The Estádio do DragãoPortuguese cable and pay TV operator Nos has teamed up with Samsung and Sport TV to broadcast a football match in virtual reality.Viewers equipped with Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headsets were able to watch the match between FC Porto and Benfica at the Estádio do Dragão yesterday in the format.Nos claimed a world first for the live broadcast in VR, using five cameras to enable viewers to choose different angles to watch the game, providing a 360-degree experience.The experience was made available to viewers in the Samsung store at the Fórum Almada and at the Nos theatre in the Shopping Colombo centre.Nos transmitted the match over fibre and a 1Gbps 4G network, using 300Mbps of dedicated capacity.“The Portuguese League is immensely proud to associate to these partners and to this revolutionary initiative in watching a football match. The match opposing FC Porto and Benfica will surely be followed by an even greater number of viewers, to add to the thousands of fans that will be at Estádio do Dragão and to the millions that will watch it at home, on the television. Portuguese professional football and all the emotion it offers will now be taken to a never before seen level,” said Pedro Proença, the president of the Portuguese league, ahead of the match.“We are aware that football is a passion point for the Portuguese people, which means that this initiative, the first of its kind worldwide, has all it takes to allow the users access to an experience that promises to change the way we look at live broadcasts,” said Frederico Paiva, business manager of Samsung Portugal.
Ryan AfsharVideo advertising platform Videology has appointed former Time and Telefonica Digital executive Ryan Afshar as its new vice-president and media director.Afshar will be tasked with leading business development in Europe and driving continued growth and use of Videology’s technology in the region.Reporting to John Tigg, Videology’s senior vice-president of strategic partnerships in EMEA, Afshar will be based in London at Videology’s EMEA headquarters.“Videology develops industry-leading solutions to empower the continued convergence of TV and video, and I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute to a company that is helping to address this seismic change in the ad industry,” said Afshar.He previously worked to develop digital businesses in a number of roles with the likes of Time and Telefonica Digital. More recently, he worked as director and co-founder of Affable Digital, working with start-ups and tech companies to help them develop monetisation and revenue strategies.
Arnaud de PuyfontaineCanal+ needs and deserves a level playing field to compete with the likes of Altice as well as Netflix and other international players, including the right to retain exclusive rights, according to Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine.Speaking to analysts after Vivendi turned in solid first-half results, boosted by a strong performance from Universal Music as well as signs of a slowdown in the decline of Canal+, De Puyfontaine said that Canal+ had to compete with “a local telco that wants to control both telecommunications and content and is launching a move channel from Luxembourg”, and that it was necessary that “everybody gets to benefit from the same rules” regarding the right to strike exclusive content deals.France’s competition watchdog relaxed a number of restrictions on Canal+ in June, allowing it to strike exclusive premium channel deals with the likes of BeIN Sports and to retain exclusivity of series that it pre-finances. However, Canal+ remains obliged to make any service with which it has an exclusive deal available to a third-party provider that wants to include it in its offering.De Puyfontaine said that in an industry that is increasingly “highly disrupted”, there was an “urgent need” for a revision of the rules. However, he said Vivendi had hoped for “a greater release of constraints” than the Autorité de la Concurrence had granted.The “local telco” De Puyfontaine was referring to was Altice and its recent launch of movies and series channel, Altice Studio, which has been available on SFR’s platform since August 22.Following the launch of Altice Studio, Altice CEO Michel Combes told Le Monde newspaper that he was opposed to striking an investment agreement with the French cinema industry on the same lines as Canal+’s commitment. However, Altice Media chief Alain Weill separately said that he was not opposed to striking a deal provided that France’s strick cinema windowing rules were relaxed.Vivendi’s second quarter and first half results were strongly boosted by the performance of Universal Music, which grew its revenues for the first six months of the year by 14% in constant currency terms.Canal+’s revenues declined by 2.4% during the first half, an improvement compared with the 5.5% drop in the first half of 2016. The pay TV operator’s performance was more marked in the second quarter, with a drop of 1.3% compared with a drop of 3.5% in the first quarter.Canal+’s revenues for the first half amounted to €2.568 billion. The pay TV outfit’s individual subscriber base increased by 2.8 million year-on-year to 14 million, thanks to continued international growth and the group’s new distribution deals with Orange and Free. The international subscriber total grew by 309,000 year-on-year in the first half, contributing to a 6.6% increase in revenues in constant currency.Revenues from pay TV in France dropped by 5.3%, taken lower by the reduced free-to-air window on the Canal+_ channel and a drop in domestic subscriber revenues. Advertising revenue also fell, due in part to a sanction imposed by media watchdog the CSA on the C8 channel. Production outfit Studiocanal’s revenues also dropped year-on-year.Canal+’s EBITA for the first half amounted to €171 million, down from €288 million year-on-year, but with a stronger performance in the second half, which saw EBITA double compared with the first three months of the year.