Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e June 24, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2007

INDEX

Technology News | Industry News | Company News |
Product News | People in the News | Research News

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

DTV Exceeds 80% of UK homes

More than 80 per cent of UK homes now have digital television on their main set, media regulator Ofcom has reported.

Ofcom’s Digital Television Progress Report for January to March 2007 shows that household take-up of digital television now stands at 80.5 per cent, or 20.4m homes, up from 77.2 per cent in the previous quarter.

The quarterly digital TV update also shows that Freeview has now overtaken Sky as the most popular digital television service, experiencing huge growth in the first three months of the year. Digital cable TV, now under the Virgin Media brand, outperformed Sky in the number of new subscribers for the first time since 2001.

Freeview is now the largest digital service, on the main television set in 8.4m homes, up from 7.7m in the last three months of last year. Sky by comparison grew its customer base by 32,020 in the quarter and now has just over 8 million subscribers. Free-to-view satellite also added 70,000 homes, taking its total number to 885,000.

French DTT to cover 70% by July

The French DTT service is set to reach 70 per cent of the population by the end of July with the addition of 11 new transmitters. This month transmitters are scheduled to come on the air: in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region: Menton ; in Lorraine: Bar-le-Duc, Epinal, Vittel; in Rhône-Alpes: Chambéry, Montmélian; in Champagne-Ardenne: Troye; and in Bourgogne: Auxerre.

In July three more regions will be reached in Bourgogne covering the areas of Dijon, Sens and Mâcon. The new transmitters will reach a total of more than two million French. In October, seven areas in the North-eastern part of the country will also be covered. By year-end between 80 and 85 per cent of France is expected to be served by DTT.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Media General Upbeat on Broadcast TV

Media General, Inc. updated investors on the company's growth strategies and its outlook for 2007 at the Mid-Year Media Review in New York. Media General's Broadcast Division is growing through new channels and new programs. "We've invested $50 million to equip our stations for digital transmission. One of the benefits is that we can now carry multiple channels simultaneously. Last year we launched a number of new companion channels," Mr. Ashe said.

He said Broadcast has launched 24/7 weather channels at 11 television stations, which help extend local weather brands and provide a valuable service to viewers. Other broadcast products focus on local non-news programming.

Mr. Ashe said, "Our television stations are also doing an excellent job developing their Web presence. Many provide Web-exclusive news programs and others stream their regular newscasts live."

John A. Schauss, vice president-finance and chief financial officer, said the Broadcast Division expects revenues for the full year to increase 8 percent, including the new NBC stations. "We expect same-station revenues to decline 3-3.5 percent, as the result of soft transactional sales, including much lower spending in the automotive category." Broadcast same-station expenses will increase approximately 4.5 percent, reflecting salary increases and higher costs for employee benefits, depreciation and investments in revenue growth initiatives. Broadcast segment profit will be lower than 2006, which generated a record $50 million of Political revenues.

More Yahoo and Microsoft merger talk

Internal portal Yahoo has reportedly been approached by Microsoft about a potential tie-up that could value the company at $25bn., The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post both report.

Talk of a possible deal between Yahoo! and Microsoft have persisted over the past few months, with reports claiming the firms held informal merger talks last year. Neither company has so far commented on the reports.

News Corp may swap MySpace for Yahoo stake

News Corporation has discussed swapping MySpace, its Internet social networking unit, with Yahoo! in return for a 25 per cent stake in the enlarged group, reports ATV. News Corp is said to be interested in a deal even if it means losing some control of MySpace because it would give the media group exposure to a far larger internet-based business.

News Corp, NBC online venture

NBC Universal has said it expects its new online video venture with News Corp. to launch in September. The two companies announced the project in March, saying it would begin operation in the summer of 2007. The yet-to-be-named Web video outlet aims to compete for viewers with Google 's YouTube and other online video outlets under construction by large media companies.

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COMPANY NEWS

Sony launches Internet TV

Sony plans to start shipping its Web to TV device in July. The Bravia Internet Video Link will stream video over a broadband connection to compatible Sony Bravia HDTVs. The device connects to the television via USB and HDMI ports.

