Pay-TV operators are becoming more nimble in their deployment of software.

A survey by S3 Group found that 50% of them are deploying multiscreen TV software releases more frequently than was the case during 2014.

78% cited automated testing as the initiative that contributed most to accelerating software development timelines.

The performance testing company surveyed close to 30 European and US pay-TV operators and their suppliers, representing more than 77 million subscribers.

“Unlike yesteryear, pay-TV providers’ reliability and innovation is no longer driven by the physical plant, but rather by software code,” said John Maguire, chief strategy officer, TV Technology of S3 Group. “Video service providers are striving to shorten innovation cycles, test and launch services faster, and make updates more frequently. As our survey shows, this trend is pushing operators to realign their software lifecycle tools and organizational structure to balance the need for speed and stability.”

According to S3 Group’s TV Platforms 2015 Report:

41% of respondents ranked service availability (ensuring services are properly configured and stable for end users) as their top priority, 32% rated speed as the top priority, and 27% cited efficiency as their top priority.

50% are deploying multiscreen TV software releases more frequently in 2015, than during the same period in 2014.

Of those deploying software more frequently, 46% are increasing their number of software releases by more than 20% compared to 2014, 39% are increasing output between 11-20%, and 15% are increasing output by 10% or less.

Software cycles are continuing to ramp up from the historical one to four annual releases. In 2014, 26% of operators made more than one release per month on average – ranging from 13 to more than 50 releases annually. An additional 30% of operators made between five to 12 releases annually.

Testing capabilities are being modernised to handle the scale, pace, and diversity of video platforms. 13% of respondents said it takes less than one week to test a feature change once it has left development, before it is deployed. However, 67% said it still typically takes between a week and a month to test a feature change, and 13% noted it generally takes more than a month.