Enabling OTT solutions

In the midst of the over-the-top service provider boom, it’s important to remember the technologies that are powering crucials aspects of the service
OTT solutions

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Netflix’s expenditure on content creation soared from $4.6bn in 2015 to $12bn last year, while other platforms, such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV and YouTube, are also seeking to create more unique content.

But enabling this content to be consumed on devices is equally important and OTT service providers constantly invest in technology and solutions to keep user experience swift and easy.

An article from Netflix’s techblog said: “At Netflix, we spend a lot of effort to make it easy for our members to find content they will love. To make this happen, we personalize many aspects of our service, including which movies and TV shows we present on each member’s homepage.”

The streaming giant has, over the years, built a recommendation system that uses many different machine learning algorithms to create personalised recommendations. “We also apply additional business logic to handle constraints like maturity filtering and deduplication of videos. All of these algorithms and logic come together in our page generation system to produce a personalised homepage for each of our members.”

What seems like a simple tap of a button and selection has plenty of complex and high-end technology behind it. The interface is built to look simple, but in reality operates on AI that’s constantly studying viewers’ patterns.

Premium OTT subscribers do not have to watch advertisements which has made them all the popular. But the industry needs more than just the basic subscription package to keep churning out new content and investing in its systems.

Amazon Prime Video, for instance, uses the Amazon Web Service (AWS) Cloud as the underlying technology for all its services. “AWS gives us the flexibility, elasticity, and reliability we require,” says BA Winston, global head of digital video playback and delivery for Amazon Video.

Amazon Video also selected AWS Elemental, an Amazon Web Services company that combines deep video expertise with the power and scale of the cloud to empower media companies to deliver premium video experiences to consumers. “Amazon Video was already using AWS Elemental Cloud for live encoding and packaging for several live linear channels,” Winston said.

Over the course of 11 games during the 2017 NFL season, Amazon Prime Video sent live game broadcasts through six AWS regions and AWS Elemental. These services include AWS Elemental MediaTailor, which is used to monetise video content through the insertion of targeted advertising. “Previously, we were not doing ad insertion,” says Winston. “We learned about AWS Elemental MediaTailor before it was officially launched. We analysed it, validated it for all our use cases, and tested it across a range of devices, and we used it for all the Thursday Night Football games.”

3 Screen Solutions (3SS), a software manufacturer for set-top box (STB) and multiscreen digital entertainment, claims to know how operators can galvanise viewer loyalty and transform TV businesses through voice technology.

Pierre Donath, Chief Product Officer at 3SS: “We believe that if a TV service provider enables this most natural way of communicating (via voice assistants), there is a great opportunity to build a closer relationship with the subscriber.”

3SS says viewers can more rapidly search for and access the content they want using advanced voice technology, and see recommendations that are relevant to them, the company claims.

Amongst companies that have been already using their service Com Hem, Canal Digital, and Proximus have been using the 3Ready Android STB + Multiscreen system.

3Ready gives Google Assistant a bigger vocabulary, and more capabilities, redefining what’s possible when a subscriber has a conversation with his or her pay-TV service.

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