Avail-TVN plans $30 million push to provide expanded digital media services

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Avail-TVN, looking to become known as a full-fledged digital media services company, today announced it's investing more than $30 million over the next two years to enhance and expand its distribution technology, infrastructure and services.

The company, the product of a merger between VOD specialist TVN and linear player Avail just over a year ago, says it's already started investing in expanding its infrastructure to provide new, more efficient services to both the content providers as well as the service providers.

"It is as easy as providing satellite capacity for multicast transmission as well as offering fiber connects that go up to 10 gigabytes, and increasing things like our storage, which now exceeds 5 petabytes," said Ramu Potarazu, Avail-TVN's CEO, in an interview with FierceIPTV. "It'll take us two years, but starting next month, we're providing out-of-market sports for the NBA and NHL. By the end of the month, we will have converted to a new digital media super head end based in Burbank, California. We're starting to roll out services as we speak."

Avail-TVN currently has more than 300 content and service provider customers, and says it's working to bring a new technology approach to the next generation of video consumption in 3D and across three-screens.

"We are investing today to increase the quality and quantity of content available tomorrow, make it readily accessible, and create an environment where content owners and service providers alike can quickly and easily deliver new services and richer content libraries to their customers," said Potarazu.

The company said its real-time content will remain satellite distributed while its next-generation platform will use a hybrid distribution model, leveraging both terrestrial fiber and satellite distribution to help its customers increase capacity, offer new programming to consumers and  streamline costs.

The approach gives Avail-TVN the ability to offer its customers services including dynamic ad insertion, time-shifting of linear content, distributed storage, and targeted/localized distribution. With the SHE in place, Avail-TVN is also able to offer MPEG-4 linear services to the entire cable market, which doubles available bandwidth and allows service providers to offer more high-value offerings such as HD and 3D content. 

Avail-TVN's platform and storage investments are already delivering new digital media services to content and service providers.  In 2010, the company increased the amount of HD content available by over 130 percent and VOD assets by 67 percent; expanded its PPV programming to include seven new channels; and began rolling out MPEG-4 linear video services with cable MSOs throughout North America.

Potarazu said the platform expansion is the product of both demand from service provides and Avail-TVN's desire to be a perceived as a thought leader in the industry.

"We're hearing what the marketplace is saying; we're seeing what's happening with TV Anywhere and with Netflix and Hulu and other services that service providers have to be aware of," he said. "The three-screen TV Anywhere approach has got to be able to be successful, on your PC, iPad, on your mobiles. It's almost intuitive. Our expansion is a little bit of a bet on our part, but we're doing it through trials, it's not an all-in bet."

But, he says, it is one that's likely to pay off.

"We really feel that now is the time to extend the platform out," he said. "We have a robust platform that allows for multiple formats. That's one of our largest strengths ... it's our differentiator."

And, Potarazu added, Avail-TVN is planning to aggressively move forward.

"We have been in-stealth is a sort of strong word-we have been providing services to our service providers; but going into the fourth quarter, felt it was the right time to make these investments. And, we're actually already making them, building our platform, building services, getting things right."

The result, he hopes is that the perception in the industry of what Avail-TVN has to offer will broaden. "The message we want to send is a clear one: We do great at VOD, but we also bring linear, real time programming, we bring new service like 'Live to VOD,' where you can take a live programming and make it VOD content, we can help you expand into three screens, we can help you address advertising.

"Here is Avail-TVN, we're not just a VOD company, we're not just a linear company, we're a digital service company."

For more:
- see this release

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