Insider Reporter

Insider Report

news and views on broadcast and professional video/audio sectors, worldwide

w/e February 17, 2008 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2008


Technology News | Industry News | Company News |
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TV Stations Must File DTV Status by Feb. 19

In accordance with the recently adopted "Third Periodic Review" of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules and policies affecting the conversion to digital television, all full-power television stations must file a DTV Status Report (Form 387) by February 19. The FCC has released a useable electronic version of Form 387, available here. Given the limited time frame available, NAB suggests you consult your station counsel immediately to ensure that you have all the information necessary to complete the form on time. Note: According to the instructions, Form 387 is due on February 18. However, February 18 is a federal holiday.

HD gives digital pay TV a boost

The Direct-to-Home (DTH) pay-TV market is expected to continue growing at about 7.6 per cent annually in subscribers from 2006 to 2011, and new services such as HD TV will help increase revenue. Rapid growth in the subscriber base will occur in certain less mature markets like Africa and India, where new DTH providers have or will begin service, reports In-Stat.

"In more mature markets, growth rates, while slower, remain positive, being spurred forward by bundled and premium services such as HD," says Michael Inouye, In-Stat analyst. "HD is rapidly becoming a key differentiator in the US, and some Western European countries like the UK have exhibited strong growth potential for high definition, e.g., 273 per cent growth in HD subscribers from Q306 to Q307 for BSkyB in the UK."

Research by In-Stat suggests: there will be 129 million DTH pay-TV subscribers worldwide by 2011 and revenues will eclipse $96 billion.

Worldwide DTT will reach 350m units in 2013

The worldwide DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) receiver market will grow from 65 million units in 2007 to more than 350 million units in 2013, representing a compound annual growth rate of 32 per cent. Approximately 85 per cent of 2007’s units support digital television and digital set-top box markets, while 15 per cent comprises other consumer electronics or PC applications, according to a report by ABI Research on digital terrestrial silicon receivers.

"By 2013, the DMB-T/H system in China will have about 100 million users," says Steve Wilson, principal analyst for ABI Research. "China’s national DVB standard GB20600-2006, also known as DMB-T/H, supports both fixed and mobile television applications." The rollout of digital broadcast has arrived in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, with service deployed in nearly 30 cities.

In the US, DTT receiver penetration will reach nearly 100 per cent of TV households, as the last bastions of standard definition and analogue cable convert. Moreover, broadcasters will adopt a mobile standard using ATSC (Advanced Television Standards Committee) frequencies as Samsung and LG present solutions to the industry.

"All in all," concludes Wilson, "the market opportunity for digital terrestrial receivers spans many consumer electronics devices. Many of the world’s digital TV standards support mobile and portable applications, and digital receivers are capable of delivering this signal at a fraction of the size and power of previous technologies."

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FCC confirms 30% cable bar

The US FCC has issued the formal notice confirming MSOs will be barred from a market a national market share higher than 30 per cent of multichannel subscribers. The FCC says it wanted to make sure no cable operator or group of operators could "impede the flow of programming to its consumers" because of its size.

The commission also said it will continue to count satellite and other competitors in calculating the cable cap. But it will not count the Internet, mobile phones, or video rentals, it added.

Only nation's largest cable operator Comcast, is close to that figure at about 27 per cent of multichannel-video subscribers, and has said it will appeal the rule

Disney acquires 20% of Vocento

Vocento has revealed that Disney has agreed to acquire 20 per cent of the Spanish media group's Net TV unit for around E27 million. In a statement, Vocento said the sale is part of its 2008-10 strategy plan to consolidate its position as a Digital TV provider. After the sale, Vocento will hold 55 per cent of Net TV and Intereconomia will hold 25 per cent.

NAB Fights Satellite Radio Merger

NAB is still fighting the Sirius, XM merger, In a filing sent to the FCC, NAB argued that satellite radio services and local radio stations "are not good substitutes" for each other, and thus should not be grouped in the same radio product market. Because of that, the commission must conclude that the proposed merger between XM and Sirius "would create a monopoly in the satellite DARS market," and that the companies shouldn't be permitted to combine operations. NAB also said the proposed "merger-to-monopoly" would lead to higher prices and reduce choices for consumers.

Yahoo buys Maven

Yahoo has bought Maven Networks a provider of online video technology for about $160 million to expand its ability to sell advertising alongside Web clips. The deal will help Yahoo and its network of Web partners deliver video to sites and sell advertising within and around the clips, in a challenge to the Internet video advertising being offered by larger rival Google through its site YouTube.

