ANT is moving away from manufacturers and towards the operators. Julian Clover reports
The entrance of IPTV into the multichannel television mix has brought with it new companies and new technologies – or in the case of Microsoft giving old ones another chance. It has always been something of a mystery to me that the established middleware and conditional access players didn’t get more of a shout in IPTV. Instead we’ve seen new names such as Widevine, Dreampark, Verimatrix and ANT appear.
A few years in and the sands are beginning to shift. ANT’s CEO Simon Woodward says that the benefits that a company like ANT provides with its software go to the operator and not the set-top box manufacturer. “While our software lies on a device, what we do has to do with the media owner and the consumer that enjoys the media,” says Woodward. “We’ve tended to licence to device manufacturers who see us as a trusted partner, but increasingly they are being commoditised and the percentage of value falls.” There is another element as well: operators are looking to integrate any number of services as part of their consumer offer and off the shelf boxes, however sophisticated, cannot be a part of the picture.
ANT’s new strategy, first unveiled at NAB, is to target operators with its new ANT Galio client and browser. “If we stuck with the set-top box our revenue would go down while the operator’s went up,” said Woodward. “We need to target the media operator to understand the platform.”
Elements of standardisation are now appearing – Scientific-Atlanta and Nagra are now as one on the Rich Media Interface and Woodward is pleased with ANT’s developing relationship with S-A.