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Ericson: welcome to OTT 2.0--the new normal.

Content delivered over the top of internet connectivity is possibly the fastest-growing and most disruptive aspect of the modern broadcast experience. Ericsson's Media Vision 2020 predicts that by the year 2020, time spent watching on-demand and time-shifted content will reach 50/50 parity with linear and live TV. The advantages for the always-connected consumer of gaining access to content on any device, when they want it, fits nicely with the goals of the TV industry, which is looking for fresh ways to monetize content and reach audiences with new individualized subscription services. In addition, the fear of cord cutting from traditional cable and satellite pay-TV services has made the offering of supplemental pay-OTT services a way of engaging with a new type of millennial audience that consumes content in a different way to the generations before it.

The first generation of OTT delivery platforms could be seen as simple enablers. In many cases, operators built separate structures to test the viability of OTT use cases along with new technology stacks that often ran outside of core content delivery processes. As a new path for many, this conservative approach was deemed necessary, but with OTT now in the ascendency, the silo approach of these initial projects are changing. Where OTT was considered separate, increasingly consumers now demand it as part of a complete service offering that is blended within the broadband, telephony and TV service delivery bundle.

READY FOR CHANGE

The reason for this shift is threefold. First, consumers want content to be available on the device that gives the best viewing experience irrespective of technological limitations. This means that if a consumer has a big screen HD TV, a service needs to be able to take advantage of this viewing environment just as easily as on a portable tablet device.

OTT delivery must also evolve to meet cost pressures. In a closed market where the only game in town used to be cable and satellite, pay-TV ARPU was protected against competition in many markets. However, with disruptive services such as Netflix and Hulu offering zero-contract, sub $10 all-you-can-eat pricing, rival OTT services now need to make service delivery more cost-effective to be able to create similarly attractively priced alternatives.

Finally, OTT delivery is maturing in order to keep up with the rapid evolution of technology and huge growth in content. The first generation of OTT services was built for browsers within a laptop, where today, all manner of devices from smart-TVs to games consoles are part of the OTT viewing experience. Where the amount of content on certain services may have numbered only 1000 items, tens of thousands of unique content elements now need to be made available across this multitude of devices. And all this must be done whilst ensuring security and accurate billing--no easy feat with services attracting millions of users around the globe.

These three drivers as well as other factors around user experience, reliability, and a need to satisfy new monetisation models such as targeted advertising insertion, are prompting operators to look at a platform-based approach to OTT delivery.

A TRUE PLATFORM APPROACH

Ericsson's MediaFirst TV Platform is a great example of this platform approach. Instead of treating each element of the OTT service delivery stack as a discreet silo, a platform method builds a foundation on which functionality can be productized and extended across live, time-shifted, and VoD content. The platform uses module elements to meet the needs of areas as diverse as subscriber management and billing all the way through to analytics to power enhanced features such as recommendation and even subscriber marketing activities. Other advanced features include end-to-end OTT ABR delivery across any screen and multi-DRM content protection with support for PlayReady, Widevine, FairPlay, and Ericsson DRM. This level of OTT service protection allows entitlements rights to be enforceable on a per-user, per-device and per-content basis to allow for highly granular bundle creation.

By utilizing the cloud, the MediaFirst TV Platform approach to OTT means that operators can scale in a predicable fashion as subscribers grow and forego the significant CAPEX that deployment of a traditional OTT roll-out entails. This leads to a faster time to market and again, more predictability around service delivery.

Although it's easy to see the benefit for operators of this approach, the benefits to consumers should not be underestimated. One of the most visible is the ability to gain access to OTT services across a wider number of devices. For instance, MediaFirst TV Platform is able to support multiple classes of devices within the iOS and Android ecosystems, leading to more flexibility for customers. Consumers can now benefit from a single service view with a consistent look and feel for accessing the service on a big screen TV or smartphone.

DESIGNED FOR THE FUTURE

The Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform is the leader in this type of approach, but across the industry the realization that OTT needs to become better integrated within the wider processes of MSO and traditional broadcasters is an absolute imperative. Those looking towards the future can see a time where operators will be able to build new types of services that mix and match mobile, fixed, LTE broadcast, VoD, gaming, and potentially even VR into a flexible set of bundles, all with varying pricing models. Although OTT will be the nominal common denominator, the service providers that will succeed in this future will have been the ones that have broken the old inefficient silos of technology and discrete processes and rebuilt around the notion of a true OTT delivery platform.

There are challenges to overcome. However, few of these are at the technology layer and are more around defining business models, content licensing agreements and go-to market strategies. However, as markets and ultimately consumer expectations mature, the promise of OTT as a foundational concept for the next era of content consumption is becoming more pronounced. The days of having to build and maintain silos of disconnected technology and separate development and support structures for different devices are becoming a thing of the past.

For operators, this change will unlock the potential of new business models. For example, skinny bundles that provide services on a narrow set of devices or even niche content offerings that target specific groups like millennials or sports fans. With flexibility comes the option for hybrid monetisation models that mix and match paid subscription with ad-supported or even micro-transaction payments. What starts with solving the technology limitations continues towards a future where operators are more able to deliver profitable business models that better serve the needs of a diverse global audience. This unified approach to OTT as demonstrated by Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform will simply become the new normal.

ABOUT ERICSSON

Ericsson is uniquely placed at the convergence of Media and Telecoms. Our mission is to enable all players in the media value chain to create, manage, deliver and monetize the ultimate TV services that delight TV consumers globally.

Our unique leadership in TV and Media is based on broad, world-class capabilities that together form a unique offering centered around three pillars: Industry and consumer insights, broad portfolio based on true technology leadership, and global scale services to be the ultimate transformation and managed services partner.

Ericsson delivers the worlds most renowned and premium TV around the globe, power some of the world's largest and most complex video platforms, and help the world's strongest content brands to deliver personalized, high-quality programming to consumers 24/7. We enable content owners, broadcasters, and all TV service providers across cable, satellite, and telecom to accelerate their transformation journey towards TV in the Networked Society.

Ericsson has shaped so many of the evolutions in TV for over 20 years such as digital TV, IPTV, shift to HD, and soon UHDTV and HDR. Ericsson is recognized with many patents and holds five Technical Emmy awards.

MEDIAFIRST TV PLATFORM FOR OTT

SIMPLE-TO-DE PLOY OTT VIDEO PLATFORM FOR PERSONALIZED VIEWING EXPERIENCES--ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ON ANY DEVICE

INTEGRATED OTT PLATFORM FOR LIVE, VOD AND TIME-SHIFTED TV

FLEXIBLE. DYNAMIC. END-TO-END CLOUD + ON-PREMISES SOLUTION

MULTIPLE MONETIZATION MODELS AUTHENTICATION. SUBSCRIPTION. AD-SUPPORTED AND TRANSACTIONAL

MULTI-PLATFORM BACKEND AND CLIENT-SIDE ANALYTICS FOR PERFORMANCE AND MONETIZATION INSIGHTS

COMMON FRAMEWORK FOR MULTI-PLATFORM APP DEVELOPMENT & CUSTOMIZATION

AGILE AND SEAMLESS ROLL-OUT OF NEW FEATURES AND SERVICES

OTT CONTENT & SERVICE PROTECTION ACROSS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS. NETWORKS AND DEVICES

24X7X365 OTT SERVICE MONITORING AND EXTENSIVE ANALYTICS
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Title Annotation:SPONSORED CONTENT
Publication:Streaming Media
Date:Sep 1, 2016
Words:1392
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