Insider Reporter

Insider Report

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

w/e May 25, 2008 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2008


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Broadcasters plan Super Hi-Vision demo

The BBC, NHK of Japan and RAI of Italy are to collaborate on a unique demonstration in Amsterdam in September with international links of Super Hi-Vision, the system which combines 7680 x 4320 pixel images with 22.2 channel immersive audio. The demonstration is being actively supported by Siemens, the BBC’s technology partner, Cable&Wireless which will provide fibre connectivity from London to Amsterdam, and Eutelsat which will provide a satellite link from Torino to Amsterdam.

In the series of demonstrations - which will run throughout the IBC2008 - content shot in Japan will be mixed with live pictures from a camera located in central London, operated by SIS Outside Broadcasts (previously BBC Outside Broadcasts). The live feed from London will be compressed using MPEG-2 and delivered over an ultra-broadband fibre, provided by Cable&Wireless. Content will also be played into the demonstration from a server in Torino, Italy, delivered over two full satellite transponders provided by Eutelsat.

IPTV equipment posts aggressive growth

The latest Synergy report finds that IPTV equipment sales continue to be driven by upgrades to Carrier networks, especially at the Edge, handling the surge in subscriber and traffic growth. Synergy anticipates Worldwide IPTV subscribers to increase substantially over the next two years and approach close to 40 million IPTV subscribers by 2010. Synergy research also finds that IPTV deployments in China and South Korea are developing at an accelerated pace. In Europe, Service Providers continue to heavily invest in IPTV deployments.

"IPTV has transitioned from a forward-thinking play to an essential strategy for Service Providers to counter competitive forces and pursue lucrative revenue opportunities," says Ray Mota, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer at Synergy Research Group, "This continues to translate into dollars spent on infrastructure equipment providing intelligence and service delivery at the Edge of the Service Provider network."

The fastest growing IPTV market segment was IPTV Set Top Boxes (STB), which grew 86 per cent year over the year.

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US Cable adds more broadband subs than telcos

Leichtman Research Group has reported that the nineteen largest cable and telephone providers in the US - representing about 94 per cent of the market - acquired 2.2 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the first quarter of 2008. The top broadband providers now account for 64.1 million subscribers with cable companies having about 34.7 million broadband subscribers, and telephone companies having about 29.5 million subscribers.

The top cable companies added 1.2 million subscribers, representing 54 per cent of the net broadband additions for the quarter versus the top telephone companies.

CW in trouble

Two years after CBS and Time Warner combined their second-tier networks UPN and WB into the youth-oriented CW to pool young viewers prized by advertisers, the network's hopes of surviving are looking increasingly bleak, reports the WSJ. The network has lost about 28 per cent of its target audience of 18 to 34 year olds so far this season. Its ratings during this month's "sweeps" period -- the all-important measure upon which future advertising rates are set -- are down about 22 per cent.

Advertisers eager to reach a young demographic initially clamoured to sign on to the CW, but have since cooled to the network. Part of the problem is that the CW's young audience is most prone to spend leisure time on the Internet. Last winter's Hollywood writers' strike, which forced scripted shows off the air for three months, hastened the defection of viewers to the Web.

MGM and Comcast HD deal

MGM HD, the high definition movie channel from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, has signed an affiliate agreement with Comcast Corporation This new agreement between MGM and Comcast will provide Comcast the ability to distribute the network to its high-definition (HD) customers with hundreds of HD movies from MGM's library.

QVC goes HD

SES will be adding QVC HD to its line up of available channels. QVC is the first home retail shopping channel to offer high-definition programming through SES Americom’s HD-Prime platform

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Optibase Issues an Open Letter to Scopus Shareholders

Optibase Ltd. has issued an open letter to the shareholders of Scopus Video Networks Ltd. in connection with the request of Optibase to convene a general meeting of shareholders of Scopus to declassify the board of directors of Scopus and to elect a slate of directors, and in response to the letter to Scopus shareholders and the proxy statement by Scopus, dated May 9, 2008. The meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday, June 16, 2008. Shareholders of record at the close of business on May 9, 2008 will be entitled to vote at the meeting.

A copy of Optibase's open letter to Scopus' shareholders will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Schedule 13D and is also available at

In the letter, Optibase claims the "concerns" raised by the board of directors of Scopus are baseless, motivated by self-enriching interests and ignore basic fundamental principles of the Israeli Companies Law.

Scopus shareholders' are urged to vote "AGAINST" proposal 1 (the proposal of Scopus' board of directors) and "FOR" proposal 2 and proposal 3 (Optibase' proposals).

Microsoft approaches Yahoo again

Microsoft has said it is considering a deal with Yahoo which would not involve a full buyout of the company. The two are discussing combining their advertising sales operations in order to rival Google. Microsoft's previous offer to buy Yahoo for $33 a share - a figure which valued the company at $47.5 billion was turned down

Optibase Q1 Down

Optibase Ltd. announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008.

