The race to win eyeballs

  • By Adrian Pennington

The race to win eyeballs

As streaming enters a new age of maturity keeping up with best practices and creating points of difference from competitors is becoming more challenging for streaming providers - by Adrian Pennington...

Fast time-to-market is lately trumping everything else to win the race for eyeballs. Kaltura have taken a slightly different approach to allow customers to compete effectively in this industry, as Nuno Sanches, GM, Media & Telecommunications at the vendor, explains.  

“Getting a streaming service up and running shortly is critical, but so is making sure your service can quickly expand and grow from the initial setup. Relying on a flexible technology architecture that is adaptable and can incorporate new requirements easily should be equally, if not more, important when selecting your streaming platform to keep up with consumer demands.  

“With this goal in mind, we have launched our Kaltura Streaming Platform, especially suited to help media companies and broadcasters fast-track into D2C streaming with a growth path built-in.”  The Kaltura Streaming Platform is presented as an end-to-end solution that includes everything companies need to launch or renew a streaming service: a powerful backend with templated applications for web, mobile and smart TVs, plus a complete set of ready-to-play features any viewer would expect from a leading streaming service.  

“This full-on solution makes launching, operating, and managing a streaming service an easy process, providing customers with a fast entry point that includes a broad feature set from day one. In just a few weeks, customers can reach new audiences globally through spot-on branded apps on any device and tap into new revenue streams through flexible pricing plans.” 

According to Brightcove, Brightcove CorpTV enables enterprises to distribute video in the same way the largest media organisations deliver video content to their audiences, at a fraction of the cost and without requiring an IT team to manage it. The platform provides an entirely branded experience, delivering marketing videos, product announcements, training programs, and any other live and on-demand content directly to audiences. Brightcove CorpTV empowers companies to make the most of their content while providing a sense of connection and equity across audiences.  

Across its video communications platform, Brightcove has enhanced its analytics capabilities with the acquisition of audience insights company Wicket Labs - now Brightcove Audience Insights. Brightcove Audience insights provides our customers with content and subscriber insights. These insights help organisations to make data-driven decisions and improve subscriber acquisition, conversions, engagement, and retention.  

With access to these insights, organisations have a greater understanding of their audience dynamics, sources of new subscribers, the subscriber journey, and how to increase subscription revenue through data visualisations and dashboards.  

Personalisation is fast becoming streaming’s hottest topic. As VOD libraries grow, consumers have become overwhelmed by choice. To succeed in today’s fiercely competitive streaming market, VOD service providers must make it easy for their users to discover video that they want to watch.  

“User-specific content recommendations increase the number and range of videos watched, with a direct impact on customer loyalty and revenue,” says Damien Read, SVP of Data Products 24i. “But they’re not easy to get right. Making useful links between content is only possible if you optimise your metadata with appropriate keywords and tags. Algorithms that are tuned to your specific content library and audience profile are far more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach. And getting data models to work in harmony with your editorial team rather than against them is an important step towards success.”  

The company has just launched 24iQ, a new managed personalisation and analytics service that helps streaming services supercharge content discovery and user engagement. It’s based on advanced algorithms, machine learning techniques, automated metadata enhancement, and the skills of our expert team of data scientists who apply a continuous “test, learn, and refine” methodology.  

It’s a powerful combination that has seen some of its customers achieve as much as a 300% uplift in engagement on specific content rows in their apps. But it’s important to look beyond the app UX too. With 24iQ’s APIs, personalised content recommendations can be extended to every part of the user journey, including marketing emails, push notifications, and even old-fashioned direct mail through the letterbox. This helps combat churn and turn occasional viewers into loyal customers.  

“I’m increasingly convinced that in the next few years, personalization of the user experience will be the thing that sets successful streamers apart from those who get left behind. 24iQ helps turn the promise of data-driven, smarter streaming into a reality.” 

Many content owners struggle to deliver their content on all channels. As a result, many projects don’t see the light of day because delivering them is complex and involve many departments at the broadcasting company. 

