Author Archive: Kevin Towes

Kevin Towes

About Kevin Towes

Kevin Towes is the Head of Business Development for Media and Entertainment at Adobe. He has more than two decades of experience leading product innovation within the broadcast and film industries and has played key roles in the evolution of digital video technology. Kevin is an author and lecturer on the evolution of digital video and, in 2004, he received an Emmy nomination for technical excellence and in 2009 he was recognized as a Streaming Media All Star. Kevin attended Ryerson University in Toronto and University of California, Berkeley. Outside of work, Kevin enjoys being with his family and doing outdoor activities including sailing, skiing and volunteering with youth in Scouts Canada.

Ooyala Taps the Power of Adobe Experience Cloud

A man watches a major broadcasting event

Adobe has powered the digital delivery of some of the biggest broadcast events in history. Through Adobe Primetime and the Adobe Experience Cloud, the largest media companies are able to deliver video content at scale, monetize audiences effectively through video advertising and leverage data to personalize the overall viewer experience. 

Ooyala, a global provider of video monetization technology and services, announced today that they are tapping into Adobe Primetime capabilities for cross-device video playback and monetization. This will enable media companies of any size and in any region, to take advantage of the most reliable and scalable broadcast technology used by Turner, Comcast, NBC Sports, Disney and others for delivering great video experiences across any screen. 

More than ever, it’s critical for media companies to get this right. The advancements of mobile and TV connected devices have pushed video to the forefront. A recent survey from Deloitte finds that binge-watching is becoming the norm: 73% of U.S. consumers claim to binge-watch and nearly 90% of Millenials and Gen Z say the same, with almost 40% doing so weekly. The way in which audiences are consuming video is shifting as well. In the State of Digital Video report from Adobe Digital Insights, TV Everywhere video starts increased 102% in two years. It’s clear that audiences are consuming more video, but viewers are also fragmented across devices and have increasingly high expectations for quality and personalization. 

The pace in which digital viewers are shifting their consumption habits will continue to accelerate, especially with trends like mobile-first giving way to mobile only and the rise of TV returning to the living room via devices like Roku and Apple TV. Media companies have found that the new battleground for consumer mindshare increasingly rests on great experiences that are engaging and relevant. Especially in a booming area like video, maintaining the status quo will no longer be enough. Adobe and Ooyala are here to help.

Discussing OTT as an Experience Business on Zuora’s Subscribed Podcast

We’re entering a new era in our industry that’s all about creating an exceptional customer experience at every touch point.

This trend is particularly relevant to over-the-top streaming video providers. Their initial focus may have been simply on delivering video across screens. Now, it's about using data, insights, and personalization technologies to deliver an exceptional and relevant experience across screens that attracts and retains viewers.

Recently, I discussed this trend with Tom Krackeler and Rachel English on the Subscribed podcast, which is dedicated to exploring the global shift toward subscriptions and recurring revenue business models. The podcast is sponsored by Zuora, where Tom is VP of Products and Rachel is Director of Customer Success.

Tune in to the podcast for expert insights into running an OTT service as an experience business:

Listen for key insights in the following areas:

  • Delivery - The entry point for OTT services is delivering video across screens.
  • Usability - Audiences are one click, tap, or press on the remote away from something else. So, OTT services have to be really easy to sign into and access. And, it has to be really easy to find and discover things to watch.
  • Acquisition - The trick to acquisition is being relevant to your audience, having really great content and an incredible digital experience.
  • Retention - You have to know how to engage your audience after they become subscribers.
  • Business models - There are three main business models in OTT. These are pay as you go, subscription, and ad supported business models. There's also a hybrid model, which combines these within one service.
  • Analytics - One exciting application of analytics is to look at the engagement signals that lead casual viewers to subscribe and then reach more people with those signals.
  • Data - Data is making the OTT experience more personal and relevant at every level. It's enhancing video delivery, acquisition marketing, and retention marketing.
And, read select excerpts from the podcast here.

Now Previewing Deloitte’s OTT Engagement Platform Integrated with Adobe Marketing Cloud at CES

Adobe and Deloitte Digital have teamed up at CES to preview Deloitte’s new, over-the-top (OTT) engagement platform, MarketMix for Media. With Deloitte’s managed services, MarketMix for Media helps media companies plan and launch OTT video services quickly, cost-effectively, and at scale. It includes pre-built integrations between Adobe Primetime, Adobe Marketing Cloud and other industry-leading solutions.