Revenues for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008 were $4 million compared with $5.6 million for the first quarter of 2007 and $5.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Net loss for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008, was $2.9 million or $0.21 per basic and fully diluted share, compared with a net loss of $1.5 million or $0.11 per basic and fully diluted share for the first quarter of 2007 and with a net loss of $1.7 million or $0.13 per basic and fully diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Equity in loss expenses pursuant to the investment in Scopus, and Stock based compensation pursuant to SFAS123R during the first quarter, totaled at $487,000 and $178,000 respectively.

Amir Philips CFO of Optibase, said, “Our top and bottom line performance was impacted by several factors. The devaluation in the US dollar against the New Israeli Shekel continued causing an increase in our operating expenses. Revenues were lower as a result of several orders and opportunities that were pushed out to later in the year. We remain in contact with these customers and are working diligently to close and deliver these orders. Additionally, we saw delays in the commercial launch of our two newest products, EZ TV and the Creator Ingest Server. We had expected to release both products toward the end of the first quarter, and following the delays, we are now back-on-track for the respective product and are working towards timely launch in the near future.”

Mr. Philips continued, “Looking ahead to the balance of 2008, we have some initiatives underway, including the anticipated full release of EZ TV. We also have a healthy pipeline of sales opportunities that we expect could materialize further out into the year.”

He concluded, “While we are disappointed in our results for the first quarter, we believe that we made progress in several important areas and believe that Optibase is well positioned to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

Chyron Expands Board of Directors

Chyron announced the election of Roger Ogden, Robert Rayne and Peter Frey to its Board of Directors at the Company's Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Company's incumbent directors were also reelected at the Annual Meeting.

Roger Ogden serves as a consultant for several broadcast-related companies. He was previously President and General Manager of KUSA Television in Denver, Colorado and held several positions at Gannett Television, a unit of Gannett Company, Inc., including President and CEO Gannett Broadcasting where he was responsible for 23 television stations owned by Gannett. Mr. Ogden has also recently been named to the Board of Directors of E.W. Scripps, effective July 1, 2008.

Robert Rayne is currently Chief Executive Officer and a director of the investment company, LMS Capital plc. Prior to LMS, he was employed by London Merchant Securities and served as its Chief Executive Officer from May 2001 to February 2007. Mr. Rayne is also the Non-Executive Chairman of Derwent London plc, a leading central London, U.K. real estate investment trust and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Weatherford International Inc.

Peter Frey is a private investor and a retired partner of TRG Management LP, an emerging markets asset management firm, where he was responsible for sales, marketing and product development from 2003 until he retired in 2007. Prior to 2003 he spent more than 17 years at JP Morgan, where he held a series of senior Sales and Marketing positions. In addition, Mr. Frey is the President of the Board of Trustees of Exit Art, a non-profit cultural organization in New York City and is a member of Vassar College's President's Advisory Council.

The election of Messrs. Rayne, Frey and Ogden brings the total number of Chyron Directors to nine.

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New JVC GZ-MS100 Camcorder

The new JVC Everio S Series memory camcorder, the GZ-MS100, was designed to make sharing simple for the millions of people who enjoy sharing their videos with the world over the Internet. And unlike many of the other camcorders that target Internet users, JVC's GZ-MS100 provides an impressive array of full-fledged camcorder features that give it the versatility to do more than shoot short Internet videos.

It looks strikingly similar to the popular Everio G Series camcorders, but is smaller and weighs only 0.60 lbs. including battery, because it records to an SD Card (user provided) instead of a built-in hard disk drive. The ever-increasing capacity and affordability of new SD Cards appearing on the market means that over time Everio S will be able to offer expanded recording time at a lower per minute cost.

Up front, the GZ-MS100 is equipped with a KONICA MINOLTA LENS that provides a 35x optical zoom with excellent picture quality. JVC's proprietary Gigabrid Engine also contributes to quality by incorporating six digital noise reduction systems to improve the S/N ratio by about 30 percent (3dB) over previous models, and integrating the MPEG-2 encoder to help reduce block noise and mosquito noise. Other full-fledged camera functions include Program AE with shooting modes to accommodate a variety of situations (Night, Twilight, Portrait, Sports, Snow, Spotlight), Digital Image Stabilizer to minimize camera-shake, and much more.

The JVC GZ-MS100 will be available in June for $349.99.

Adobe Flash Player 10 Public Beta

Adobe announced that the pre-release version of Adobe® Flash® Player 10 software is now available in beta on Adobe Labs with new expressive features for interactive designers and developers to build richer and more immersive Web experiences. Adobe Flash Player 10 beta, code named “Astro,” builds on the capabilities of the world’s most pervasive application runtime with new support for custom filters and effects, native 3D transformation and animation, extensible rich text layout and GPU hardware acceleration — helping to enable a new level of cinematic experiences across multiple browsers and operating systems.

