thePlatform offers to take on pay-TV video sourcing challenges

DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 23 June 2015

With increased choice there usually quickly follows complexity and in the TV business this is a real challenge, one which online video technology provider thePlatform is eager to overcome for pay-TV firms.

The white-label online video publishing company, and subsidiary of cable giant Comcast, says that in the current market, pay-TV operators have little recourse when collecting all of the source videos and files necessary to support all their video offerings from channel packages, video-on-demand (VOD) and other sources.

It argues that historically, operators have to date relied on disparate ingest systems for live broadcast video, VOD, IP video, and the associated metadata for TV shows and films, making the entire process unnecessarily difficult, timely and costly. For example, copies of the same show or movie can be unnecessarily duplicated and processed. In addition, richer descriptions of a particular show, which exist online to improve search engine optimisation (SEO), may not make their way back into a traditional TV user interface (UI), guide data, or VOD descriptions, perpetuating a subpar search and discovery experience in the living room.

thePlatform believes that existing options to solve such issue are complex and inefficient due to the siloed nature of legacy ingest systems. To alleviate the problem, it has launched a dedicated, cloud-based Unified Ingest Service to centrally manage all of the video and related metadata files that operators may want to publish to subscribers' set-top boxes (STBs) and other IP-connected devices.

The new service to be made widely available to cable, telco, and satellite providers worldwide is designed to offer a streamlined way in which operators can manage direct feeds from satellite transmissions, traditional video pumps, operator-owned content delivery networks (CDNs), and external CDNs for online video sources. It provides the centralised back-end resource which the company says is needed to better package, promote and sell video services. And, for the first time, asserts thePlatform, such capability is available as a standalone service for pay-TV operators, or as part of a broader suite of video publishing services powered by its core mpx system.
Operators can use thePlatform's workflows in their transcoding farms and tailor uploads, use existing feeds to ingest video and metadata, set up Watch Folders to monitor ingested files automatically, and on-board video libraries. The Unified Ingest Service encompasses ingest of both video files and metadata.

"Pay-TV providers want to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and set themselves up to deliver a richer TV experience to subscribers -- which means getting things right from the start," commented Marty Roberts, co-CEO of thePlatform. "Right now, the act of collecting video and metadata is a real mess. We've invested in our Unified Ingest System to help operators tackle this issue and create a new foundation for innovation. In fact, we already provide this kind of functionality to support more than 20 million pay-TV subscribers across STBs and other devices. So, we decided to productize it, and make it generally available to the broader cable, telco, and satellite TV provider community, starting today."