OTT Updates Platforms & Providers

  • By Adrian Pennington

OTT Updates Platforms & Providers

Momentum continues to build in the transition to cloud in the media and entertainment industry...

Cloud and OTT streaming technologies have enabled new ways to originate, distribute and monetise content. Solutions providers are addressing the rise of FAST channels including contextual advertising on Connected TV programming.   

Mark Johns, CEO, Switch Media
Faster broadband speeds and improved connectivity are allowing communities in remote and rural locations to enjoy the benefits that streaming TV brings. In small communities, telecoms operators can deliver pay-TV offerings that can be billed as part of an existing mobile phone service, providing on-demand content to subscribers, and creating new revenue streams.  

What’s crucial for telcos to consider is, if they want to successfully take this route, they need to build a platform that’s future-proof. You can’t apply the same technology principles to an OTT platform as you might to a traditional broadcast service. This doesn’t mean having to invest in a high-cost content publishing platform; clearly that’s not an option for small players. This is why it’s important that telcos have access to an off-the-shelf, quick-to-market solution that enables them to launch services easily but includes an affordable level of integration and sophistication that make it flexible and future-proof.  

Switch Media’s MediaHQ Lite provides a streamlined cost-effective, fast-to-market online video solution that meets all these requirements and more. It delivers all the essential capabilities and features, including applications and the ability to monetise seamlessly without the complexity and overheads often associated with other OTT solutions.    

Tim Pearson, Senior Director, Product Marketing, NAGRA 
As NAGRA customers, such as Claro Colombia and Starhub, migrate from pay-TV providers to digital entertainment hubs, NAGRA is focused on providing OTT solutions that curate, aggregate and monetise video content to deliver sustainable consumer value.    

In addressing changing consumer consumption, NAGRA is designing and deploying solutions that allow video service operators to become aggregators in response to the rapid growth of direct-to-consumer platforms.  

Enabled through technology that includes retail-available service aggregation platforms (e.g., Android TV) alongside customer experience optimizing features, such as direct billing, NAGRA’s solutions are data-centric and focus on understanding consumer behaviour.    

At the core of NAGRA OTT solutions is the OpenTV Video Platform, a data-driven, versatile and flexible solution. Available as a fully featured turn-key solution or in modular form for advanced deployments, the platform is designed to deliver frictionless access to extensive content libraries through an innovative user experience that utilizes both content recommendations and consumer viewing history to promote appealing content.   

Enabling video service operators to fully understand consumer behaviour, the OpenTV Video Platform includes an AI-driven analytics capability to identify consumer behaviour patterns.  This is being used by leading video service operators to predict churn, identify re-grade opportunities, and propose relevant advertising.

Alain Pellen, Senior Manager, OTT Solutions, Harmonic   
Live event streaming and free ad supported TV (FAST) are two popular examples with Harmonic customers currently. Both applications are valued by advertisers because audiences have a common interest for content that can be easily categorized, which makes targeted advertising very effective. 

Our Harmonic VOS360 video SaaS makes it easier to monetize live events, quickly launch FAST channels, or even VOD streaming through targeted advertising. 

Using VOS360, media companies and service providers can schedule ad breaks into FAST channels, or insert an ad break manually into a live event. They can also insert a pre-roll to be displayed when a user joins a stream or starts watching VOD content. With dynamic ad insertion (DAI), the stream manifest delivered to each individual user is modified so that ads match the user demographic. 

Additionally, with VOS360, customers are not limited to one specific application. Live events can be streamed to millions of users, the content can be recorded to create VOD assets and can be combined with a separate VOD catalogue, schedules can be created, niche FAST channels launched, and customers can monetize their services across all of these applications in a consistent way.

Stuart Huke, Client Services Director, Data Products, 24i 
Linear TV isn’t dead - it’s just gone online. It’s time for data-driven tools to maximise its reach. The OTT customer experience is increasingly data-driven, but making time-sensitive recommendations for live OTT content has traditionally been more challenging than for VOD. We believe we’ve cracked it. The newest features in our managed personalisation service, 24iQ, incorporate timely live TV recommendations. 

By combining user viewing history, personalization algorithms and programme schedule (EPG) data, we can drive engagement with live streams. We remind users that shows they’re likely to be interested in are starting, or will be live in a few minutes. For example, if data shows you’re a fan of a particular series, you’ll get a gentle hint in the UI at 7.55pm that an episode starts live at 8pm. 

We’ve worked with an OTT customer who gets over 50% of their player views from live content to develop a range of tools for live TV content recommendations. They’ll launch this feature later this year. 

For services that offer many linear channels (including FAST channels), our personalised ‘On Now for You’ model puts together the content you are most likely to watch and the content that is live right now. 

Ali Hodjat, Director of Product Marketing, Telestream iQ 
Delivering Live and VOD content over an unmanaged network presents plenty of obstacles. In a ABR streaming workflow, there is minimal control over the content delivery from encoder/transcoders, to packagers, and through origin server and CDNs. With multiple providers involved in the delivery chain the lack of control makes identifying and resolving issues incredibly challenging. 

