Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e November 6, 2009 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2009

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Mobile subscribers to hit 5.9 billion in 2013

Infonetics Research released its new Fixed and Mobile Subscribers market forecast report.

"The global recession did not prevent people from using communication services, but it clearly accelerated the pace of wireline-to-mobile substitution. China, which had half a billion mobile subscribers in 2008, and India together make Asia Pacific the world's largest mobile subscriber region, now and into the future. The EMEA region is next, with strong growth driven by Africa. Mobile subscriptions will continue to grow strongly over at least the next five years, driven mainly by basic voice service needs in these regions, particularly in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China)," projects Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.

Report highlights nclude:

  • There were nearly 4 times more mobile subscribers than access line subscribers worldwide in 2008 (3.9 billion vs. 1 billion)
  • The number of mobile subscribers grew 17.4% in 2008 over 2007, while access line subscribers declined 5.5%
  • Access lines are disappearing fastest in North America and China, due to the move to fixed-to-mobile substitutions, the switch from copper to fiber lines, and the recession, during which many people ditch their landlines and keep only their mobile or smartphone
  • The number of worldwide mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2013
  • The number of PON FTTH subscribers worldwide is expected to soar at a compound annual growth rate of 32% from 2008 to 2013

    IPTV registers 45 percent growth in region

    IPTV services are pipped to achieve revenues of US$17 billion in 2010, according to Dominic McGill, the organiser of the upcoming Middle East Television (METV) exhibition and conference. The event is organised in association with twofour54, Abu Dhabi's content creation community and scheduled for November 17-19 2009 in Abu Dhabi.

    He said the Middle East is also showing signs of swift adoption of IPTV, with 45 per cent year-on-year growth reported in 2008, bringing a number of new opportunities and challenges for the region's TV content providers. "The Middle East has witnessed about 40 per cent annual growth in IPTV demand for the past few years. The demand is being driven by the increasing availability of cutting-edge convergence technology across voice, data and multimedia solutions. METV will address these issues and more," said McGill, CEO, Nexus Global Events.

    Recent reports suggest that worldwide, IPTV subscriptions are expected to top 65 million by 2012, a leap from the 13 million households, today McGill observed that the massive growth curve has put the focus on finding new content for converged services across television, internet and mobile technology. "Worldwide, the broadcast content sector is being pushed to find solutions to a huge content gap, and a real opportunity is developing for region-based companies to up-the-ante to help fill the void." He said the onslaught of convergence solutions has opened new business opportunities for innovative companies, and cited Etisalat, one of the two main telecommunications service providers in the United Arab Emirates, as a convergence technology pioneer.

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    INDUSTRY NEWS

    Comcast Reports Q3 Profts up 22%

    Comcast Corporation reported results for the quarter ended September 30, 2009.

    Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation, said, "The strength and resilience of our businesses combined with our continued emphasis on expenses and prudent capital management helped us achieve healthy operating and financial results in the third quarter. We continued to execute well, maintaining our focus on balancing revenue, cash flow and customer growth while at the same time investing in attractive businesses like Comcast Business Services. We also made real progress on initiatives like Wideband and All-Digital that strengthen our competitive position now and in the future. Our goal is to deliver the best consumer experience in the marketplace and we remain focused on driving meaningful innovation in all of our products and services.”

    Comcast Corp's quarterly profit rose 22 per cent, beating expectations, as it sold more phone and Internet subscriptions, helping the top US cable operator fight competition from phone and satellite companies for video subscribers.

    It reported 361,000 new high-speed Internet customers and 375,000 new digital phone subscribers in the third quarter, offsetting the loss of 132,000 basic video subscribers.

    The company made no mention of the talks over NBC as it posted net profit of $944 million up from $771 million, a year earlier. Revenue rose 3 per cent to $8.80 billion.

    Sinclair Broadcast Group Q3 Profits up on lower revenue

    U.S. TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group posted a higher quarterly profit on lower expenses even as revenue fell, and raised its fourth-quarter outlook for net broadcast revenue.

    The company has started to see signs of a recovery from the recession, Chief Financial Officer David Amy said in a statement.

    Like most media companies, Sinclair, which operates 58 TV stations in 35 U.S. markets, has been grappling with a relentless decline in advertising revenue brought on by the recession.

    "While we still do not expect to see an immediate robust recovery, improvements in the business are occurring as advertisers are beginning to buy with longer lead times and declines in the core business are getting smaller," the CFO added.

    Sinclair expects fourth-quarter net broadcast revenue from continuing operations of $143.3 million to $146.3 million, up from its prior view of about $135.5 million.

