Ooyala scores new media management deal with Gunners

Ooyala is expanding its range of services to Arsenal Football Club, adding its Flex Media Platform which allows users to automate tasks, simplify workflows and speed up the time-to-market for content creators and distributors.

Ooyala said the Platform will help Arsenal to manage metadata and video assets across the North London football club’s operations,.

“Arsenal is one of the most famous global brands, in the world’s most popular sport,” said Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman. “It was Arsenal’s need to connect with fans around the world, on every device, platform and language – and to do so easily and profitably — that drew the storied football club to our platform, which powers a vast array of clients in the media and sports sectors.”

The club, a member of the English Premier League, will continue using Ooyala’s Online Video Platform and Digital Video Playout services for both live and on demand video services.

“In the sports-video universe, fan engagement is all about getting the right videos to the right fans on every device and platform, all at flawless quality and speed. Today’s fans expect nothing less,” Huberman added. “Arsenal has brilliantly built and burnished its brand, and managing its audience engagement with the right video support is crucial to that ongoing process.”

Ooyala wins media automation deal with Australian EnhanceTV

Ooyala has picked up a key contract with Australian-based EnhanceTV to power a video portal and provide automating media operations using its own Ooyala Flex Media platform.

Ooyola said the cloud-deployed offering – a video content supply chain service enabling content owners to automate tasks, simplify workflows and speed up the time-to-market –  was implemented by its partner, Digital Logistics.

EnhanceTV, a subsidiary of the not-for-profit organisation Screenrights, offers a subscription-based service providing Australian educators in primary and secondary schools with licensed television and film video content, including news, clips and documentaries, for use in the classroom.

Ooyala’s Content Production and Content Distribution services automate repetitive tasks, simplify complex processes – delivering content timely to end-users. The digital video playout offering within the platform features a set of powerful create and search functions allowing users to easily create and share clips.

“One of the biggest pain points faced by content owners today is how to get engaging content to market faster and at a lower cost,” said Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman. “They need leading-edge yet easy to use tools that can integrate with their existing systems and produce, manage and distribute content efficiently.”


Ooyala’s Flex content platform shortlisted for IABM Broadcast & Media Award

Ooyala’s Flex Media Platform has been shortlisted for a BaM Award from IABM – the International Association for Broadcast & Media Technology Suppliers, at the upcoming IBC event in Amsterdam.

Ooyala – a Telstra-owned company based in San Jose –  said it plans to demonstrate the services which underpin its dramatic business growth since last year’s conference.

“From script to screen — no matter where in the world it’s happening, from the first day of production to the final broadcast — our customers rely on Ooyala to power their content,” said Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman.

Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman

“We cut the complexity of content creation, management, and distribution, so customers get content to market faster at lower cost.”

Ooyala’s Flex Media Platform provides a unified framework that optimises the content supply chain, which customers can customize to meet their specific needs.

The platform leverages automation and artificial intelligence to streamline video workflows and processes, connect teams and tools for greater collaboration, and enable richer metadata and analytics that power critical new insights and a single source of truth throughout the entire content supply chain, said Ooyala.

New products and features will include:
– Streamlined VOD content delivery: This includes rail curation and metadata-tagging of content with OoyalaMAM, a media asset management (MAM)-based content management system (CMS) that enables sophisticated processing, multi-platform delivery and tracking of VOD assets.

– Sports Video Workflows: Sports workflows have been reimagined with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform — from live streaming with OoyalaLIVE, live clipping of growing files with OoyalaMAM, and syndication to multiple platforms including social media, OTT, and apps. The platform enables automatic workflow rules, reducing manual steps and delivering content within seconds, and can power viewing experiences with OoyalaPLAY and content recommendations with OoyalaLIVE.

– Intelligent Archiving: The Ooyala Flex Media Platform is enabling new ways to monetize archived content. Years of archived content can be automatically indexed leveraging Microsoft Video Indexer’s AI capabilities for content recognition and speech-to-text transcription, enabling customers to automate the process of tagging their archive, managing its life cycle, and delivering content to audiences.