Maven already distributes and manages video for more than 30 major media companies, from News Corp's Fox News to Gannett Co Inc, expanding Yahoo's existing relationships with Web publishers

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Avid Appoints Another Industry Outsider as EVP. GM

Avid Technology announced that Kirk Arnold has joined the company as executive vice president and general manager of Avid's Professional Video business unit, reporting directly to Avid Chief Executive Officer Gary Greenfield. In this role, Arnold will be responsible for all of Avid's products and services for the professional video market - broadcast television, post-production and media enterprises.

Arnold comes to Avid with more than 25 years of management experience, leading both multi-national corporations and ground-floor start-ups. Prior to joining Avid, she served as vice-chairman and CEO of Keane, a leading provider of business transformation and outsourcing services. Before that, she was executive vice president of product development and management for Fidelity Investments, where she was responsible for marketing and consulting services in addition to product management and development. Prior to joining Fidelity, Arnold was president and CEO of NerveWire, Inc., a venture-backed services business which she helped to launch in 2000, and grew to $40 million in revenues and 300 employees. Before launching NerveWire, Kirk spent 6 years at Computer Sciences Corporation, where she was president of CSC Consulting, a $1 billion business with over 5000 professionals servicing companies across the globe. Arnold started her career at IBM where she served in a variety of sales and sales management positions.

Microsoft must up bid for Yahoo

Yahoo's board is expected to officially reject Microsoft's takeover bid concluding the $44.6 billion offer "undervalued" the company, and want an offer equivalent to $40 a share, rather than the $31 offered by Microsoft.

The company's share price has increased so much since the offer was made that Yahoo's market value now exceeds Microsoft's offer, despite a 62 per cent premium. Microsoft would have to offer a further $12 billion for the firm to match the $40 per share offer, which would make the Yahoo deal its biggest ever takeover.

Focus Enhancements Gets NASDAQ Extension

Focus Enhancements received notification from NASDAQ on Feb. 12, 2008 that the company met the criteria for initial listing and was granted an additional 180-calendar day extension to comply with NASDAQ’s minimum $1.00 bid price requirement.

On Feb. 11, 2008, the company met all initial inclusion criteria for the Capital Market under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 4310(c), but failed to meet bid price requirement. As a result, in accordance with Rule 4310(c)(8)(D), the company was granted 180 calendar days, or until August 11, 2008, for the bid price of its common shares to close at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days. If the company does not meet the rule requirement by August 11, 2008, NASDAQ will provide written notification to the company that it will be delisted from The NASDAQ Capital Market. The company would have the right to appeal the company’s delisting to a NASDAQ Listing Qualification Panel.

Gennum Unveils New Corporate Identity

Reflecting the company’s aggressive strategy to expand the market for its optical, analog and mixed-signal, and intellectual property (IP) solutions, Gennum Corporation unveiled a new corporate identity and brand strategy. Designed to better position the company in existing markets and gain recognition in new markets, the new brand is the latest step in a series of activities that have resulted in a refined product focus, increased operational efficiency and a clear path to growth in the video, data communication, IP and consumer connectivity markets.

“Our company has evolved significantly over the past year and so too must our corporate identity. Gennum’s brand is now more reflective of who we are today and going forward,” said Franz Fink, President and CEO of Gennum. “To our customers, the brand promises to be more approachable and collaborative, while continuing to communicate the ingenuity and performance attributes that have made us a leader in our core markets. We are committed to our customers’ success and being a valued partner who closely collaborates with them to deliver some of the most innovative data communications, video broadcast and consumer connectivity products in the market today.”

Scopus Record Q4 Revenues

Scopus Video Networks announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2007. Revenues for the fourth quarter totaled $16.5 million, a 9 percent sequential increase from the $15.2 million revenues in the prior quarter and a 37 percent increase over the $12.1 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2006. The breakdown of revenue by region was 42 percent in EMEA, 40 percent in Asia and the Pacific Rim, and 18 percent in the Americas.

Gross profit in the fourth quarter of 2007 was $7.7 million compared with $7.3 million in the prior quarter and $6 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues was 47 percent.

Net loss on a GAAP basis for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $0.3 million, or $0.02 loss per share, compared with a net loss of $0.1 million, or $0.01 per share, in the prior quarter and a net loss of $0.8 million, or $0.06 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2006.