Telestream iQ offers a full range of video quality monitoring and automation tools that help service providers to keep track of their video delivery and network activity. From monitoring the quality of source contribution links, to post encoding and packaging, distribution of OTT streaming from origins and CDNs, as well as Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI), compliance and SLA enforcement monitoring, these tools provide real-time and historical data related to the quality of streaming services, and can identify the root cause of problems quickly. 

Telestream iQ offers the largest and most complete portfolio of video analysis probes that enhance visibility into content quality, ABR transcoding, packaging, and encryption in any type of OTT streaming service. The key value of Telestream iQ solution comes from automating the surveillance of the video delivery chain that will have a material impact on the business intelligence and quality of video delivered.  

Alex Beach, Business & Product Development, EasyBroadcast 
EasyBroadcast‘s focus, especially for IBC2022, will be on edge caching and edge networking technologies, both of which we believe have a major role to play in the streaming media marketplace.  Edge caching can reduce transport costs for platform owners, as well as improving QoS/QoE for end users (e.g., reduced buffering and lower latency) by shortening the distance content is required to travel. Edge caching via satellite can also enable global delivery of content to unconnected regions. 

SKYflow is a partner ecosystem comprised of charter partners EasyBroadcast, ST Engineering & EKT with integration to Broadpeak & Quadrille.  OTT and Education content is delivered to unconnected markets as Native IP over Satellite, then distributed locally using mABR distribution technology. 

As with edge caching, edge networking can also deliver cost benefits to platform owners and improved QoS/QoE for end users by off-loading partial packet delivery from the CDN to other networks, such as mobile or WiFi. 

Viewer Assisted Delivery (VAD) - EasyBroadcast’s patented P2P, or mesh network-like solution, leverages other devices by essentially turning them into routers for video data packets. This enables improved QoS/QoE, as well as reduction of CDN network costs.

Srinivasan KA, Co-founder, Amagi 
Having experienced explosive growth in the past year, Connected TV-led FAST has become the new battleground for content owners to reach and engage a global audience. High-quality programming with low ad loads has been the star attraction of FAST, and consumers are taking to it in droves.

As the competition in the space heats up, content owners are seeking out innovative technology solutions to stay ahead of the game, which means engaging their viewers while staying profitable.

Contextual advertising is one such solution that Amagi introduced into programmatic CTV to help content owners achieve the twin goals of revenue growth and engagement. 

Contextual advertising, a form of targeted advertising, allows content owners to onboard their video data for contextual targeting across connected TV devices. Amagi has collaborated with leading video data platform, IRIS.TV, to facilitate this for our participating content brands. Content owners can provide contextually-relevant programming at scale to advertisers. The ads placed in the video stream, therefore, aligns with audience interest, generating better engagement.  

This is an innovative monetization solution for content creators, while enabling better brand recall for advertisers and an uninterrupted viewing experience for consumers. We anticipate contextual ad placements to become the established norm in the CTV ad environment, promising greater momentum in ad-based revenue generation.

James Caselton, Head of Product, Friend MTS
With the rise of OTT services, the accessibility of high-value, high-quality digital content has driven up the number and quality of pirate IPTV services. Traditional broadcasters and OTT service providers face losing their revenue from distribution on OTT platforms to the tune of millions of dollars if their premium content is not duly protected.

The money that pirates save on the production and/or licensing of content goes straight into illegal acquisition, distribution and development of security circumvention technologies.  

Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to OTT platforms. As a content protection and anti-piracy specialist of over 20 years, with the most widely deployed forensic watermarking and class-leading automated global content monitoring, Friend MTS has real-world visibility of how pirates aggressively innovate, and the solutions and services that we create for all OTT and linear broadcasters effectively detect, deter and disable pirate activities.  

Business intelligence services provide in-depth analysis of how and where content is being stolen; automated monitoring enables real-time detection of illegal distribution of live and on-demand premium content, supported by a variety of enforcement activities; and forensic watermarking identifies the source of the stolen content, enabling OTT platforms to disable access to the source content.

Callum Elsdon, Product Marketing Manager, M2A Media
Linear television is going through a renaissance. Whether it is FAST, pop-up, or OTT, these linear-like channels are taking the industry by storm, with the capability to extend content value well beyond its original broadcast date.  

M2A Media recently launched the VOD to Live feature within its M2A LIVE product.  This new feature is designed to create linear-like channels from a playlist of VOD programming, interspersed with ident, and interstitial content. As with M2A LIVE, which is used by global OTT platforms to stream live video at scale, the VOD to Live feature can distribute these channels on a direct-to-consumer basis or, utilising our cloud acquisition and distribution product, M2A CONNECT, these channels can be distributed to OTT or pay-TV aggregation platforms.  

VOD to Live allows rights owners to increase audience engagement and reach, as well as improve the return on their original content investment without the costs associated with traditional playout - something that wouldn’t have been possible prior to cloud adoption.

Expect even greater numbers of rights owners to embrace the FAST or linear-like trend across all programming types in the months to come.