Viaccess-Orca: “Engagement has become a synonym for monetization”

Haggai Barel, deputy CEO of Viaccess-Orca

Haggai Barel, deputy CEO of Viaccess-Orca

Haggai Barel, deputy CEO of Paris-based TV software specialist Viaccess-Orca, discusses the reasons why his company has created a series of survival guides for operators entering the TV market, the challenges they most commonly face, and the “rules of engagement” for user experience.

Hi Haggai, first off why is Viaccess-Orca releasing a series of survival guides for operators entering the TV market?

Today, the TV market is undergoing a revolution and the rules of the game have changed. We need to adapt, improvise and overcome in order to survive the ever-changing market of unmanaged networks, IP-connected devices and multi-screen services.

The aim of the survival guides is to point operators in the right direction in this changing landscape. It is important to note that, from our point of view, the guide is not only for operators that are now entering the TV market, but also for existing operators that are facing new challenges.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that operators most commonly make?

There are a few mistakes we notice in the current market. Most operators today are too complex, both in their operations and offered service.

With complicated business models and confusing messages to subscribers, their operations suffer from a low level of flexibility and lack of innovation.

The following are not mistakes, but rather challenges that operators face today, which we believe can turn into “mistakes” with time if not addressed:

  • Operators face fundamental tensions. On one hand, there are great opportunities to differentiate from the competition. On the other hand, organisational and technical challenges are holding the operator back.
  • They want a fast time to market, but organisational silos slow them down.
  • They want network agnostic delivery, but a spread of unmanaged networks makes it impossible to control the end-to-end user experience.
  • New hardware offers great opportunities to improve the user experience, but it takes time and money to change legacy set-top box infrastructures.
  • OTT delivery makes an endless universe of content available, but digital rights issues make it challenging for the user benefit.

User experience appears to be one of the hardest things to get right for new entrants. What do you see as the essential “rules of engagement” here?

Viaccess-Orca takes a holistic approach to engagement. It’s a broad, relevant, innovative perception, while keeping the service simple.

Viaccess-Orca sees the engagement world as three building blocks:

  • The middleware or service delivery platform (SDP) as the first and most basic generation to allow for services such as VOD, EPG, etc.
  • The content discovery and personalisation platform as a second generation, which will include recommendations, algorithms, and business rules smartly embedded into the service’s user interface.
  • And the engagement + enrichment platform which represents the next generation to deliver the ultimate engaging experience for the user.

Blending these three building blocks into the service will take an operator’s service to the next level and ensure the highest level of loyalty and engagement of subscribers.

Another essential rule of engagement has to do with rising above the noise, getting noticed and keeping viewers engaged over time. This has become increasingly tougher to achieve.

Users need to be familiar with the service (TV show, blog, app, music, etc.), be enticed to enter, connected in mere seconds and then stay interested for a long time.

In many ways, engagement has become a synonym for monetization. Think of a Disney theme park where the amusement facilities almost call your name with offers of adventures and fantasies beyond imagination.

This in turn translates into boundless monetization opportunities like food, gifts, souvenirs and more.

So how do you keep users and viewers engaged with your service offering? In this first episode of the operator survival guide we will discuss the practices we use to achieve this goal.

What will be the next episode in the survival guide?

Chapter two of the operator’s survival guide is all about monetization and is called “Show Me the Money.” Once engagement is on the right track, the next step is to capitalise on it.

We may present the next episode on our blog and in webinars, so please make sure to connect with VO online.

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