Author: Craig Bird
Senior Vice President of Product Management at Vimond
When will lock-in end? In the media world, it's sometimes hard to see a way out, or even a way forward, or to get even a sniff of change, when you have been running mission critical services for years with one supplier. This is as relevant for OTT services as it is for any other business. Broadcasters and content providers have built up audiences and viewership over years, developing complex ecosystems of infrastructure as technology has evolved.
The great user experience, the high-quality streamed video, personalisation, recommendation engines, ad integrations and other services are dependent on a series of integrations, customisations, in-house code and often legacy development from software engineers who have long since migrated on to pastures new.
The age-old joke about comments in the code that say “don't remove this line, we don't know what it does, but the whole system comes down without it” often has a ring of truth. When a software infrastructure and ecosystem has grown over a period of ten, fifteen (or even longer!) years, there are hidden routines and forgotten integrations, whole moving pieces for which nobody can remember what they do or why they are there... (Trust me, I have spoken to some of these companies).
This situation can cause many problems. From the fear of changes causing downtime, to an inability to try new technologies, new integrations, and new suppliers leading to stagnation in development. Stagnation is not what you need in a fast-growing market where the competition is getting fiercer by the day. We don't need to suffer this in addition to the Content Wars. (More on that in our “10 tips on how to become (or stay) successful as a streaming service today” think piece).
It means that we can start to feel trapped with our current situation, or stuck with our existing supplier. Replacement of a CMS for OTT is often seen as a mammoth undertaking, requiring a rip and replace of an enormous part of your infrastructure and ecosystem.
When your OTT Service relies on a Video CMS or OVP that is as critical a component to viewer facing services as the heart, brain or nervous system is to the human body, it can be tempting to accept your lot and resign yourself to the status quo: “If it's not broken, don't fix it”. That is a difficult adage to live with when you need to stay at the forefront of technology and innovation by leveraging the most effective of services and suppliers in order to compete, win, retain and maintain audiences, with an ever reducing workforce (because everyone is under pressure to do more with less). In addition, you need to put in an effort to increase revenue per viewer by driving engagement, helping audiences find content quicker than ever before and stay ahead of the competition. That is a hard situation to be in, when much of what you have is many years old technology, and the world is changing around you.
While early OTT services began based on on-premise servers in broadcasters´ own data centres, some have virtualised legacy workflows and components into the cloud. Many end up tied-in, locked-down or stuck with one supplier at the core of their services, and some of the less scrupulous providers know it, using this knowledge to drive up prices year on year.
What compounds this unfortunate situation, is that the smart little upstarts and new market entrants are starting off on cloud native technologies, which gives them a distinct edge over lurking or lumbering behemoth giants of ecosystems that have grown so much over the years that they are now perceived as weak at the knees, with the possibility of relatively small changes bringing a collapse into black screens for viewers and frustrated audiences.
But it doesn't have to be that way. The rip and replace of critical components does not have to risk the arterial flow of video entertainment to viewer screens. Just because one part of the infrastructure and ecosystem could use a refresh, it doesn't mean that the rest has to have one too.
Vimond has been through some of these journeys. We have seen, and shared some of this pain with customers, old and new. Vimond has been through a modernisation journey that some are struggling to get started on, or failing to make progress on. Vimond VIA is a mature, stable, cheeky little upstart of a cloud-native OVP or Video CMS. Vimond brings you the best of both worlds, longevity and youth, all in one go: The wisdom of age combined with the springy elasticity and bounce of youth.
The Vimond VIA OTT platform, and the Vimond experts can help with your journey. There are several different approaches:
For companies setting up a new digital OTT service for viewers, you can launch the new service on Vimond VIA, without risking any existing channels or audiences.
For companies hoping to replace a long-standing CMS system, you can start to migrate to Vimond with the minimum of changes to the overall solution or ecosystem that you have.
Why might this be easier than you might think?
Simple: Vimond VIA is a cloud-native, automatically scaling CMS designed to facilitate the smooth running of OTT services (don't take my word for it, check out our think piece “automatic scaling, what on earth is that supposed to mean?).
Vimond VIA is flexible, scalable, modular, and has APIs available for more functions than you can shake a stick at.
Vimond will not demand that you move or migrate your video assets or video pipeline. Vimond VIA does not require all your video to be imported into the system.
Vimond VIA does not care where your media is, or which cloud provider (or premise) video is stored on.
Vimond will not insist that you change your authentication provider, your DRM or your apps partner.
The flexibility of Vimond VIA means that you can continue to use huge parts of your existing ecosystem or infrastructure, such as ad partners, video pipeline and transcoding partners, payment providers, video players, DRM providers, CDN, analytics.
These are all pieces of the puzzle that you might not want to move straight away, instead you can integrate them as is, and start trialling the power of Vimond VIA with a smaller project, piece by piece, (for instance by enabling the editorial team to manage and curate content - this is where the core strength of Vimond´s user-facing applications lie).
The other pieces you can move later, or not at all, if that is to your liking. Vimond VIA can help you from afar - a different cloud provider, a different country, and you´ll never know that we are not right next door. This is a low risk approach to avoiding a big bang, starting with a new service, or just one service, and migrating over time, with the maximum of ease and the minimum of disruption.
Vimond have been in this game for a long time, with customers gained through reputation, rather than the weight of an enormous marketing budget. We prefer the personal approach and we are one of the longest running and strongest providers in this marketplace. You wouldn't be the first provider to switch out one of the big-name suppliers, for some of the brightest minds currently working on OTT and IPTV, headquartered in Norway 🙂
We help our customers to succeed, by being a company that does what we do, very well - working with broadcasters and content providers to create world class entertainment services.