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Q&A: Neerav Shah, Arris on OTT

Neerav ShahNeerav Shah, vice-president and general manager, multiscreen video infrastructure, cloud business solutions, Arris, talks to DTVE about the uses of OTT infrastructure.

How much convergence is actually happening between broadcast delivery and OTT delivery? Where is it happening first?

Significant amount of convergence; broadcasters are enabling more content to flow over the internet, providing them the ability to introduce new content quickly and easily and create custom programing while preserving their traditional “cable subscription” model. MVPDs understand the value of content portability and the need to watch content where you want, when you want and are offering these services to customers now as well.   It first started with VoD content and now we are slowly starting to see linear content appear on mobile devices.  Broadcast operators are jumping on board to deliver more personalised and targeted content through advertising, recommendations and merchandising in an effort to emulate and complete with the OTT experience. OTT operators are tapping into the newer market that is growing year by year, but continue to face the challenge of delivering reliable and high quality content, as subscribers experience in a broadcast environment.

To what extent are OTT and multiscreen video provider now looking to provide a similar UX to broadcast – either for regulatory reasons or because of higher expectations?

The entire UI environment is changing.  There is a clear need for simple, easy to user interfaces.  And while many people are accustomed to the Broadcast UX it is not sufficient and it has been a hindrance to enable of new services.  Both operators and OVPs see the need to make it simple and easy to use and we are seeing a convergence in the UIs being offered.  AT&T and Comcast have launched new interface with the goal to make it easier to navigate their content libraries – very much similar to the usage patterns introduce early by Apple, Amazon and Netflix.

How much focus is there now on monetization of multiscreen delivery – for example through advertising or through various transactional models or monetization of user data?

Delivering video while critical, it is hard to extract value – you can raise subscription rates too high without consumer back blowback.  Look at many MSOs: over 90% of their VoD content is provided for free and as more and more content becomes available and on VoD libraries MVPDs need a way to make money to pay for their increasing programming costs.   Thus, monetizing multiscreen delivery is key and continues to be a big focus for many providers.   The simplest way is through innovative advertising solutions whether it be through DAI – VoD advertising – or linear targeted advertising. MVPDs will start to introduce these into the market quickly. In addition,  the use of detailed analytics and heuristics will provide operators an additional way to provide not only “targeted” ads  but the ability to create new commerce platforms.  By providing a personalised experience through advertising, merchandising and other alternatives – on many different screens – it allows operators to benefit and capitalise upon multiple revenue sources.

How much investment is required to make sure that video providers can make the most of the opportunities on offer?

Moderate investment is requires to enable the new monetisation models; the infrastructure is in place and most new solutions are priced more as OPEX rather than requiring significant capital outlays.

What is the optimal pace of service innovation on OTT and multiscreen in terms not only of what can be done technically but in terms of user acceptance? Are users increasingly tolerant of changes in the experience and are these expectations transferring back into broadcast?

OTT and multiscreen services are evolving.  Users who are apt to make a transition to OTT are much more resilient when it comes to changes, as long as it does not degrade their overall experience.  For these users, this same methodology comes back into the broadcast experience. However, while OTT and multiscreen users may be tolerant of changes, it may not transfer back to the entire broadcast world.  Many users, primarily those that have been accustomed to their broadcast service for some time and feel no need to change, may not be as comfortable or tolerant.

How much emphasis is there from online video providers on live services versus VoD and is this changing?

There is a big emphasis on live services today.  While the initial online video market started with VoD, it is expanding to support live TV as much as ever, to have a better advantage against broadcast operators.  Additionally there is a renewed focus on content; many successful OVPs and subscription services are built on new content that consumers want.  With out desirable content it services cant scale and that is why companies like Netflix, Amazon, HBO, and even Comcast are trying put together new content to draw users in.

Tags: Arris

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