Increasingly, pay TV operators are having to act as ‘super aggregators’ and make OTT an integrated part of their ecosystem, by Jeroen Ghijsen, CEO Metrological / VP Comcast CTS business affairs at Comcast
What are the main challenges facing those tasked with creating and delivering content?
We see both the content provider, as well as the TV operator, striving for a way to get content to the consumer. Keeping consumers satisfied with the content they want – from live TV to premium OTT and niche apps – all behind one UI and one remote can deliver new value to pay TV operators and content providers alike, but it’s not without challenges.
To expand their reach and monetise on their content, content providers should look beyond the D2C box to get their apps and OTT content into living rooms at scale. However, as the integration of apps is device-specific, it can be a daunting task to create myriad versions of their app to run across TV operators and a dizzying array of platforms and devices. Doing so requires immense resources in terms of time and investment.
To ensure the viewer stays engaged with the TV platform, the pay TV operator must act as the ‘super aggregator’ and make OTT an integrated part of their ecosystem. But bringing OTT to TV comes with interesting integration challenges, especially when devices are old and memory constrained.
To do so, the operator could build an app platform themselves, although this can be a costly and resource-consuming task. Operators are better suited to choose an existing app platform with back-office functions for easy onboarding, monetising and management of the lifecycle of OTT services and apps across all set-top boxes.
Metrological eases these challenges for both the content provider as well as the pay TV operator. Metrological’s Application Platform can be integrated into operators’ existing UX, and content providers can expand their distribution and reach across a global network of TV operators by launching a single app in the Metrological App Library.
How is your company helping content owners and creators to overcome their challenges?
Metrological brings together the best of both worlds: pay TV with OTT content, with a ‘develop once, deploy widely’ solution.
With the open-source Lightning framework and Software Development Kit (SDK), content providers can develop lightweight yet high-performant apps and UIs, which is key for (legacy) devices that have resource constraints, as well as the newest generation of IP-enabled set-top boxes. A single Lightning app can be deployed across TV operators, OTT platforms, smart TVs and streaming devices, which reduces costs and time-to-market.
By uploading a single app onto the Metrological App Library, content providers can reach millions of TV viewers via a global network of TV operators’ TV app stores and start generating revenue on selective operator devices through in-app operator billing, advertisements, analytics and more.
With Metrological’s Application Platform in place, TV operators can seamlessly integrate, manage and monetiSe OTT services and apps on next-gen as well as memory-constrained legacy devices. With over 300 apps available, along with efficient solutions for implementing premium OTT services, TV operators can give their customers access to their favoUrite series, films, music and more, behind one remote control. Thereby the consumer comes to rely on the operator’s TV app store as the best place to easily search for and watch pay TV as well as OTT content and services.
What are the main products and services that you have launched this year?
This year, Metrological continued to work with operators and content providers around the globe to seamlessly integrate TV and OTT content into a single viewer experience. The company helped operators utiliSe SVOD and AVOD, and helped content providers get content in the living room in the most efficient and effective ways.
Specifically, Metrological’s cloud-based Application Platform helped global MVPDs and TV operators by delivering a complete product suite for monetiSation, onboarding and managing the lifecycle of apps and premium OTT services across devices. Content providers can reach over 40 million households across TV operator networks by adding a single app to the Metrological App Library. The Application Platform is live on four continents, and trusted by some of the largest, tier-1 operators around the globe, such as Comcast, Sky, Vodafone, Fetch, NOS, Multichoice and others.
What media trends do you expect to dominate 2022?
The Covid-19 pandemic shed light on the importance of streaming services, as people [turned on to them] in masses to stay informed and entertained. The ‘noise level’ in the market for OTT apps and services has increased dramatically in the last 12+ months and is expected to continue. More than ever, content providers are looking to seamlessly launch, manage and monetise their content across operators and devices, with full ease-of-use for the end-consumer through one remote control. As such, pay TV operators maintain an incredibly important part of this new TV world with their positioning, customer base and products.
In the year ahead, operators and content providers alike will continue to focus on finding ways to offer consumers the best of pay TV and OTT in a single viewing experience. But in the crowded video-on-demand space, finding content might become even more important. The TV viewer often knows what to watch and wants instant access; (voice) search helps them get there faster. In the year ahead, advanced search and discovery, as well as sophisticated recommendations, will become even more important to ensure that consumers can easily find and access content amidst thousands of apps and millions of hours of video – and in ways that don’t overwhelm the consumer, and without leaving the pay TV environment.