We’ve written before about the quickening pace of direct-to-consumer launches. Now through MarketMix for Media, we’re excited to be part of an end-to-end solution designed to ease the difficulty of joining the D2C trend.

Why MarketMix for Media?

The TV market has shifted. The growing adoption of OTT services among consumers has created an opportunity for media companies to develop a direct relationship with their audience instead of relying on distributors. This often involves a complete digital transformation that includes running new business operations, deploying new technology, and managing new engagement models. 

In the MarketMix for Media demo at CES, Adobe and Deloitte will show you a fully operational direct-to-consumer video solution inclusive of identity management, CRM, e-commerce and experience management using best-in-class technology that can help M&E companies embrace change and participate in the direct-to-consumer OTT opportunity.

MarketMix for Media from Deloitte Digital on Vimeo.

Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions included in the demo

The MarketMix for Media preview will include a demonstration of how Adobe Marketing Cloud connects with Adobe Primetime to deliver and manage experiences across multiple devices. Participants will learn:

  1. How to play back video securely across devices and monetize OTT TV with advertising, electronic sell-through (EST), and subscriptions with with Adobe Primetime.
  2. How Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is used for video experience management and app management.
  3. How track, report and feed data into segments with Adobe Analytics, which can then be used to power personalized experiences in Adobe Experience Manager.

Invitation to a private demo

If you’re already at CES, we invite you to visit the Adobe demo suite and schedule a 20-minute private demo or register here for a demo time.

Red Bull Media House and Turner Broadcasting Preview Joint Technology Solution from Akamai and Adobe Primetime

Akamai has integrated Adobe Primetime ad insertion capabilities into its network in an effort to simplify and improve the way online video ads are delivered. The server-side advertising offering is designed to combine the scale of Akamai’s global CDN with the reach of Adobe Primetime and its ad insertion technology.

Red Bull Media House and Turner Broadcasting are already in the early stages of trialing the new solution as part of a technology preview.

The quality of the content Red Bull Media House produces and delivers is intrinsically connected to its value,” said Andi Gall CTO, Red Bull Media House. “The collaboration with Akamai and Adobe simplifies online video ad delivery, and helps Red Bull Media House effectively monetize its content across platforms and devices.”

Akamai and Adobe have a history of successful collaboration on some of the world’s largest online events to date, including Super Bowls, the Olympics, World Cup and March Madness among many others. Having played critical roles in bringing online video to ubiquity, the companies are now leveraging their collective experience and expertise to help simplify advertising across devices and platforms.

Server-side ad insertion, in which advertisements are stitched into content at the network level, is intended to offer numerous benefits to advertisers, content providers and consumers, including:

  • Monetization opportunities of TV content on any screen, in any format, with any ad decision technology
  • Reliability and limitless scale for linear broadcast-size television audiences
  • Increased device reach with faster time to market
  • Improved viewing experiences and resiliency to ad blocking
  • Enhanced operational visibility thru analytics

Read the official announcement here to learn about these benefits in more detail.

Adobe Primetime Supports Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange

We’ve reached another exciting milestone in the evolution of Adobe Primetime.Our customers and the market have commonly positioned Adobe as a company enabling a strong and competitive ecosystem for video. Today, at Adobe’s EMEA Digital Marketing Summit in London, we released the Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange along with the evolution of a video delivery ecosystem supporting Adobe Primetime.

Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange is a new marketplace for pre-built integrations and apps between Adobe solutions and third-party technologies. When you visit the site, it is clear that the integration of multiple data-driven organizations within Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud can benefit companies building their business on video. Data solutions that integrate with Adobe Primetime enable a much broader scope of the platform that broadcasters increasingly use.

AMC Exchange

 

Here are five great examples of companies contributing to support a scalable Adobe Primetime solution:

  • Elemental TechnologiesSoftware-defined video processing solutions from Elemental integrate seamlessly with Adobe Primetime to enable the delivery and monetization of premium content to IP-connected screens. Elemental video processing components support delivery of live, linear and video-on-demand (VOD) content for Adobe Primetime-supported multiscreen deployments.
  • IrdetoIrdeto’s Multiscreen Rights allow content owners and distributors to protect their valuable digital content and manage how that content is accessed by consumers across devices. Through an intuitive interface, content owners and distributors can easily configure content viewing rules that support their business models.
  • Microsoft Azure Media ServicesPre-integrated with Adobe Primetime’s TV publishing and monetization platform, including Adobe Primetime Player SDKs for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS and other platforms, Microsoft Azure Media Services ensures full scalability and monetization of video streams across an unlimited number of global households.
  • thePlatform Media companies rely on thePlatform’s leading online video publishing and management solutions as their open, central hub for managing, monetizing, and syndicating billions of Internet video views each year. thePlatform’s services provide unmatched versatility for designing and supportingstreaming video businesses on PCs, mobile devices, and TV.
  • You.IYou.i Engine is the interface engine for TV Everywhere. It plugs into the tools used by interface designers and brings their designs to life in one codebase that quickly runs on any screen. It also integrates with your video infrastructure, including Adobe Primetime.

