Cisco has used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to unveil Videoscape Unity, its expanded Videoscape video services delivery platform.The new and expanded platform includes the elements of what will become three pre-integrated offerings: multiscreen cloud DVR, video everywhere, connected video to any device in the home and IP video over cable.Nick Thexton, chief technology officer at NDS, acquired by Cisco last year, said that the new platform brought a complete set of Cisco and NDS components together. He said the platform was designed to provide a degree of pre-integration that would enable service providers to get services off the ground more quickly.“There will be bespoke customisation added onto these [four elements], but there is a much higher level of pre-integration and because integration costs are the biggest cost element we hope this will give a benefit,” he said. He described the approach as a “middle ground” between offering complete packaged solutions from a single vendor and a looser system integrator-led model that involved coordinating the work of numerous third-party suppliers. Thexton said the four off-the-shelf offerings would be made available in the latter half of 2013 but elements from all four offerings were available as of today.Thexton said “one major MSO” would implement cloud DVR in the first half of this year. “Network DVR has become important because delivering video to all devices is important. People don’t want to invest in a system just for one device. You can also do personalisation much more easily, importing that knowledge across to any platform. It is one of the highest priority projects,” said Thexton.Thexton said the video everywhere solution had been targeted for delivery to one major European operator in the latter half of this year.IP video over cable was also attracting a lot of interest from MSOs, said Thexton. This could enable the delivery of video to low-cost IP devices in the home from the network rather than from a gateway device that would convert the QAM signal to IP.“What we are seeing is that customers still want to do mix and match, taking an IP overlay but adapting it to a gateway,” said Thexton. “All of Videoscape Unity is being assessed for portability and there are different ways we could move a lot to the cloud. We think some functionalities will be moved to the cloud and other things will be managed within operator’s own infrastructure.”
Zegona Communications-owned Spanish regional cable operator Telecable has struck a deal with Telefónica that will enable it to offer the latter’s full range of mobile technologies, including LTE data services to its subscribers at what Zegona called “highly attractive terms”.Telecable expects to migrate its mobile customers to the new service during the first six months of 2017.According to Zegona, the new deal will deliver improved economics on its previous mobile offering, enabling it to upgrade its offerings while protecting margings.The operator’s deal with Telefónica will enable it to offer upgrades to customers as demand for data grows.The deal with Telefónica comes four months after Zegona failed to secure the acquisition of a majority stake in Spanish mobile operator Yoigo from Telia. Telia sold its 76.6% stake in the operator to Spanish alternative mobile player MásMóvil instead, for €479 million, leaving the Asturias-based cable operator out in the cold after a period when it had been in exclusive negotiations to acquire Yoigo expired.The latest deal, while falling short of creating a national provider of converged services, will help the operator generate mobile growth, according to Zegona, which has set increasing mobile penetration as core component of its strategy for the company.“This innovative agreement, with its redesigned economics, gives Telecable access to the highest quality mobile network in Spain and enables us to offer our customers a market leading mobile service, including high speed 4G data. We are excited by the opportunity this creates for Telecable to accelerate the growth of its business while also improving its financial returns,” said Eamonn O’Hare, CEO and chairman, Zegona Communications.
Sky’s Now TV “strategy is working” without any impact on the pay TV operator core base, and the OTT TV service’s customers are increasingly taking multiple packages, according to Marina Storti, director of strategy at Now TV.Despite consumers being able to take and drop single packages via Now TV’s system of flexible day, week and month ‘passes’, Sky has seen 45% take more than one pass, and this means that they are more likely to be loyal to the service, she said.Speaking at the Connected TV World Summit in London this morning, Storti said that “the vast majority” of viewing on the platform is on-demand, in contrast to the main Sky platform.personalisation of the service as well as the launch of new content such as Twin Peaks and series seven of Game of Thrones.Now TV’s most loyal customers are those that buy its dedicated Now TV box, Storti said. The latest version, the Now TV Smart Box, linked with the Sky broadband service, combines DTT TV channels and OTT TV. “Customers that use that box are even more engaged than other customer groups,” she said.Storti said that Sky would focus on adding more devices through which Now TV can be accessed. Its other main goal is to make sure that customers use the service, she said. The company has invested in upgrading and innovating on UI to get customers to what they want faster. The latest UI is currently being rolled out, while Sky has also developed a dedicated kids UI as part of the main app.Sky has to work hard to ensure that its mainstream offering and Now TV are highly differentiated, said Storti. In addition to a different content line up, its marketing is very differently pitched, based on genre-specific appeals, such as to those interested specifically in kids content or box-sets, she said.