Roland Sars, the CEO & Co-Founder of Media Distillery says the last 18 to 24 months have been quite spectacular with a series of new product launches, closely followed by customer wins.
Over that time as the product range has been enhanced, the Dutch business has maintained its core belief that as an operator, the way to win over the customer or to at least get the most viewing time, UX is one of the most important elements.
The flagship product, EPG Correction Distillery, detects accurate time markers at the start and stop of a broadcast TV show. This ensures viewers have a VoD-like experience for catch-up and replay.
EPG Correction Distillery has been used by Proximus and Telenet in Belgium since 2018, but has increased rapidly with the signing of Liberty Global, in the Netherlands with Ziggo, and in Switzerland with Sunrise. In Portugal the product has gone live on MEO, NOS and Vodafone.
“One of the items that we have launched earlier this year and did not really make a massive announcement on it is what we call Insights Distillery, which is a dashboard for our customers, so for the operator itself, in which they can monitor the performance of the channels themselves,” Sars says, “Customers now have the tool to check the quality.”
The tool can be used both to check the customer experience and how well a particular channel is performing. Adds Martin Prins, Head of Product at Media Distillery: “It’s not just to check our data, but also because some wanted insights in the quality of the EPG provided by broadcasters. “
Media Distillery has also moved entirely towards cloud-based processing. “The adoption of cloud has come a long way in the past few years. And what we have done right now already for the past, I think three, four deployments is to move entirely to a cloud analysis in AWS Amazon, where our customers send us their streams straight into Amazon. So no hardware installation is required anymore on their side. We just give an end point to deliver streams to and we make sure that the connection is fully secure. And we can immediately do the analysis in AWS.”
The cloud has significantly reduced the implementation time which has gone from between 3 and 6 months to just a couple of weeks.
Media Distillery is now responsible for the distribution of over 1,000 channels.
Says Prins: “Recently one of our European operators told us that since implementing EPG Correction Distillery, it has seen a significant drop in complaints to the help desk related to recordings, including recordings that didn’t have the correct start time or missed the end of a program. They saw a reduction of 75%.
A new product release is Media Distilery’s Ad Break Distillery product, which allows the operator to remove or substitute the ads, subject to them having the rights to do so. “There are countries where, for example, the operator might charge a premium on top of the subscription fee for the ability to skip ads. So then it becomes basically a revenue model, monetization model,” said Sars. One customer is already preparing to launch and more are lined up for 2024.
Prins says that while many people are happy to tolerate ads, others are equally willing to pay to watch content without ads. “That’s now a two-sided or maybe even three-sided business model. There’s a monetary gain to be made for the operator and the broadcasters, and the user gets a better user experience, reducing risk of churn.”