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January 2019

International News



Starting 5 January, Star India is removing all its TV channels for US Cable TV & DTH.

For US viewers, all STAR TV channels will only be available via Hotstar OTT.

Cable TV and DTH carriage fees in the USA are very high, while Hotstar provides an almost zero carriage cost platform to Star.

Further, cord-cutting is rampant in the USA. According to a recent report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, 1.2 million people migrated from traditional cable TV during July to September 2018, the worst in Pay TV history.

Unlike India, OTT subscriptions are much cheaper in the US when compared with DTH and cable. While most of the OTT apps charge $10-15 per month, cable TV or DTH costs close to $80. OTT channels can be viewed on SMART TVs. Currently Hotstar in the US is priced at $9.99 monthly or $99.99 annually.


Streaming giant Netflix is predicted to have 9.78m UK subscribers by end Dec 2018, compared to 9.64m households viewing Sky DTH in the UK.

Netflix will dethrone Sky, which has dominated the market as the biggest Pay TV service in the UK for almost 30 years.

Sky UK is projected to lose 55,000 DTH households in 2018.

Netflix, which launched in the UK almost seven years ago, is on track to break the 10-million subscriber mark in the UK in the first quarter of 2019. It took Sky two decades to sign up 10m households.

Netflix is not burdened with the logistics of erecting DTH Dish antennae for each consumer home.

However, in revenues, Sky UK is way ahead, charging £ 50 per month vs Netflix's £ 9.99.

Sky also launched its Now TV streaming service at the end of 2012 - the same year Netflix entered the UK. But today Now TV has only 1.5 million subscribers, compared to Netflix's almost 10 million.

The total number of U K subscribers to the three most popular online streaming services in the UK: Netflix, Prime Video and Sky's Now TV; touched 15.4 million by March 2018, compared to 15.1 million pay TV subscribers.


DirecTV, the USA's argest DTH provider has declared that, over the next few years, it is shifting from DTH delivery to OTT. "We've launched our last satellite," John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications (DirecTV's parent), said during a presentation to analysts.

"We are seeing shifts in viewing from traditional TV viewing on cable, satellite to on-demand viewing, and streaming ond e m a n d viewing," said Randall Stephenson chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc.

Those shifts, he said, have accelerated an overhaul of business models among media companies that are "recognising that they no longer have the luxury to rely exclusively on wholesale distribution of their conten to customers going through satellite & cable companies."

Viewers are demanding more personalised and on-demand services, which satellites can't deliver. 5G will also provide ultra-fast wireless delivery, everywhere.

The operator will offer three versions of the streaming service, DirecTV Now, DirecTVMobile and, as a free offer DirecTV Preview. DirecTV Now will consist of pretty much the same as the satellite-delivered offer, while DirecTV Mobile is directed at users who are looking for a TV everywhere service.

The free service will be available to any individual, not just DirecTV subscribers.


The BBC has announced it is merging BBC Studios & BBC Worldwide to form a single commercial organisation, to be called BBC Studios.

The move will see the range of commercial activities already carried out by BBC Worldwide - including content financing, sales and commercial channels - and BBC Studios - the BBC's main programme production arm - brought together in the simplified organisation with a single business plan and combined operating model

BBC Director-General Tony Hall said "Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient. It will help ensure that licence fee payers in the UK continue to receive outstanding British programmes which reflect British lives, long into the future."

The new BBC Studios will be led by Chief Executive Officer Tim Davie and Chief Creative Officer Mark Linsey.


Comcast is enabling YouTube in 4K for pay TV subscribers on its X1 platform. It had integrating YouTube in 2017.

With those hardware components in place, though, X1 subscribers can access the content by using the "4K videos on YouTube" voice command.

"YouTube" is already one of the most popular voice commands on its platform.


The World Trade Organization (WTO) has confirmed that it will investigate Qatar's allegations of intellectual property breaches against Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdom's objection that the WTO had no standing to hear the case.

In October 2018, Qatar alleged that Saudi Arabia was blocking Qatariowned broadcaster beIN and refusing to take effective action against all eged piracy of beIN's content by 'beout", a sophisticated pirating operation. Saudi Arabia was the biggest market for beIN Media Group before the boycott.

It is unclear who owns 'beout' or where it is based. It was launched shortly after Saudi Arabia's boycott of Qatar and has illegally broadcasted World Cup soccer matches as well as Hollywood entertainment.

Saudi Arabia had sought to block the case from being accepted, arguing that because of vital security interests tied to its boycott of Qatar, the trade dispute body could not hear the case.


Pay TV penetration is growing in Spain.

In Q-2 Pay TV reached 6.6 million, up 8.1% from the same period in 2017.

IPTV leads the distribution platforms with 4.2 million Pay TV subscribers. In a year, IPTV gained 640,000 subscribers versus the loss of 100,000 customers both in each of satellite and cable.

Most of the subscribers take a convergent package with up to 5 services. This type of package gained 649,000 subscribers to 5.7 million versus a loss of 46,000 customers in quad-play packages.

Movistar, Vodafone and Orange took 77.3% of revenues for the convergent services, which totalled Euro 6.3 billion in the second quarter of 2018. n