    Net income was $14.9 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to $10.2 million, or 12 cents a share in the prior-year period. Total revenue fell about 10 percent to $160.1 million.

    Analysts were expecting earnings of 8 cents a share on revenue of $155.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Time Warner boosted by cable growth

    Time Warner raised its profit outlook for 2009 boosted by better than expected results at its cable channels and films division, even as it reported a 40 per cent lower net income for the third quarter.

    The owner of CNN and the Warner Bros movie studio said it will take a $100 million charge for restructuring at its publishing division in the fourth quarter, which continued to face steep declines in advertising and subscription revenue.

    Time Warner net profit fell to $661 million from $1.1 billion from the year ago period when it still owned a cable services division. Revenue fell 6 per cent to $7.1 billion. Revenue at its cable networks rose 5 per cent to $2.9 billion and operating profit before depreciation and amortisation rose 9 per cent, from higher affiliate fees paid to them by pay television providers. Advertising fell 1 per cent to $768 million, less severe than some projections.

    Viacom buoyed by Q3 results

    Viacom, global parent to MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, believes it is entering a "period of economic recovery" following a 14% increase in operating income and a 24% rise in adjusted net earnings for the third quarter.

    The entertainment group reported an increase in net profits to $463m in the quarter, up from $401m in the same period last year.

    It comes despite Viacom revenue dropping 3% to $3.32bn after a slow down in home entertainment and advertising sales.

    Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations attributable to Viacom were $421m, up 24% compared with the third quarter 2008 results, with adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.69, a 25% increase over the prior year's results.

    Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of Viacom, said: "As we enter a period of economic recovery, Viacom is already beginning to reap the benefits of a highly focused and well executed strategy.

    "With our strong brands and growing global footprint, we are well positioned to capitalise on future opportunities."

    In a Viacom newsletter, Philippe Dauman, president and chief executive of Viacom, added that the group "feels good" about the results, and said "we continue to eye the near-term with cautious optimism".

    But he warned there were still tough times ahead in certain international markets, "including several in Europe".

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    COMPANY NEWS

    Chyron Q3 & Year to Date Revenue Down over 30%

    Chyron vannounced its financial results for the third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2009. For the third quarter ended September 30, 2009, revenues were $6.4 million, a decrease of 31% from revenues of $9.3 million in the third quarter of 2008. Operating loss for the quarter was $1.1 million as compared to operating income of $0.7 million for the third quarter of 2008. Net loss for the quarter was $0.8 million, or $0.05 per share, basic and diluted, as compared to net income of $16.7 million, or $1.07 basic and $1.00 diluted earnings per share, for the third quarter of 2008. Net income for the third quarter of 2008 included a non-recurring income tax benefit of $16.4 million, or $1.05 per basic share and $0.98 per diluted share, from the reversal of a portion of the Company's valuation allowance for deferred tax assets.

    For the nine months ended September 30, 2009, revenues were $18.4 million, a decrease of 34% from revenues of $27.7 million in the prior year period. Operating loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 was $3.6 million as compared to operating income of $2.0 million for the first nine months of 2008. Net loss for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 was $2.8 million, or $0.18 per share, basic and diluted, as compared to net income of $18.1 million, or $1.16 basic and $1.08 diluted earnings per share, for the first nine months of 2008. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2008 included a non-recurring income tax benefit of $16.9 million, or $1.08 basic and $1.01 diluted earnings per share, from the reversal of a portion of the Company's valuation allowance for deferred tax assets.

    Michael Wellesley-Wesley, Chyron President and CEO, commented, "Our third quarter results reflect the continuing effects of the global recession and slump in ad spending and the resulting effects on broadcasters' capital spending plans. Third quarter revenues were in line with the experience of the previous nine months. Many of our broadcast customers have curtailed their capital equipment spending and have deferred or cancelled planned upgrade programs. We have adjusted to this new reality by reducing headcount and cutting salaries while continuing to push forward our product development as aggressively as possible. In the third quarter our investment in R&D amounted to 29% of revenue. We continue to view this period as an opportunity to build a strong foundation for future growth."

    Mr. Wellesley-Wesley concluded, "Not all is gloom and doom, however. Our AXIS on demand hosted content creation services continue to generate widespread interest and are gaining real traction. Today we have five of the top twenty TV station groups as AXIS customers and I confidently expect other major TV station groups to join Fox, Scripps, Sinclair, Post Newsweek and Gannett as AXIS customers in 2010. We believe we are the leading Cloud Service Provider in the media content creation space. The low-cost variable business model of AXIS is an appealing alternative to our broadcast customers' current high fixed cost business model for graphics creation. AXIS delivers significant cost savings with no apparent diminution of quality or quantity of graphics produced. We are also seeing early signs of increasing demand for our broadcast systems and I expect our fourth quarter revenue to reflect this improvement. We believe that year-over-year comparisons should show improvement from this point forward."