"Our results for the fourth quarter culminate a year in which we improved our business fundamentals and reported continued sequential growth in our revenues. It was also a year in which we saw a strong positive cash flow and reached the break-even level," commented Dr. Yaron Simler, CEO of Scopus. "We expect to continue to benefit from the various actions taken over the past year in accordance with our growth strategy to solidify our position as a one-stop-shop digital video solution provider. Looking forward to 2008, we plan to further grow our revenues, expand the customer base, and improve our productivity. Our advanced products and technology, our fully integrated system solutions, as well as our global presence and customer-base diversity, all put us in a strong competitive position, ready for the year ahead."

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Avid DNxHD is First Codec Compliant with SMPTE VC-3

Avid Technology announced that Avid DNxHD(R), a high-quality, low bitrate HD production codec, is the first codec compliant with the new SMPTE VC-3 standards.

The Avid DNxHD codec was submitted to the SMPTE organization as the framework for the VC-3 family of standards - and was approved after a two year testing and validation process. VC-3 standards enable content creators to facilitate efficient encoding and exchange of HD media, and are the first SMPTE standards for intra-frame, 720/1080 raster, 8/10 bit and 4:2:2 HD post production.

With the approval of VC-3, the more than 30 Avid partners who have licensed the Avid DNxHD codec will further drive the adoption of HD workflows across film, TV and broadcast news by working with an industry standard codec. Vendors who design products that are VC-3 complaint, will enable interoperability with other industry VC-3 products - allowing Avid(R) customers more choices when building workflows. This compliance also delivers the availability of a new standard for mapping VC-3 coding units into MXF - the professional standard for file exchange and media workflow. And, because VC-3 is an open standard, data in media archives can be accessed and used without being locked into a proprietary vendor.

Mike Shore, senior manager, product and third party integrations at EVS Broadcast Equipment SA, and a licensee of the Avid DNxHD codec said, "Our support for the Avid DNxHD codec is driven by our customers' requests for a viable, interoperable and low-cost HD workflow. With today's announcement, Avid has demonstrated strong leadership by contributing to VC-3 standardization. And, by making their implementation available to third-party developers, EVS can develop complimentary tools that ultimately help our mutual customers design and sustain realistic workflows."

Motorola Mobile TV DH01n

Motorola has unveiled the Motorola Mobile TV DH01n, a pocket-sized device that combines a personal media player with advanced navigation capabilities including: 2D or 3D GPS and Tele Atlas map views, points of interest and voice-activated directions.

According to Navin Mehta, vice president of Mobile TV and Applications Services, Home & Networks Mobility at Motorola. consumers are routinely moving away from traditional primetime video viewing to ‘my time’ experiences, viewing their favourite programs where and when it is convenient to them. He suggested that the device would provide them with the ability to locate where they are going in addition to viewing content when and where they want.

NDS unveils mobile TV rights platform

Digital pay-TV technology solutions NDS has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first hybrid rights and business management platform for mobile TV. The hybrid platform, which combines content protection and business management for both the DVB-H IPDC and OMA BCAST broadcast profiles in a single system, will be shown at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona conjunction with technologies from NDS’s partners Thomson, Gemalto and LG.

The MWC demonstration features a single NDS mobile TV platform, providing encrypted streams conforming to both the DVB-H Open Security Framework and the OMA BCAST Smart Card Profile. The NDS system is integrated with the Thomson SmartVision service platform and Electronic Service Guide and is rendered on separate OSF and SCP handsets from LG using SIM cards provided by Gemalto. All four companies contributed significantly to the success of the joint project.

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Panasonic PBITS Restructures European Marketing Team

Panasonic has restructured the marketing team for its European Professional Broadcast & IT Systems (PBITS) business unit. Carmen Mendoza is the new marketing general manager of PBITS, reporting to Jaume Rey, director of the business unit.

Volker Kersbaum, former product manager for the broadcast market in Germany and Austria, has been appointed as the new European broadcast product manager, with broadcast product responsibilities across Europe.

An addition to the team is Andoni Larrucea, who has been assigned as communications manager with responsibilities for media and public relations, advertising, Web, and events. Larrucea was employed at Panasonic Spain for five years before being appointed European public relations manager within the Corporate Communications Division at the former Panasonic Europe headquarters offices in Stockley Park, Uxbridge, U.K., a post he held for six years.

"With this reorganization, we have implemented full synergy of marketing and communications," said Rey. "In this way, we hope to bridge the gap between our company and our customers and potential customers, ensuring that they always have the information and the attention that they deserve."

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