The Granddaddy Of Messaging Apps, WhatsApp, Finally Goes For A Subscription Model on iOS (Original)
While messaging has become a veritable war with apps like Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Path and Facebook Messenger across Asia and Western markets, there’s been one longstanding app that’s presided over the space with very few apparent changes.
WhatsApp, the Sequoia-backed messaging app that dominates in Europe and that is often tipped as an attractive acquisition candidate for companies like Google and Facebook, just went freemium finally on iOS. The app has been paid for years on the iPhone at a $0.99 price point.
But today it went free with an annual subscription fee of $1 after the first year. This isn’t really a surprise as CEO Jam Koum talked about this several months ago. It brings WhatsApp’s business model on iOS in line with other platforms like Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone.
The paid app business model is really a vestige of an older era when developers would sell their work up-front. But over time, many paid apps have made the switch toward going free with paid features. Games really triggered this wave, but other high-usage apps like messaging have gone for a freemium strategy.
Japan’s Line, for example, made $58.9 million in the first quarter of this year in Japan through in-app purchases and sales of stickers — which apps like Path and Facebook Messenger have subsequently copied.…
Magine launches Spanish OTT service (Original)
The service, which provides cloud-based live TV and catch-up programming across Apple devices and Samsung smart TVs, yesterday secured US$19 million (€15 million) in investment and today launched a Spanish beta service.
“The Spanish marketplace is an ideal one for Magine, as it enjoys high broadband penetration with a relatively low pay TV penetration. When combining those two factors the Magine solution seemed an obvious one to the Spanish channels and content providers who were keen to be part of a service that offered their viewers a highly competitive subscription package,” said Mattias Hjelmstedt, CEO and co-founder, Magine.
Magine first launched in Sweden just before MIPTV, as DTVE sister publication TBI revealed at the time. It has subsequently gone live in Germany and now in Spain. Plans to launch the service on more TV platforms and Android tablets are in the works.
The company also says it is in “advanced negotiations with a number of major international media and entertainment groups” and predicts it will launch in “at least another four more European territories by the end of the year.”
Toya looks to OTT to extend reach (Original)
Toya is looking to OTT to serve distributed networks around the country and work in cooperation with local network operators, according to Szymon Karbowski, research and development director at the Polish cable operator.
Toya has developed a digital platform that combines broadcast and internet services in its ‘third generation TV’ platform, Karbowski told attendees at the Digital TV CEE conference yesterday. In addition to serving existing customers, this platform can be used to extend reach through partnerships with smaller operators around the country, he said.
About 75-80% of customers using the platform use some feature of it every day, said Karbowski, claiming “this shows that the platform is easy for everybody”. More than one movie is watched daily per customer, making an average of 30 movies watched monthly per customer. Ten per cent of customers generate 25% of revenue and this is the group Toya aims primarily to please. Customer churn for people who use the service is 100 times lower than analogue TV customers, said Karbowski.
Relationships with broadcasters are at the core of the content offering, with a consistent look and feel between applications from different broadcasters. “The whole idea behind the interface is to make it simple and quick for everyone,” said Karbowski.…
German operators and broadcasters mull OTT options at ANGA COM (Original)
Sky Deutschland is mulling the possibility of replicating the Sky Now OTT offering provided by BSkyB, although it has no current plans to launch such a service, according to Holger Ensslin, chief officer, legal regualtory and distribution.
“We are considering that – there is no question,” said Ensslin, speaking on a strategy panel at ANGA COM. Sky Deutschland currently offers standalone day passes for football matches, including in the final phase of the Champions League.
Ensslin said that Sky would take a step into the OTT world by launching a Sky Sports News app as a standalone OTT service this summer. Ensslin said this would be a low-cost service.
Ensslin said that Sky was already an OTT operator in its own right via Sky Go. “It’s not a standalone offer but it’s a big OTT platform,” he said. “In Q1 we had 15 million requests on our platform.”
Thomas Heise, chairman of the board of on-demand service Maxdome, speaking on the same panel, said that his service’s biggest competitor was piracy and illegal consumption of content. Nevertheless, he said, video-on-demand is growing quickly, albeit as a nich service in comparison to pay TV services.
To become mass market services, VOD providers needed to extend reach to as many devices as possible, said Heise.…
Magyar Telekom to launch OTT service with Verimatrix security (Original)
Magyar Telekom is launching an OTT service using Verimatrix’s Video Content Authority System (VCAS) for Internet TV. The new service, is designed to expand the existing Magyar Telekom satellite TV platform with interactive services for connected devices, and it is deployed over unmanaged networks featuring the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol.
The pay-OTT offer is available on multiple screens, including PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Smart TVs and Android-based phones and tablets. Huawei served as the systems integrator for the project.
“We chose to partner with Verimatrix for many reasons, including the ability for VCAS to uniquely scale and support both our immediate and emerging digital TV security needs,” said Matthias Linder, networks technology director, Magyar Telekom. “VCAS gives us the flexibility to rapidly add the services that our subscribers crave – ahead of our competitors.”
