May 2017




Sree Kotay, the Chief Technology Officer and EVP at Comcast Cable, has left the company for 'personal reasons.' Kotay declined to comment on why he quit, less than a year after he was promoted to the CTO post, succeeding Tony Werner.

In addition to leading Comcast's software and technology strategy, Kotay also oversaw Comcast Innovation Labs, the company's advanced research and development group.

Of Indian origin, Kotay joined Comcast in 2007, as Chief software architect.

Partly prodded by Sree Kotay, Comcast had opposed President Donald Trump's immigration reform, allowing employees time off to join protest rallies.


Two Indian-origin men in the UK have been jailed for fraud after pleading guilty to a multimillion pound fraud scam that enabled hundreds of people to tune in to paid-for cable TV channels for free.

Manish Javahar was sentenced to 21 months in jail and Bobby Bhairon was handed a 19- month sentence which has been suspended for two years.

The sentence of the two men in their 30s follows the conviction of a number of others last year in relation to a conspiracy to defraud Virgin Media cable TV provider.

The man who masterminded the scam, Mahesh Tailor, was jailed for six years in August, 2016. Tailor was the director and owner of Tailor Made Circuits who found a method of bypassing the Nagra-2 encryption system used to protect cable channels supplied by Virgin Media.

The STBs were imported from the far East & sold by Tailor in the UK.


Satellite operator SES's Board of Directors h a s approved a restructuring of SES by creating SES Video and SES Networks, focusing on the videoand data-centric segments. The new organisation will be implemented during 2017.

SES Networks comprises the Enterprise, Mobility, and Government segments and integrates O3b Networks.


The Iranian Parliament has voted against a draft bill that would authorize private TV channels in the country.

Only the government owned and controlled 'Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting' is permitted to broadcast TV content.

The rejected bill also included a proposal to turn the management of the IRIB over to a board of trustees. The IRIB chief is made through a direct decree by the Supreme Leader.

IRIB operates 12 domestic channels, 6 satellite TV channels and 30 provincial channels. It employs some 13,000 staff.


This year, about 700,000 (1%) of US DTH & cable TV customers will un-subscribe their service. The trend is expected to sustain till 2020.

Consumers are not just shifting to OTT.

Several are shifting to the 50 to 60 digital FTA channels they can typically receive.

Sale of DTT antennae have spurted 29% in the past 2 years. These are priced around US$ 50 each, for an outdoor antenna and about $ 30 for an indoor antenna.


TiVo surveyed roughly 2,000 Americans & 75% said they wanted a-la-carte channels.

Viewers wanted an average of just 18 channels, in line with Nielsen's figure of 17 channels.

Surprisingly, Sports (ESPN) featured at position 19, i.e. below the 18 channels that most US consumers will subscribe to. US Consumers are revolting against the US$ 100 they must fork out each month for DTH & Cable TV.

Canada's regulator has already made it compulsory to offer consumers a-la-carte channels. Top Canadian pay channels are priced at $5 each and the others about half as much.

However, US consumers polled do not want to pay more than $30 per month, even below what the Canadians now pay.

Google's YouTube TV offers around 40 channels for $35 & Dish Network's Sling TV, offers 30 OTT channels for $20 a month.


US regulator - the FCC has unveiled details of its recently concluded broadcast incentive auction, where TV stations have agreed to shift their operating frequency in exchange for hard cash. The cash will be paid by mobile phone companies who will then use the vacated spectrum.

957 stations will change their operating frequencies to clear spectrum that was sold to wireless carriers. 30 stations will move to a lower frequency & 133 other shut off their transmissions.

"More than $10 billion will go to 175 broadcasters" the FCC reported. The auction raised $19.8 billion for the government.

The first group of stations to move channels by Nov. 30, 2018.


Eastern Europe's with poor job prospects, migration & low birth rates, mean that populations will fall in 15 of the 22 countries covered in Digital TV Research's Eastern Europe Pay TV Forecasts report between 2016 and 2022.

The number of TV households will fall by almost 2 million. Pay-TV will struggle, losing 1 million subscribers over the same period.

In the shift to digital, many of the 22.68 million analog Cable consumers are shifting to FTA DTT rather than Pay TV.

Digital Pay-TV subscribers will increase from 25 million (20.2% of TV households) in 2010 to 58 million (45.8%) in 2016 and to 77 million (61%) by 2022.

Russia will account for nearly half of the region's Pay- TV subscribers in 2022, but due to their low monthly subscription, contribute less than Poland.

Pay-TV revenues in Eastern Europe will peak at $6.11 billion (€5.77bn) in 2017 before settling at $6 billion.


UK's regulator OFCOM has been granted more time to investigate the takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox. Regulators are examining the deal in the light of media plurality and broadcasting standards. There is also a 'fit and proper' test that some observers think will be worrying Fox in light of the sexual harassment claims at Fox News. Star anchor Bill O'Reilly was effectively fired this week though with a pay-off of tens of millions of dollars. Fox news had already parted with founder and chairman Roger Ailles after similar accusations, again with a huge pay-off.

European competition authorities had already Okayed the deal.

Fox has agreed to pay £11.7 billion (€14bn) to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not already own. Sky shareholders will receive £10.75 cash for each share, valuing the entire company at £18.5 billion. n