Verizon Digital Media Services says online video players have to focus on visibility, not just breadth

Verizon sign
erizon Media has been stepping up lately with a host of new platforms to provide OTT providers with greater analytical capabilities to understand how their services are performing.

Verizon Digital Media Services said that as OTT video providers enter into the next stage, they will need deeper insights into how the content they carry resonates with their target audience.

Darren Lepke, marketing director for Verizon Digital Media Services, told FierceOnlineVideo that this stage is distinct from the first and second phases of online video, where providers were trying to obtain similar revenue streams that have long existed in the traditional pay-TV world.

“The technology is proven, the rights are still being figured out, and now it has to be about how we deliver on the promise of pay-TV sized revenues in this new online world,” Lepke said. “Whether the pay-TV or content owners like it now that the door is open, consumers are never going to be put back in their set-top box world.”  

RELATED: Verizon reportedly preparing internet-delivered TV service

While it’s clear that OTT providers want to scale their business and customer reach, they face a key challenge in understanding how their services are performing for their customers.

“There’s no streamlined way to get a big high level view of what content is performing, how much does it cost to make it, and if they continue to make it will it be a profitable business for them in the future,” Lepke said.

Gaining insight

Verizon Media has been stepping up lately with a host of new platforms to provide OTT providers with greater analytical capabilities to understand how their services are performing.

One of these offerings is the Media Xperience Studio, a cloud-based content intelligence system (CIS).

Verizon claims the new CIS will automate and simplify the online video production and distribution pipeline for broadcasters, OTT providers and online video distributors, all while offering timely and accurate performance, revenue and cost insights that are essential to building a profitable OTT business. 

Media Xperience Studio combines various functions—content management system, a digital asset management system, a playout workflow system and an app builder—into one single cloud-based system.

“The Media Xperience Studio is about how you track the rich set of data that is created and manifested when you ingest content and deliver it out to your viewers,” Lepke said.

The system can also orchestrate and streamline the movement of metadata and digital media assets through production, approval, distribution, monetization and consumption by viewers on connected devices.

“Our MX Orchestration app has plugins for the Adobe editing tools,” Lepke said. “As shows are being created and as digital dailies are coming in from your production suite, you’re able to capture a lot of information and carry it forward into the digital realm.”

Additionally, the service provider has also extended its relationship with Microsoft to make cloud-based storage from Microsoft Azure available to all Verizon DigitalMedia Services Edgecast Content Delivery Network (CDN) users.

Focused content offerings

What Verizon Media is playing into with its new offerings is the fact that OTT players need visibility into how content is resonating with users.

Without having that visibility, OTT providers won’t know how to fix issues and it’s likely that a service could fail to gain a sizeable audience and make money.

“It’s good to experiment and get out there and try things, but if you can’t see what your results are and course correct that’s a recipe for an online video service that will be shut down,” Lepke said. “Having those kinds of insights might not be a prerequisite for getting into the market, but once you’re in market you need to have them.”

Specifically, if an OTT provider were to launch a comedy-related service, they would need to understand if it should focus on developing sitcoms or programs on standup comedy, for example.

“Now that we know it’s 18-34 year old females are doing this we can target our marketing and subscriber outreach efforts to those people,” Lepke said.

One large OTT provider that could benefit from having greater subscriber insights is Netflix. Netflix has scaled its initial library of 60,000 titles down to 10,000 titles.

“It has scaled back the content they license and the content they produce is increasing, but the fact that they realize that the breadth of the catalog is not necessarily key to success,” Lepke said. “They know who their audience is and know what they see and they can now create and license content for that audience specifically.”

Lepke added that “we expect to see same in OTT services and TV Everywhere services moving forward.”