Available Web video, which is accessed through the TV remote control, will only come from Sony's movie and music divisions, or through partners Yahoo, Time Warner's AOL, and Grouper. More partnerships are to be confirmed at a later date.

When the device was announced at CES in January Josh Felser, co-founder of Grouper Networks said that through the partnership with Sony, Grouper will "edit" and filter user-generated content posted at Grouper's website, "plucking" the ones the company thinks "right" for viewing on Bravia

Broadcaster, Inc. A to Apply for AMEX Listing

Broadcaster, Inc. intends to submit an application for listing its common stock on the American Stock Exchange.

“We believe that applying for listing on the Amex is a logical next step for Broadcaster. Having our stock listed on the Amex will provide us with access to new investors and increased visibility in the financial community,” said Martin Wade, CEO of Broadcaster, Inc.

The Company’s recently approved 1-for-2 reverse stock split is expected to help the Company meet the Amex’s minimum price requirement for listing. The Company believes that it will meet all requirements necessary for listing, however, it cannot guarantee that its listing application will be approved.

Huawei & Optibase in IPTV Alliance

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., a provider of next generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, and digital video supplier Optibase Ltd. announced an alliance to provide integrated TV over IP services. Huawei selected Optibase’s Media Gateway (MGW) platforms to provide advanced MPEG-4/H.264 encoding and streaming as part of their IPTV offering, thus giving their customers a competitive edge.

Optibase’s MGW streamers let service-providers stream high quality TV over broadband IP or ATM networks such as xDSL and FTTx. The MGW product line offers high-density, modular platforms that encode, transcode, transmit and recast broadcast quality HD and SD MPEG-4/H.264 and MPEG-2 video channels in real-time.

“We are very proud to be selected by Huawei. Working with one of the world leading system integrators is an important mile stone for Optibase,” said Tom Wyler, Chairman and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Optibase “We look forward to becoming a key part of Huawei’s IPTV offering with our carrier-grade MGW platforms, which provide high quality H.264 video.”

Simon Lee, Director of Cooperation for Huawei’s Digital Media Entertainment Product Line, said, “We are very pleased to select Optibase as one of our IPTV encoding partner. Optibase MGW platforms provide us with the high video quality and reliability demanded by our customers. Furthermore, Optibase’s innovative products fit our product offering, and will enable us to continue offering our customers great service.”

YouTube Expands Global Coverage

YouTube is set to build on its international audience with the launch of its first foreign-language websites. Though the Google-owned video sharing website already draws more than half of its audience from outside the US, the international strategy is intended eventually to make it a local mainstay in dozens of countries around the world and fend off local copy-cats that have gained momentum in recent months, according to company executives.

The initiative will begin with YouTube translating its existing site for France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Brazil and Japan, as well as services in the UK and Ireland, then gradually refining each national site to highlight the content and features that are best suit local cultural sensitivities.

Executives said that the company would use its global reach as one of the main weapons in its international expansion. "What we bring to the table is a true global audience," said Chad Hurley, one of YouTube’s co-founders, and all material uploaded to any of the company’s sites around the world will be available to all viewers. "We’re not filtering out any content," he added.

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PRODUCT NEWS

Seoul Broadcasting System Goes with Chyron

Chyron Corporation announced that major Korean broadcaster, Seoul Broadcasting System’s (SBS) Sports Channel has purchased three HyperX graphics systems with Lyric PRO advanced creation and playout, three MicroX and two HX200 systems for its popular coverage. The installation was carried out by Chyron’s Korean partner Sion Media Co., Ltd.

In partnership with Chyron, C&PS, a Korean software developer, has developed a new sports GUI, 3D Animation Sports Coder, which allows SBS Sports Channel to easily operate Lyric PRO 3D sports messages. SBS Sports Channel is currently using the Chyron systems to provide 3D Animation Sports Coder messages for the Baseball league, which will soon extend to golf, soccer and basketball. This is the first time that 3D Animation Sports Coder has been used in Korea on a Chyron graphics system.

