• A Silver Lining in the Cloud for Pay TV Operators

    5 Steps to Making Multi-Screen Video Work with the Cloud

    As we charge into 2014, pay-TV operators aren't just toying with the idea of granting consumers access to content from a variety of connected devices; it is now the standard. This shift in viewing consumption has driven operators and technology partners to 'look under the hood' of their platforms and re-assess content delivery and management schemes.

    The biggest concern facing operators is how the industry can protect content when being delivered over different devices. How can operators achieve the right content protection mix and content management scheme in a scalable fashion while ensuring a consistent user experience? The answer could be found in the cloud. Following are 5 key steps to consider for making multi-screen video work with the cloud:

    1. Fully assess the platforms, delivery models and devices you need to support. Delivery to a variety of devices and over-the-top (OTT) is complex and can be perceived as an unmanageable environment by operators not prepared to meet the demand. The cloud can help, though the consumer dictates what platforms you must support and which services you must offer. Building out a roadmap to evaluate which devices, platforms and services are needed will be the starting point in streamlining content delivery and advancing end-user experience through the cloud.

    2. Embrace the cloud to manage complex security and DRM schemes. Different types of content require different security measures. Since hardware-based systems don't allow for the agility it takes to meet these varying requirements, operators must learn to embrace the cloud. However, simply moving to the cloud without a defined strategy leads to the same complexities and frustrations.  Re-evaluating and centralizing processes and infrastructures in the cloud enables operators to take full advantage of the business, process and technology advancements of a truly cloud-based workflow.

    3. Choose your multi-screen partners wisely. It's important that your multi-screen solution providers can ensure content delivery in the right size, format and bit rate. Managing content is vital, as you'll need a content preparation, rights and content security solution workflow that is flexible and scalable. A good partner should be able to tie subscriber information to content preparation, user policies, user experience and other components seamlessly into a cloud service.

    4. Always make your first goal a quality user experience. As an operator, you only succeed when you can deliver your content in the best possible package to the end user. Minimal application downtime, little to no wait times and highly targeted content recommendations all keep end users coming back. Hosting these processes from the cloud makes efficiency and cost-savings a reality, and delivering UI through the cloud also ensures that there is a consistent user experience on any platform.

    5. Ditch the disparity and reduce your costs. Everything from platform assessment to user experience should be seamless, not siloed. The cloud will lead to lower costs in the long-term for operators:  A) Removes large CAPEX on set-top boxes inherent in the broadcast business model - consumers bring their own devices in a TV Everywhere world and B) OPEX of the cloud is continuously being improved, so operators will benefit from moving their operations into the cloud.

    Experience has taught us that what operators are really looking for is simplification without sacrificing the user experience. A successful adoption of cloud-based workflows and rights management can mean increased control, visibility and a reduction of complexities - all without sacrificing content security or user experience.

    (Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)