Friend MTS names former Irdeto chief McCarthy as CEO

Shane McCarthy

Content security specialist Friend MTS has named Shane McCarthy as its new CEO.

McCarthy previously worked as COO at content security specialist Irdeto, and president for international business at UK set-top box provider Pace . He was Founder and CEO of Caldero, a professional services consultancy within the video entertainment market, and currently sits as a non-executive director at Consult Red, one of the UK’s largest technology employee-owned trust boards.

As the incoming CEO McCarthy is tasked with driving growth across all markets for Friend MTS, adding new customers to a list that already includes Sky, the Premier League, UEFA, Warner Bros Discovery, BBC Studios, Serie A, WWE, Bell Canada and Rogers Sports & Media.

“We are excited to welcome Shane as our new CEO,” said Daniel Harris, chair of the board at Friend MTS. “His invaluable wisdom, knowledge and experience will make him an excellent leader and CEO at Friend MTS and we look forward to the future with confidence.”

Andrew Skinner, senior director at private equity investor NorthEdge said, “We are thrilled to welcome Shane to the team. His expertise, combined with the award-winning technology and ambitious team at Friend MTS, mean we are confident in achieving our ambition of building a global leader in video security.”

Q&A with Shane McCarthy

DTVE asked McCarthy to outline his perspective on the industry and vision for the company:

DTVE: What do you see as the main challenges faced by the industry in terms of growth in security threats, changing consumer habits and service providers’ business models?

SM: Post pandemic, consumers globally are faced with rising inflation. Content owners, broadcasters, and service providers are similarly faced with finding new models to retain and attract new customers. With rising financial pressures, an already lucrative market (that of pirated content) is now becoming more lucrative, as consumers have to make spending habit choices and changes. We have already seen the likes of Netflix introduce AVOD in a bid to tackle falling subscriber numbers. Organisations that spend huge amounts of money on creating and licensing premium content must protect their investment. This means the issue of video content piracy is becoming more visible, and methods to combat it more widely deployed – critical tools and services that will continue to detect, deter and disrupt the efforts of those who think it’s fine to steal and profit from the hard work of other

DTVE: What do you see as the main point of differentiation for Friend MTS in the markets it serves?

SM: Friend MTS is already trusted by the world’s most valuable sports rights owners, content owners, and broadcasters globally to provide credible business intelligence and a security framework that stops piracy effectively and efficiently. We are unrivalled in our speed of assessing, targeting and taking down pirates. We invest heavily in R&D and employ the latest technology to ensure that  we stay ahead of the pirates in what is a continuously evolving, complex technology battle. But this is only part of what makes Friend MTS different. Our business intelligence is supplemented by unrivalled expertise around the interpretation and analysis of the data that we accumulate and what this means for our customers; we don’t simply provide information and leave it up to the customer to interpret.

DTVE: Following the investment by NorthEdge, what areas do you see as promising to focus on in terms of the emerging security requirements of video service providers?

SM: We’re still seeing significant traction in the traditional video markets (such as premium live sports and scripted, on-demand programming). Entertainment platforms and service providers are continuing to invest in original content, and these premium assets will increasingly represent greater revenue as the contest for subscribers rises, dips and churns. Content has always equalled dollars, and end-to-end protection across all environments and devices, from glass to glass and beyond, is becoming increasingly important as the amount of content/dollars increases.

From our engagements with customers, it’s clear that they are interested in the data we capture and the analysis our technology can provide in conjunction with their own data. This enables them to gain critical insights into how their platforms and content are used, and sometimes abused. As the value of rights continues to increase, the security requirements aligned to content become more stringent, and thus our ability to provide insightful data capture and analysis that inform our customers’ business strategies becomes increasingly important.

DTVE: Does it make more sense for Friend MTS to carry on as an independent provider of solutions or to become part of a larger organisation?

SM: Our customers tell us we are the best at what we do. We know that in our core video entertainment market we have scope to penetrate further, and this market is seeing an increase in piracy, as previously mentioned. We intend to continue investing in R&D and rapidly expand the business to combat these threats and stay ahead of illicit operators.

With video content security more important than ever, it’s crucial for content to be protected from end-to-end – through all stages of its production and distribution (from glass to glass). And that’s why we’ve focused on building a network of partners to ensure our anti-piracy solutions are brought to markets as part of best in class technical and commercial solutions for our customers.

Being independent allows us to be truly impartial, and our customers look to us to provide an honest and clear assessment of the issues faced by them and the wider market. It also enables us to be agnostic from a technology perspective, ensuring that whatever other vendors our customers choose, we can integrate and work alongside each and every one of them.

DTVE: Are there specific areas where you may look at mergers and acquisitions and/or divestments?

SM: With the NorthEdge investment, we are clear on our plan which is to focus on the core piracy problems, which continue to grow inside, video entertainment. Friend MTS will accelerate investment in new technologies and services offerings, such that we remain number one in the eyes of our customers.

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