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Video: Leveraging Viewers in All Platforms
Brightcove's Matt Smith and Streaming Media's Tim Siglin discuss the latest innovations at Brightcove, leveraging VOD assets, Cloud DVR, clipping, social networks, analytics, and more in this wide-ranging interview from Streaming Media East 2017.
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Tim: Welcome back to Streaming Media East 2017. Today I've got with me my great friend, Matt Smith. Matt, tell us who you're with these days and what you're doing.

Matt: I'm part of the team of Brightcove. I am Vice President and the Principal Evangelist for our media business unit.

Tim: Okay. Tell me about the media business unit, because I've seen on LinkedIn and some other things where you're saying, "Hey, we're really starting to make it easy for broadcasters to think about OTT."

Matt: Yeah, there's been a lot of innovation underway at Brightcove over the last, say, 18 months. A lot of folks in the industry I think are familiar with the brand, but we've really been working hard to innovate and refresh some of the things that made Brightcove an early part of online video. Specifically this year, the exciting things are Brightcove Live.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Brand new, rebuilt from the ground up, live modules so that broadcasters, publishers, whomever, can call to an API, use any encoder, fire up a live event, stream as much as they want during the event with things like Cloud DVR and clipping.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Then when the event's over, a very quick turnaround to where it's a VOD asset.

Tim: Oh, nice.

Matt: We have data and research, I'm sure you've seen it yourself, that says that there's a significant amount of views that happen immediately after a live event, several hours, and as that time goes on, the viewability of that VOD asset decreases.

Tim: In fact, that's one thing we saw in the sports world a couple of years ago, was as clipping was available for online VOD assets, say, during a basketball game or immediately after the game, people would want to come and watch the highlights.

Matt: Right.

Tim: Because the game's relevant for the moment and, by the end of the next day, it's really not that relevant anymore.

Matt: It also, think of it too, in terms of activating social networks. If you can clip a piece of content and socially syndicate that, activating those channels, saying, "This is happening now, tune into our Facebook live stream," or, "Tune into our live broadcast on our app," or last but certainly not least, "Tune into the broadcast,” you can use all of those tools to leverage viewers on all platforms.

Tim: Speaking about all platforms, and broadcasts especially, we've got Nielsen, was sort of the classic DCR that they had worked on, digital content ratings. We have their traditional ratings. How are you all approaching where you look at the measurements across all those, because I think it's important if we're saying there are multiple platforms? Is analytics a key part of the new broadcast platform that you have?

Matt: Huge, huge. Analytics and QoS and QoE. We're very passionate about that this year. We've talked about our media manifesto before. Those data points are very important to us. I'll try to tackle all of them with one statement.

Tim: Sure.

Matt: Being able to enable our customers to stand at that live event or create a bought asset, get it out in the wild, and the wild meaning, could be a Roku device, could be an Apple TV, iOS, Android, a social network. All that data shouldn't be a haystack, essentially, that you gotta reach in and try and find the metric you're looking for.

Tim: Right.

Matt: We're trying to pull all those metrics into dashboard so that if they're syndicating to Facebook or they're syndicating to YouTube, or if they're syndicating to Twitter, those data components and analytics come back to one dashboard so they can see how the concerts--

Tim: It ultimately allows them to make marketing decisions around what's effective in terms of each of the platforms. You also mentioned, if you're authorized, when we were talking about sports.

Matt: It was authentic-

Tim: It was authentication of both the viewing and authentication of access to the content itself, sort of core to the new broadcast solution.

Matt: Still very important. We are ... It really varies by publisher, but I would say that there's still a trendline where authorized access is still the name of the game, where you've got to plug in those credentials whether it's for a skinny bundle or a service or whether you're authenticating through cable subscription to watch the content. Traditionally, that content has been protected. Protection meaning lightly wrapped with some of content protection.

Tim: DRM. Yeah.

Matt: Now we're seeing a trend in live more toward DRM.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Proper DRM.

Tim: Oh, okay, I got it.

Matt: To where it's more tightly constricted in terms of the access.

Tim: Access. Okay.

Matt: Generally, the rule of thumb that I applied over the last 18 months, was DRM means you've got studio-grade content, you've got feature length content.

Tim: Right, sure.