Stay tuned for more partners listed on the Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange coming soon.We hope you check it out to learn how companies you may be working with are already supporting Adobe Primetime. For the latest Adobe Primetime updates, visit this blog, follow us on Twitter, and check out our website.

Adobe & RDK — Powering Next Generation In-Home TV Experiences (Part 2)

Adobe has a rich legacy of leading the delivery of Internet video (IP video), with Adobe Flash Player powering the vast majority of desktop video experiences. Today, Adobe Primetime’s IP video leadership powers numerous live and on-demand video experiences across iOS and Android devices, such as NBC Sports Live Extra and Comcast’s XFINITY TV Go apps. However, what is less known is that Adobe Primetime technology is pre-integrated with the next generation set top boxes including the Comcast X1 Platform based on the Reference Design Kit (RDK).

       

Comcast has integrated Adobe Primetime inside of its shipping set top box implementation of the RDK Media Framework and actively uses Adobe capabilities for full-featured TV experiences delivered over the Internet. Adobe provides critical capabilities that enhance the viewing experience including:

  • DRM and content protection

  • Live and Video On Demand playback

  • Offline playback

  • HD video playback

  • Adaptive bitrate

  • Trick play

  • DVR

  • Alternate audio

  • Closed captioning

  • Support for SCTE-style digital program insertion (DPI) signaling

  • Dynamic ad insertion with blackout signaling

Adobe is proud of the contributions we’ve made to IP video delivery over the past 12 years and watching the incredible experiences that our customers offer to push the industry forward. Adobe’s support for the next generation set top boxes and the evolution of video delivery innovation is changing how we engage with video in and beyond the living room.

Video operators considering using the RDK can easily leverage the core features of Adobe Primetime as part of their RDK implementation. To learn more about RDK, visit the website. To learn more about Adobe Primetime, visit our website. If you would like to experience Adobe Primetime in action, check out The X1 Platform by XFINITY from Comcast.

[View part one of the blog post here.]

Adobe & RDK — Powering Next Generation In-Home TV Experiences (Part 1)

The way we all watch TV is changing, and lots of people in the industry are excited about playing a part in the transformation of how video is delivered and consumed. It’s no longer about the 1000 channel universe — it is now much bigger and more relevant to the consumer.

The relationship with our TV is changing and we demand more from the big screen that sits in the center of our living room — and from the companies who provide news and entertainment. Additionally, our relationship and expectations with those who we pay for access to video is also changing and there are more and more ways to get great content on that big screen.

Adobe is coming to a living room near you to help pay-TV servce providers deliver the experiences you want. Through long-standing partnerships with video operators, chipset vendors, set top box manufactures and an industry group known as RDK Management, LLC, Adobe is leveraging its core DNA in video delivery, video experience, protection, analytics and advertising to help change the way consumers enjoy TV.

Cable companies, telcos, satellite companies and industry groups are responding to consumer demand and changing how they think about the delivery of video services into the home. Large broadcasters are not the only source of TV programming now — the staid set-top box (STB) is getting a whole lot smarter.

The evolution of pay TV will affect everything from how you interact with your channel guide, record shows, search for video-on-demand (VOD), and watch TV on mobile devices. So how do we make the experience better? First, STB manufacturers like Pace, Arris, Cisco, and Technicolor agree to a common set of standards. Then, leading pay-TV service providers, such as Comcast, DirecTV, and Liberty Global, and leaders in TV Everywhere and IPTV delivery such as Adobe, collaborate and develop a common software framework that can evolve as fast as your mobile phone. The result is delivering the best video experience in your living room. So the industry collaborated, and the result is the Reference Design Kit (RDK).

