year the CSA will also invited applications for an encrypted pay-TV channel which now broadcasts in SD quality. Also, the authority will open up applications for three further HD channels in a umber of urban areas. By the end of next year, the total number of HD channels available on DTT should have reached 8.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ArenaSat expands channel bouquet

    The German DTH pay TV platform ArenaSat will expand its Arena Family bouquet on December 1 with five new channels bringing the total to twenty. The new additions are Sat.1 Comedy, kabel eins classics, Animax, lettra and The Biography Channel. The service launched in August 2006 with just seven channels.
    On January 1, the price of the 20 channel bouquet will be raised to 14.90 a month, up from 9.90 euro. A combination subscription to Arena Family and the German football Bundesliga will cost 24.90 euro (up from 19.90). A stand alone football package will remain 14.90 euro.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Broadcasters pave way for HD channels on Freeview The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding that, if agreed, would deliver High Definition channels on Freeview by 2012. The agreement means that from late 2009 or early 2010, BBC HD (approved this week by the BBC Trust), ITV HD and Channel 4 HD could potentially be available on Freeview, with Five HD launching as soon as capacity becomes available. The agreement is subject to the relevant regulatory agreements and conditional on the necessary Board approvals. The agreement includes, the use of new technologies, which will increase the capacity available on Freeview, a rearrangement of some of the channels carried on Freeview and setting aside one of the BBC's two multiplexes for the carriage of BBC HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD and—as soon as technically possible—Five HD. A variation of the relevant BBC multiplex licence to carry HD services will be subject to approval from Ofcom and the proposed agreement would also require approval by the BBC Trust.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    History joins Top Up TV

    Programming from The History Channel and Crime & Investigation Network is to be added to the Top Up TV Anytime push VOD service. The service will launch tomorrow (November 23).
    Parent company AETN is increasingly looking to downloads, both through the TV and over the internet, to distribute its content. The History Channel is already available over the Sky Anytime service, the DTH operator’s own push VOD, distributed to newer Sky+ boxes.
    Top Up TV downloads a selection of programmes overnight to its digital video recorder. Around 150 programmes are available to view at any one time including content from Disney Channel, Living, UKTV Gold and Paramount Comedy.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Warner to launch branded VOD across the world


    Following the launch of the Warner TV on-demand platform on Virgin Media’s digital cable platform and on BT’s IPTV television service , the studio announced it plans to roll out this service worldwide. This is part of a new strategy to launch a number of branded, video-on-demand, non-linear channels on a subscription and advertiser supported basis over a variety of delivery platforms.
    Warner TV will bring the studio’s film and television series to viewers around the globe in a new way, it was announced by Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. International Television. The studio has previously announced a deal with Japan’s USEN Corporation for a Warner TV channel on USEN’s ad-supported broadband broadcasting service, GyaO. Warner TV launched on GyaO in September, available on the open Internet but geo-filtered for Japan only to protect rights holders of the programming outside of Japan. There is no charge to the user of GyaO for viewing the programming. However, it will be viewed with advertising that cannot be skipped.
    Additionally, the studio launched another Warner TV service on the Free IPTV platform in France on a subscription basis. Soft launched in July, this service has already attracted over 25,000 subscribers paying euro 5.99 per month for access. This service is a combination of feature films and television series made available after their initial telecast on linear terrestrial broadcasters. A second deal has also been closed in France with Orange, which will see a series-based Warner TV zone launched on their IPTV television on-demand service later this year.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    SD not HD dominates recording formats

