Just when pay-TV operators and content providers seemed to be facing an insurmountable number of challenges related to OTT multiscreen delivery, the cloud has emerged as their saving grace. During this Q&A session, Sefy Ariely, EVP Americas at Viaccess-Orca, discusses the advantages of using a complete cloud-based TV Platform as a Service (PaaS) for OTT multiscreen delivery, explaining the differences between relying on the CAPEX vs. OPEX model for broadcast delivery, from an infrastructure and cost point of view.
Q. In the OTT multiscreen environment, what are the main challenges standing in the way of pay-TV operators and content providers?
Evolving service models, technology advancements, new forms of competition, and shifting consumer preferences are certainly big issues for pay-TV operators and content providers. While the components for delivering an OTT service have become more advanced, few technology providers are capable of deploying a complete solution of their own. This makes launching an OTT multiscreen offering with any amount of speed a significant challenge, as a comprehensive solution might require components from several vendors, each of whom enhance their products at a different pace.
Another challenge is coverage; many incumbent service providers are anchored to a physical network, thereby constraining their total addressable market in a world where competitors can "poach\" subscribers from one another. In order to maximize the audience, service providers must transcend the boundaries of their service area and pursue their target audience wherever they may be.
Reconciling the required investments with the incoming revenues is also a major issue. Gearing up for OTT content delivery is not only a significant CAPEX investment, it requires ongoing operating expenses in terms of upgrades, maintenance, and integration and testing. In-house experts or costly outsourced engineers are needed to keep the ecosystem current with new versions and running smoothly.
Consumer expectations keep growing, too. Operators must continually enhance their customer experience by adding new features, new business models, and new programming. Beyond that, to be competitive in the multiscreen environment, they 're also being called upon to deliver a mix of high-quality on-demand and live video to subscribers anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
While there are new monetization opportunities, operators must move fast if they want to head off competition from new entrants and stay competitive in today 's evolving industry. Traditional broadcast delivery models are not designed to enable this level of flexibility and agility.
Q. How can service providers address these challenges?
Generally, there are three approaches to multiscreen service delivery. The first is the traditional approach, where the TV service delivery components reside on the video service provider 's premises, giving them full control over the components but necessitating a robust external connection to the internet in order to distribute the content to its destination. The second is to uproot many of these same components and install them in external hosting facilities, perhaps in conjunction with a few systems that remain on premises. This addresses the connectivity issue, but the burden of operation is still on the service provider. The third approach is to utilize a cloud-based streaming service platform, typically on a fully service-based approach, so that the operator can focus on the service and can run the service on OPEX without requiring an upfront CAPEX investment and the pre-requisite debate over ROI.
Many operators are choosing cloud-based service delivery. The ability to virtualize the servers (creating scalability-on-demand) and to leverage continuous software development practices and remote IT methodologies, promises greater service and feature agility, reduces service costs and time-to-market compared with first two approaches described above, which still require capital expenditures and protracted sourcing and deployment.
Q. How is the Viaccess-Orca approach to OTT multiscreen service delivery unique?
Recently, Viaccess-Orca launched Voyage - TV Everywhere as a Service (TVaaS), a new cloud-based over-the-top (OTT)/ TV Everywhere (TVE) service that simplifies multiscreen service delivery, increasing flexibility, reducing costs, and speeding up service launch times for operators. Running on Amazon Web Services„¢ cloud infrastructure, Voyage - TVaaS is integrated with CDN from Akamai as well as AWS CloudFront, with the option to swiftly add in other leading off-net and operator CDNs.
What differentiates our approach from others in the market is that we can field a comprehensive, cloud-based TV Platform as a Service (PaaS) with all of the core components that are required; a real one-stop-shop that is comprised on proven, deployed solutions whose development and evolution we fully control. The business model is OPEX-based, requiring no infrastructure on the operator premises. This removes the typical financial and integration risks that cause projects to run over-budget or past deadline. Under the PaaS approach, operators can focus on the business and content aspects related to the deployment of new services, new business models, and new types of end-devices without being distracted by the technical administration of the solution. Unlike the other approaches, none of the components are implemented as discretely-defined systems or as appliances, and there is nothing to maintain on the operators premises.
Voyage - TVaaS has all the capabilities that the operator needs in order to run a successful Pay-TV service, including customer management, content management, multiscreen security, content personalization and recommendation, mobile apps, and more; all from the same vendor. We are currently offering free trials of Voyage - TVaaS, so that operators can experience firsthand the transformative benefits of using a cloud-based TV PaaS.
Q. How secure is using a cloud-based TV PaaS for OTT multiscreen delivery?
A premium TV service is only as valuable as the security of its content; without relevant, comprehensive content protection schemes, a service provider will not be able to properly monetize their investment in content. This means protecting the ingestion or upload of the assets from the content provider and then encrypting the different profiles of linear and non-linear streams with a variety of technologies in order to be compatible with the various consumer devices. Finally, service providers must use of a capable, versatile secure player on the client side to cope with the continuous (and sometimes confusing) evolutions in the fragmented device market. Such issues should be carefully addressed when considering the launch of a cloud-based TV PaaS offering. Voyage - TVaaS is powered by Viaccess-Orca 's award-winning Connected Sentinel DRM and Viaccess-Orca 's secure video player, offering best-in-class security for any device, including those embedding a Trusted Execution Environment and a secure media path and guaranteed secure 4K/UHD/HDR content delivery. By using Voyage - TVaaS, operators can distribute content securely to STBs, tablets, smartphones, and other connected devices based on a suite of DRM technologies including Microsoft PlayReady, Widevine, and Viaccess-Orca 's proprietary DRM.
Q. What 's the best way to increase viewer engagement in the OTT multiscreen world?
To aid in consumer engagement, most operators today put a content discovery and recommendation platform in place, and we 've got that covered with Voyage - TVaaS. Our cloud-based TV PaaS improves subscriber engagement via personalized apps and content discovery tools. The service includes Voyage Apps, which are designed to be simple and intuitive for subscribers, allowing effortless exploration and discovery of relevant and compelling content across all devices €” seamlessly and consistently.