IBC 2015: “Service providers must deploy robust OTT platforms”

Interview by By Thomas Campbell, IP&TV News, August 26th, 2015

IP&TV News speaks to Axinom CEO Damir Tomicic…

IP&TV News: What are the biggest current impediments for a fully integrated TV Everywhere experience? 

Damir Tomicic: Let’s call it “seamless convergence” this time. Both the content providers and service providers are now realizing the true value of rolling out OTT technologies that can deliver on the promise of convergence. Everyone now have the opportunity to capitalise on these changes by increasing distribution, driving new revenue streams and improving customer satisfaction. It’s all about the TV Everywhere experience these days. In Axinom’s customer projects we see that the consumers expect to access premium video on a wide range of devices. At the same time our customers expect their premium content to be protected and delivered in the best possible way.

And this is the toughest task to achieve on both sides. The new OTT offerings must replicate the consistent high-quality TV viewing experience. To achieve this the service providers must deploy robust OTT platforms that can adapt to different technologies and business models and bring content seamlessly to all screens. This is also the challenge where we can help.

We believe that technology solutions that will triumph in the multi-platform environment will be those that allow customers to quickly launch converged OTT video services and to offer on-demand and live content to any device. It the reason for Axinom to emphasize two vital aspects of the end-to-end OTT media workflow with our product portfolio: digital asset management and delivery based on Axinom CMS, and content protection and licensing based on Axinom DRM.

Axinom is all set to launch its Axinom DRM 6 – what’s been the secret to the success of the series so far? What are you introducing with this new iteration?

There are three essential benefits our customers valued over years: the robustness and scalability in the cloud, and the quality of client experience on devices. We experienced a number of service providers switching over to our service in past years. The main reason is our developer-friendly API which allows them to seamlessly integrate our DRM service into their products with all the features requested by the customers, like multi-channel audio and subtitles. The reason for that is rather simple – Axinom DRM is developed by developers who actively worked in customer projects for years. At the end you can’t beat the real life experience.

Despite all the benefits our customers frequently demanded easier management of different DRM technologies. For our customers it is important to reach the broadest possible audience with the best possible user experience. Client device platforms like TVs, PCs, tablets and smartphones in many cases work best with the respective platform’s native DRM technology. At the same time, using a non-native DRM system on client platforms often leads to subpar user experience and even may incur additional licensing costs.

Axinom DRM 6 as a pure multi DRM service in the cloud solves this out-of-the-box. The old promise of “protect once, deliver everywhere” finally holds true. It is built from the ground up to target multiple DRM technologies in a uniform manner, enabling customers to target a wide range of platforms. Content protected with Axinom DRM 6 can be consumed on the vast majority of consumer devices like PCs and Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Windows Phones, as well as Smart TVs, set top boxes, and game consoles.

The API is largely DRM-agnostic and designed with future extensibility in mind. This allows customers to select the best approach for each platform without requiring significant new development. The version 6 satisfies the DRM needs of many different software platforms with a single service by simultaneously supporting multiple DRM technologies such as Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, and Apple FairPlay DRM. And it remains as developer-friendly as in the past.

Tell us about your other new service, the Axinom CMS. What is the main differentiator against other competitors in this market?

“Content Is King” proved to be true for content providers but having the ability to manage the content properly and to deliver it to the growing number of client devices in the best possible way turned out to be equally important. This is the new challenge for service providers and media vendors.

The Axinom CMS responds to this challenge by covering the full end-to-end OTT media workflow with an extensible OTT development platform. The building blocks span media ingest and encoding, asset and Meta data management, catalogue and product management, digital rights management, advertising, customer management and multi-channel delivery. The system supports both cloud based and on premise IT infrastructures for a wide set of usage scenarios. Other Axinom products like Axinom DRM 6 and Axinom Encoding Platform are supported out-of-the-box with default workflows for content protection, encoding and transcoding.

With our OTT development platform approach we target media vendors and service providers interested in building the next generation of platforms and customers solutions for management and delivery of premium live and on-demand video. However, thanks to the predefined workflows and the rich feature set Axinom CMS is also the perfect fit for media companies (broadcasters, content providers, and brands) interested in improving theirs operational excellence in the same space.

Our developer-friendly approach is to be found in all our products. 

Furthermore our customers are able to achieve the best possible user experience for specific usage scenario by adapting the CMS user interface to their needs. In this regard Axinom CMS is becoming not only the service providers’ but also the editor’s best friend.

There are also benefits from the business side: Axinom CMS breaks down the barriers between production teams and business units, and lets everyone share a common technology infrastructure. This provides a powerful base for optimizing complex media production environments and reduces operating expenses by eliminating slow, manual processes.

Axinom CMS is minimizing capex costs by introducing new rental opportunity at just 300 Euro per month. Although initially built and used for large scale media scenarios this offering allows also smaller partners and media vendors to embrace the full power of the CMS for their projects without being forced to invest heavily upfront. With Axinom CMS the service providers can build the next Netflix within weeks.

You’re launching both products at IBC. What do you expect the big topics will be at this year’s show?

IBC is not only a must-attend event but also a barometer for the media and entertainment ecosystem. In the past years we’ve seen many technology shifts but today we are in a different kind of transition. The industry is no longer being led only by technology changes, but by changing business models following the millennials’ demand to be able to watch anything, anytime, anywhere on any device. In this regard topics like multi-platform content delivery, higher quality (4K and 8K), and content security will be dominating the stage.

Furthermore we believe that this IBC will be more important for service providers than ever. It is no longer possible to provide the perfect solution out-of-the-box for this dynamically changing market but it is certainly possible to provide the best tool to empower service providers to build the next generation of TV Everywhere customer solutions.

All that said, we strongly believe that IBC will be the perfect stage for our product launch.

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