    According to research company SCRI’s just published ‘2007 – 2009 HD / Digital Video Trends Report’, we see expected large penetration for the SD format, but surprisingly also that no HD formats reached more than HDV (25.5%), despite the latter being a relatively new player in the market. Data for the report was derived from extensive surveys of broadcast and professional video/film production/post facilities worldwide.
    HDCAM still has over 21% penetration, with DVCPRO HD slightly lower at about 17%. Neither reached the remaining penetration of Betacam SP (well over 50% of the market still has Betacam SP). Penetration of HDCAM has remained essentially constant since the last survey. In SD products, DV based recorders (DV, DVCPRO, DV CAM, and variants) are present in more than 80% of all facilities.
    This years Summary includes very important data which shows that the industry will remain healthy and growing into the future. It shows support for existing standards, and some degree of skepticism about the uptake rates for some emerging technology. Above all it represents a snapshot of the changes which are shaping the hardware and programming in which we are all involved. The US economy has weathered recent storms well, with strong corporate profits. With an election year next year both production facility and broadcast station owners should do well, as is traditional in presidential election years.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    DISH Network offers Disney, ESPN interactive TV

    EchoStar’s DISH Network has launched two interactive television applications for the ESPN and Disney Channel cable channels. Available content includes scores, headlines, TV listings and interactive advertising for ESPN and games, show information and listings, and a digital video recorder for Disney Channel.
    Disney touted the applications as a way for advertisers to reach a more targeted audience with "intensive, targeted interactive ad campaigns."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    BBC must justify Gaelic digital plans

    The BBC Trust has given the corporation's management four weeks to provide evidence that its proposed digital Gaelic language service will be worth its Ł21 million (E30.4m) annual cost.
    BBC management has been told that the service is too expensive compared to the public value that it would provide - unless evidence can be provided that it will appeal to a wider audience and attract new speakers.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Warner Bros UK channel

    Warner Bros is to launch its own channel, branded Warner TV, on Virgin Media and BT Vision's on-demand service. The channel, which is the UK's first devoted to TV series from a single studio, will feature popular US imports such as The West Wing and Nip/Tuck. Warner TV will be available for a Ł5-a-month (E7.25) subscription fee, but Virgin customers with a top-level subscription will have free access.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    PPV five year forecast

    Research has revealed how the European TV-based video-on-demand and pay-per-view markets will develop over the next five years. From a low penetration of just under 8 per cent today, Screen Digest predict that by 2011 over 20 per cent of Western European households will have true video-on-demand (VoD), a 30 per cent growth on current levels. This growth will generate increased revenues, giving the VoD and pay-per-view (PPV) markets a value of E3 billion by the end of 2011.
    While the 'big five' European markets will continue to take the lion's share of on-demand revenues, other countries are beginning to catch up. As more Nordic companies deploy VoD services, the Scandinavian countries are beginning to show increasing on-demand average revenue per unit (ARPU’s). The expansion of the rest of Europe's revenues is also a consequence of the wider availability of the so-called ‘long-tail’ of content. True VoD services typically have a much greater range of local and international programming than their near-video-on-demand counterparts, driving increased spending. It is this which is one of the major factors in allowing Europe's smaller states to close the gap between the big five countries of the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.
    The next five years will see the supremacy of sports and major movie content challenged, as other content such as archive and library films and a la carte TV programmes grow their share of total on-demand revenues from 9 per cent to 18 per cent. On top of this, as subscriber numbers and overall on-demand buy rates increase, blockbuster films will benefit from the market growth and will be earning E700 million per year by 2009, despite their loss of market share. The adult industry will also reap rewards, doubling its VoD revenues from its current level of over E250 million to over half a billion Euros by the end of 2011.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    AT&T tight lipped on Echostar


    Wall Street rumours about a potential takeover of the second-biggest US satellite operator have abounded, peaking this week with TheStreet.com saying AT&T was preparing a takeover bid worth as much as $26 billion (E17.5m) and that both companies have been in talks.
    The reports sent Echostar’s share price, depressed by recent disappointing quarterly results, soaring. The stock closed up 27 per cent. Echostar and DirecTV, the largest US satellite operator, have succeeded in taking millions of customers from cable operators in the past decade by offering high-quality multi-channel video and good customer services. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon Communications, the second largest US carrier, are both scrambling to roll out their own television and video services, targeting customers who pay $100 or more a month for their multi-channel TV offerings, internet access and landline phone services.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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