Pirate Services Shut Down by FACT

UK intellectual property protection organisation FACT has taken down 17 pirate streaming services, in action taken by their investigators.

The UK wide operation targeted various platforms, including loaded Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs), which are devices which allow illegal streams to be accessed via TVs. Online streams on websites and social media platforms were also taken down.

Individuals providing the streams stopped operations after cease and desist notifications were sent to them by letter, email, and via social media accounts.

New Director for BBC Scotland

Steve Carson has been appointed the new director of BBC Scotland, and will replace Donalda MacKinnon when she steps down later this year.

Steve Carson is currently the Head of Multi-Platform Commissioning for BBC Scotland, and is known for both content making and commissioning.

In his new position which he will take up in the Autumn, he will be responsible for leading 1100 staff who produce content across TV, radio, and digital platforms, in both Gaelic and English.

FA Cup Sets Viewing Record

The final of the FA Cup football tournament on August 1st (2020) between Arsenal and Chelsea was the most watched match of the season.

BARB data shows a peak of 8.2 million viewers watch the BBC’s coverage across all platforms, surpassing the 7.3 million for the semi-final match between Chelsea and Manchester United.

The top five most viewed football matches across the 2019-2020 season were all FA Cup games, and all were shown on the BBC.

Additionally, BT Sport also showed the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and as the viewing figures are only for the BBC’s coverage, the actual number of viewers of the match will be even higher.

Arrest from Illegal Streaming Investigation

An investigation into illegal streaming of premium content in the north west of England has led to an arrest.

Greater Manchester Police arrested a person in the Leigh area of Wigan, seizing electronic devices including satellite boxes and viewing cards.

The person has since been released under investigation, and enquiries are ongoing.

networkonair Launches

Yesterday (29th July 2020) saw the launch of a new subscription online streaming service, networkonair, available in the UK and Ireland.

Priced from £3.99 a month, the service allows viewers to rent curated archive content from ABC Television, which was broadcast to the Midlands and Northern England from 1956 to 1968. Called ‘Nights In’, each curation lasts for 4 to 6 hours, and includes newly recorded links from David Hamilton, an original ABC continuity announcer. A selection of other series accompany to curated ‘Nights In’.

Users have 28 days to watch the content from purchase, with the content itself available for a limited time only.

Freeview Channel Changes

From tomorrow (29th July 2020), some Freeview services are changing.

Ketchup/Yaaas (streamed service on devices connected to the internet) will be separating, becoming Ketchup on the existing channel number, and Yaaas on channel 212. This returns Ketchup and Yaaas to their original format, prior to merging as one portal.

A new channel Country Music Entertainment, will be launching on channel 98, and will be a 24/7 country music service. This channel will be on the Greater Manchester multiplex, so coverage will be restricted to the Greater Manchester area, but viewers others parts of UK with internet connected devices can access the streamed version via channel 271*. The streamed version is also in HD.

The Freeview website also states that new channel Merit is changing the way it is broadcast. The change is unclear, but this normally means the service is switching to a different multiplex.

In most cases, a partial retune or add new channels function should make the necessary adjustments for these changes to take affect on your device, but a full retune may still be required in some cases. Some devices may adjust automatically. Consult your device manufacturer if unsure.

*Update (29th July 2020): Thanks to Country Music Entertainment for letting me know about the streamed version of the channel.

Global Expansion Planned for Britbox

BBC Studios and ITV have revealed plans for how the jointly owned streaming service is to expand globally.

The plans see the platform expanding to up to 25 countries, and seeks to expand the footprint of the service across Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa.

The service launched initially in the USA and Canada, before launching in the UK in November 2019, boasting the largest collection of UK boxsets. The service is expected to launch in Australia later this year (2020).

Disney+ Performs Poorly on Samsung TVs

A new study from enhanced TV agency Terravolt suggests that users are unhappy with the performance of Disney’s streaming service Disney+ on Samsung’s TVs with the Tizen operating system.

Among the issues reported are long loading times for preview images, jerky scrolling, and an un-intuitive keyboard which can over-complicated the log-in process.

The problems do appear to be isolated to the Tizen powered Samsung Smart TVs, although it is unclear whether the problems are caused by the TVs, or the Disney+ app itself.

Surrey Cricket to be Broadcast on Facebook

Surrey County Cricket Club have partnered with Facebook to broadcast the club’s home games on Facebook Watch for free. The matches will be available on the clubs Facebook page.

The first broadcast is today (22nd July) with the London Cup between Surrey Women and Middlesex Women. Matches in the NatWest T20 Blast and the one-off Bob Wills Trophy will also be shown.

The tie-up provides an alternative way of cricket fans to enjoy the action, with matches currently being played behind closed doors to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Netflix Sees New Subscriber Surge

Thanks to global lockdowns, Netflix has seen a surge in subscribers. In the three months to July, 10.1 million new subscribers joined the service. So far, there have been 26 million subscribers for 2020 as a whole.

Compared to 2019, Netflix saw 28 million new subscribers across the whole year. 2020 looks set to exceed this. However, the company has warned that new subscriptions will slow, particularly as lockdown restrictions ease.

Netflix is an on-demand streaming service, with shows including Tiger KingOzark, and Bank Heist proving popular during lockdown.