“We chose the Chyron systems because they have sophisticated output of 3D animation and particle effect,” commented Sukyoung Lee, Graphic Team Manager, SBS Sports Channel. “The new GUI has improved our workflow significantly and provided our operators with greater creativity,” he added.

William Payne, Chyron’s Director of Sales, Asia Pacific added, “We are delighted to announce SBS Sports Channel as the first adopter of 3D Animation Sports Coder in Korea. The Chyron systems installed by SBS Sports Channel will provide cutting-edge and reliable graphics for its fast paced sports coverage.”

EditShare Ships Version 5.0

EditShare™ has begun shipping version 5.0, the latest release of EditShare shared storage solutions. This new release adds significant enhancements including “plug and play” for easy deployment, a streamlined file management structure to organize media files with greater speed and ease, and daily “health” reports on server activity.

“From day one we have designed EditShare systems to not only support, but advance file-based workflows for media-centric environments. Version 5.0 is no exception. A customer driven release, we are confident that our users will be very pleased with the vastly simplified media sharing experience and impressed with the immense workflow benefits from features such as the new Health Report and Synchronization Tool,” comments Andy Liebman, founder and president, EditShare.

"The changes to EditShare 5 has improved our edit workflow substantially. With a large number of users connected, the system would need to re-scan to make new media available to all suites. Now the media appears seamlessly and there is no interruption to the workflow. Add to this the bulletproof reliability that we've been experiencing with our EditShare systems and it truly is the cost effective yet powerful solution that we've been searching for."

Harmonic Presents IP-Based Digital Video Solutions at CommunicAsia 2007

Harmonic will highlight its latest IP-based digital video solutions at booth #6D3-01 during the upcoming CommunicAsia exhibition, an annual event held in Singapore and attended by the leading broadcast, cable, satellite and telco operators in the Asia Pacific region. Harmonic’s market-leading MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) and MPEG-2 compression and video stream processing solutions for high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) video will be displayed, as will an end-to-end video-on-demand (VOD) delivery platform for both real-time and non real-time content provisioning.

Leading operators in Asia continue to deploy innovative video services, including expanding their HD and VOD offerings, as well as implementing H.264-based compression to enhance bandwidth efficiency. To power these services, Harmonic’s latest generation DiviCom® Electra™ SD and HD H.264 encoders and its StreamLiner® on-demand video delivery platform have been selected and deployed by several of the region’s top tier operators, including the world’s largest IPTV service provider.

“As momentum continues to grow in the region, we consider the CommunicAsia event to be an important venue to showcase our latest generation products and solutions,” said Raymond Tse, Vice President of Asia Pacific Sales for Harmonic Inc. “Harmonic provides operators with a comprehensive range of compression, stream processing, edge and access solutions that are redefining video delivery. This portfolio is backed by Harmonic’s technology innovation, market leadership and experience, enabling operators to deliver superior quality and high efficiency video systems that meet subscriber demands and increase revenues.”

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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Yahoo chief steps down

Yahoo chief executive and chairman Terry Semel has stepped down after six years to be replaced by co-founder Jerry Yang. The Internet search giant has also promoted Susan Decker, who was named as executive vice-president and head of advertiser and publisher group last December, as president of the company.

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RESEARCH NEWS

SCRI Data 2007 Broadcast/Pro Video Marketplace Macro Overview Report

An unbelievable whirlwind is hitting the television/video industry. It is a ratcheting metamorphosis that rivals the frenzy which occurred before the dot-bomb in 2001. Wherever you look, a digital migration to alternative media happens every nano second…in every niche market and corner of the world. It’s driving digital to the forefront and providing rock solid numbers marketers are turning into cold hard cash.

The Broadcast / Pro Video Marketplace Macro Overview is a report of over 100 pages of analysis and information on the state-of-the-industry compiled from secondary online research sources including industry news sites, manufacturers sites, as well as SCRI's own weekly online News Briefs and Insider Reports.