– Interoperable Master Format (IMF) support: Ooyala has extended its support for IMF-centric workflows across all stages of the content supply chain, including Digital Video Playout. Among other features, the Ooyala Flex Media Platform now natively supports receipt of Interoperable Master Packages (IMPs) and transcodes them into renditions required for streaming to customer devices.

– OoyalaREACH, powered by 24i: Ooyala will introduce its new end-to-end solution for AppCMS design, in partnership with 24i. Visitors will get a first-hand look at how assets and metadata managed with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform can be published to 24i’s CMS, Backstage, including front-end experiences on iOS and Roku.

– An open and integrated ecosystem: Ooyala continues to expand its partner ecosystem with integrations such as Interra Baton for Auto-QC, Telestream Vantage for transcoding, MPP Global for e-commerce needs, Microsoft cognitive services, and 24i for AppCMS experiences.

‘Content king as SVOD sector grows but CX focus must keep pace in longer term’: Q&A with Ooyala’s Jim O’Neill

Telecom Times welcomed the opportunity to discuss some current over-the-top video streaming trends with Jim O’Neill, Principal Analyst at Ooyala, who also shared some of his insights into what the future may hold for this emerging high-profile industry.

O’Neill, who’s based in Michigan, was in Sydney to present a paper on the subject of OTT’s Evolution to Mainstream at the ABE 2018 content production and delivery tech event.

Ooyala, a Telstra company, specialises in providing software and services to optimise the production, distribution and monetisation of media, with offerings including the Ooyala Live platform and Ooyala IQ analytics.

While global markets are experiencing differences in how OTT is rolling out against the backdrop of shifting consumption habits, OTT is set to become a US$65 billion market globally by 2021 and is undoubtedly the future of video, according to Ooyala.

Introducing O’Neill was the firm’s APAC and Japan VP Patricio Cummins who offered some specific insights into Ooyala’s strategy in the region over the next five years.

“In the APAC region, we expect the market to keep evolving, as the demand for content continues to grow and the users for subscription video on demand (SVOD) services are expected to more than double to over 351 million by 2023,” he told Telecom Times.

Patricio Cummins
Ooyala APAC and Japan VP Patricio Cummins

“Our strategy is to focus on revolutionising the content supply chain for broadcasters, operators and content owners, so they can deliver content to market faster, get cost efficiencies, and drive more revenue,” he added.

“With recent customers like Korea Content Platform, Turner Asia Pacific, Discovery Asia Pacific and Fox Sports Australia in the APAC region, we have excellent momentum and look forward to continuing our expansion in this thriving region,” Cummins said.

On ‘competition metrics’, meanwhile, O’Neill forecast that content alone would not be the very last area of competition, but added: “It will be a major driver of competition and a determinant in who wins and who comes in second or third.”

Telecom Times    Can you elaborate on that?

O’Neill    The consumer has become so important in this – much more so than they have been in the past – that they are driving this new content acceleration. If you’re an operator, you had better have enough content, especially premium content and sports, to keep your customer engaged because they can, and will, otherwise churn aggressively.

Telecom Times    Do you expect this to apply broadly to all markets?

O’Neill   No doubt. What we’ve seen is a pretty consistent culture among millennials across the world; they really are the first global generation. They consume content the same way, adopt technology willingly and are very comfortable in, for instance, consuming content on mobile devices. It’s second nature to them. The following generation, Gen Z or Gen Edge, is all of those things and more. So, that demand for new content stretches across all markets.

Telecom Times    And, do you see it becoming more of a deciding pivot than say customer service in the long run?

O’Neill    Great question. You can have great content and survive with so-so customer service, or so-so content and great customer service and do OK as well. But here’s a recent experience that I had that I think demonstrates the need for both… and a sea change in the industry.

Watching the England-Croatia World Cup game in the U.S. on YouTube TV, the stream stopped just after halftime. I pretty immediately receive an email that told me they were working on a fix and then, when it didn’t happen until an hour later, I received a follow up apology with a link to a recording of the full game and a free week of service.

