Since we launched the new identity for MediaKind we have established a new management team and operational structure and developed a strong solutions portfolio with the MediaKind Universe. These solutions enable content owners, broadcasters and service providers to meet the new consumption habits of audiences around the world. Our team is now purely focused on the media business, leveraging the differentiators, and identifying and driving profitable growth opportunities.
With Ericsson retaining a substantial shareholding, what benefits does this bring?
One of the main benefits we have coming from a global player like Ericsson is the ability to tap into its an international network of established connections with customers – it gives us a unique market advantage. We want to stay agile – but also use that global network to grow our business by addressing the increasing complexity and competitiveness of the media sector.
What are the business areas you will now concentrate on?
We are constantly looking at the shifting media landscape and finding new ways to help our customers differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. Our leading position in contribution and distribution remains a key focus area as we look to drive new innovations that enable our content producer and broadcaster customer base to thrive.
The platform business which is targeted towards the service provider market enables both managed and OTT experiences across a multitude of devices. Complementing both of these areas is our offerings in VOD, storage and timeshift capabilities. For content owners who would like to explore Direct-to-Consumer offerings, we have constructed a solution set that enables this in an easy manner with webscale functionality.
All of these will be supported by a strong, global portfolio of professional services.
How has the market for middleware, such as Mediaroom, evolved in recent years?
New internet-based services that deliver TV as an OTT experience supporting clients on tablets and the integration of voice-based navigation and discovery services have changed the market. Therefore, the requirements for a modern middleware platform have evolved to include OTT-style capabilities. Our newly announced client enables an in-field upgrade of all Mediaroom set-top boxes (STBs) to become compatible with MediaFirst, providing a solution that is the best of both worlds – managed Live TV, OTT and cloud-based services. We currently have at least 40 million STBs in the market running Mediaroom middleware.
We also have a partner – Zodiac that can enable a MediaFirst TV user experience on any non-Mediaroom set-top box via a simple software update. The current objective is to bring the MediaFirst user experience to a variety of devices. With these two solutions, we are bringing to the market a ‘No Set TOP Box left behind’ proposition that is unique. This will enable existing customers and service providers to deliver graphics-rich content, catch-up TV, advanced search, and voice search for viewers to get the experiences they want without changing providers and/or infrastructure.
How significant is the market to download the latest software into older boxes?
Consumers are accessing content on a range of devices on their terms. They expect curated immersive experiences and want access to a wider range of content delivered seamlessly. We want to help pay-tv operators shift customers over to multiscreen, multiroom and more flexible user experience environments by upgrading their legacy STBs. With MediaFirst Client for Mediaroom, sold as a cloud-based SaaS, any Mediaroom customer can move their subscribers from Mediaroom boxes into the MediaFirst cloud-served environment. The ability to upgrade the consumer experience to a modern, web-style nature is key to retaining consumers, reducing churn and providing additional revenue opportunities.
What areas will emerge in importance in the coming years?
There are new technologies that are shifting the market – the transference to IP and contribution, the move to cloud DVR and how that enables more on-demand content through addressing new user experiences. The integration of new discovery and navigation mechanisms is an area that has potential to grow. The analytics associated with cross-platform/device and collective consumer behaviour across all users in an account are key to future personalized services.