Archive for May, 2015

Going Best-of-Breed with Adobe Primetime and thePlatform™ mpx

Large media companies and pay-TV providers want to rely on best-of-breed integrations instead of monolithic, end-to-end “solutions” with high potential for vendor lock-in. For these companies, the Adobe Primetime and thePlatform mpx VMS joint solution has just the right approach. We’ve pre-integrated these solutions into a best-of-breed joint solution for encoding, protection, entitlement check, license serving and playback of premium video content across IP-connected screens.

The customer benefits of working together:

  • Fast time to market — The joint solution gets digital files quickly through packaging and encryption workflows and in front of viewers.
  • Better viewer experience — It provides a consistent user experience across platforms, which includes a single entitlement system that lets viewers switch screens in the middle of a program and pick up right where they left off.
  • Reduced total cost of ownership — It keeps costs down through pre-integration and the combined cost saving benefits of mpx and Adobe Primetime DRM.

How the joint solution achieves these benefits:

  • During encoding and protection, mpx takes unsecure media files and puts Adobe’s encryption around it. Mpx has worked with Adobe on DRM for many years. Now, further integration with Adobe Primetime cloud DRM offers joint customers a quick-to-deploy, software as a service (SAAS) solution with low workflow overhead for protecting content for multiscreen delivery.
  • At entitlement check and license serving, the joint solution offers a simpler workflow by leveraging Adobe Primetime cloud DRM to add policy definitions at this stage instead of during encoding and protection. This means less tinkering, less to be concerned with under the hood, and more transparency in the workflow.
  • For playback, mpx can automatically publish video for playback to the Primetime TVSDK. Shared customers can create custom video players for PCs, tablets, smartphones and OTT devices leveraging the integration of the Adobe Primetime TVSDK within thePlatform’s Player Dev Kit. Because Adobe Primetime has the largest reach across devices of any DRM solution, customers of the joint solution will be able to deliver and monetize TV content on the most mobile devices, browsers and platforms with protected content.

Integrating with Adobe is easy

A best-of-breed approach can really only work if integrations are timely and successful. Adobe facilitates this flawlessly. With the Adobe Primetime cloud DRM integration, Adobe and thePlatform delivered a rapid and successful integration to shared customers. The cloud DRM integration took just six weeks from start to finish. We had a great experience working both at the program management level and at the developer level with Adobe. Adobe answered questions quickly, got obstacles moved out of the way, and was very responsive.

Our partnership with Adobe is very important. We’re looking forward to working together to serve more joint customers in the near future.

How Industry Consortiums CTAM and OATC are Working to Boost TV Everywhere Success

Attracting more pay-TV subscribers to TV Everywhere (TVE) has always been an exciting challenge, which involves continually improving the user experience and the way it is marketed. We’re big fans and contributors to the work of two industry consortiums, Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and Open Authentication Technology Committee (OATC), that are bringing industry players together to help increase TV Everywhere usage.

TV Everywhere success benchmarks

We believe that benchmarks for TVE’s success can be pushed higher. To understand current TVE adoption levels, a study conducted by Hub Entertainment Research in October 2014 indicated that just 49% of cable subscribers have used TVE to view TV content at least once over the past six months. To improve this benchmark and others, we support CTAM’s 2015 goals to:

  • Increase TVE usage among cable customers to 65%
  • Increase aided awareness of TVE among cable customers to 75%
  • Increase adoption of CTAM’s UX and messaging recommendations among member companies offering TVE to 80%
  • Achieve 85% member support of CTAM’s summer industry-wide tent-pole marketing communications initiative

This infographic by CTAM suggests three things pay-TV providers can do to help:

Home-based authentication will create frictionless TVE accessibility

OATC is also addressing the user experience challenges of TVE. The focus of an OATC meeting in early May was home-based authentication. It is the ability to automatically recognize pay-TV subscribers and grant them access to programming without sign in. Home-based authentication, which CTAM may position to consumers as Instant Access, would overcome a major hurdle to TVE usage because many pay-TV subscribers feel that signing in with a username and password is an extra step that they don’t want to take. Subscribers are already used to viewing cable or satellite TV without having to sign in, so they want this same frictionless experience for TVE. In response to this consumer demand, OATC members are working on the technical implementation of home-based authentication and ensuring compatibility with features like parental controls.

