IPTV is still the main engine for Pay-TV business to get more users in the next 6 years. In order to have better financial performance and up-to-date technologies, more and more ISPs choose to migrate to SaaS platforms. Though the SaaS platform helps ISPs reduce the platform cost significantly, they still face challenges with TCO, new business models, and security. In this article, Goose will share the understanding of the challenges and how to handle them with Goose’s solution.

With the development of the Internet and Media Technologies, IPTV has become the most convenient way to get Pay-TV service for the end-user. That’s why the number of Satellite TV and Cable TV subscribers keeps a downtrend in the next several years while the number of IPTV subscribers keeps increasing daily, especially in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Foto Maxwell

Maxwell Wang, CEO, Goose

Along with this increment, VaaS (Video-as-a-Service) platform has become more and more popular as it allows ISPs to provide Pay-TV services with lower platform costs. However, the channel royalty fee is still the main ISPs’ cost, and how to get more subscribers to reach a lower content marginal cost is still the main challenge.

Traditionally, IPTV services covers only the ISP’s broadband subscribers and that is the main reason why the growth of the subscription number always reaches a bottleneck after several years of development. In order to handle this, extending the service coverage to other ISP’ networks is crucial.

Considering the physical limitation of multicast, OTT-based channel distribution is a reasonable option to extend the coverage of IPTV service to get more subscribers and reduce content marginal cost by using a VaaS platform. Some ISPs may choose a hybrid mode to keep using multicast in their own network. This is technically possible but means more complex and higher technical cost for the hybrid environment. Pure OTT mode can not only simplify the deployment but also remove the special dependency on the network and working together with CDN, bandwidth consumption is under the control.

There are two main ways for the ISPs to extend the coverage of IPTV service to other ISPs’ networks. With reseller model, the ISP takes the responsibility to get and distribute content, and define the product for end user. Both this ISP and the resellers (other ISPs) sell the same IPTV product to their broadband subscribers independently. On the other hand, some ISPs hope to sell its own service but prefer to skipping the effort to get content and maintain the service. In this case, one ISP takes the responsibility to acquire the channel resource and maintain the service. Based on the platform and content provided by this ISP, the other ISPs define and sell their own IPTV service to their own broadband subscribers independently. This mode is names as brand union model. Both models help IPTV service providers and resellers to reduce the marginal cost and shorten the time to market by sharing content and platform resources.

A complete VaaS Platform should not only support ISPs to launch its IPTV service cost-effectively but also enable an increment in the number of subscribers by supporting the reseller model and brand union model as well. Nowadays, both models are already been used successfully by some commercial customers of Goose VaaS in Latin America.

In order to compete with the other service providers, including IPTV, Satellite TV, and Cable TV, ISPs try their best to improve user experience with more content, more features, and better user experience. Content is king, and more professional content is always good for the end user. Unfortunately, in each country, the public and premium channels available for IPTV service are limited, and it is difficult for ISPs to differentiate their content package from their competitors.

On the other hand, most independent channel providers focus on the Internet to distribute their channels and depend on YouTube to make a profit. Unlike the big players who have enough content to build their own APPs, it’s almost impossible for those independent channel providers who only have 5 channels, even less. It’s also difficult for the channel providers to sell the channels to ISPs directly.

ISPs need more content to differentiate IPTV service and independent channel providers need a platform to get more customers in an easy and cost-effective way. When putting the two requirements together, a VaaS platform can be the best alternative for both sides to reach the target and boost their business. With Goose, we call it CP mode on VaaS. Goose CP Mode feature works as a content trading center between ISPs and independent channel providers. By the principle “ingest once, use everywhere”, ISPs (and anyone who want to run its own video service with a VaaS Platform) can get the content easily and cost-effectively, and the independent channel provider has the full control of it. In case of content abuse, the independent channel providers can revoke the right from the buyer immediately.

Another common concern regarding running a service on a VaaS Platform is security. The cloud-based deployment makes ISPs feel they may lose full control of their sensitive data. A hybrid deployment is a popular way to dispel the suspicion, but it’s not always valid in case the resource is not available.

It has become an industry consensus to construct a complete security system based on Zero Trust to provide systematic security guaranteed for cloud platform customers. End-to-End Encryption of sensitive data is one of the cornerstones supporting the Zero Trust security system. Based on it, Goose VaaS Platform provides customers with complete technical platform support. This not only allows customers to independently define the scope of sensitive data and ensure its encrypted circulation only in Goose VaaS ecosystem, but also enables them fully control the keys over a generation, storage, distribution, and usage. By building a key ladder, Goose Platform further improves keys’ security and mitigates the risks.

In summary, Goose believes that TCO, content acquisition, and security are the main challenges faced by ISPs when they run IPTV services on VaaS platforms. In order to help ISPs to handle those challenges, those platforms should be flexible enough to support ISPs to have service partners and reduce the marginal cost accordingly. CP mode takes the advantage of VaaS to remove the gap between ISPs and the independent channel providers creating a win-win result. Security is the cornerstone of VaaS, and Zero Trust and E2E encryption should be the cornerstone of security.

IPTV service has entered VaaS Era. In order to improve efficiency and security, there are still lots of things waiting for us to do. Goose is always willing to share our understanding with the industry, and works together with it to make the world better.