“At Hexaglobe we deploy integrated solutions covering the entire value chain from broadcast to OTT,” says Franck Coppola, CEO. “These solutions expose powerful API meaning the customer still has the power to have a customised workflow.”  

For instance, Hexaglobe’s Media Platform centralises all live and VOD content and makes it accessible to various ‘bricks’ with a common API.  

“Customers can quickly use their live content to power their websites or extract VOD from the live stream. They can also deliver VOD from stock content. DRM is added on the fly, CDN integration and payment processor integration is done at a single point. Delivering a new service is very easy and will save a lot of politics and project management hassles.” 

Broadcast automation data is available through Hexaglobe’s SGT VEDA connector. “Gone are the days where a social media Live had to be started separately from the associated live broadcast,” says Coppola. 

Broadcast MAM data is also available through our VEDA connector allowing for data sharing workflows between live and OTT. The vendor’s Broadcast Automation System is controllable through a web client allowing for quick deployment of a channel in a private or public cloud. Ephemeral channels can be deployed in days, not months. This also enables BCP / BRP to be implemented easily. 

“All of these bricks are also controllable through an API meaning customers who need it can very quickly customize the solution. With Hexaglobe’s solutions you get the power of fully customisable solutions but with a time to market that has never been so quick.” 

VSN’s main developments in this field have occurred on VSNCrea, its Broadcast Management System. Aware of the advance of VoD and non-linear platforms, VSN developed the non-linear module of its content planning and scheduling software. From there, users can schedule their content distribution to multiple platforms and set up all the parameters. 

“VSNCrea allows to schedule one episode individually, the entire season or the complete show if necessary,” explains Toni Vilalta, Product Manager. “We just need to select them and establish their publication date. But the scheduling is not limited to one specific date. VSNCrea allows performing an episodic publication for content. For example, if we want to schedule a weekly publication for our episodes on different platforms, we can manage it seamlessly from the same interface. We can also add the unpublishing date to automate this process and avoid legal issues with third-party contents.   

He continues, “If our VoD platform is combined with a linear TV channel, we could also set our linear channel to proceed with catch-up (recovering our linear content to publish on digital platforms). In addition, we can check the status of our content scheduling on the non-linear module. There, we can review everything to be published on digital platforms and social media choosing between the calendar and list view. From this menu, we can edit, filter, delete or perform any changes to our media planning in a simple way.” 

Unified Streaming has been developing Unified Remix VOD2Live, a solution which offers broadcasters, content owners, and streaming services a way to engage audiences by delivering a traditional TV-like experience via custom, live linear, ‘virtual’ channels. 

Based on Unified’s Remix playlist technology, the solution repurposes media assets, previously prepared for VOD streaming, into a live linear stream. 

Explains CEO Dirk Griffioen, “Streaming providers can create new revenue generating opportunities by launching channels with little to no upfront investment, or ongoing running cost, in just minutes or days. Customers can create exclusive, pop-up channels; curate AI recommendation tool-based streams; stream pre-recorded events as though live; and generate FAST (free ad-supported TV) services.”

Remix VOD2Live users can enjoy the advantage of newer codecs like AV1 (and soon VVC, or Versatile Video Coding), which are computationally too expensive for real-time live encoding. Premium 4K video and Dolby Vision media files are fully supported, making it possible to kickstart PVOD (Premium Video On Demand) services.  

“With Remix VOD2Live, customers can stream exclusive world premieres with fixed appointments and watch them as though they’re live,” says Griffioen. “Filmmakers and studios can usher high-value, high-profile films straight to a streaming service, confident that the quality is on par with the movies, and bullish on the fact that it beats broadcasting the premiere on a standard TV channel. 

“Remix VOD2Live works with content encoded ahead of time, using per-title encoding and multi-pass encoding. Having crisp, clean media already optimised in the best possible quality is something broadcasters just cannot achieve consistently (without incurring major compute usage, energy wastage, and relatively high costs).”