We’ll be sure to point you to the new documents from OATC on home-based authentication as they develop. In the meantime, pay-TV providers can benefit from the OATC’s existing work by accessing their recommended best practices and working with their standards.

Adobe Primetime is proud to be a contributing member to CTAM and OATC to ensure that viewers get the best IPTV viewing experience, no matter what device they are viewing from. You can follow the work of the two industry consortiums at ctamtve.com and oatc.us.

 

4 Trends Shaping the Future of Television

With this year’s NAB and INTX shows now behind us, we’re taking a moment to consider a few areas within the pay-TV and broadcast industry with considerable momentum or challenges to surmount. The abandoned Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger has been making headlines and appears to be more about the Internet than TV. In fact, the impact of internet technologies like OTT and cloud-based delivery on the industry is becoming more and more obvious. It’s even heightening consumer expectations for personalized programming streams, quick access to theatrical releases and unified discovery across TV services. Here we’ve summarized these trends that are shaping the future of television.

  1. Broadcasters are embracing the cloud

When one of the big three television networks that has dominated U.S. television since the 1950s publicly declares that it has moved to the cloud, it’s pretty safe to say that others will follow. At this year’s NAB Show, Broadcasting & Cable reports that in a supersession titled, “Television’s Transition to an All-IP Future—Why It’s a Big Deal,” Disney chief technology officer Vince Roberts “explained that they had already adopted cloud based technologies to handle the delivery of content to digital platforms like the Watch ABC app. ‘The only ways to automate those process and the only way to scale and be device agnostic was cloud-based,’ said Roberts.”

Charter Communications is also bullish on the cloud and is investing in a cloud-based interface for its WorldBox. According to DSLReports.com, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said, “this makes every box in the Charter footprint state-of-the-art. Smart networks make dumb screens smart. We can take any kind of device and make it a sophisticated device.”

  1. Millennials are the future — and they love streaming

New survey data shows that the youngest millennials prefer streaming video to linear TV. Specifically, more millennials age 14–25 value streaming video sources over cable and satellite TV, according to the ninth edition of the Deloitte “Digital Democracy Survey” released this April. By the percentages, 72% value streaming video sources while only 58% value cable and satellite TV. This is quite different than the older cohort of millennials age 26–31, among whom 63% value streaming video sources and 75% value cable and satellite TV.

NetNewsCheck reports on a “millennial problem” for local TV whereby “most millennials just don’t give a damn about local TV.” The article suggests a number of solutions including developing content that appeals to millennials and distributing it across platforms, including OTT.

  1. Will day-and-date come to TV Everywhere?

The IP-delivery of movies is influencing the traditional movie release cycle. One example of this is day-and-date video on demand (VOD) whereby consumers pay to see a film at home while it’s still playing in the theaters. Variety reports the results of a survey by RBC Capital Markets, which states that 7% of consumer respondents were willing to pay $11-$15 for day-and-date VOD access; 4% were willing to pay $16-$20; and 3% were willing to pay $21 or more.

In a recent white paper, Juniper Research describes the typical movie release cycle as going from cinema distribution to DVD/Blu-ray to pay-per-view to pay TV and finally to free-to-air distribution. Following this model, day-and-date could skip VOD and go directly to pay TV as a form of exclusive content. We know that movie content has the fastest rate of unique visitor growth in TV Everywhere at 216% YOY, according to Adobe Digital Index. Day-and-date could be an interesting way to drive TV Everywhere viewership. TechHive offers a recent and comprehensive pro and con exploration of day-and-date releases.

  1. Innovating the TV user interface

Internet technologies are making it easier to execute innovations around the TV user interface and the pace of innovation is rapid. Crackle is introducing an “Always On” stream of television programming customized to the viewer exclusively on Roku this month, with other platforms to follow. Netflix is planning a new user interface for its television apps later this year that executives say will “bring video playback forward into the browse experience.” New research by Amdocs and IE Market Research suggests that the user interface is the key to making pay-tv work with OTT. LightReading reports, “51% of North American consumers planning to cancel or reduce their pay-TV subscriptions would maintain their monthly spend if service providers offered a unified interface for searching, discovering and watching both pay-TV and OTT content.”

These trends point to a bright future for consumers of television content. Things like cloud-based delivery, personalized programming streams, quick access to theatrical releases and unified discovery across TV services are either already here or not far down the road. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.