Operators want one-stop shop for OTT

While the major providers of OTT services, such as Netflix, may have built their own delivery infrastructures, many traditional pay TV providers and broadcasters, except the largest, need help to make the transition to multiscreen delivery. Most of them lack the resources or inclination to integrate the various components needed to reach non-TV platforms themselves, and are looking for one-stop shops to put the whole show together so that they can focus on their core business objectives.

This has emerged as an issue for many vendors as OTT momentum has grown over the last two years, since they lacked all the relevant technologies themselves. As a result, various partnerships have emerged offering pre-integrated OTT services or packages, claiming to combine the advantages of the one-stop shop with access to the best products or technologies in each sector, such as streaming, encoding and content security.

Other vendors have attempted to develop or acquire all the components themselves in the belief that this will deliver a more robust and reliable solution with all the integration controlled by just one entity. One of these is Finnish broadband technology company Teleste, which claims its platform, called Ubique, aimed at cable operators has everything they need to extend their services to multiscreen devices, including headends, transcoders, the management system and content protection. Teleste Ubique will be demonstrated at IBC for multiscreen delivery of traditional linear TV channels to existing STBs, as well as iPads and Web browsers.

This is of interest because Teleste, whose total 2011 revenues were €184 million, is much smaller than most other vendors pushing their one-stop-shop OTT credentials at IBC, such as Cisco, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. It is fear of these big players that has driven vendors into pre-integration alliances, which tend to have a lead vendor that takes charge of a given project. One of these is led by Norwegian conditional access and security vendor Conax with its Conax Xtend Multiscreen package. Here the other partners are Polish IPTV and OTT software company Cubiware, and Swedish online video streaming and content management company MPS Broadband. Between them, the three companies claim to have all they need, with Cubiware providing middleware bringing the viewer experience and look-and-feel, while MPS takes care of content management system for publishing and distributing live and on-demand video services. Conax has the content security.

Another such pre-integration alliance brings together French vendor of CDN and VOD technology Broadpeak, France Telecom’s content security and discovery subsidiary Orca-Viaccess, and California-based video infrastructure and encoding vendor Harmonic. But an interesting twist emerged with Broadpeak breaking ranks from its partners to launch an open alliance at IBC aimed at supporting different strategic partnerships. This recognizes that OTT needs more than just a few groups of vendors offering pre-integrated packages, but a concerted effort to promote interoperability and allow more flexible partnerships to emerge. Then service providers and broadcasters will have the freedom to pick and choose the suppliers they want, while still enjoying the benefits of a one-stop shop in avoiding having to do the integration themselves. There will still be one butt to kick, at least that is the theory. Called the Broadpeak Open Alliance (BOA), this also provides a framework for interoperability testing between best-of-breed OTT components.

Meanwhile, Broadpeak was advancing its own OTT credentials at IBC by showing its new CDN technology called nanoCDN, designed to exploit capacity within home networks to reduce the amount of network and storage infrastructure needed to cope with peaks in demand within OTT services. Broadpeak says the technology can be seamlessly integrated with existing video headend for cable or IPTV operators, and will be compatible with any DRM.