Viaccess-Orca: “Operators were creating walled gardens”

Dr. Ofer Weintraub,  EVP, Innovation,  Viaccess-Orca

Dr. Ofer Weintraub,
EVP, Innovation,

Ahead of this month’s TV Connect, IP&TV News talks to Dr. Ofer Weintraub, EVP of innovation at Viaccess-Orca

From your perspective, what was the most unexpected development in 2013?

Given the popularity of the Internet and consumers’ expectation to stay connected, smart-house and other apps are gaining popularity. In addition, the industry is starting to monetize big data. Real applications are emerging with interesting implications. Some examples are statistics-based predictions, fine-tuned health therapy, new computer created recipes, and mining the web and using unrelated data to create and tell new stories. A Viaccess-Orca executive will speak on big data strategies for monetization at TV Connect, March 19 at 10:45 a.m.

What new security issues do you see the near future throwing up for operators and content providers?

Data sharing has always been an issue for operators. In recent years the main effort involved protecting the STB by smartcard. With the proliferation of real broadband both in the downlink and uplink content is shared more and more via P2P networks, streaming and illegal download sites. New services such as VO’s Eye on Piracy are addressing these new threats with P2P tracking and take-down notifications, allowing broadcasters to better monetize exclusive content.

Cloud security is also a major challenge. Another obstacle for content providers is obviously piracy. Piracy represents a constant threat to content service providers’ revenues. If the service providers’ revenues are compromised, the value of the content itself is also in jeopardy. Service providers who are unable to protect the content they deliver will not be able to license premium content in the new multiscreen paradigm, forcing us all to live in an eternal loop of “Seinfeld reruns. Therefore, piracy management and security renewability from a multiscreen service standpoint remain a strong expectation/requirement for content owners.

Viaccess-Orca has developed solutions to defeat this threat: VO’s Dynamic Sentinel (cardless solution) as well as our Connected Sentinel (DRM solution)  incorporate the experience gained from over two decades of securing premium content over a wide range of distribution networks and effectively fighting piracy. VO has also been at the forefront of designing and running security services for its major pay-TV customers targeting advanced forms of piracy such as subscription sharing (i.e., card and Internet key sharing) with real-time security operations.

What are the most exciting new products and technologies available for enhancing customer loyalty and general engagement?

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

Content providers need to engage their subscribers, and our vision is all about engaging users. We call it the engagement model. This model is constructed of different layers, allowing operators to offer an efficient multiscreen service.

We first need to have business rules around premium content. We must have protection, DRM capabilities, and anti-piracy servic to make sure this premium content remains premium. The whole idea of the word “premium” is that it’s protected and its use is controlled by the owner or provider. This layer, from the engagement perspective, applies to the security part.

When we add another layer — interactivity — we are talking about the service platform aspect. The first layer is the content itself, the second layer being the interactive part of the service platform — what already exists today: program guides, PVR capabilities, VOD, catch-up, etc. All of these are already standard in the market today and they form the foundation of our engagement model.

Next we introduce personalization. This phase involves taking the service and personalizing it. It has to be about the end user, taking into account who he or she is, what his or her views are, what his or her preferences are, and tailoring the service accordingly. It’s all about providing content he or she will like, and showing what friends are consuming.

The final part of the engagement model is immersion. Here we focus on complete engagement. It’s a different way of navigating. It’s a different way of consuming content. It’s obviously not through old-fashioned program guides or catalogues.

One way to implement this immersive experience would be by using next-generation metadata to produce an endless number of digital magazines, each containing content about what is being watched, personalized for each viewer.

When you look at these layers together, the one piece that is missing is providing all these layers in a multiscreen environment. We see this model as a “North Star” for service providers looking to offer the best value for subscribers and, in turn, increase their revenue.

What unique services can VO offer clients in terms in terms of TV Everywhere?

VO’s TV Everywhere solution consists of a unified backend, along with an off-the-shelf suite of applications that create a secure, personalized and consistent user experience.

The solution is personalized, offering intuitive, easy navigation customized for each screen, with integrated content discovery. Users can enjoy relevant and compelling content across their devices. It supports managed and unmanaged (OTT) video delivery services enabling end-to-end workflow management. It offers advanced content and rights management across all content types and device types, including usage of various video codecs and native DRM solutions. In addition, it offers a unique combination of pay-TV and IP video experience, guaranteeing a well-adapted solution today and in the future.

VO’s TV Everywhere solution can come in two flavours on the front end: as a “classic” TV Everywhere application with recommendations and enriched metadata or as a set of magazines with protected premium content.  Both help monetize OTT services by supporting next-generation business models such as context aware monetization, branding opportunities, T-commerce (TV commerce,) and advertising. The goal of these monetization methods is always to increase content consumption and extend the purchasing offerings through a personalized experience.

VO’s DEEP is a second-screen application that complements TV viewing by offering a unique way to discover content and explore themes related to the video service. DEEP’s UI enables an intuitive browsing among thousands of automatically created digital magazines about movies, TV shows, actors and themes.  The magazines are engaging, interactive and rich in content, and are based on data aggregated from various quality enrichment partners. We use advanced technology to automatically identify the most interesting topics related to the TV content, thus transforming data into interesting stories to tell the magazine readers.

Delivering the right user experience is key with VO’s TV Everywhere solution. OTT services enable easy access to second-screen apps and the ability to creatively develop new concepts for content consumption that were once limited to the TV set only. Once an operator has a very strong and compelling second-screen app, engagement is increased, resulting in an improved experience for end-users and new monetization opportunities for operators.

What do you think the key is to ensuring the effective monetisation of multiscreen?

In many ways, engagement has become a synonym for monetization. Think of a Disney theme park that offers adventures and fantasies beyond imagination. This translates into boundless monetization opportunities like foodgifts, souvenirs and more.

VO’s engagement model mentioned before really simplifies the user perspective, defining what is needed in order for the user to be fully engaged with the service. So how does this relate to the business perspective of the operator?

Each one of the layers offers a variety of business models, some more used and understood than others. By adopting this approach, operators can start experimenting with new offerings and business models for their subscribers. Our customers are adopting some of these models and are seeing great growth in their services. For example, the recent launch of Orange Spain’s TV Everywhere service allowed them to start providing their service to new subscribers, as part of a quad-play package in which the multiscreen TV service is only 10 Euros per month.

They are not only upgrading their existing subscribers to this package, they are also reaching out to new ones, offering the freedom to consume personalized content over the top on any device.

Another thing we have started to see is new business models, referenced in other markets. For example, digital magazines can be automatically created to represent an operator’s catalogue, exposing viewers to more content and increasing the chances of them purchasing more content from the operator. Targeted advertising and T-commerce can complement such services and increase revenues.

Previously, operators were creating walled gardens. We believe it’s time for operators to break down some of those walls to retain subscribers and start monetizing in a new way with unexplored business models.

For more information on this month’s TV Connect (18th  20th March) go here.

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