Long reads

Q&A: Steve Lock & Romain Eude of Synamedia – Beyond super-aggregation

Steve Lock, Senior Director, Video Platforms, and Romain Eude, Director Product Development,  Synamedia, talk about the company’s acquisition of Utelly, its integration into Synamedia Go and how service providers can make super-aggregation a truly compelling experience for consumers.

Romain Eude & Steve Lock

What is the background to Synamedia’s acquisition of Utelly and how will it integrate into Synamedia Go?

SL: We saw that content discovery and allowing companies to be able to maximise the value of partnerships they have – and pulling all this together – is critical. Utelly goes a long way to solving these problems, dealing with the complexities and challenges of content discovery across multiple services. Utelly also has other capabilities including integrating podcasts and music streaming and so on. The acquisition took us a lot further forward into that market than if we’d tried to do something on our own. We are quickly integrating the technology into our Go Aggregate and Go Recommend packages within Synamedia Go. We will demo those capabilities at IBC.

What in your view makes for compelling super-aggregation of multiple content services?

RE: You can bring all these services together but there is a danger that you might actually make the experience a bit worse for the consumer. Taking a step back, we can see that content discovery is key and the industry must put content first rather than stacking different providers on top of each other. And content means not only video but podcasts and audio including movie soundtracks. For super-aggregation to work you need to have the metadata to connect everything at the base of a magical pyramid. Higher up that pyramid you get to find the nuggets that make for a truly enjoyable experience. But we need to build the right foundations to get to that point.

What challenges do service providers and their content partners face in working together and developing a meaningful offering?

RE: Good metadata is the oil that makes everything work and getting access to good metadata is challenging. You can invest in a great UX but having access to good content descriptors is essential if you want people to stay with your service. As you add services to the offering, the problem doesn’t get easier. It’s important to have a future-proofed solution. And then even if you have great metadata, you have content providers with their own interests and commercial rules that come into play. So you need to get the technology and commercial interests of different partners to work well together and then you can unlock the benefits of content discovery for the consumer.

How can service providers and content providers more meaningfully integrate services and platform?

RE: When content providers think about aggregation, they need to consider the all the elements including content rights as well as the sourcing of metadata. Service providers need to anticipate what happens when multiple providers are aggregated together. For example, be prepared for different content partners competing for the best position on the screen. But then they need to think about how different services work seamlessly with each other which takes us back to the principle of putting content first. That is where we can help because we have put solving these problems front and centre. Sourcing metadata is not something that can be done once and forgotten about. It needs to be constantly refreshed and updated.

SL: As a technology company we can solve the technical problems and remove the business challenges.  Service providers need to acquire rights and balance different interests. With Go.Aggregate we can accommodate the commercial rights already in place and take away the complexities around enriching the metadata and keeping it up to date.

Is super-aggregation ultimately a true differentiator for fixed and mobile service providers?

SL: It isn’t easy to give a single answer to that question for all markets and regions of the world. Super-aggregation in some regions is now a must-have and it isn’t necessarily a differentiator.  What becomes more important is offering a compelling experience and that’s why we have focused on content discovery. As a super-aggregator you may have the relationships in place and carry all the services consumers need, but what is the viewing experience?

RE: if you think about mobile networks, people have been using those networks to stream a lot of video and it represents solid revenue for operators. Now those operators are thinking about how they can stimulate usage and provide added value for end users, going from being a utility to offering content discovery and bundling – becoming virtual TV operators. Selling voice and data is not enough anymore. Last year, as a standalone company, we also worked on an EU project with public broadcasters who had TV, radio and podcasts and wanted to create a real super-aggregated experience. This confirmed that going beyond video is meaningful, so we made our platform an enabler of cross-media aggregation. You can bring TV series, movies, podcasts, games, and books – all sorts of creative works – together and connect them. That is really starting to have traction.

This is sponsored content.

Tags: Synamedia

Most Recent