Long reads

Q&A: Gernot Jaeger, Zattoo

Gernot Jaeger, chief officer, B2B TV solutions at Zattoo, talks about the cloud-based multiscreen IPTV service newly launched by 1&1, a tier-one European telco and one of Germany’s largest internet service providers.

What is the solution and platform behind the 1&1 cloud-based IPTV Service?
For 1&1 we developed 1&1 Digital-TV, which is a fully hosted and managed white label IPTV solution. The multiscreen IPTV service for 1&1 is based on unicast IPTV, via direct network peerings with 1&1. 1&1 provides the network, ensuring the quality of the solution thanks to a strong broadband network and a strong Quality of Service approach. Zattoo then provides the entire technical platform that makes a state-of-the-art TV and entertainment experience happen.

Our platform covers everything from ingest of TV signals and encoding and transcoding, including digital rights management, all the way through to the middleware and the front-end applications. This includes applications for an operator set-top box as well as for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android mobile devices. For all this, we leverage our own, proprietary end-to-end platform that has been built over 12 years, nowadays serving more than three million customers.

All in all, it is a true one-stop solution that enables 1&1 to market its TV offerings comprising various product bundles, thus raising ARPU, retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.

Is this a live-only IPTV service or does it come with non-linear content as well?
For 1&1, we bring together linear and non-linear content to any device and thereby respond to the increasing demand from end-customers for innovative features such as cloud PVR, catch-up and time shift TV. The catch-up feature for example, enables viewers to watch selected programmes up to seven days following the initial broadcast.

Due to specific German content regulations, the cloud-based PVR even provides each 1&1 customer with an individual copy of each recording for his exclusive use. This is different from the ‘master copy’ network PVR that we provide in many other projects.

What are the drivers pushing the development of IPTV services?
We observe that customer expectation are higher than ever and growing fast, thus shaping the requirements for a state-of-the-art IPTV service. Very clearly, more devices are becoming relevant. Certainly, the big screen and the set-top box remain core but, next to them, a growing number of devices play a role. For example, we see a strong trend towards consumer streaming devices such as Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

At the same time, more use cases have to be supported smoothly, ranging from multi-device scenarios at home to true OTT/TV Everywhere scenarios for both linear and non-linear content.

And of course, every TV service provider has to gear up for more and more types of content, as additional content requires seamless integration and content discovery as well as smart monetisation across all devices.

What are the benefits for 1&1 from using the Zattoo multiscreen IPTV service?
A proven track record, short time to market, operator grade availability and cost efficiency are very clear benefits for every operator working with Zattoo. On top of this, we guarantee ongoing further developments of the entire IPTV solution – we call this the Zattoo ‘Evergreening Roadmap’.

Let’s take a look at time to market: for 1&1 there was no complex project of setting up systems or integrating various vendor solutions into one end-to-end solution. This end-to-end approach, combined with our vast experience in setting up IPTV as well as OTT services makes it easy to implement and deliver excellent products with a very short time to market.

Let’s also look at cost efficiency: there is no huge investment in hardware, software or in a team, simply because all of this is part of the service provided by Zattoo. And at the same time 1&1 benefits directly from the economies of scale that come with a big platform serving dozens of tenants and millions of end customers.

In a nutshell: we are very happy to provide 1&1 with a cloud-based multiscreen IPTV service that comes with a standard setting feature set. And we see ourselves as a long-term innovation partner because it takes both the best network and the best TV service to constantly stay ahead of the curve.