    DG FastChannel Q3 Revenues Up

    DG FastChannel®, Inc., a provider of digital media services to the advertising, entertainment and broadcast industries, reported record third quarter financial results. Consolidated revenue for the third quarter 2009 increased 17% to $48.3 million compared to $41.4 million in the same period of 2008. Third quarter 2009 revenue from the delivery of high definition (HD) advertising content increased 68% to $15.6 million compared to $9.3 million in the same period of 2008.

    Scott K. Ginsburg, Chairman and CEO of DG FastChannel commented, “The Company’s impressive third quarter performance highlights early success from the adoption of our HD distribution platform. During the third quarter, over 44% of DG FastChannel’s HD business was delivered electronically, and that percentage should increase during the next few periods as more advertisers and media outlets adopt HD and file-based workflows. As a result, the Company’s HD revenues are expected to improve.”

    “DG FastChannel’s expansion into rich media has provided important access to the online media business, advertising’s fastest growing segment. The Company’s Unicast division is actively leveraging its core competencies to more fully penetrate both the publisher and agency sides of the business. This reinforces the Company’s overriding goal of building a bridge between its traditional media business and the online media business. As Unicast further aligns its product mix with the Company’s video advertising division, potential growth synergies look very encouraging.”

    Dolby Labs Posts Solid Q4

    Dolby Laboratories announced the Company's financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 25, 2009.

    For the fourth quarter, Dolby reported total revenue of $163.9 million, compared to $163.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

    Fourth quarter net income was $44.3 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared to $48.6 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

    For fiscal year 2009, Dolby reported total revenue of $719.5 million, compared to $640.2 million for fiscal year 2008, an increase of 12 percent. Net income for fiscal year 2009 was $243.0 million, or $2.11 per diluted share, compared to $199.5 million, or $1.74 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2008.

    “We had a solid fourth quarter and fiscal year,” said Kevin Yeaman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dolby Laboratories. “In fiscal 2009, we made excellent progress with new wins in many of our markets, including broadcast, mobile, and personal computer, and we remain focused on growing the adoption of our surround sound solutions globally while bringing new technologies to market.”

    For fiscal 2010, Dolby is targeting revenue of $720 million to $750 million, total gross margin of approximately 88 percent on a GAAP basis, and 89 percent on a non-GAAP basis. In addition, Dolby is targeting fiscal 2010 operating expenses of $313 million to $324 million on a GAAP basis and $280 million to $290 million on a non-GAAP basis, and a tax rate of approximately 35 percent on a GAAP basis and non-GAAP basis. Dolby’s non-GAAP measures exclude expenses related to stock-based compensation, the amortization of intangibles from business combinations, and restructuring charges.

    GenArts Acquired Wondertouch

    GenArts has acquired Wondertouch, makers of ParticleIllusion, a sprite-based particle effects app.

    The Wondertouch acquisition includes ParticleIllusion SE, all Emitters and Pro Emitters, ParticleIllusion for After Effects, and all additional intellectual property from Wondertouch.

    In addition to this technology, the deal gives GenArts access to a customer base of over 10,000, “ones that are very different from our current GenArts customer base,” explains CEO Kathryn Hayes. “So it allows us to add to our family of customers a new customer group that we aren’t as familiar with yet.” It also allows GenArts to add Wondertouch founder and creator of the ParticleIllusion product, Alan Lorence, as a full-time employee focusing on particle development.

    Hayes says the acquisition is part of a plan and vision the company laid out about a year and a half ago. “I joined GenArts in 2008 and at the time set out to expand and grow the company through acquisitions, internal development and innovation, as well as strategic partnerships… all in line with several changes we are seeing in the industry.”

    Microsoft cuts 800 more jobs

    Microsoft is notifying approximately 800 workers that their jobs are being eliminated as the software giant completes the layoffs it announced earlier this year.

    In January, Microsoft said it would cut approximately 5,000 positions before the end of the next fiscal year, which ends in June. With the latest cuts, Microsoft said it has essentially completed those layoffs. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said in May that it was mostly, but not entirely, done with the job eliminations.

    Actually, though, the latest cuts will push Microsoft past that 5,000 number. Once these cuts are made, it will have eliminated approximately 5,800 jobs since January, said Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos.

