Tuesday, April 22, 2014

AT&T and The Chernin Group Commit $500M to OTT Video

AT&T and The Chernin Group, which manages and invests in media businesses around the world, will launch a joint venture targeting over-the-top (OTT) video services.  The companies agreed to commit over $500 million to the effort to bring advertising-supported and subscription VOD channels, as well as streaming services, to market.

The Chernin Group brings media assets as well as expertise to the venture, including contribution of its majority stake in Crunchyroll, a subscription video on demand service. AT&T brings its extensive network resources.

”AT&T and The Chernin Group are combining our skill sets to address the growing consumer demand for accessing content how and when they want it,” said John Stankey, Chief Strategy Officer at AT&T. “Combining our expertise in network infrastructure, mobile, broadband and video with The Chernin Group’s management and expertise in content, distribution, and monetization models in online video creates the opportunity for us to develop a compelling offering in the OTT space.”

http://about.att.com/story/the_chernin_group_and_att_create_new_venture_to_acquire_invest_in_and_launch_online_video_businesses.html


  • The Chernin Group, LLC (TCG) is a privately held, independent media holding company founded by Peter Chernin and based in Los Angeles, CA. TCG's assets include Chernin Entertainment; a majority stake in Hong Kong-based CA Media, ; and strategic investments in digital media companies including Fullscreen, Crunchyroll, Pandora, SoundCloud, Flipboard, Scopely, MiTĂș, Base79, Medium, and Tumblr (sold to Yahoo!). Providence Equity Partners LLC; Qatar Holding LLC; Victor Koo (founder and CEO of Youku) and Chengwei Capital; and other shareholders are strategic partners of and investors in TCG.

AT&T Reports Strong Wireless and Wireline Trends

Citing strength in both its wireless and wireline businesses, AT&T reported Q1 2014 revenues of 32.5 billion, up 3.6 percent versus the year-earlier period, the company’s strongest growth in more than two years. Compared with results for the first quarter of 2013, operating expenses were $26.2 billion versus $25.4 billion; operating income was $6.3 billion compared to $5.9 billion; and operating income margin was 19.3 percent compared to 18.9 percent.

First-quarter 2014 net income attributable to AT&T totaled $3.7 billion, or $0.70 per diluted share, compared to $3.7 billion, or $0.67, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusting for $0.01 of Leap transaction-related costs, earnings per share was $0.71 compared to an adjusted $0.64 in the year-ago quarter, an increase of almost 11 percent.

“We have been working very deliberately to transform our business, and this quarter you really start to see the benefits,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Customers really like the new mobility value proposition and are choosing to move off device subsidies to simpler pricing while at the same time, they are continuing to move to smartphones with larger data plans.

Some Wireless highlights for Q1 2014:

  • Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 7.0 percent year over year to $17.9 billion. 
  • Wireless operating expenses totaled $12.8 billion, up 6.6 percent versus the year-earlier quarter, and wireless operating income was $5.1 billion, up 8.1 percent year over year. 
  • Strongest First-Quarter Postpaid Net Adds in Five Years. AT&T added more than 1 million subscribers in the first quarter, with year-over-year improvements in every category. 
  • Total wireless subscribers increased by 1,062,000 in the quarter, led by 625,000 postpaid net adds and 693,000 connected device net adds. 
  • There was a net loss of 50,000 prepaid subscribers, due to declines in session-based tablets, and a net loss of 206,000 reseller subscribers, primarily due to losses in low-revenue 2G subscriber accounts. Prepaid net adds include first-quarter results from Leap Wireless only after AT&T acquired the company on March 13.
  • Postpaid net adds include 311,000 smartphones. Total branded smartphone net adds (both postpaid and prepaid) were 566,000. Total branded tablet net adds were 313,000.
  • Total churn was essentially stable at 1.39 percent compared to 1.38 percent in the year-ago quarter. Postpaid churn of 1.07 was down sequentially and up slightly compared to 1.04 percent in the year-ago quarter.
  • AT&T added 1.1 million postpaid smartphones in the first quarter. At the end of the quarter, 78 percent, or 53.0 million, of AT&T's postpaid phone subscribers had smartphones, up from 72 percent, or 48.3 million, a year earlier. 
  • Smartphones accounted for 92 percent of postpaid phone sales in the quarter, a first-quarter record. AT&T’s ARPU for smartphones is about twice that of non-smartphone subscribers. At the end of the first quarter,
  • 57 percent of AT&T’s postpaid smartphone customers used an LTE-capable device. The company sold 5.8 million smartphones in the quarter.
  • At the end of the first quarter, 46 percent of Mobile Share accounts had 10 gigabyte or higher plans, up from 28 percent in the year-ago quarter and 27 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. In total, about 81 percent, or 42.9 million, of postpaid smartphone subscribers are on usage-based data plans (tiered data and Mobile Share plans). This compares to 33.5 million a year ago.

