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Build your own OTT platform
Expert-Built or BIY: Choosing your OTT Strategy
Selecting between an in-house OTT backend or an expert built one.

With global revenues steadily growing and reaching USD 30 billion, the OTT VOD market is nothing but a reasonable investment. Consumer behavior, demand for choice, and evolving interactions are transforming the industry. The dynamic nature of OTT makes this industry unlike traditional broadcast, and hence, far from the point of saturation. Any platform with the right value proposition and a backend designed for extensibility can indeed achieve success.

Companies aiming for a long-term OTT strategy face a quandary of whether to build their platform from scratch themselves or to leverage expert partners with a proven technology stack. Both pathways have their issues and benefits. Building an in-house platform from scratch might seem like a sensible choice, but getting stuck in the process due to high costs and long development cycles, or ending up with a monolithic non-scalable platform is not uncommon. So, unless a company has enough resources to spare and plenty of experience in the OTT industry, seeking expert-built customizable solutions as a base seems more objective.

Establishing an OTT infrastructure can be challenging; the multi-staged process needs to be designed with utmost consideration for workflows and maximum automation. From ingestion and management to security and distribution, each step needs to be considered carefully. Companies not only want to give the best QoS and QoE to the viewers, but they also want streamlined workflows for the stakeholders behind the scenes.

Content ingestion, Content management, Content security, Content distribution

Let's have a look at the different processes, their function, and what’s expected from a platform:

Process Function Solution Consideration
Ingestion Media assets are ingested or inserted into a processing system.
  • Support for VOD assets and live streams
  • Secure transfer support for premium/early window content
  • Automated workflow for large or bulk jobs with logging
  • Cloud or on-premise capability with CMS integration
Business Model Choosing the business model(s) needed for the market.
  • Ability to choose between advertisement, subscription, or transaction models, as well as mixed models.
  • Support for multiple models and tiers according to regions.
Advertising and Promotions management Insertion of advertising into the service or streams, and usage of promotions for marketing
  • Integration with own or third party ad engines
  • Dynamic (DAI) or Client-side Ad-Insertion (CSAI) capability
  • Provision for promo codes, vouchers
Metadata management Management of subtitles, audios, language localizations, thumbnails, and other assets
  • Seamless integration with third-party metadata services
  • Provision for automated, as well as workflows
  • Provision for multiple editor
Integrations management Integration and management of various services such as payments, recommendation engines
  • Use of standard APIs
  • Pre-integrations with industry leading providers
  • Scalability and flexibility
Delivery Leveraging various distribution networks and frontends to have the best QoE and QoS
  • Distribution to business partners and aggregators
  • Integration of multiple frontends and devices
  • Provision for multiple CDN utilization
  • Redundancies, load balancing, least latency routing, and fault tolerances
Digital rights management Protection of content using DRM standards
  • Support for industry-leading standards such as WideVine, PlayReady, and Fairplay
  • Scalability and global availability
  • Entitlement control including device management
Analytics Gathering of user insights, usage statistics
  • Integration with BI tools for dashboards, insights, and visualizations
Analytics Gathering of user insights, usage statistics
  • Integration with BI tools for dashboards, insights, and visualizations

A collaborative approach towards the platform solves most of the challenges faced by companies; it combines the ambitions and requirements of the platform with a proven technology stack from an experienced vendor. The stack, oriented for future growth, should allow for customizations and in-house operation and development take-over.

Benefits of an expert leveraged approach:

  1. Expertise and modularity
  2. In-house creation can yield good results only if there is a vision that is backed by domain expertise. In-house development endeavors require vast experience in carrying out such software development projects of scale.

    Companies building their own platform usually find themselves with a tightly-coupled monolithic architecture, which is highly dependent on other components and is non-scalable. An industry expert on the contrary understands the need for a modular architecture that allows for high scalability and easy maintenance, where faulty services can be easily isolated, debugged, and deployed in a fraction of time.

    Furthermore, a collaborative approach enables easy transfer of technical skills and an easy in-house takeover, by the time the platform matures.

  3. Faster time to market
  4. Contrary to the long development cycles of an in-house OTT platform, an expert built platform can be launched in a fraction of time, subject to the level of complexity, customization, and integrations involved.

    Platform builds leveraging a modern approach allows for intelligent and automated workflows for ingestion, management, security, and distribution; paired with orchestration of the content and workflows depending on predefined conditions for business models, formats, geography, devices, and more, this reduces the time-to-market for the platform and the content immensely.

  5. Pre-integrations
  6. A crucial factor for an OTT head-end is the integrations, with own or third-party systems, and the availability of standard APIs for future integrations. Usually, systems built in-house are limited in their integration capabilities, leading to inefficient workarounds.

    Partners with extensive experience in the industry are well aware and proficient in carrying out the needed integrations with own or third-party systems.

Axinom, a provider of best-of-breed solutions for OTT content management and protection, is well-versed in building OTT backends.

"Axinom proved to understand our strategic goals and our vision establishing a distinct positioning on the cluttered market, which was important in the process of selecting a reliable partner."
Amit Goenka
CEO - International Business ZEEL

Zee5 serves millions of users globally using Axinom CMS, which manages thousands of hours of international and regional content, linear channels, many languages, over 100 regions, multiple payment providers, and several integrations.

"Axinom CMS is one of the most flexible and modular end-to-end OTT management platforms we've see on the market. Their system will empower us to automate and simplify our content management workflows while improving scalability and robustness of our OTT platform."
Tony Huidor
VP - Products & Digital Operations Cinedigm

With a future-proof content management system, the providers can manage the digital assets, associated metadata, integrations, and much more. The system has the potential to be extended in-house to grow with the growing business, and operational requirements, ample aids such as developer training, support, and documentation are provided by Axinom to help such a scenario.

Axinom can help you shape your BIY OTT future, talk to us below to know more!

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