That would never have happened with a legacy provider, at least it hasn’t happened to me unless I demanded it from a customer service agent. And I think that shows the difference in how customer service/content has been done and how it could be done.

I do think content is more critical during this phase of the industry, a period of growth and subscriber grabs, but customer service will catch up. It’s too hard to replace a churned customer and too expensive.

Telecom Times    Thoughts on how 5G will impact the industry?

O’Neill    We’ve seen video consumption on mobile devices increase in recent years to the point where more than 60% of video plays in Asia Pacific region are now on mobile devices, and that’s not something that will go backwards. Mobile is too central to our lives, regardless of where you live.

5G will expand bandwidth, increase speed and – probably – mean uncapped data consumption and perhaps even lower prices.

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For operators, the biggest question will be how to monetize that new technology in a time of declining ARPU. The answer, for many operators, will be to increase the number of revenue streams they can generate by offering prioritized delivery of content, by launching their own streaming services – multiple streaming services – and by partnering with content providers to offer those services with a degree of exclusivity.

Operators hate the term dumb pipe, and they should, because their pipes can be very smart and will be used to deliver personalized content, services, and likely personalized ads as well. There is a ton of opportunity available, especially if they can automate, streamline and accelerate their delivery of original and personalized content and ads to their customers.

Telecom Times  Are you seeing any trends around multi SVOD subs ownership which suggest signing up to several services looks set to become a notable feature in ANZ going forward?

I am 100% positive that the current 43% of Australian households that subscribe to an SVOD service will quickly increase to the 70% range in the next two years. And, I’m just as sure that users will happily subscribe to more than one service to get the content they really want to get, especially if the price is appropriate.

There’s no way, for example, that someone would be willing to pay $10 a month each for multiple Netflix-type services. But they are likely to pay $10 for a Netflix-type service, $10 for a bundle of sports, and a few extra dollars for a few extra niche content services.

Especially, if those services make it easy to subscribe and unsubscribe without penalty. Churning across subscriptions will be the norm.

Telecom Times     Do you expect we’ll see any significant consolidation within the OTT, video, SVOD sector?

O’Neill   We are seeing consolidation globally on several levels, distributors buying content creators, content creators merging etc. But even as those consolidations occur, the barrier to entry into the SVOD space has been lowered so much that there will be plenty of new services launching.

For the broadband operators who desire to offer video, as opposed to simply supplying the pipe to deliver content, I’d expect many broadband operators to opt for ad-supported or subscription-supported video on demand. Transactional video is really seeing a slow down, which is one of the reasons Apple is looking to become a player in the SVOD industry in addition to offering iTunes content. It’s another way they can create more value over their networks.

Telecom Times     Looking ahead, what type of innovative capabilities do you see SVOD users demanding as part of their providers’ service?

O’Neill    There’s no doubt that delivery to mobile devices will be table stakes, just expected by all subscribers. The ability to download and watch shows offline will be the same. If you pay a premium for a service consumers want a premium service in return.

Obviously, recommendation and discovery is important, although younger users can find any content with a traditional guide. But it’s always helpful to surface content they might not have thought about.

Social-ability will be important, but I’m not sure it will be as important as some think it will be. I see it more as window dressing. In the interim, operators will offer skinny bundles – smaller collections of content – that will allow them to offer less expensive bundles of content.

But that’s an interim step as, eventually, it’s more likely that content owners will go direct to consumers with their products, offering true a la carte choice as well. That is really where the consumer wants to go and, frankly, they’ve directed this revolution this far and they will continue to drive its evolution.

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Telecom Times    What is your realistic assessment of potentially huge markets like India and China opening up for major OTT players?

O’Neill    No question India becomes a great market for companies like Amazon and Netflix; both are spending to develop local content, which is critical. Challenge for the likes of Amazon and Netflix is overcoming local taste barriers. Both India and China are very strong cultures, with large local TV and cinema industries.

Chinese and Indian audiences have a huge preference for local content, and it’ll be a challenge for US-based players to tap these larger audiences efficiently unless they invest heavily in local content.

On the flip side, that demand for local content also creates opportunity for local players with local content. Both markets are big enough to allow both local and global entities to have a slice.

