Bucs or Chiefs? DoorDash or Grubhub? Pfizer or Moderna?

Not all of the pressing questions of our time were answered during the “TVOT Special Edition: OTT” panels last week, but there was one inescapable verdict: For OTT providers that want to sustain the growth they’ve experienced over the past year, the technologies that underpin cloud-native Gen5 architectures are a slam dunk.

During two days of expert insights, panelists discussed customer behavior, industry needs, and the breakthrough technologies that are transforming OTT. On Day One, Firstlight Media’s Juan Martin, Google’s Albert Lai, Evergent’s Paolo Cuttorelli, and nScreenMedia’s Colin Dixon talked about the technical shifts needed for service providers to up their games; on Day Two, Struum’s Lauren DeVillier, Firstlight Media’s Andre Christensen, Microsoft Azure’s Tom Gershaw, and TVOT’s Tracy Swedlow discussed how innovation is driving the viewer engagement and loyalty that fosters service provider success.

Juan set the scene by ticking off the cloud-native capabilities that streaming providers – especially those on legacy OVP platforms – need to acquire: Time to market in weeks, not months or years. Scalability and peak concurrency into the millions of viewers for live events. Real-time visibility into performance and quality metrics to ensure consumer satisfaction. Access to and onboarding of new content, as well as data and personalization strategies that can keep viewers engaged. Optimization of distribution systems for cost effectiveness. And more.

Borrowing a “Game of Thrones” line, Albert opined that “Chaos isn’t a pit; chaos is a ladder” to emphasize how the OTT industry needs to respond in the face of consumer demand that has risen by as much as 10X. Companies that don’t proactively challenge themselves to improve, Albert noted, would find themselves challenged and forced to evolve by changes in the video landscape.

Paolo zeroed in on how investing time and money in in-house solutions or off-the-shelf SaaS technology could still leave providers vulnerable, especially at key inflection points. To defend customer gains won during the pandemic, he said, technology-constrained service providers should instead forge partnerships that would help them compete at higher levels.

Here’s how all of that is playing out:

 

“There have been roughly four generations of technology upgrades,” said Andre. “In reality, most of those generations have been around a basic use case at scale – to take in content, process that content and distribute that content to any device. So the fifth generation of this enables us to do something that’s pretty unique – move away from just being able to stream broadcast quality and create something that is a lot more personalized for the individual users and a lot more engaging. I think we’ll see a big shift in how we spend our effort and money and it’s toward driving personalization – as opposed to just getting the damned thing to stream.”

 

Eric Goldstein