Image courtesy of Reference Design Kit (http://rdkcentral.com/about-rdk/)

Image courtesy of Reference Design Kit (http://rdkcentral.com/about-rdk/)

Companies like Comcast that took the lead in this development use RDK to power its X1 operating system, delivering a much richer experience to their subscribers, and expand the traditional cable box into an intelligent gateway that can support video apps. Other top-tier global companies such as Liberty Global, Time Warner Cable and Kabel Deutschland are also leveraging the RDK to significantly improve the viewing experience.

In this video, Comcast discussed how they’re working with Adobe to create next-generation television experiences for their subscribers:

[View part two of the blog post here.]

 

Adobe Partners are Ready for Adobe Primetime

When you start something new in life be it a company, a project or something personal — it is exciting.

Today, we announced Adobe Primetime — a complete multi-screen video solution that enables broadcast programmers and pay TV service providers to capitalize broadcast video across every connected screen.

Many times, you find yourself dreaming about success and how you might change the world – and if you’re smart, you will build on strong and solid foundations from your history that accelerate your success – and that is just what we did with Adobe Primetime.

Adobe has developed very strong and trusted technology partnerships in the video delivery ecosystem that drive many of the videos watched online today. It is these partnerships and technologies that make up the ecosystem that enables the future of multi-screen video with Adobe Primetime.

While our name is new, Adobe Primetime is built on a strong foundation of encoding, delivery, playback and protection ecosystem.  Adobe Innovations such as RTMP, H.264, and Adaptive bitrate have enabled the world to engage with video in new ways developed by our customers that challenged how we consumed video.

Look around in your home, at your kids in your office and notice – the world consumes video differently today than five years ago and behind the scenes, Adobe innovation is there and that is the basis of Adobe Primetime.

Over the past 10+ years of video innovation, Adobe has partnered with the early visionaries and innovators in video preparation and delivery. As a result, Exabyte’s of video is delivered or prepared every month and consumed using Adobe technologies that are integrated into network, hardware, software and cloud solutions.

From video ingest and encoding using RTMP, to HTTP output and H.264 across every device – Adobe technologies are integrated into the very core of virtually every component in the video workflow.

Adobe Primetime was built from the ground up combining many different technologies into one and leverage existing partner solutions so that broadcasters can deliver a robust, rich live streaming or HD video on-demand experience to global audiences. The video industry is undergoing a shift towards standardization and interoperability, and it is that interoperability that will catapult the volume of video available to consumers.

This week in Las Vegas, the NAB Show is a perfect example of the evolution of video. In nearly every booth, video innovations are demonstrated on devices of many shapes, sizes and connectedness.

Okay – let’s look at the ecosystem (from our eyes), and how Adobe Primetime customers can leverage their existing hardware and services contracts to quickly address the screens of now and the future.

ENCODERS: There are two classes of encoders – those that enable live streaming and those that enable VOD streaming. Encoders can live at a broadcaster data center or in the cloud. Encoders are where video starts its journey to the device. These powerful workhorses consume one video stream or file and in real-time output 20–40 different versions at various shapes and sizes optimized for devices. Encoders also convert embedded video signals for advertising, closed captioning and entitlement then transport it to Adobe Primetime-enabled players. Encoders also package content into HDS or HLS format (both supported by Adobe Primetime) and also apply DRM and Protected Streaming using Adobe Primetime DRM (formally Adobe Access). Many encoding companies are also innovating smart origin and packaging services to provide additional scale to meet the coming demand.

Cisco_Elemental1Visionary companies like Cisco and Elemental have led the way with innovative live streaming technologies that are quickly leveraging cloud infrastructure to meet the scale and capacity required to quickly produce the quality and multiple format requirements. These industry-leading companies are present in many broadcasters’ data centers today. Adobe has also partnered with Envivio, Harmonic, and RGB Networks – whose devices and services are ready for Adobe Primetime today. We are working to enable all of our encoder partners with Adobe Primetime technologies.

DRM & PROTECTION SERVICES: DRM protection is extremely complex technology to deploy due to security and robustness requirements. When coupled with the various support across devices, connected TV’s, game consoles and PCs, DRM adds a lot of barriers to multi-screen video streaming. DRM service providers make it easier to implement license delivery, subscription entitlement and event transactional services for rental or pay-per-view services. DRM service providers operate Adobe Primetime DRM license services, and can easily integrate into encoding workflows to encrypt video content. Adobe Primetime Player uses a single DRM across desktops, Android, iOS and connected TVs – with full support for industry standard Ultraviolet Common Encryption.

