CSG branches into 4K with monetization support for Sony's new UltraHD streaming service

Hit hard by consolidation in the pay-TV industry, backend monetization services vendor CSG Systems International announced some diversified new business today, touting the involvement of its Ascendon digital service platform in Sony's new 4K streaming service.

Sony launched its Ultra transactional service earlier this month. Ultra is a joint collaboration between Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Sony Electronics, offering owners of Sony 4K Bravia UltraHD TVs the chance to download, for $30 a pop, recent theatrical releases like Concussion, The Night Before and The Walk, as well as library titles including Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters in the 4K/UltraHD format. 

Many of the films being released through the service also support high dynamic range (HDR). 

"The pairing of CSG Ascendon and the Ultra Bravia app is the evolution of the customer experience – from an incredible, high-resolution viewing experience to intuitive browsing, playback and more, consumers will have one-stop access to the best experience on television," said Kent Steffen, president of global OTT business at CSG International. 

Along with Amdocs, CSG remains a dominant force in the cable industry, providing MSO's billing systems and other backend products and services. Cable consolidation, however, has been a concern. 

In an SEC filing made 11 months ago, the company indicated that a successful merger between clients Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have cost it up to $20 million, with the combined company able to exert more pricing leverage. CSG has not indicated what impact Charter Communications' purchase of TWC and Bright House Networks will have, but similar bargaining dynamics could probably be expected.

"The Time Warner and Charter customer accounts, currently being processed on our platform and acquired by Comcast, would have been entitled to more favorable volume pricing terms under our Comcast agreement," the filing read. "The annual effect of this more favorable pricing was estimated to be between $15 and $20 million. 

For more:
- read this CSG Systems International press release

Related articles:
Comcast vendor CSG says TWC merger would have cost it up to $20M in annual billings
CSG re-ups Comcast deal through 2019, takes bigger piece of residential pie from Amdocs
Sony to launch 4K streaming service on April 4, presents yet more Ultra HD competition for pay-TV

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