Getting Serious about OTT

June 6, 2017
The industry's approach to over-the-top (OTT) video is shifting from "Oh, neat" to "OK, let's make a real business out of this." Standing here at about mid-year looking back, it seems that in the realm of OTT, key ...

The industry's approach to over-the-top (OTT) video is shifting from "Oh, neat" to "OK, let's make a real business out of this." Standing here at about mid-year looking back, it seems that in the realm of OTT, key words in 2017 have been monetization, video quality and content protection.

This is why Viaccess-Orca recently acquired Squadeo and its multimedia QuickPlayer. Adding this to Viaccess-Orca's Connected Sentinel Player will result in an end-to-end solution for delivering live and VOD content to a PC, Mac or connected devices. QuickPlayer offers a patented video scrambling technology, which Squadeo says meets studio security requirements.

With OTT continuing to rise, there needs to be an accurate mechanism for measurement in order to determine who is watching and when. comScore OTT Intelligence is based on the company's Total Home Panel, a platform designed to measure behavior across connected devices. With OTT Intelligence, subscribers gain a single-source view of dozens of OTT content providers. Reported measurements include household reach, audience size and demographics, and usage metrics. Data can be segmented for cord-cutting and cord-never homes, as well as those with a cable or satellite subscription.

Cord cutting is on the rise, according to the Diffusion Group, but perhaps more telling is that more than half of the cord cutters cancelled their legacy pay TV service in either 2015 or 2016. TDG attributed this to high prices and greater availability of OTT video services.

24/7 streaming video services, like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV, are increasing the uptake of streaming media devices, according to ABI Research. Shipments of the adapters are expected to reach nearly 56 million shipments in 2022, and ABI said that those shipping that year in North America and western Europe will be 4K. Currently, 4K streaming devices represent about 35% and 24% of streaming device shipments in North America and western Europe, respectively.

OTT is spreading worldwide. Frost & Sullivan called the Middle East and North Africa region a "fertile" market due to a boom in smartphone and Internet penetration. The research firm says the market could grow to as many as 265 million viewers by 2020. Currently, there are 75 million viewers with only 2.3 million paying subscribers throughout the region. This may seem to indicate a slow conversion of registered to paid viewers, but Frost says this could reach 20 million by 2020.

Wurl TV Network will use Zixi's streaming platform to distribute TV programming to cable and OTT video services. Wurl's intent is to expand its ability to use the Internet for secure, scalable delivery of its linear TV channels. Zixi offers a cloud distribution platform that can simultaneously deliver an unlimited number of live linear channels to an unlimited number of video services via the Internet.

Net Insight has introduced an OTT ad insertion solution that will be part of its Sye Live OTT streaming solution. This ad extension is in customer trials and will be available in the fourth quarter 2017. It was designed specifically for OTT platforms and frame-accurate ad-splicing. It includes reporting of video ad metrics, including number of impressions, quartiles and average view times.

Cincinnati Bell has broadened its deployment of the Verimatrix Video Content Authority System (VCAS) multi-network solution to support OTT video delivery of its streaming app, Watch Fioptics. Verimatrix will secure premium services to Roku streaming players and TVs, set-top boxes, iOS and Android devices and future devices with the ViewRight Web client security package. VCAS for Internet TV provides a multiscreen security solution for OTT over networks implementing HTTP Live Streaming (HLS). It ensures only authorized users can access content and provides an upgrade path to MPEG-DASH.

Harmonic has several solutions for OTT delivery with improved quality of experience. It offers OTT bandwidth optimization and latency and packaging technologies for delivering SD, HD and UltraHD at low bit rates. Harmonic has said it is "committed to helping operators monetize" OTT, and can show operators how to separate themselves from the competition with lower latency, reduced buffering, better video quality, and increased bandwidth efficiency by using software appliances or cloud-native applications. Harmonic has a real-time streaming workflow for matching the latency of live broadcast. It packages content in the new Common Media Application format and HTTP chunked transfer encoding. Additionally, the company's EyeQ packaging solution offers improved video quality over zero-rated mobile and xDSL networks.

Keepixo and Yospace have pre-integrated OTT and ad insertion systems in order to offer an end-to-end monetization solution for live TV channels, viewed online. Yospace offers a server-side dynamic ad insertion technology that allows broadcasters to replace advertisements across live streams. The ads can be tailored to suit the interests of each viewer. Keepixo has an OTT packager and live transcoder that encodes streams in multi-bitrate for OTT platforms.

ColorTV is acquiring Guidebox, an OTT video search and discovery metadata provider to nearly 50 TV brands. TV viewers will be able to search for and discover TV programming on connected TV platforms. Guidebox data touches more than 50 million U.S. households. Color TV's SDK and analytics tools power more than 300 apps and brands on Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.

Verimatrix has introduced MultiRights OTT Plus, which combines security and analytics to help OTT operators and content owners maximize content monetization. The platform supports all widely used DRMs and client device categories. It includes VideoMark and StreamMark forensic watermarking, Verspective Operator Analytics video services optimization and monetization, and a downloadable ViewRight Secure Player.

Satellite TV provider SKY Mexico has deployed AWS Elemental's software-based video solutions as the processing engine for Blue To Go Video Everywhere, a premium OTT video service. The multiscreen live streaming service can stream as many as 30 live events simultaneously to connected devices across the country. The workflow is orchestrated by Elemental Conductor video management software. Elemental Live encoders ingest content from SKY Mexico's satellite links and process and deliver it in multiple bitrates to content delivery networks (CDNs) for live streaming to the web, Android and iOS devices.

24iMedia launched SmartOTT Backstage, a content management system, designed to organize VOD and OTT content metadata. It offers social interaction, personalized recommendations, continued viewing and curate content collections across devices and regions. It is cloud-based and modular and sits between the clients' video backend system and their front-end applications. SmartOTT backstage includes a CMS, a metadata and data-source component and an API to organize content.