Synamedia – Why flexing your business agility muscles with SaaS matters

Synamedia – Why flexing your business agility muscles with SaaS matters

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Synamedia – Why flexing your business agility muscles with SaaS matters

Fri 19, 04 2024

Synamedia – Why flexing your business agility muscles with SaaS matters

Simon Brydon, Head of Sport – Video Network, Synamedia

 Headbands and sweatbands. Legwarmers and leotards. Step aerobics and jazzexercise. Fitness trends come and go but looking after customers’ needs and keeping an organization in good shape is always in vogue.

Times are tough for the media and entertainment industry. Alongside the ongoing debate about the death of linear and Pay-TV, there is growing unease about the underlying economics of streaming – especially for sports – with subscription income flatlining and high churn rates continuing as end-users evaluate whether they are getting value for money.

Keeping up with the industry’s relentless pace of change and staying competitive by scouting out ways to lower total cost of ownership while adding new monetization features to keep the balance sheet healthy have never been more critical.

From vanity to sanity

Agility. Flexibility. Reliability. Resilience.  With Olympic fever mounting, this sounds like the fitness mantra for top athletes fixing their sights on the medal podium in Paris 2024. But, closer to home, they are watchwords for content owners, operators, providers and streamers eyeing up their bottom line to build in more efficiency and flexibility to save money.

Take streaming services. Having been on a massive land grab for customers, they are now focusing on cutting costs and re-evaluating their business models to work out the economics of streaming. Chasing turnover for vanity has become chasing profit for sanity, underlining the need for effective approaches to streaming which help lower total cost of ownership.

Given the peaks and troughs nature of sport, the smart money is on deploying solutions to maximize resources. For example, for sports with spotty demand or catch-up TV or FAST channels running in the middle of the night, it makes sense to take advantage of technologies which now make it possible to reduce processing costs by only transcoding video when a stream is requested by an end user.

For more sustained live demand where quality and reliability are paramount, highly scalable solutions offering pinpoint picture perfection with deliverable low latency are called for, with best in class encoding and lower bitrates to reduce CDN egress costs.

A new SaaS regime

The latest tech developments point to a move by video platforms to a multi-tenant cloud SaaS platform approach, powered by best-of-breed streaming technology. This makes good commercial sense by enabling easily deployed, flexible solutions that can be adopted on a case-by-case basis.

Previously, service providers have had little alternative to customized, complex deployments involving heavy SDKs and pre-defined, sequential phases of testing with no overlap between phases. But in today’s rapidly evolving business and technology environment, it’s simply unsustainable to endure many months for acceptance testing – a necessary evil with so many consumer devices to support – for the launch of a single feature.

Alternatively, SaaS puts customers firmly in control. Flexible, affordable, and scalable – with the onus on the software provider to host and maintain the service – it means providers can pay as their ambitions scale, whilst reaping the benefits of new product enhancements, features and functionality added as frequently as multiple times a day.

Some early adopters are already turning their backs on inflexible, bespoke technology deployments and instead embracing SaaS solutions. Interestingly, these are not just those born-in-the cloud streaming services that might first jump to mind, but also more traditional Pay-TV providers and telcos.

A case of business agility: how Synamedia flexed its SaaS muscles

Not only is this velocity and agility game changing for our customers but is critical for us as a company.  Our pace of change of product delivery has increased an order of magnitude and we have also evolved our development approach to consider the complete customer experience.

Customer first has always been a key mantra for Synamedia – arguably tailor-made software is the ultimate expression of being a customer obsessed company. But where once our platform deployments were bespoke for each customer, moving to a SaaS model means customization can happen at the edges.

We don’t just talk the talk, we also walk the walk. Changing to a SaaS model has not only involved the technology shift to SaaS architectures such as public cloud, micro-service, multi tenancy, CI/CD, open APIs, and standard services but has also changed our company’s cultural mindset.

It has impacted every department including the way we sell, support, and contract with customers – from the creation of our front-line customer success organization and practices to how we provide backend support in HR, legal and finance, for example deploying more sophisticated billing mechanisms based on different licensing models like pay as you go.

Going for gold

 The good news is that video consumption is still on the rise.  The potential rewards are huge for the players who are smart about how they deliver to viewers.

From just-in-time video processing and IP distribution, to targeted advertising and launching new services at speed, this move to SaaS allows content owners and operators to focus on their core values and areas of expertise rather than on operating a video system.

Our industry is a late adopter of SaaS and one of the main reasons is that it requires changes in both the vendor community as well as for video service providers. Put simply, operators cannot realize the benefits of SaaS without changing their operating model to accommodate a high velocity and multi-tenanted approach, most notably acceptance testing.

Those that don’t change will be overtaken by more agile competitors, maybe not in the short run, but inevitably over time. Those that adopt SaaS will give their subscribers a better service and will benefit from a much lower cost of ownership.

Delivery the SaaS way has shifted Synamedia’s cultural mindset, and our internal teams have reorganized to support different priorities and responsibilities. In this golden age of content, where consumers want to change what and how they watch in the blink of an eye, it’s time for video service providers to shape-up, rev-up their SaaS routine and be ready for all the action.

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