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LEAPING OVER THE TOP New solutions for efficient, integrated, and profitable OTT services by Bob Lamb A round the world, consumers are becoming addicted to viewing over-the-top (OTT) video on the device or screen of their choice, anywhere and at any time. For broadcasters, content owners, and service providers, the ability to deliver broadcast-quality media over the open Internet presents a tremendous opportunity to retain current viewers, reach new ones, and generate new revenue streams. But turning a profit from OTT services is still somewhat of a holy grail in today’s complex media environment. The challenge lies in the ability to expand and differentiate OTT offerings, while at the same time maximizing efficiencies across the entire operation. As broadcasters explore effi cient and cost-effective ways to roll out OTT services, a critical requirement is the ability to integrate them into existing workfl ows and systems so that functions such as media preparation, rights management, and scheduling can be handled in a unifi ed and effi cient manner. The best approach is to view the operation as a content “factory” in which streaming video is just one more form of content that can be delivered to multiple platforms without having to re-tool the entire operation, hire a separate team, or build a separate infrastructure. Broadcasters can then introduce this new service in a fashion that minimizes delivery time, optimizes available resources, and maximizes profi ts. Several “pure play” OTT solutions have emerged from the Internet world and thus are geared to user-generated content, but none of these options addresses the specifi c challenges of traditional media and television business operations. What’s needed is an OTT solution that tightly integrates broadcast business operations 56 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 84 DECEMBER 2013 around workfl ows, metadata, rights, ad campaigns, and analytics — while supporting ubiquitous delivery of premium content to all devices and providing a great user experience. A cloud-based, software-as-a-service option can transform the economics of OTT delivery, since a large barrier to OTT for most broadcasters has been its unacceptable cost/benefi t ratio. By subscribing to a cloud service, broadcasters can begin instantly delivering OTT services without a capital outlay for hardware and software, and without additional operational expenses for maintaining the system and hiring additional staff. Thus, OTT just becomes another “model” in the content factory, conforming to the broadcaster’s existing infrastructure and operation and making both linear and on- demand content readily available on any screen. To address these requirements, Pilat Media has leveraged its 15 years of expertise in deploying award-winning broadcast business management solutions for TV Everywhere media businesses to launch OTTilus – an enterprise-class OTT and TV Everywhere solution for broadcasters, platform operators, and new media ventures. OTTilus provides a highly engaging and consistent viewer experience with player applications that support major end-user devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. The OTTilus product suite can be deployed quickly as a cloud service or to drive a local OTT headend, integrating seamlessly with broadcast operations and offering compatibility with all security, streaming, device, and monetization options. The OTTilus Service Manager is an advanced management system for multiscreen service delivery. The Service Manager incorporates a broad range of sophisticated scheduling tools for managing linear content, EPG, catch-up TV services, and VOD catalogs together with different content offers. Comprehensive content management capabilities include advanced rights that can be used to restrict content to specifi c viewers, geographic territories, devices, and time windows and for confi guring blackouts accordingly. Additionally, the OTTilus Service Manager accommodates a broad range of monetization options, powerful analytics, and fl exible deployment options. As an open eco-system, the Service Manager supports multiple formats, devices, and DRMs. The OTTilus Video Platform provides out-of-the-box, end-to-end services. The solutions encompass all major system components from content acquisition to player applications (white label or with third parties). Powered by the OTTilus Service Manager, the Video Platform remains agile enough to meet all business requirements even as business expands and becomes more complex. Delivered as a cloud-based service, the OTTilus