VIDEO INSIDER: High-End TVs Help LG Double Fourth Quarter Profits

Welcome to our new Video Insider newsletter, a morning email with the top news and analysis on the digital video industry, produced by BI Intelligence.

HIGH-END TVS GIVE LG A BOOST: Holiday spending on high-end TVs enabled LG to double its profits from the third quarter. TVs accounted for 40% of the company’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013. LG launched several premium models last year, including a TV with a next-generation curved display. “We think a greater focus on high-end line-ups such as curved TVs and ultra high-definition will help differentiate our products from rivals and back market share,” said Vice President Ha Jin-ho. The company’s TV business achieved over $US160.5 million (174 billion KRW) in operting profits in 2013, up massively from less than $US7.4 million (800 million KRW) in profits the previous year. “Even as the global TV market shrank in the last quarter, we were able to achieve higher profit thanks to increased sales of high-end models in North America and Europe,” said CFO Jung Do-hyun. (Reuters)

ESPN WALKS A TIGHT ROPE BETWEEN PAY-TV AND ONLINE VIDEO: ESPN is in the challenging position of maintaining strong ties with traditional pay-tv providers — a relationship that nets the company over 98 million subscribers — and satisfying the rush of demand for streaming video from “cord-cutters and cord-nevers,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. ESPN currently limits access to major events on the company’s online streaming service, WatchESPN, to viewers who already have pay-tv subscriptions. But the rising cost of licensing rights and further changes to the industry may make it impossible for the company to balance both interests in the future. (Wall Street Journal)

SMART TVS ARE VULNERABLE TO EAVESDROPPING: Smart TVs from several major manufactures, including LG, Philips, and Samsung are vulnerable to a new attack that allows hackers to obtain log in data from applications. Hackers can then eavesdrop on browser sessions, according to a report by the German computer magazine c’t. The magazine replicated the exploit by spoofing SSL certificates that are used to authenticate encryption sessions. TVs from all three manufactures failed to verify the legitimacy of the certificates, allowing a journalist from c’t to monitor encrypted HTTPS traffic, which includes usernames and passwords. After being made aware of the vulnerability, all three manufactures promised to release a fix through a firmware update. (GigaOM, Hiese)

WELCOME, VIDEO INSIDERS:The Video Insider newsletter covers the day’s most important topics in digital video, as well as news exclusives of interest to industry insiders. We look forward to the newsletter becoming an important part of your morning routine.

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OTT WILL EXCITE AT NAPTE: Over-the-top content providers like Hulu and Netflix are attracting a huge amount of excitement at this week’s National Association of Television Program Executives (NAPTE) conference. “Having new players in the business, especially those involved with digital media distribution, is really important for potential partnerships,” said GroupM Entertainment CEO Peter Tortorici. A lot of attention will be directed towards original content, such as Netflix’s House of Cards, and the broader impact of these shows on the industry. “You have all these digital players embracing original content, so you’re going to have people asking, ‘What does a made-for-Hulu mean [for all parts of the industry]?'” said Lionsgate managing director Peter Iacono. (Adweek)

OLYMPICS COMING TO ANDROID: The official Olympics TV app is now available on Google Play. The app allows Android users to stream both live and recorded events from the Winter Games. The app is available in the U.S. Google Play store, but full access to streaming content is mostly limited to Africa and the Caribbean. The International Olympic Committee has yet to indicate if or when the app will be released for devices that run Apple’s iOS. (Android Police, Google Play)

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