Separately, Verimatrix has announced a range of initiatives to help make pay-TV security integrity and flexibility more available to public broadcasters and free-to-air services. As a component of these initiatives, Verimatrix has developed a solution to support a digital-terrestrial deployment approach for free services.
Verimatrix has customised its Verimatrix Content Authority System (VCAS) for DVB solution to be embedded in low-cost set-top boxes and later enabled to manage cross-border transmission issues and enable future upgrades to pay TV services, the company said.…
Eutelsat partners with Tvinci for OTT offering (Original)
Eutelsat KabelKiosk has selected Tvinci’s OTT 2.0 platform to power a new wholesale OTT TV offering for its network operators.
KabelKiosk, operated by Eutelsat Germany, is using the Tvinci platform to allow about 300 affiliate companies to provide an internet-based TV service to more than 3.5 million German homes.
Using the KabelKiosk infrastructure and content, these affiliates can operate pay TV networks under their own brand and provide linear, EPG, restartTV, VOD and catch-up TV to their end users.
The move marks an extension of Eutelsat KabelKiosk’s hybrid DVB & IP platform into a new multiscreen solution.
Eutelsat KabelKiosk will make content available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Hbb TV set-top boxes and PCs or Macs, and KabelKiosk’s network operator partners can choose to customise the service as much or as little as they want.
“Consumers are looking for a more immersive TV experience – something more than just a straightforward multi-screen service. Tvinci’s OTT 2.0 platform enables us to deploy a fully managed solution with an exceptional user experience,” said Martina Rutenbeck, managing director of Eutelsat visAvision, which operates KabelKiosk.
Other partners involved in the development include Harmonic for ingestion, Broadpeak for CDN and Playready and Marlin for DRM.…
Zee’s OTT service Ditto to hit one million users (Original)
The Siemens-powered over-the-top offering from India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises is now approaching one million customers, according to Stefan Jenzowsky, head of the multimedia business unit, Siemens Communications.
Speaking at the Connected TV World Summit in London, Jenzowsky said that the 2012-launched service would soon reach one million users after ramping up from 100,000 last year, and had an addressable market of more than 500 million Zee TV viewers.
He added that viewers were now watching around 40 minutes of content on the service each day and that “by the end of the year our prediction is we will cover one hour of the daily consumption of a TV user on our service.”
Zee New Media, the digital arm of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, launched Ditto TV with 21 channels last year, in a bid to offer live TV channels and on-demand video to consumers on their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, entertainment boxes and connected TVs – both in India and globally in markets like the UK, UAE and Australia.
Zee TV, the flagship channel of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, first launched in October 1992 and now has a reach of more than 670 million viewers across some 169 countries.
Time Warner chief: TV is taking over the internet, not the other way round (Original)
The digital revolution means TV taking over the internet rather than the other way around, according to Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO, Time Warner, speaking on the opening panel session at the FT Digital Media conference in London this morning.
Bewkes said that the main change he saw happening was that consumption of TV was moving to on-demand. But the basic subscription business model is likely to prove resilient, he said.
“Video-on-demand is the revolution and it’s happening now,” Bewkes told attendees. “Mobile phones are no different than TVs,” said Bewkes, adding that what the world would see was “TV disintermediating the internet, taking over the internet, not the other way round”.
Bewkes said that the amount and quality of TV production was increasing. “We all have to realise there is no distincition between TV and digital media. All TV is basically digital,” he said.
Bewkes said that the amount of time people are spending and their engagement with video is “going up”.
“The engagment made possible by having [TV] on-demand makes it more valuable,” he said.
Bewkes said it was important to stress that the subscription support for content was a vital part of ensuring that content continued to be of high quality.…
No value in Aereo, says Bewkes (Original)
Barry Diller-backed online TV redistribution platform has little intrinsic value and will not present a threat even if it wins its legal battle with broadcasters, according to Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes, speaking at the FT Digital Media conference this morning.
Aereo could only provide free-to-air broadcast channels and had a very poor proposition even if it wins the legal argument, said Bewkes. “It’s charging $8 so you can have them on-demand – that’s all there is,” he said.
Aereo recently won a court victory rejecting claims by firms including Disney and CBS that the service should be shut down.
A ruling by the second circuit court of appeals in New York upheld a previous decision, denying an injunction against the firm for distributing broadcast television over the web.
Last year Aereo was hit by lawsuits from 17 broadcasters including Fox, Univision, ABC, NBC, CBS, alleging that the service infringed their copyrights. They claimed that Aereo should not be allowed to retransmit television stations over the web without licensing the content from content owners or receiving consent from the TV signal owners.
OTT firm Viewster hires new senior staff (Original)
Switzerland-based over-the-top TV service Viewster is opening offices in London, New York, Singapore and Adelaide and has made a series of new hires as part of its global expansion plan.
Viewster has appointed Tzvetan Horozov as senior vice-president of product management and has named Philipp Rotermund as senior vice-president, business development.
Helen Biggart has been named as chief financial officer.
Horozov previously pioneered consumer and enterprise solutions in the area of cross-device media streaming, advertising, social networking, and consumer loyalty for companies including Motorola. Rotermund was CEO of video-on-demand specialist Aximus.
Biggart previously worked for energy specialist Utilyx.