Eurobites: Cash-strapped Brits carry on streaming

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone wants more open RAN collaboration; TIM climbs aboard maritime transport; Synamedia acquires Utelly.

  • UK households may be getting slammed by an ever deepening cost-of-living crisis, but their thirst for streaming video services shows no sign of abating, according to new research from analyst firm Omdia. Its figures reveal that the number of people paying for video services in the UK has actually increased 11% over the past year, with quarter-on-quarter increases being seen since April 2021. It seems cash-strapped Brits are more inclined to cut other expenses, such as eating out, with home entertainment remaining relatively sacrosanct. Eighty percent of households in the UK have an online video subscription of some sort, with "freebies" YouTube and BBC iPlayer the most viewed, followed by Netflix (15.5 million subscriptions), Amazon Prime Video (10 million) and Disney+ (7.5 million). Disney+, while bottom of the big three, showed the strongest UK growth in the last six months, at 21%, compared with Now TV (18%), Netflix (8%) and Amazon Prime (5%).

  • Vodafone is banging the open RAN drum again, publishing a white paper extolling the virtues of a more collaborative approach to building systems based on the in-vogue technology. Vodafone's white paper focuses on three areas: Distributed Lab, Pre-staging, and Operations. It calls for greater cooperation and systems integration across the industry as network operators commit to rolling out open RAN more widely. Earlier this year, Vodafone committed to having around 30% of its European network running on open RAN by 2030. (See Eurobites: Vodafone and friends fashion the 'open RAN city'.)

  • Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog, looks likely to be given responsibility for regulating "phone-paid services" such as music and gaming subscriptions, taking over control from the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA). The move, which Ofcom anticipates happening in the second half of 2023, will involve current PSA employees transferring to the regulator.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has signed an agreement with the Italian Shipowners Confederation to encourage the adoption of digital technology aimed at the maritime transport market. The agreement will cover areas such as IoT, cloud, 5G and cryptotechnology. Confederation members will also be able to benefit from training courses run by TIM.

  • Synamedia, a UK-based supplier of video processing software, has acquired Utelly, a content discovery platform company also based in the UK. Utelly's offerings include metadata aggregation, search and recommendations, as well as content management and a content promotion engine. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

  • Swisscom has issued its latest Cyber Security Threat Radar and – guess what? – the threat is still high. The added vulnerabilities of working from home and the war in Ukraine are playing their part, but Swisscom points to the added risk posed by the increased use of multicloud services, often from several providers at the same time. These, says Swisscom, offer more flexibility but a "greater area of attack."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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