April 2017




MEASAT and CISCO conducted a satellite transmission demo of UHD/4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) content using the HLG (Hybrid- Log Gamma) standard, during the ABU DBS 2017 (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Digital Broadcasting Symposium) from 6 - 9 March in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The signals were compressed using the HEVC compression standard at 50 frames per second with a bit depth of 10 bits. It was then be transmitted via the MEASAT-3 hotbird satellite using the DVBS2x broadcast standard at 18 Mbps.

HDR dramatically improves picture quality over non-HDR UHD. This is because HDR projects a wider range of richer colours, brighter whites, and deeper, darker blacks, giving the TV picture a more exciting 'dynamic' look. HDR coupled with the increased resolution of UHD represents the future of video.

The HLG standard was designed to work similar to regular broadcast television. It is backwards compatible with SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) TVs, and supports live TV to HLGs u p p o r t e d equipment. This makes HLG ideal for broadcasters.


The UK government levies a very substantial annual license fee for every TV in use. This license fee is used to pay for the BBC, broadband roll out and other related activities. The government has now declared that it is raising its license fee from £145.5 to £147 with effect from April 1.

The license fee was hiked in 2010 and confirmed till end March 2017. Last year the government declared that the license fee will continue for atleast 11 more years, and will rise as per the annual inflation index.

The announcement came 2 days after BBC director general Tony Hall ordered an investigation into reports that TV licence fee collectors targeted vulnerable people, spurred on by an aggressive incentive scheme.


Despite a 0.5% drop in subscriber numbers during the past year, European Cable TV is doing well.

Several European Cable TV customers have migrated to digital, boosting ARPUs which have grown over 16% in the past 5 years.

CATV ARPUs are higher than IPTV, but lower than DTH. Overall TV revenue is growing, too, up 3.7% in 2016.

These are some of the details from IHS Markit released on the eve of Cable Congress.

The really good news is broadband. Cable broadband grew throughout Western Europe. Year-on-year, broadband subscriptions were up 5.9% and broadband revenues were up 7.5% in 2016. CATV is converting its broadband subscriber base to super-fast broadband more successfully than telcos.


According to Dataxis, there were approximately 18.7 million Africa pay-TV subscribers, end 2016, an increase of approximately 2 million. Of these, 14 million are DTH subscribers and the remaining mostly pay DTT with limited cable and IPTV deployments.

Dataxis estimates pay-TV revenue for the year 2016 at $ 4.4 billion and forecasted to reach $6 billion by 2021.

The key players for the Sub Saharan African region are Naspers (56%), Canal+ (15%) & StarTimes (9%).

Naspers owns the "MultiChoice" DTH platform.

Migration to DTT is far from complete, with DTT STBs being a bottle-neck. Full migration to DTT will probably take till 2021.


The top 10 Pay TV platforms in the USA lost 937,000 customers (1.05%) in 2016, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index. They collectively have 88.69 million subs now.

Interestingly, the number of subs with the top 10 service providers actually rose during 2016, after mergers & acquisitions. These 10 service providers account for 75% of pay TV homes in the US.


T h e executive body of the European Union - T h e European Commission has approved AT&T's bid to acquire Time Warner Inc.

The $85 billion merger still faces an un-certain future in the USA.

"This is an important approval from a highly-respected authority," said Bob Quinn, senior executive vice president of AT&T External and Legislative Affairs.


Satellite operator SES says its spacecraft are now delivering TV entertainment and news programming to more than 1 billion people and 325 million homes. This consisted of DTH (130 million+), CATV (148 million+) & IPTV (44 million+).

Regionally, it is 'greater' Europe which still dominates SES's reach with some 156 million homes covered, while North America's coverage reaches 78 million households, South America 37 million, Africa 10 million and Asia-Pacific some 43 million.


74% of U.S. homes still subscribe to traditional Pay-TV services, and two-thirds of those homes do it because the video products are bundled with their broadband service, according to a new Deloitte survey.


Yahlive and Entertainment Reality TV Hub ( E A R T H ) announced a n e w multimilliondollar deal to launch a new DTH service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Yahlive, based in UAE, will serve 5 new communities, including Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Filipinos living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The new service will roll out in August, with customers being able to watch dozens of new TV channels in Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) in seven languages: Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Sinhali, Bengali, Tagalog and Malayalam. In terms of programming, both companies have worked together on a range of premium television content. Customers who sign up early will be eligible for a few months of free subscription including a free set-top box.


French m e d i a g r o u p V i v e n d i has filed a c i v i l p e t i t i o n demanding damages from Italian broadcaster Mediaset and Berlusconi family holding company Fininvest.

Vivendi alleges that it was the victim of a defamatory media campaign over its aborted agreement to take over Pay-TV unit Mediaset Premium.

Fininvest also launched a lawsuit quantifying at €570 million the damages from the loss of image and fall of Mediaset's share price.

Last year, Mediaset had filed a civil action against Vivendi asking for the execution of the contract signed on April 8th 2016, which provided for the sale of Mediaset Premium and an exchange of shares between Mediaset and Vivendi, and compensation of €50 million for each month of delay in the execution. n