Cable Technology Feature Article
Cable Technology Week in Review
By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor
It’s been a short week, but one with some notable announcements. The biggest news is the fact that one month after CBS pulled its channel feeds from Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable’s lineup, the programming blackout is over: the two have buried the hatchet on the ongoing retransmission feud, which resulted in a blackout for three million of TWC’s customers. The blackout has had lingering consequences that some say could drive wider changes in the industry. The loss of programming cost CBS $3 million per day in lost retransmission fees, while TWC suffered churn (Verizon (News - Alert) claimed a 16-percent spike in NYC-area FiOS uptake) and got slapped with a class action lawsuit. The latter has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court demanding recompense for the money the plaintiffs paid for CBS and Showtime programming that wasn’t delivered.
The two had been at an impasse since June, when the existing contract to carry CBS programming ran out. TWC said that the broadcaster wanted a 600-percent increase to $2 per subscriber per month for its content, along with that of the Smithsonian Channel and Showtime. After failing to reach a new agreement, the lights went out for 25 percent of TWC’s base in eight markets, including the key DMAs of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles and New York City.
Cox Communications meanwhile has had some personnel news, announcing that Kristine Faulkner will lead Cox’s home security organization and direct future smart-home product initiatives that utilize technology to help customers interact with their residences, even when away. Faulkner will oversee all related operational strategies, including marketing, sales and customer experience. Officials with Cox said that Faulkner will plan rollouts of Cox Home Security, which is currently available in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia, to additional markets and define the roadmap of advanced services to scale the smart home portfolio.
"The majority of people consider home and family their most precious assets," said Faulkner, in a statement.
On the vendor deal front, Uruguayan cable operator TCC has selected Verimatrix (News - Alert) for revenue security for the company’s multi-network and multi-screen service offering. TCC has deployed the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS) to meet the demands arising out of its recent expansion, which included the addition of the new TCC Vivo over-the-top (OTT) video on demand (VOD) service. The service is delivered through Kaon's DVB hybrid set top boxes (DVB-C+OTT) running on Zenterio's independent operating system, Zenterio OS, for interactive TV; these services are accessible through smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs. TCC was looking for a revenue security solution that could enable content delivery and monetization spanning multiple networks, and managed from a single security authority.
Meanwhile, Finland’s Elisa (News - Alert), a communications operator, has tapped Agama Technologies to support quality assurance for its over-the-top (OTT) service, EpicTV. EpicTV is a premium streaming service offering live and on-demand extreme sports content to multiple connected devices worldwide. It offers more than 300 original series available across iPads, Android (News - Alert) tablets and smartphones, PCs and connected TVs. Elisa will be offering it to its 3.6 million consumer and corporate customers in the Nordic countries, the Baltics and Russia. The deal with Agama extends the company’s existing Agama DTV Monitoring Solution deployment.
“As a leading provider of high-quality TV services we are committed to meet and exceed our viewers’ high expectations, both for our traditional TV services in Finland and for our pioneering multinational OTT service,” said Jarkko Järvinen, EpicTV’s chief engineer and senior development manager at Elisa. “One vital part of this is, of course, to really be able to ensure the delivered service quality to all our customers, and for this critical mission we turned to Agama, which has video service quality assurance as its core business and field of expertise, and a solution that perfectly matches our needs and requirements.”
Wrapping up the week is an announcement around an interesting new advertising business model. Kickstarter may be the poster-child for crowdfunding, but some are taking the concept and extending it with specialized business models. PeoplesVC, for instance, is gearing up to launch its own TV channel, PeoplesVC-TV, an integrated multimedia platform that it plans to use for “capital formation” for startups and existing small businesses, allowing them to expand and hire staff. The plan is to create live, theme-based TV shows, each with its own integrated Web platform, featuring its own telethon-like fundraising shows like “Fund-a-Farmer” or “Spark-a-Senior.” PeoplesVC said that it’s working on a variety of shows to air on its network, and expects to launch its TV channel around September 21.
Looking forward, with IBC set to kick off in Amsterdam next week, this space is sure to be especially full with interesting announcements. But for now, have a great weekend!