Table of Contents is as follows:

  • Overall Economic and Market Macro Overview

  • The Big Picture
  • It’s a Digital Economy with Analog Implications
  • So Where do We Stand Economically?

  • Where the Professional Broadcast/Cable/Production Market is Headed
  • Advertising Dollars on the Uptake
  • Where are we going?
  • Where are the wired roaming?
  • It’s TV in your pocket…
  • Let the customer be the judge…
  • Could DTV be Diverted?
  • But, I Want My i-TV…
  • Television…Reborn and Redefined…. Online
  • Digital Divergence
  • Internet Casualties

  • So Where is Everything Going?
  • Interviews with leading Mannufacturers:
  • Avid Technology
  • Grass Valley
  • Harris Corporation
  • Panasonic Broadcast
  • Quantel
  • Autodesk
  • Questioned on:
  • Tell us why your biggest-selling product is so successful
  • What do you see as the next growth area for the broadcast industry?
  • What’s the biggest growth area for your company in particular?
  • How do you view the current state of HD conversion industry-wide? Is it a done deal or do we have a ways to go?

  • What’s Happening in the Industry
  • Marketers
  • Television/Broadcast/Cabler/Telco/Internet Companies

    The cost for the Broadcast / Pro Video Marketplace Macro Overview Report is $695, payable by credit card (Amex, Visa, MC) or PO for SCRI regular clients. Delivery is withing 24 hours of payment via email as attached Adobe PDF files.

    Huge Growth Occurs In Online Video Use

    The results of a national online Magid Media Futures(TM) survey conducted the last week in March of 2007 have just been released, documenting the huge growth in popularity for Americans to view video online over the Internet. Daily usage of online video rose by 56 percent over the last year. In 2006, 9 percent of 12- to 64-year-old Americans who used the Internet reported using online video daily -- every day. Today, in 2007, this number has risen to 14 percent of Americans 12 to 64 years old.

    Weekly usage of online video has also risen over the last year. Now, a majority of online Americans 12 to 64 are using online video once a week or more. In 2006 this number was 44 percent, and now it is 52 percent -- for a growth rate of 18 percent.

    Even more remarkable is the amount of online video use among young Americans. Among young adult males 18 to 24, 35 percent report using online video at least once a day, and 80 percent report watching online video at least once a week. In all age-groups, males are more regular viewers of online video. Among females 18 to 24, weekly use of online video is 53 percent (versus the 80% for males). The population that has the lowest rate of weekly online video usage is older women. Among the group of females 55 to 64 years old, 39 percent report using online video weekly.

    "Clearly the use of online video demonstrates that the Internet has become a mass platform for distributing video content to a wide cross section of Americans," said Mike Vorhaus, senior vice president and managing director for Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., the media-oriented consulting and research firm that conducted this research.

    The types of video being consumed by Americans include a wide variety of content. News stories are reported by consumers as the most frequently viewed video they watch regularly on the Internet. Over a third of online Americans 12 to 64 watch online video news stories regularly. Video content described as jokes/bloopers, weather, and movie previews are tied for second most regularly viewed video content. Closely following these are music videos and "videos shot by consumers and uploaded to Web sites like YouTube" -- a more consumer- friendly way of saying "user-generated content."

    Of course, some demographic groups are very different from other age and gender groups. For instance, news stories are more appealing to older age- groups (those 45 to 64), while jokes/bloopers are strongest among teens.

    "The breadth of content viewed by consumers regularly online is amazing. This is not just short clips on YouTube. Consumers are watching news stories, movie previews, clips from TV shows, and, in some cases, even full-length TV shows and movies," Vorhaus said. "The breadth of content online today is growing and consumers are using it," Vorhaus concluded.

    The Magid research also indicates that Internet homes in the U.S. are moving forward technologically as the expansion of wireless networks into the home increases dramatically. Two years ago, in 2005, only 16 percent of Internet homes had wireless networks. In 2007, over 41 percent of Internet homes have wireless networks, which is a growth of 156 percent in two years. "Right now it may mostly be computers and printers on home networks. We imagine TV sets will readily be part of home networks in the years ahead," Vorhaus commented.

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