We should expect some of the current crop of OTT technology companies to merge and consolidate to serve larger markets, while some will go out of business, says Vewd chief executive Aneesh Rajaram.
September will mark your second anniversary as Vewd. What would you say have been the company’s greatest achievements during that time?
Every IBC we celebrate Vewd’s anniversary. We unveiled our new brand at the show in 2017, having previously been a division of Opera Software. Since then, we’ve continued our strong growth, both by fortifying our position with existing partners and by acquiring new customers.
We’ve launched new products, like Vewd OS, and began serving our operator customers with tailored solutions, like Vewd Go for cord-cutters and cord-nevers, and Vewd Atom to help upgrade legacy set-top boxes with OTT content.
Hybrid TV has been a significant business driver for us as well. Our products lead the way in HbbTV support and customers come to us to support the most advanced use cases such as HbbTV Operator Apps. We’re also early to market with our ATSC3.0 support.
Since our unveiling a few years ago, we’ve worked tirelessly to cement our position as the world’s leading OTT and hybrid TV solution provider. Touring our booth today underscores that relentless focus and drive to lead these markets.
For the unfamiliar can you briefly outline Vewd’s position in the OTT market, and the aspects that differentiate in what is an increasingly competitive sector?
We are the leading provider of OTT and hybrid TV solutions globally. We make OTT and streaming video work on nearly 40 million connected TV devices each year and more than 300 million in total.
In 2007 we pioneered the first smart TV with Philips and now today we ship Vewd-enabled TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, and even cars in more than 170 countries.
The secret to all of this is our scale and deep relationships throughout the value chain, from silicon vendors to content owners. Our software runs on any chipset, delivered on any TV OS while enabling any content. We can do all of this for any country. OEMs, operators, and content owners will not find the same depth and breadth of products and solutions anywhere else.
When you begin to work with a content owner when they launch a new OTT service, what tend to be their main concerns and priorities?
Many of the world’s top content owners rely on Vewd to help them expand their application’s reach across smart TVs and set-top boxes. Most of them want to understand, and have certainty around, how their service can scale. Because we ship in such large numbers internationally, and with many of the world’s leading smart TV and set-top box manufacturers, we can give content owners the peace of mind to know their service can grow globally.
With many different smart TV platforms and various commercial agreements to be signed with each manufacturer, it’s no surprise that it can take months before an app is even ready to ship on a TV. Even then, if you aren’t aligned with the manufacturers’ own product cycles, then you can wait 18 months for distribution on a TV set. It’s risky, and that’s why content owners need a trusted partner that has the key relationships throughout the value chain and knows how to solve problems before they arise.
Can you briefly outline your flagship solutions and highlight any recent additions?
At the ‘core’ of all our products is Vewd Core, a robust software development kit (SDK) for creating connected, interactive TV solutions. We combine that with our Vewd Core Modules that add media streaming, hybrid TV support and other vital functionality in easy-to-integrate, yet flexible components.
Newer products include Vewd OS, Vewd Go, and Vewd Atom. With Vewd OS, we completely rethought the modern smart TV experience, offering manufacturers everything they need to put their brand first, retain full control and offer all the OTT content consumers demand. We were able to deliver those benefits while creating a truly stunning user interface, that keeps consumers engaged and enthralled.
Vewd Go and Vewd Atom, on the other hand, highlight our strong focus on operators. These products reduce churn and grow revenue by addressing different pay TV subscriber requirements. Vewd Go is a market-ready, white label OTT TV dongle – the hardware and software are tightly integrated. It’s the fastest way to an OTT solution. Vewd Atom helps reduce churn by upgrading entry-level set-top boxes to the latest OTT services and content.
Additionally, Vewd Content Solutions solves content challenges for operators and manufacturers with a cloud-based modular app platform complete with APIs and a full suite of tools for integration of OTT apps, games and content into TVs and STBs.
The OTT sector is now extremely competitive, so from a market perspective what are your current predictions?
We should expect some of the current crop of OTT technology companies to merge and consolidate to serve larger markets, while some will go out of business. We’re already seeing this begin with some of the recent M&A activity in the space.
There will be new companies with new technologies that will become the mid-market companies of today because there are [fresh problems] to solve. The total number of companies may not change, but there will by a cyclical shift in the stage of the companies as they mature.
I believe some of the mid-tier companies around the median in enterprise value will become large companies through consolidation. Some of the smaller ones under the median will disappear unless they are acquired by a strategic buyer.
There will be new companies emerging with OTT-native technology, rather than adapted from earlier paradigms, and some of them will certainly become quite successful catering only to the OTT generation.
Finally, can you let us know what you will be showing at IBC2019, and why show attendees should pay your stand a visit?
Firstly, [you can find out more about] our cross-platform OTT and hybrid TV solutions that ship on 40 million connected TV devices each year. No matter what OS, middleware or chipset, we solve critical hybrid TV and OTT functionality on all connected TV devices. Manufacturers gain independence and control, reduce capex and opex, and enjoy peace-of-mind through timely launches of high-quality products.
I mentioned hybrid TV. We’re the leaders in enabling HbbTV, and are also active with ATSC3.0 and Hybridcast, with some efforts towards Ginga. We truly span the globe when it comes to delivering hybrid TV.
Operator solutions are another major focus. Whether an operator wants to address legacy or new subscribers, they can rely on Vewd to provide them with bespoke products to match their ambitions. Not only can Vewd help operators launch must-have customer features, but we can also bring operators completely new white-labelled services.
Lastly, content solutions. Vewd is the world’s largest independent connected TV ecosystem. Major content owners rely on Vewd’s technology to support their OTT service and distribute it to tens of millions of connected TV devices globally. At IBC 2019, we’ll show exactly how we can help premium content owners.
Aneesh Rajaram is chief executive at Vewd.