Dots in the trend lines that we analyze in depth in the weekly The Online Reporter.
Broadcasters Look to ATSC 3.0 for Personalization & Better Audience Measurement
Looking at over-the-air broadcasting from an OTT perspective, it appears that broadcasters will have to upgrade their current broadcast technology to the coming ATSC 3.0 if they want to stay competitive with the OTT services. Local stations have lost eyeball to pay TV services that for the most part carry only their primary channel and are not equipped for technologies such as 4K, HDR, DVRs, watching TV on mobile devices and – perhaps most important – track their audiences so they can efficiently measure and personalize it – something that OTT services can do now but not local broadcasters.
Sinclair Broadcast Group and its ONE Media subsidiary have been working on the functionality of the ATSC 3.0 receivers that are installed in the home. Specifically they want to be sure that those receivers can transmit video to multiple devices, including mobile ones, and have data gathering capabilities that cab react and respond to what users are doing. They want to “capture significant and meaningful information relating to the consumer’s actual viewing and consumption behaviors.” In short, they want to handle audience measurement rather than having third-parties do it.
Their point is that the data can be monetized:
– Advertisers will get greater efficiency in their spending with addressability and personalization.
– Broadcasters will get greater efficiency in reaching and capitalizing on a larger advertising market than now.
– Local broadcasters will be able to reduce substantially, or possibly eliminate, their spend on audience measurement.
David Smith, president and CEO of Sinclair, said, “This is about knowing the truth regarding who is watching, what they’re watching and when they’re watching. Data gathering, measurement and behavior is too important for us not to have a reliable system and there is an immediacy to have this in place to coincide with the rollout of ATSC 3.0. Sinclair and ONE Media 3.0 intend to build it and make it available to the industry. We are currently working with device manufacturers and will shortly identify a test market in which to conduct live field trials.”
Broadband Satco Speedcast Expands by Buying Harris CapRock
Consumers on cruise ships watch lots of TV and spend lots of time on the Net.
The satellite communications and facilities company Speedcast is buying for $425 million Harris CapRock, which supplies bandwidth and connectivity in the energy and maritime sectors – especially the fast-growing and bandwidth-hungry cruise sector. The combined companies will service over 6,200 vessels, hundreds of oil rigs and platforms plus enterprise and government customers globally. Speedcast owns or operates 39 teleports around the world. This is its fourth acquisition following Australian Satellite Communications in December 2012, Elektrikom Satellite in January 2013 and Pactel in April 2013.
Eutelsat Will Offer Its Own Consumer Broadband in Africa
Eutelsat, which was to have operated that satellite that Facebook planned to use, has leased capacity from Mideast satellite operator Yahsat that will enable it, instead of Facebook, to start offering consumer broadband service in Africa in early 2017 – only a slight delay from Facebook’s original plan. Eutelsat will get 10 gigabits per second of Ka-band throughput and will use ground network hardware from EchoStar’s Hughes Network Services division. Eutelsat plans to launch its own 75 Gbps Africa Broadband satellite in 2019. Eutelsat previously partnered with Tricolor TV of Russia to offer consumer broadband on Russian territory, which started in July 2016.
SpaceX, which in September lost in an explosion a satellite that Facebook planned to use to bring broadband to much of Africa, says it has replicated the failure of a Spacecom owned Amos-6 satellite and is ready to resume launches, probably in November and certainly prior to year-end.
They’re Marching the Streets in Seattle for Faster Broadband
Ten activist members of Upgrade Seattle this week marched slowly in Seattle streets in the rain for one mile to protest Comcast’s broadband service as being slow and called on the city government to build a municipal broadband network. They marched slowly over the one mile route in one hour to show the slowness of Comcast’s broadband and stopped a few times to buffer. Two Seattle council members have proposed a city-funded municipal broadband network. Devin Glaser, director of Upgrade Seattle, said, “Public broadband is important as a public utility. We deem water, electricity and gas to be public goods, but leave Internet to private corporations.”
Walter Neary, a Comcast spokesperson in Seattle, said, “We understand the importance of our services in the daily lives of our customers and are working hard to create a best-in-class experience for them every day. In the last six years, we have increased speeds four times and have invested $1 billion in Washington to upgrade our reliability and capacity and to prepare for new gigabit services.”
Building a municipal broadband network is expensive as even the deep-pocketed Google has found. A recent feasibility study found that it would cost between $463 million and $630 million to build a municipal broadband and would need 43% of Seattle’s single-family households to sign up to break even. The incumbent telco CenturyLink also offers broadband in Seattle and is known to be upgrading its network, at least in other cities, to G.fast over existing copper phone wires and in some place installing all-fiber networks.
Upgrade Seattle said the municipal broadband service in Chattanooga works with more than 50% of households having signed since the launch in 2010.
Seattle council member Rob Johnson said, “There is a strong argument to be made that Internet is a utility like any other city-owned utility. As a city that’s so technologically focused with so many people working in high-tech or working from home using technology, this is a critical infrastructure investment to keep us economically competitive.”
Huawei Shows Cloud-based, Streaming ‘Much TV’ Technology
At Dubai’s Connect Mena conference and exhibition, Huawei showed a TV technology called Much TV that can stream TV content through Huawei’s video cloud. Five telecom operators in the Middle East have deployed Much TV and expect to have over three million users by year-end and predict eight million by end of 2017. Much TV’s attraction is that telcos can deploy it quickly and with low-risk.
Wang Bin, chief expert of Huawei Middle East Video Service and a keynote speaker at Connect TV Mena, said, “Video consumption across the world has changed drastically, with users consuming more and more TV content online. The Mena region [Middle East and North Africa] ranked second globally in YouTube viewership with daily views of over 310 million videos. It is no surprise that telecom operators are increasingly launching internet-based TV services to keep up with this growing demand. As part of its new video strategy, Huawei is collaborating with industry players across the region to help them achieve new revenue streams by providing TV services as part of their core offering. End-user will enjoy an unparalleled TV viewing experience that allows them to watch their favorite shows on-demand which is possible thanks to Huawei’s video cloud ecosystem.”
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