Leonid Belyaev, CEO PlayRussian OTT service provider Play plans to introduce a 4K service later this year, focusing initially on an electronic sell-through model, according to Leonid Belyaev, CEO. The OTT operator also plans to unveil a new linear channel-based offering next month and to launch a premium offering to international markets, possibly next year.Speaking on the sidelines of the Digital TV CEE conference in Budapest this morning, Belyaev told DTVE that Play was in the final stages of negotiations to secure content rights for the 4K service from Hollywood studios.He said that the service, which will offer first-run Hollywood movies, would require additional security measures. Belyaev said that Play was well-served in this case by its focus on smart TVs as its primary distribution channel, as these platforms are inherently more secure that other devices that may, for example, require HDMI connectivity to deliver the content to the TV screen.The service will be launched in the third or fourth quarter. One key issue currently is the lack of availability of 4K content. Belyaev said Play “wants to be able to tell people to buy a new 4K TV”. He said the bandwidth requirement would be between 15-25Mbps. “This willstart in big cities where optical fibre networks are available for a reasonable price,” he said. The 4K TV service will be delivered via adaptive bit-rate streaming, encoded in HEVC.Belyaev said he believed 4K would deliver a premium of 30-40% per title on the existing service. Play will focus on electronic sell-through initially, a model it has already implemented for its existing catalogue. “We’ve done EST from the inception. It’s surprisingly popular because people associate it with owning DVDs. Renting on the other hand was never very big in Russia,” he said.Content will be stored in Play’s proprietary – but UltraViolet-compatible – digital locker, Belyaev said.Belyaev said that Play is looking at international expansion, possibly starting next year, focusing on a premium, niche offering for the European market. “We are looking at international expansion next year, starting in Europe,” he said. “We can test our belief in smart TV and see how it resonates.”Belyaev said Play would look at transactional rather than subscription-based services internationally. “We don’t believe in the SVOD model for the long run. Rights are getting more expensive everywhere, but that’s not necessarily the case with transactional rights.”Belyaev said Play would also unveil a new linear channel-based service on July 15. “It will be a linear TV service, but not a traditional linear service, and it will have a new brand,” he said.Play has about five million registered users in Russia, of whom about 300,000 pay for services. In addition to its transactional offering, it provides a RUB500 a month subscription service, with the ability to pay for transactional content on top. About 90% of users access the service via smart TVs.
CBS shareholders have officially launched a class action lawsuit against its majority stakeholder National Amusements, the investment firm of Sumner Redstone and family.Les MoonvesThe suit claims that National Amusements, now run by Redstone’s daughter Shari Redstone, has breached its fiduciary duty.Class B shareholders of CBS claim that Redstone has not acted in the company’s best interest in its push to merge the business with former partner company Viacom.CBS’ lawsuit document states: “Sumner Redstone is no longer in control of CBS. His daughter has seized control, interfered with the management of the company and pressured the company to pursue her self-interested plan to combine CBS with Viacom.”The news follows earlier action taken by the company in May to block Redstone’s efforts to forcibly merge the companies. Prior to the recent lawsuit a Delaware Chancery Court judge had put a brief pause on the legal battle during CBS’ Upfront presentation in which Leslie Moonves received a standing ovation.National Amusements has replied in a statement saying it is merely exercising its legal rights to change CBS bylaws.“Furthermore, as detailed in NAI’s complaint, the efforts of the CBS Directors to unilaterally dilute the voting rights of its controlling shareholder are extraordinary, unjustified and unlawful. We are confident the court will uphold NAI’s action,” said the firm.National Amusements currently controls near 80% of CBS and Viacom, while owning just 10% of shares. Redstone recently made a bylaw change that would require approval of 90% of the board to provoke action within the company. CBS has worked to overturn the bylaws and reduce the firm’s control to around 20%.The Redstone family has made multiple attempts to bring CBS and Viacom back together since its split in 2006. When the company tried to do so in 2016, the move was ultimately abandoned.The latest move began in January and has resulted in a range of suing and counter-suing among CBS shareholders.
AddThis Share CONTACT: Michael Cinelli PHONE: (713) 831-4794 NICANDROS NAMED RICE UNIVERSITY BOARD TRUSTEEConstantine “Dino” Nicandros, immediate past chairman,president and chief executive officer of Conoco Inc., has been named a trusteeof the Rice University Board of Governors.Nicandros, 63, is chairman of CSN and Company, a private consulting andinvestment firm. He previously served as a term governor on the Rice board.“I am very pleased that Dino Nicandros accepted this appointment,” said E.William Barnett, chair of the Rice Board of Governors. “His dedication toexcellence in his professional career and private life will continue to serve uswell as we prepare the university for the next millennium.”Rice president Malcolm Gillis said, “From its inception, Rice has beengoverned by men and women of great vision and energy. All have had anuncompromising dedication to the high standards that have made Rice theuniversity it is today. Dino Nicandros is squarely within this tradition. We areextremely fortunate and exceedingly grateful to have the benefit of hisconsiderable experience and ability.”Nicandros began his career in the planning department at Conoco Inc., inHouston in 1957. He moved to New York City in 1961 in the same department. Threeyears later he transferred to the land acquisition internationalexploration-production department.He became director of planning for the eastern hemisphere in 1966, andgeneral manager, then vice president of supply and transportation of the easternhemisphere in 1971. Three years later he was named executive vice president ofConoco’s eastern hemisphere refining, marketing, supply and transportationoperations.In 1975, Nicandros was named executive vice president of worldwide supply andtransportation for Conoco based in Stamford, Conn. He moved to Houston in 1978as group executive vice president of petroleum products for Conoco. He was namedpresident of petroleum operations in 1983 and president and CEO of Conoco in1987.Nicandros and his wife, Tassie, support the Owl Club, the Shepherd Societyand the annual gifts program at Rice. They also provided the funds to establishthe Constantine S. Nicandros Public Policy Internships at the James A. Baker IIIInstitute for Public Policy.Nicandros was chairman of the corporate campaign for the Alice Pratt BrownHall and the George R. Brown Hall (1989-90).His daughter Vicky Elliot is a Rice graduate (political science, 1987).Nicandros has served on numerous corporate and civic boards. He was vicechairman, board of directors of E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Wilmington,Del. Also, he is on the boards of Texas Commerce Bank, Cooper Industries, Inc.,Keystone International, Mitchell Energy and Development, Baylor College ofMedicine, and the Texas Center for Superconductivity, University of Houston(1989-91).Additional board memberships include the Houston Symphony (chairman); theGreater Houston Partnership (1989-95); United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast(1986-91, campaign chairman in 1988); Houston Museum of Fine Arts; HoustonBallet Foundation; Houston Grand Opera (senior chairman); and the Texas Chapterof the American Committee on the French Revolution Bicentennial (chairman,1989).###