Telecom Times    Can you also see some key challenges around this large-scale opportunity?

O’Neill    Of course. Both markets pose challenges. China can be a difficult place to do business because of of the regulatory environment and both markets have limits of disposable income.

An $11 service is going to have a limited market to appeal to, but those markets are so big even a little slice can be profitable.

Ooyala wins key content management contract with Turner Asia Pacific

San Jose based video services provider Ooyala has landed a deal with global entertainment, sports and news firm Turner Asia Pacific to deliver its Flex Media platform to help Turner automate tasks, simplify workflows and speed up the time to market. 

Ooyala’s platform provides central workflows, shared metadata infrastructure and open APIs to integrate with existing systems. 

Turner said that as the content formats and requirements it deals with become increasingly complex, its technology and operations division needed a single platform to manage its syndication workflows.

“Television companies today are dealing with accelerating complexities and time pressures in delivering content,” said Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman. “Together, we’re expanding their business with the same resources while increasing revenue from their partners.”


World Cup likely last hurrah for traditional broadcasters: Ooyala

This year’s Soccer World Cup – which sees an estimated 3.4 billion people tune in for the live final – could well be the last hurrah for traditional broadcasters in the face of growing pressures from OTT streaming services, according to Ooyala.

The online video analytics and monetization specialist – an independent Telstra subsidiary –  noted that while online streaming via mobile phones and tablets had soared in popularity amongst the millennial segment, football’s World Cup seemed to be clinging on as a rare standout event where viewers will still choose to switch on the TV.

“How we tune-in has changed considerably since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and users have become much more critical of what it is their services have to offer,” said Ooyala principal industry analyst Jim O’Neil.  “While live, linear OTT viewing is expected to surpass traditional broadcast TV viewing… viewers still [regard] the television experience for big sporting events as sacred.”

“Consumer frustration – particularly with the number of streaming services available to viewers – is driving improvements in the overall OTT experience: from streamlined authentication, to better content curation, personalisation, and easier search and discovery,” O’Neil continued, flagging that near-instant start-up, consistent video stream quality and uninterrupted delivery without buffering will be critical to end-user experience and to keeping audiences engaged during events like the World Cup.

“The ‘Millennial Flu’ means that most people already struggle to watch content for hours at a time so, while the television remains a popular choice, they should expect their customers to watch alternative content online simultaneously if they fail on any of those ‘Quality of Experience’ factors,” he added.

Ooyala said that while OTT providers continue to pioneer the media industry on new technologies, they must accept that they still account for just a fraction of today’s audience engagement when it comes to this year’s World Cup.

“With highlights from earlier games available on YouTube, and commentary from friends available on social media, overall participation via a number of devices will undoubtedly be greater than ever before, but – for now – the television has solidified its place amongst millennial audiences when it comes to football,” the firm said.

Ooyala names Patricio Cummins as APAC and Japan VP

Ooyala has appointed Patricio Cummins as the VP for Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Based in Sydney, Cummins will be taking over the region from Steve Davis, and will be responsible for charting growth in the region and addressing media customers’ needs of delivering content to market faster and more cost-efficiently.  Steve Davis has since been appointed as the chief revenue officer, responsible for the firm’s global sales and marketing operations.

Prior to this appointment, Cummins was Ooyala’s regional VP for Latin America where he led the team that signed up customers like Sky Mexico and TVN Panama.

Cummins brings some 20 years of experience in the broadcast, media and communications industry, in both business and professional services roles. “Patricio’s rich experience in the industry will help broadcasters and media companies in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region address the dynamic content supply chain landscape today,” said Ooyala CEO Jonathan Huberman.

“With his visionary leadership and track record in moving the needle for our LatAm business, I am confident that he will continue the very strong growth we are seeing in the region today,” added Huberman.

“The Asia-Pacific and Japan region has always piqued my interest with its vibrant media landscape, diversity and high mobile viewership,” said  Cummins.  “I… look forward to working closely with new and current customers to optimise their video production and delivery capabilities and help address the changing needs of the media industry in this region.”