Matt: Right? The only way you're gonna offer that in OTT fashion is using DRM. But now I'm starting to see it more for live. Not necessarily live channels that have movies on them, just like content, it's very ...

Tim: Okay, right. Because live content is costly to produce.

Matt: Yes.

Tim: Is the reason that we're seeing this sort of more of a move toward DRM because we're seeing fewer and fewer paywalls and the content is then out there for public consumption, but you want to make sure that somebody can't copy it? Or is that even happening behind paywall as all?

Matt: I think your assumption is correct. It's consumption beyond paywall. In other words, the paywall is being knocked down, so the content must be secured so that we feel better about the number of eyeballs that are watching us.

Tim: Sure.

Matt: We're capturing the audience. We're offsetting the money that we paid for this content in a monetization step.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: With DAI.

Tim: Interesting. So essentially, by not having that sort of firewall there with a paywall, in terms of authentication, we're looking to protect content individually, more deeply than we have in the past.

Matt: Correct. And I've added lastly, that technologically it's not as scary as it used to be. DRM used to be a really bad word in this hall. It made a lot of people scowl. Now with things like Just-In-Time Packaging, where you've got an origin server that can deliver content relative to the customer's needs.

Tim: Right. Exactly.

Matt: Whether it be encryption, DRM, ad insertion, multiple languages, different closed captions.

Tim: Yeah.

Matt: All of those components used to really frighten people or they'd say, "Okay, I know how to do it, but I'm gonna have 18 iterations of one piece of content."

Tim: Right.

Matt: Now with the notion of late binding and Just-In-Time Packaging ...

Tim: Right.

Matt: We could do these thing ... I'm hesitant to use the word 'easily' ...

Tim: Right.

Matt: But we're able to do them in a much more effective way.

Tim: I think you landed on something key too. DRM and encryption are two separate things and I think before, the lack of knowledge was that DRM meant encryption.

Matt: No.

Tim: That's not the case. In fact, the next interview I'm doing is with Christopher Levy from BuyDRM. He said he's decided after 10 years to finally come back to distributed media shows, so we'll see if he understands how that has morphed. Anything else you want to add from the Brightcove standpoint?

Matt: Well, it's something that we're gonna be talking about, actually next week in Boston. Our Customer Conference is next week.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: It's called Play.

Tim: Right.

Matt: And there we are formally rolling it out of the garage. Our 'context aware encoding', we called it 'dynamic profiles' as well.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: This is the idea that you can take that ... Personally, you and I are very familiar with the guy that used to sit in front of this jazzy-looking equipment over here, monitors, and towers, and all these bells and whistles. Colorizing and interpreting frame by frame what was happening in the frame, and really adjusting that piece of content, whether it was three minutes long or whether it was three hours long.

Tim: Right.

Matt: And then handing you back an optimized version of what you'd handed that person on the input. We've essentially taken that process and put it in the cloud, so that if you got bought asset and you drop it in a bucket, we can analyze that piece of content frame by frame ...

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Pixel by pixel. And also analyze the audience. You fed us with the piece of content and where you're gonna distribute it.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Audience meaning, "Well, are we going big screen with Apple TV, Roku, etc.?"

Tim: Right, sure.

Matt: "Or are we just going mobile only?"

Tim: Right.

Matt: "Or are we just going smartphone and table?" We analyze that content relative to the audience data, and then produce an optimized rendition set.

Tim: Okay.

Matt: Think of it as real content optimization with the audience included, so it's a little bit different than what Netflix did a few years ago. This is not for the faint of encoding heart where you used to having very static data sets that are 3MG, one and a half, 750.

Tim: Right, right, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Matt: Your data rate might be completely not what you think it is ...

Tim: Right.

Matt: But where you used to have six data rates and now you have three ...

Tim: Right.

Matt: Your storage and delivery cost just went down by 50%.

Tim: Okay. Interesting.

Matt: We're really excited about that. I don't want to say too much about it and let the cat out of the bag, but Boston will be next week.

Tim: So next week, Boston, Brightcove play.

Matt: Yes.

Tim: We'll hear the details. Great.

Matt: Indeed.

Tim: as always, Matt, thank you for being here. This has been Matt Smith with Brightcove, still with Brightcove. And I'm Tim Siglin, Contributing Editor of Streaming Media Magazine.