Innovations introduced in the beta release of Adobe Flash Player 10 will be incorporated into a future release of Adobe AIR™ and will contribute to future work on the Open Screen Project, which is dedicated to delivering a consistent runtime environment across personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics. More information about the Open Screen Project is available at

Harris platform for LG / Samsung ATSC

Harris Corporation will introduce the first full mobile digital TV transmission platform to meet the new Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) solution that was proposed by LG Electronics and Samsung. The Harris offering, which will be introduced in November 2008, will enable television broadcasters to quickly begin the transition to mobile digital television (DTV).

The proposed LG and Samsung mobile handheld solution is based upon elements of the Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH) technology — developed by Harris, LG Electronics and Zenith — as well as Samsung's Advanced Vestigial Sideband (A-VSB) system. The development clears the path for electronics manufacturers to begin designing mobile DTV devices, and for local DTV broadcasters to proceed with confidence to build out their new mobile DTV services

OpenTV Signs Deal With NBC Universal

OpenTV Corp. announced that NBC Universal has selected the OpenTV Participate solution to power, centralize and manage cross-platform interactive television applications, including Web, mobile and set-top box, for NBC Universal’s broadcast and cable networks. The programs that will feature the interactive services have not yet been announced.

This enterprise-wide deal comes one year after used the OpenTV Participate solution to successfully power live, Web (PC) based interactive services for the hit primetime series “Heroes.” The ‘two-screen’ interactive services were created, scheduled, managed and analyzed using OpenTV Participate’s production tools, and then synchronized with the “Heroes” broadcast each Monday night across all continental US time zones. Audiences were invited to interact with the broadcasts by entering live polls and offering their own predictions on the outcome of the storylines, all in real time.

OpenTV Participate is a server-based system which can process several thousand transactions per second in real time, delivering a personalized interactive experience to viewers on any platform, whether cable, satellite, terrestrial, mobile or Web. In addition to the synchronized interactive services, OpenTV Participate also allows for virtually unlimited value-added content, such as trivia, fun facts, sponsor messages and interactive advertising.

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Eight Former AOL Time Warner Executives Face SEC Charges

Eight former executives from the company then known as AOL Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) have been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with inflating the company's online ad revenues by more than $1 billion between 2000-2002. Four of the executives -- including former controller James MacGuidwin -- have agreed to settle civil charges by paying the SEC about $8 million in fines.

Four others -- including former CFO John Michael Kelly and Joseph Ripp, the former CFO of the company's AOL unit -- have opted to contest the charges in federal court.

The SEC said that the eight took part in fraudulent deals in which AOL Time Warner artificially boosted its own revenue by giving advertisers money to buy online ads they wouldn't otherwise have purchased.

Other former executives to settle include David Colburn, Eric Keller and Jay Rappaport, while charges are still pending against Steven Rindner and Mark Wovsaniker.

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  • 2008 - 2009 Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports

  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Industry Overview Report

  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Micro Quantitative Product Data Report

  • HDTV / Digital Trends Report

  • IPTV / Mobile TV Report

    2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Report -- Sales Exceed $10 billion in 2007

    US Broadcast / Pro Video Industry Overview Report
    - 47 Page Overview Report of Economic, Technology & Marketing Factors Impacting the Industry -
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    The Big Picture
    Inflation, stagflation, deflation, recession, depression. Mind boggling, huh? Does it give you a headache? You’re not alone. A cornucopia of terms has been bantered about in all of the media reports and by some highly respected economic experts. Experts? Do we even know where we are headed? Or are we being thwarted and pummeled by the latest headline?

    How the Professional Broadcast/Cable/Production Market is Doing
    Most vertical markets are exhibiting prominent overall sales volumes as digital transitions and expansions continue through the decade. Brisk expansion is carrying much of the total market value, with some vertical markets recording record gains. Most manufacturers are reporting record profits for 2007, with sales climbing higher this year. Cablers have been the most dominant force the past several years, after mounting a major effort to expand into broadband services. Services like video-on-demand (VOD), High Definition Television (HDTV), high-speed Internet and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service drive much of the clout. Over $95 billion has been spent in the past eight years on capital acquisitions to accommodate the newest technologies and subscriber services. Facility mergers and upgrades to comply with an impending DTV deadline have also been a factor. A Research and Markets Report has predicted that the cable headend market will hit $10.3 billion by 2011. That is up from $2.9 billion in 2005. Telcom operators will also mount significant gains as IPTV grows by 52% annually through 2012 according to IMS Research. with more than 13 million worldwide households hooked up in 2007.

    SCRI International has found that between 2003 and 2007, the biggest product demand has been with video recorder (VTRs), cameras, nonlinear editors (NLEs) and video servers. Total sales for all production categories in 2003 came in at $8.14 billion, rising to a substantial $10.4 billion in projected sales for 2007. Average annual dollar growth was up 6.3% for all six professional television/video markets between 2003 and 2007.

    The cost for the 47 page Broadcast / Pro Video Marketplace Macro Overview Report is $795, or $495 for Insider Reports subscribers. Click Here to Order

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