    Wednesday's job cuts were spread across multiple businesses and around the globe, Gellos said. Microsoft didn't announce any specific products that are getting the axe as a a result of Wednesday's cuts, although it has cut a variety of products in recent months, including Microsoft Money, Windows Live OneCare and, just this past week, its small business accounting product line.

    There could also be additional cuts, even as Microsoft does some hiring in key areas. Although January's layoffs were the company's first across-the-board cuts, it regularly reviews its businesses and makes adjustments as necessary, Gellos said.

    "We'll manage our businesses closely and do the things that we need to do," Gellos said.

    OpenTV posts "solid" Q3

    OpenTV has announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30th, 2009. "OpenTV`s third quarter results demonstrate solid operational improvements achieved in what is still a challenging global economic environment," said Ben Bennett, OpenTV`s Chief Executive Officer. "The company is focused on building and delivering its suite of next generation products, which are critical for our long-term success. We remain on track to achieve our full year 2009 financial guidance."

    For the quarter revenues were $31.8 million, an increase of 18 per cent compared to $26.9 million for the third quarter of 2008. Royalties and licenses revenues increased 25.5 per cent to $20.7 million. Services and other revenues increased 7 per cent to $11.1 million. Adjusted EBITDA, before unusual items, increased to $4.4 million for the quarter ended September 30th, 2009, compared to $3.7 million for the third quarter of 2008.

    OpenTV is currently resisting an offer from Kudleski its biggest shareholder and it said - contrary to Kudelsi claims - that investment in R&D was significantly up. "If you look at our plan for 2009, where other companies have been letting people go, we’ve been recruiting. Our plan is for an almost 20 per cent increase in that[R&D] headcount."

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    PRODUCT NEWS

    Sony Releases Vegas Pro 9.0c

    Sony Creative Software Inc., a provider of professional video and audio editing applications, announced Vegas™ Pro 9.0c software, the latest update to its nonlinear HD video and audio editing (NLE) application. Vegas Pro 9.0c software features Sony® XDCAM® EX MP4 file rendering and the ability to Smart Render MPEG-2 video across different containers for faster, more seamless editing. New audio features, including exclusive élastique Pro timestretching and Import Stereo Audio as Dual Mono, offer provide even more professional depth to this award-winning NLE. Additional support for media filmed with the RED ONE video camera streamlines file access and efficiency for editors working with footage up to 4K resolution. Vegas Pro 9.0c software also includes additional card support for capture and output via SDI, HD-SDI and HDMI™.

    “This Vegas Pro update delivers a stronger, more flexible NLE to better equip video editing professionals with the necessary tools to create exceptional results in an evolving digital editing landscape,” said Dave Chaimson, vice-president of global marketing for Sony Creative Software. “With significant additions to XDCAM rendering functionality, expanded RED ONE media support and all-new high quality audio tools, Vegas Pro 90c software nimbly handles the challenging and diverse needs of today’s editors.”

    The Vegas Pro 9.0c software update is free for existing registered users and is available now for download online at www.sonycreativesoftware.com. Vegas Pro 9 software is available in English, German, Spanish, Japanese, and French. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for Vegas Pro 9 is U.S.. $699.95.

    ViewSonic 1080p Player

    The ViewSonic VMP70 media player made headlines this week for a price point. The box connects computers directly to TV sets via HDMI or component cables to play video in 1080p, for less than $100. It also has composite cable connections for lower-resolution content. It can play media from either a hard drive or a USB thumb drive. The device is typically around $130, but on sale in a holiday promotion at $98.99.

    Echolab Inexpensive Upgrade to HD Production

    Echolab announces a compelling and cost-effective way for existing customers to migrate to HD production. For a limited time, the company will replace a facility's existing Echolab Nova, Opera or Overture standard-definition switcher chassis for an Echolab Atem, the company's recently launched 1-M/E multi-definition switcher.

    "We hope that this upgrade offer helps mitigate some of our customers' concerns regarding their transition to HD production," says Ankit Patel, senior product manager at Echolab. "Our clients keep their familiar panel and workflow, and simply replace the chassis. Because every input in the Atem switcher accepts SD signals, it is easy to swap out the old chassis and unlock the features and power of an Atem switcher—all at an unbeatable price."

    Echolab's offer assumes customers will keep their existing panel while the switcher chassis is replaced to afford full Atem functionality. The upgrade is available now for $14,500.

    RESEARCH NEWS

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

    2009-2010 Broadcast Pro Video Marketplace Reports

    2009-2010 Broadcast Pro Video Marketplace Reports Series is now available. A total of 25 individual product reports as well as a macro industry overview and micro quantitative data analysis reports are available. Contact des_chas@scri.com for more information.

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