Irdeto1-300x95

Companies like Irdeto have gladly taken the responsibility of hosting Adobe Primetime DRM license servers so it doesn’t have to be managed by broadcasters or distributors. They provide an innovative and robust protection service that can reduce the complexity for protecting content streaming to Adobe Primetime-enabled video players. Adobe has also partnered with Vualto, Authentec, CSG and other popular DRM services. Content encryption can be done when video is encoded through encoding partners, or dynamically using cloud service providers such as Level3 or Akamai.

CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORKS (CDN): Think of CDNs as the 21st century’s video antenna. Without them, we literally would not have the ability to deliver HD video across such a wide array of networks, like mobile, WiFi, office or home Internet connections. CDNs provide the transport and caching technologies vital to video delivery. CDNs are expanding what they can do by operating encoders, live ingest, encryption and other services to make video publishing easier.

Akamai_Amazon_Level31

Companies like Akamai, Amazon Web Services and Level3 provide the global scale and reach required to bring video experiences to consumer devices that are uninterrupted by network buffering. Nearly every top broadcaster globally makes use of one or many of our delivery network partners. Adobe Primetime is an HTTP-streaming based solution supported by the HDS and HLS streaming formats which can pass and scale through CDNs easily. These CDNs can also dynamically prepare videos that can be watched within an Adobe Primetime-enabled video player.   Adobe partners with more than 25 CDNs globally, and we are working to certify them all to support Adobe Primetime customers.

LIVE EVENT SERVICES: Today there are more Live events and 24x7 linear streaming being watched than video on-demand. Webcasting is not what it used to be and Adobe’s partners have made perfecting professional live video streaming their business. From satellite, fiber or IP signal acquisition, these professional services companies bring the world’s major events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup and more to every screen imaginable. By deploying the world’s most advanced live and linear facilities along with operating encoders, teleports, payment systems and large data centers – consumers now experience full HD live events that do not fail – and are enhanced with live highlight clipping and advanced performance telemetry.

iStream_AEG_Deltatre_Atos_Origin_NeuLion1

Companies like iStreamPlanet, AEG Digital Media, Deltatre, ATOS Origin, Origin Digital and NeuLion all partner with Adobe to enable Adobe Primetime customers with integrated signal acquisition, protection and engaging video player experiences that drive extremely high volumes and advertising opportunities. By combining Adobe Primetime ad insertion technology into their workflows, our customers can monetize their content through advertising and authentication. This is hard work, and it requires a masterful hand to make sure events are successful because as a friend of mine often reminds me, “If you are delivering an Internet-only stream, and it fails…you don’t have an event!”

Adobe Primetime may be new, but we have been working to pre-enable an ecosystem of technologies to provide a premier broadcast video experience across screens and more innovation is on the way!

Adobe’s Project Primetime Powers BBC’s Coverage of the Olympics

Earlier this month, NBC launched two Olympics apps that are powered by Adobe technologies and built on Adobe AIR, Adobe’s Flash runtime for mobile apps.

Today, we’re excited to announce that the BBC is leveraging key components of Project Primetime in their live and video on demand (VOD) coverage of the London Games. The content is being delivered through a new, HTML5 app built with Adobe PhoneGap, Adobe’s tools and framework for creating cross-platform HTML5 apps for smartphones and tablets.

The BBC employs Project Primetime to power its coverage of the Olympic Games and other major sporting events to millions of mobile and connected devices across the UK for the first time in history. Positioned as “the Digital Olympics” by the BBC, we are happy to provide some of the core components required to deliver on their vision.

Several Adobe technologies are being used to power BBC’s coverage of the Olympics. Adobe Media Server prepares the content in using both the HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) format and the HTTP Live Streaming format (HLS) to stream live and on demand video across desktops, connected TVs and iOS devices. Adobe Media Server is also used as a video origin to feed video across content delivery networks to meet capacity requirements.

Primetime-screenshot2To ensure an uninterrupted viewing experience, Adobe worked closely with the BBC to provide adaptive bitrate video playback technology built using the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) that we have updated to ensure that video re-buffering or stream disruptions are limited as the video leaves the broadcast center and reaches the consumer device.

Primetime Highlights will also be used to power the rapid conversion of live video to on-demand clips. This allows audiences to experience interesting moments throughout the games, even if they cannot watch it live. Primetime Highlights can ingest pre-encoded video streams and quickly re-assemble them into clips with full adaptive bitrate support and made available to the audience quickly. This technology has been completely integrated into the BBC’s data management flow, so the video experience will be supported by synchronized data about the sport and the athlete.