With the competition from OTT and media companies who are now distributing content directly to subscribers, pay-TV operators have been in search of ways to enhance their services beyond these offerings with truly personalised, high quality video experiences for their subscribers, explains Synamedia Chief Executive Yves Padrines.
Can you explain the background to the creation of this new company Synamedia?
In May 2018, Permira funds announced that it was buying Cisco’s Service Provider Video Software Solutions (SPVSS). When the deal closes, the assets will transfer to Synamedia. We chose the name because “Syn” means “together” in Greek, reflecting our ambition to bring together broadcast and OTT media services and enable clients to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
We are entering the market as an independent company at a time when the TV landscape is being redrawn, and the pay TV industry is facing the challenge of adapting to new competitive and technological environments. Building on our 30-year heritage, market leadership position, and unrivalled reputation for innovation, we will hit the ground running as a private, independent entity committed to help customers boost engagement and revenues by capitalising on the opportunities that IP distribution and cloud-based services bring.
With an energised leadership team and plan for significant R&D investment, we will build even closer links with our customers and cement our reputation for delivering the world’s most complete, secure and advanced end-to-end video delivery solution.
The launch announcement mentions the desire to bring broadcast and OTT closer together. Can you elaborate on what this means, and how you intend to enable it?
With Permira’s backing we will invest heavily in solutions and services that help telcos, media companies, broadcasters and pay-TV providers to optimise their current infrastructure as they add IP distribution and cloud to the mix. By incorporating OTT services, all wrapped with a fantastic user experience, customers will meet subscribers’ demands for wider choice and more convenience.
Specifically, we will be boosting investments in our market-leading Infinite Video Platform and cloud DVR services, Android, RDK and Evo middleware, content protection and video processing. Another key element is our expertise in systems integration. We are one of the few players in the industry with stand-out success delivering complex systems smoothly and on time.
In what ways will the Synamedia offer be unique?
Synamedia will be the only vendor with a portfolio of offerings across the video experience – including content protection, middleware, cloud video recording, video processing, and video distribution.
A key part of our proposition will be our ability to deliver products on a global scale yet also offering the flexibility to localise solutions for local markets and each customer.
At inception, more than half of our thousands of employees will already work in R&D and we plan to intensify our focus and investment in this area moving forward. We believe this sets us apart.
The OTT landscape in particular is evolving very rapidly. What steps will you put in place to ensure you remain one step ahead?
We will be working hard to maintain and extend our leadership position on many fronts. For example, one of the biggest threats is piracy. We will be investing heavily in enhancements to our products and services to help customers protect their revenues with rapid detection and response to illegal streaming.
We have 30 years’ experience in this area – and a crack team R&D team in Israel – and we have a strategy that will see us going beyond today’s watermarking solutions with a fundamentally new approach to this growing problem. You will hear more on our specific plans in the near-future.
We will also continue to innovate with new video processing techniques that benefit the consumer experience. One example is our focus on reducing IP latency to a level that is comparable to live broadcast. You really don’t want your neighbours cheering at a goal during the World Cup while you have to wait 90 seconds to find out what’s happened. At IBC we showed a side-by-side demo that illustrates our leadership here, a critical feature for sports OTT services.
What do you see as being the greatest challenges for pay TV service providers in the next 12 months?
With the competition from OTT and media companies who are now distributing content directly to subscribers, pay-TV operators have been in search of ways to enhance their services beyond these offerings with truly personalised, high quality video experiences for their subscribers.
With the increased cost of content and programming, they are also in need of new ways of building revenues and a focus on lowering their operating costs.
These are exactly the capabilities that Synamedia offers, along with the ability to continuously monitor and enhance their offerings through analytics insights into consumer behaviour enabling them to reduce churn and increase ARPU.
What do you regard as your own personal career milestones to date?
In my career, I enjoy building world-class teams to deliver great business results, driving disruptive innovation, and operational excellence. With Synamedia, I look forward to reinventing how the world is entertained and informed.
What are you personally most excited about in the current broadcast and OTT market?
After many years of boom, the broadcast industry is now facing some serious challenges including the rising cost of content, the increase in piracy, and the disruption from OTT challengers with deep pockets.
While some might see gloom, I see opportunity. I relish the challenge of using our technology and expertise to transform our customers’ businesses.
I know it’s not an easy task that anyone can undertake but I believe Synamedia has a head start with proven solutions and the skills to deliver. I personally am keen to help customers navigate demanding projects that deliver tangible results. I look forward to helping service providers and media companies add IP services that deliver more consumer choice and convenience, fight piracy, and build new revenue streams.
Yves Padrines is Chief Executive Officer at Synamedia