Virgin Plugs Concurrent Into Its Video CDN

Also: Verizon aims to tweak the pay-TV model; AT&T bundles CE gear, springs two iTV apps; analysts rekindle DirecTV-Dish merger and Cablevision sale chatter

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 18, 2013

3 Min Read
Virgin Plugs Concurrent Into Its Video CDN

Multi-screen moves across the pond head up today's grab bag of broadband and cable news.

  • Concurrent Computer Corp. scored a big win with word that Virgin Media Inc. has selected its MediaHawk VX content delivery network (CDN) solution for the Virgin TV Anywhere Service. The combination CDN and software platform includes content workflow features, DRM management and session-based policy controls for multi-screen video delivery. The Virgin Media deal is a coup for Concurrent, which is competing with the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC, and their respective Videoscape and Medios platforms. Other European customers for Concurrent include Kabel Deutschland GmbH in Germany, Zon Multimedia in Portugal, Telefónica SA in Spain and Vectra S.A. in Poland. (See Cisco Intros Videoscape Unity and Moto Preps Its Cloud-Based UI for the Masses.)

    • Verizon Communications Inc. is proposing a radical shift in the current model for television retransmission fees, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required). While pay-TV operators typically pay a fixed, per-subscriber amount for different television channels, Verizon is approaching small and mid-size media companies with the idea of paying licensing fees based on the number of people who actually tune in to their programs. Audience data would be sourced from Verizon's own set-tops instead of traditional The Nielsen Co. ratings.

      On the plus side, the audience-based model could offer greater exposure to independent channels that otherwise wouldn't get distribution. On the minus side, the proposed system would almost certainly not sit well with media companies that make good money today on guaranteed, per-subscriber rates. Verizon's chief programming negotiator, Terry Denson, told the paper that discussions are only "inching forward" at this point. The Verizon proposal comes as the public debate over retransmission fees continues to heat up. (See Retrans Fees Take Center Stage at ACA Summit and Ad-Vantage Aereo?)

    • AT&T Inc. dropped some new goodies for U-verse subscribers today. First off, new U-verse subs who sign up for broadband and bundle in either video or voice service get a free Wi-Fi-enabled device of their choice -- an Xbox 360, Sonos Play:3, Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 tablet. Additionally, AT&T has introduced two new TV apps: U-verse Jukebox streams music from a mobile device to the TV and lets up to six users add songs to a dynamic playlist via its "Party" feature; and an Interactive Workout app lets subs customize an exercise routine with videos targeting different areas of the body.

    • Speculation is rampant again that Dish Network Corp. and DirecTV Group Inc. could make good on the merger they first attempted back in 2002. Macquarie analyst Amy Yong speculates that such a marriage is "much more likely" now that DirecTV's potential acquisition of Brazilian telecom GVT is off the table, reports Investor's Business Daily. A merger of the two satellite TV companies could still face serious regulatory hurdles, but changes in the video market over the last eleven years could at least make a deal possible.

    • Cablevision Systems Corp. shares rose Friday on new rumors that the company could get acquired in the next 18 months, with Charter Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. considered as possible suitors.

      — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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