Some Wireline highlights for Q1 2014:

  • Total first-quarter wireline revenues were $14.6 billion, down 0.4 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Wireline service revenues were up 0.1 percent year over year. 
  • Total U-verse revenues grew 29.0 percent year over year. First-quarter wireline operating expenses were $13.1 billion, up 0.9 percent versus the first quarter of 2013. 
  • AT&T’s wireline operating income totaled $1.5 billion, down 10.5 percent versus the first quarter of 2013. First-quarter wireline operating income margin was 10.0 percent versus 11.1 percent in the year-earlier quarter, primarily due to U-verse content price increases, declines in voice revenues, success-based growth and costs incurred as part of Project VIP.
  • Revenues from residential customers totaled $5.7 billion, an increase of 4.3 percent versus the first quarter a year ago. This is the strongest consumer revenue growth since the introduction of U-verse eight years ago. Continued strong growth in consumer IP data services in the first quarter more than offset lower revenues from legacy voice and data products. U-verse, which includes TV, high speed Internet and voice over IP, now represents 59 percent of wireline consumer revenues, up from 48 percent in the year-earlier quarter. Consumer U-verse revenues grew 28.3 percent year over year. 
  • Total U-verse subscribers (TV and high speed Internet) reached 11.3 million in the first quarter. U-verse TV added 201,000 subscribers in the first quarter to reach 5.7 million in service. AT&T has more pay TV subscribers than any other telecommunications company. 
  • U-verse high speed Internet had a first-quarter net gain of 634,000 subscribers, to reach a total of 11.0 million. That marks seven consecutive quarters with U-verse broadband net adds of more than 600,000. 
  • Overall, total wireline broadband subscribers increased by 78,000. 
  • Total wireline broadband ARPU was up 9 percent year over year. Total U-verse high speed Internet subscribers now represent more than two-thirds of all wireline broadband subscribers, compared with 51 percent in the year-earlier quarter.


Some highlights for Strategic Business Services:


  • Total revenues from business customers were $8.7 billion, down 2.7 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. Business service revenues declined 2.1 percent year over year. 
  • Overall, declines in legacy products were partially offset by continued double-digit growth in strategic business services. Revenues from these services, the next-generation capabilities that lead AT&T's most advanced business solutions — including VPN, Ethernet, cloud, hosting and other advanced IP services — grew 16.1 percent versus the year-earlier quarter. These services represent an annualized revenue stream of more than $9 billion and are more than 26 percent of wireline business revenues. 
  • During the first quarter, the company also added 64,000 business U-verse high speed broadband subscribers.


http://about.att.com/story/att_first_quarter_earnings_2014.html

1Q14 - Investor slides
http://www.att.com/Investor/Earnings/1q14/slides_1q14.pdf




AT&T Adds Amdocs and Juniper to NFV Supplier Program

AT&T named Amdocs and Juniper Networks as two additional vendors in its User-Defined Network Cloud program.

AT&T has not revised its previously announced capital expenditure due to expected savings from cloud platforms.

“This is an ambitious program that allows us to tap into the latest technologies to enhance the network infrastructure,” said Tim Harden, president, AT&T Supply Chain. “We’re taking another step toward building the faster, simpler and more flexible network of the future that provides increased global connectivity with easily scalable and faster content delivery.”

http://about.att.com/story/att_adds_amdocs_and_juniper_to_its_user_defined_network_cloud_supplier_program.html


In February, AT&T outlined its vision of a User-Defined Network Cloud that is open, simple, scalable and able to perform many functions.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T technology and network operations, said it envisions a multi-service, multi-tenant platform capable of adapting to traffic demands dynamically.  The end goal is to spur innovation by making it easier to adapt the network for new services.

AT&T's Domain 2.0 supplier program, which will was announced in September 2013, will use these principles to build this new architecture based on Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN).

AT&T also announced the first group of companies selected to work on the company’s strategy. EricssonTail-F Systems, and Metaswitch Networks have been selected to begin further discussions on design and deployment. AT&T also selected Affirmed Networks to work on a virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC).  Ericsson will also work on integration and transformation services. Further selections will take place through the end of 2014.

Cisco Launches Managed Threat Defense Service

Cisco launched a Managed Threat Defense security service that applies real-time, predictive analytics to detect attacks and protect against advanced malware across customers' extended networks.

Cisco Managed Threat Defense is an on-premises solution, comprised of hardware, software, and analytics designed to monitor, capture, and analyze threats. Cisco's worldwide network of expert-staffed security operations centers (SOCs) monitor the service and provide incident response analysis, escalation, and remediation recommendations.  Key capabilities:

  • Protects against unknown attacks, not seen by anti-virus, by capturing real-time streaming telemetry.
  • Leverages Hadoop 2.0 to apply predictive analytics to detect anomalous patterns against each customer's unique network profile and determine suspicious behavior.
  • Identifies known attacks and vulnerabilities using pattern analysis and investigation against both Cisco-proprietary and community threat intelligence data.
  • Provides incident tracking and reporting via a subscription-based business model. This approach can lower operational costs and utilizes Cisco's continued investment in security technology, processes, and talent.
  • Includes innovative Cisco security technology such as Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) to detect malware and eliminate unnecessary alerts, Sourcefire FirePOWER for threat detection, and Cisco Cloud Web Security for email and web filtering.

"As data continues to move to the cloud, more people are accessing data via mobile devices, in addition to sharing data through social channels. Consequently, security has become our customers' number one concern," said Bryan Palma, SVP Cisco Security Solutions. "Managed Threat Defense lessens the worry associated with protecting against a breach and allows Cisco and its partners to add value where customers need it most."

http://blogs.cisco.com/security/cisco-announces-managed-threat-defense-service

NSN Opens in Myanmar

Nokia Solutions and Networks has opened two new offices in Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, to support domestic customers.

“Myanmar’s communications industry is evolving at a rapid pace, and NSN remains committed to hasten this evolution by providing its technology and expertise to local operators,” said Raman Vattumalai, country head of Myanmar at NSN.

Ooredoo recently selected NSN to supply its core and radio infrastructure for its 3G network in Myanmar. This deal marked NSN’s entry in the nation’s telecommunications landscape.

http://www.nsn.com

See also