- Category: June 2012 - Streaming Media Marketing
For more than a decade now, the new media delivery specialist, Vidiator, is sedulously in its drive to empower leading operators and media companies to deploy Over-The-Top (OTT) and mobile TV or VOD services.
And since consumer demand for video content, when and where they want it, is increasing exponentially, the company has grown dramatically by providing innovative and solid audiovisual streaming technology solutions to large, mobile wireless network operators. The pressure for broadcasters is intensifying accordingly, since they have to deal with the ever growing number of platforms that viewers are using, where Vidiator’s Xenon™ is coming into play. Vidiator’s innovative platform creates a TV experience of the highest quality, regardless of where the audience is watching or what device they are using to do so.
Asian e-Marketing had the honor to meet Tae Sung Park, President and CEO of Vidiator at CommunicAsia 2012 for an interview. The man in charge of the company grew up in the US and joined Vidiator as CEO in 2009. He had always worked „in the software space“, he said, and is extremely excited about the energetic fresh breeze that has been pervading the rich media industry in the last 18 months.
Vidiator, owned by Hutchison Whampoa Company, is devoted to revolutionize the delivery of video content to multiple screens in partnership with operators, broadcasters and content owners. Although not large in manpower, with just about 70 people and most of them engineers, it is not too difficult for Vidiator to keep up with the fast-paced developments in the video world. According to Tae, Vidiator aims for large Telcos and media and broadcasting companies, because their solution is focused on delivering high quality live TV, videos and movies. Tae explained: “We concentrate a lot on technology and standards and we stay on top of those. On the handset side, it‘s actually gotten simpler, since you have to deal just with Android, Apple, Microsoft and a few others now. Before you had a lot more variations of Java, Symbian, and there was a lot more fragmentation. However, as Vidiator built its very own technology, we can adapt quickly.“
According to Tae, the challenges in streaming can be broken down into three areas: technology (scaling, response, user-friendliness); the impact it is having on existing relationships, existing business models and the whole value chain, and last but not least, the fact that people don‘t understand streaming, as it is still seen as a novelty in some regions. The game changers have been the devices, Tae believes, saying: „Users have been very receptive for iPads, smartphones and video on the move and everyone is pretty comfortable with the network and that accelerated streaming with a 10 fold growth in the last two years.“
When asked to elaborate on Vidiator‘s revolutionary streaming technology, its unique value propositions and how Vidiator differentiates from other players, Tae explained: “There are a multitude of components to consider when launching a full scale video streaming solution, including market knowledge, hardware, content sourcing, encoders, streaming servers, billing solutions, DRM, CMS, user interface, marketing, training, professional services, deployment and support”, and that’s exactly all that Vidiator has to offer its clients, based on individual business needs. Not to mention that they can show results pretty fast, claiming that in as little as three to six months a business could be taken from zero multi-screen video output to a fully scaled operation across all types of networks – fixed line, 3G, 4G, LTE and WiFi.
"We started in the most challenging environment of the internet, mobile internet, so we are very comfortable and very experienced in dealing with the complexities of multi-module internet settings and able to deliver good high quality video experiences“, Tae explained. Speaking about the disruptive element of new technology, Tae elaborated further that operation dramatically changed with the more efficient, new technology. “We run a 24/7 hosting service for live channels for our customers, and it takes just about 6 to 10 people to handle that – not covering media and scheduling which is still on the content creation side."
The opportunities for Vidiator in the mobile video streaming industry in Asia are quite exciting for Tae. In partnership with Indonesian telecommunications company Mitra Komunikasi Nusantara (MKN), for instance, the company launched a new fully-managed and hosted music and video streaming service called ‘Strim’ that enables broadcasters and mobile operators to quickly roll out compelling streaming services, featuring thousands of audio tracks and video clips from local music labels and movie production companies, without the usual upfront costs and risk.
Since one of the main barriers for operators and broadcasters launching mobile streaming services is the upfront investment in infrastructure and worries about the length of time, Strim represents a good solution, as it takes away that initial risk and allows operators and broadcasters to grow the service and then make the investment when it’s required. Hosted from Indonesia, Strim is delivered using Vidiator’s family of Xenon™ encoding and streaming solutions known for its high quality viewing experience on the small screen. The service is delivered either online, or through a WAP, web or Android app with more services soon to be added.
Mark Lewinson, Head of Marketing of Vidiator, who joined the interview, commented that one of their recent surveys showed Asian consumers’ clear appetite for music and video streaming services and proved their willingness to pay for a good video streaming service. However, Tae added, it is comprehensible that operators and content providers are cautious about infrastructure investments. “Strim is a great example of Vidiator’s End-to-End Solution covering everything from encoding and streaming software, content sourcing, billing software, revenue models and user experience. This fully hosted and scalable service gives content providers a very quick, low risk route to accessing the mobile internet market allowing them to leap ahead of the competition and win valuable market share”, he stated.
Vidiator is even supporting their clients to get carriage through mainstream traditional TV channels, such as HBO or ESPN, as it is usually quite difficult for Asian production houses to do that. And, especially in Asia, Vidiator partners with local production companies and provides program through the mobile operators they work with, since mobile operators are always on the look-out for new content.
Certainly, Vidiator’s system is able to report on what channels people are watching, when, which device is used etc. and can provide any other common demographic data. The company clearly realized that there is a demand for more and more micro-data and holds a lot of data and statistics in house, too.
Tae elaborated: „We rolled out mobile TV for a media house in Malaysia that partnered with local channels and put it through on Apple and Android devices. Proudly, he told us that they got around 4 million views per month, which is impressive in Malaysia that has just a population of just 30 million, compared to just 18,000 views per month on their website before the roll-out by Vidiator.”
There is, without doubts, an unmet demand in Asia, especially for local and regional content, and Tae is laconically giving his advice to those planning to get into streaming: „Firstly, get clear on which rights you have and don‘t have. You‘d be surprised how many big companies aren‘t clear on that. Secondly, it doesn‘t have to be complicated to implement a streaming service, so don‘t focus on the technology, but more on the business and what you want to achieve and who you want to reach.“
As the world of new media and multi-screen viewing is evolving and growing, Vidiator understands that it’s not just the software that their clients require, but entire solutions that enable them to make their content profitable. Therefore, constant innovation and development of solutions is on top of Vidiator’s list to deliver market leading services regardless of industry, revenue model or consumer base.
Asian e-Marketing is impressed by Vidiator’s expertise in providing a full scale, multi-screen, video streaming service, saying their number one priority is to produce a high quality service that can be taken to market quickly, in a cost efficient manner. The company’s ability to tailor End-to-End Solutions that ensures customers getting exactly what they want from a video streaming solution is Vidiator’s forte, including hardware, content sourcing, technology, revenue models, user experience and everything in between.
By Daniela La Marca