16-20 Sep: Your guide to what’s happened this week in the media, entertainment and technology industry.
Ofcom: BritBox poses “no significant threat” to BBC’s role
The UK regulator Ofcom has published its findings of a review into the BBC’s involvement in BritBox and found there is no significant threat to the changing relationships with its public service responsibilities.
The streaming service will be controlled by the BBC and ITV, who will have a 90% equity stake, while the BBC will hold 10%. According to Broadband TV News, the BBC’s involvement in BritBox will not distort the market or create an unfair competitive advantage according to Ofcom.
BritBox will be priced at £5.99 per month for which viewers will receive an HD version available across multiple devices and is set to launch this Autumn with archived content and descirbed as “the largest collection of British boxsets” and original commissions.
NBC Universal announces Peacock as its SVoD offering
NBCUniversal announced on Tuesday that its new streaming service will be called ‘Peacock’ and that it will come with a full library of content including The Office and Parks and Recreation as well as Hollywood blockbuster movies Fast and the Furious, Saved by the Bell and Battlestar Galactica.
The streaming video-on-demand (SVoD) service will launch in April 2020 with over 15,000 hours of content, with its cost set to be announced closer to the launch, CNN reported.
“The name Peacock pays homage to the quality content that audiences have come to expect from NBCUniversal,” said Bonnie Hammer, NBCUniversal’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, in a statement. “Peacock will be the go-to place for both the timely and timeless.”
British broadcasters must “redouble efforts” on diversity
The UK media regulator Ofcom released its third annual report into diversity and equal opportunities in the British TV sector, claiming that in the past year there had been “no discernible change in the TV industry’s diversity profile” with regard to women, minorities and people with disabilities in the workforce.
According to Variety, the standstill comes after encouraging progress the year before, in 2017-18.
Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said: “The evidence shows that the dial towards full inclusivity is not shifting quickly enough, and we cannot allow progress to stall.”
Plex inks deal with Lionsgate for ad-supported video service
Media app maker Plex has struck a deal with Lionsgate to add the studio’s movies and TV shows to its upcoming ad-supported video service, according to Variety, the news comes just weeks after Plex announced a similar deal with Warner Bros.
Plex’s partnership with Lionsgate will allow the startup to distribute the studio’s titles worldwide, with some geo-restrictions on a per-title basis and has plans to launch the service before the end of the year.
AT&T, Dish not considering DirecTV deal
The WSJ published that telecom giant AT&T ”is considering various options” for DirecTV, however AT&T and Dish Network Corp are not in discussion over a deal due to regulatory issues, according to Reuters.
AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens cited regulatory hurdles for any deal: “There’s been some stories out there about the industrial logic about putting two satellite providers. It hasn’t been successful and I don’t know that there’s any change in that regulatory perspective.”
Viacom launches web platform for Italian TV channels
Viacom has launched a new web platform in Italy that aggregates the video content of the Paramount Network, Spike and VH1 in AVoD (ad-supported video-on-demand) mode. It connects to the Paramount Network site, users can watch the channels in live streaming, consult the TV guide and choose to access the cross brand areas to watch the most popular programmes available online.
The on-demand content offering includes both TV series and movies as well as featuring exclusive long form content, available only online, according to Advanced Television.
BBC launches digital wellbeing app for children using AI
The BBC has created a “wellbeing” smartphone app called ‘Own It’ aimed at children, which monitors how young people interact with friends and family online and through messaging apps.
It uses artifical intellgience (AI) to evaluate a child’s mood so it can offer advice or encourage them to talk to trusted adults, the BBC reported, it is designed to offer help and support especially if children are about to share sensitive data or send an upsetting message.