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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 03, 2014

Cable Technology Week in Review

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

This week was rife with potential market-shifting happenings, from mergers to content deals to vendor innovation.

For instance, even as Comcast (News - Alert) continues to plead the case to regulators and the American public for its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, AT&T is eyeing a mega-merger of its own. The telco has reportedly approached top satellite provider DirecTV (News - Alert) about a possible acquisition in a move that would create yet another massive video and broadband provider. DirecTV is the second biggest pay-TV operator after Comcast, serving about 20 million customers domestically. AT&T (News - Alert) is much smaller in size, serving just 5.7 million, but together their 25+ million subscribers would be on par with the Comcast-TWC entity, which would serve 30 million. But the story runs much deeper than simple competitive parity.

Speaking of that OTHER mega-merger, after much speculation as to how Comcast would attempt to divest 3+ million subscribers as a condition of the deal, Comcast and Charter Communications have agreed to a complex arrangement that would see Comcast divesting a net 3.9 million video customers, bringing its post-merger managed subscriber total to less than 30 percent of video subs in the U.S.

Charter would become the nation's second largest cable operator in the United States (up from No. 4 today), with 5.7 million video subscribers. The deal has a number of layers to it, detailed here.

Microsoft—joined by partner firm BesTV New Media Co.—is planning to bring the Xbox One to the Chinese market starting this September. Together, Microsoft and BesTV New Media have combined to form E-Home Entertainment, and have been so since last September's expansion of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, a development that opened up quite a bit of new opportunity. The new joint venture is set to offer several breeds of game, from online education and fitness-related matter to straight gaming, and there are even plans to bring in an investment fund to give developers extra push in developing for the new platform. While this is a big step in its own right, it's a step that's cemented by the development that the Xbox One will, as a result, be the first such console available in the Chinese market, with widespread ramifications.

Yahoo is planning to live-stream video of music concerts once a day, thanks to a fresh partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, the country's biggest concert promoter. The jams will start in July, via a new online channel hosted by Yahoo. The video stream will house ancillary content as well, like backstage footage, exclusive access to the tour bus, and interviews before and after the show. The over-the-top (OTT) advertising-supported channel will feature one live show per day “for several years.” Live Nation will be working several monetization angles as part of the gig, as it were.

On the vendor front, IneoQuest (News - Alert) has launched a video analytics platform that is also coupled with audience measurement functionality aimed at better video monetization. The new audience measurement platform offers real-time intelligence for adaptive streaming content using providers which can generate higher revenue streams. Service providers can utilize this to analyze and read into the effects that quality performance has over customer behavior and from the derived insights realize a better way to monetize multiscreen video services. “We believe this is a game-changer in the industry, and has the potential to take a vast amount of guess work out of understanding viewing habits and advertising consumption as multiscreen services continue to rapidly evolve,” said Joel Daly, senior director of product line management at IneoQuest. “The fact that we can overlay behavioral analytics with our world-class service assurance information adds an unprecedented dimension to video analytics today.”

Cisco (News - Alert) has launched Videoscape Virtualized Video Processing (V2P) platform, based on technologies like NFV and SDN. It’s aimed at media companies and service providers easily overcome the shortcomings and obstacles associated in delivering compelling video experiences across screens and also nullify the cost and complexities of accommodating the quick growth in multi-screen video.

Joe Cozzolino, senior vice president and general manager of service provider video infrastructure at Cisco commented, “Our customers need a radically simpler and more agile infrastructure as they seek to deliver new video experiences, and stay ahead of the rapid growth in video processing options and formats.”

To check out more details on all of this and more, visit our homepage. And have a great weekend!

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