iStreamPlanet Looks at Online Video Industry Challenges
Online video success means scaling up distribution to a vastly larger audience while trying to control costs.
[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at Streaming Media East, 2012.]
While the online video industry is growing furiously, it's facing new challenges everyday. Creating solutions for those challenges is the job of Las Vegas, Nevada-based iStreamPlanet. The company's president and CEO, Mio Babic, sat down for a red carpet interview during the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City to discuss those challenges.
"The biggest challenge is how do we scale the current systems and workflows," said Babic. "Today the workflows are really built on a bunch of disparate systems and they sort of work together to create these complex experiences. Unfortunately when you go from several live events to tens of hundreds of current live events, or you can go from 20 linear channels and try to stand up thousands of linear channels, the cost and the complexity of doing that is one of the biggest challenges that we're seeing."
It's a problem of success, of ramping up distribution for a rapidly expanding audience.
"So really finding a solution: how to scale dynamically up and down based on the customer needs and do that at lower cost with more reliability and the ability to control the entire process," explained Babic. "The entire pipeline, the entire video virtual pipeline needs to be monitored properly so we know when something is wrong is the key challenge that we see and we're certainly investing our time and resources in."
Watch the full interview with Mio Babic in the video below.
Troy Dreier: Hi, this is Troy Dreier, the senior associate editor for StreamingMedia.com coming to you from the red carpet at Streaming Media East in New York City. I'm joined today by our special guest from iStreamPlanet. Want to introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about iStreamPlanet?
Mio Babic: Thank you, Troy. Mio Babic, president and CEO of iStreamPlanet. iStreamPlanet is a leader in live, live linear, and on-demand video platform solutions. We enable our content partners, distributors, and content aggregators to distribute their content efficiently and securely across a multitude of devices. Last year we closed our first Series A Funding led by Intel Capital, also joined by Turner Broadcasting and our European data center partner, Interxion.
Troy Dreier: How is 2012 shaping up for iStreamPlanet?
Mio Babic: We kicked off 2012 with a history-making achievement by streaming Super Bowl for first time live, online across a multitude of devices. It was a most remarkable experience for us and we've then continued and done some other very interesting things. We brought multi-camera angle experiences to Kentucky Derby, as well as the Super Bowl. We brought in 60Hz video to the Xbox, 1020p 60Hz video to the Xbox. And we're seeing just amazing continued growth in online video consumption and our customers are coming back to us and demanding more and more content faster, faster turnaround times. So we're very much excited about all the opportunities that we're seeing in a market world.
Troy Dreier: What are some of the biggest trends you see in the world of online video?
Mio Babic: Over the last 12 months we've seen a doubling in amount of time that consumers are consuming the content, average amount of viewing time. We've seen a doubling in a big rate of quality of consumption, as well as, the doubling of the average amount of viewers viewing our content across multiple devices.
Troy Dreier: What's the biggest challenge you see facing our industry?
Mio Babic: The biggest challenge is how do we scale the current systems and workflows. Today the workflows are really built on a bunch of disparate systems and they sort of work together to create these complex experiences. Unfortunately when you go from several live events to tens of hundreds of current live events, or you can go from 20 linear channels and try to stand up thousands of linear channels, the cost and the complexity of doing that is one of the biggest challenges that we're seeing. We're certainly hitting the wall, and our customers are coming back to us and saying, "We need faster turnaround times. We need more channels online." And then how do you do this dynamically if today you need 30 to 50 channels, but 30 days from now you need 100 channels, leveraging existing hardware and a bunch of disparate systems that are so put together to enable this workload today, it's very complex. It's error-prone. And it's cost-prohibited. So really finding a solution, how to scale dynamically up and down based on the customer needs and do that at lower cost with more reliability and the ability to control the entire process. The entire pipeline, the entire video virtual pipeline needs to be monitored properly so we know when something is wrong is the key challenge that we see and we're certainly investing our time and resources in.
Troy Dreier: Tell us about some innovative scenarios that your company is working on.
Mio Babic: Two keynote scenarios we're working on is around scalability and around creating a seamless experience across multiple devices. We talked a little bit about the challenges of how do you scale to a large number of linear channels and current live events or how quickly can you transcode a vast amount of content, and more and more content obviously is coming online. And the innovating around leveraging the cloud, leveraging virtualization, and designing the new workflow systems to work together coherently so you can track the entire pipeline in one seamless workload instead of having multiple attempts to work together is something that we're focusing around, as well as delivering to multiple devices and creating this immersive and seamless experience across all these IP-connected devices. It doesn't only depend on the formats and sort of screen resolutions. It also requires solving issues with metadata; your 10-foot experience is much different than your iPhone if you're watching something on iPhone. The rights management, if you're integrating on multiple authentication systems so you need to be able to authenticate properly across these devices and make this very seamless. So, it's some of the things that we're focusing on and we're obviously investing all of our resources into over the next 12 to 18 months.
Troy Dreier: So what's the next big thing for iStreamPlanet?
Mio Babic: Creating new sets of workflow products that will allow us to scale dynamically, enable our customers to digitize and distribute their contents seamless across these devices at a much lower cost, and do that with the dynamic approach where if X amount of resources needed one day, that's what they consume and that's what they pay for. If it needs to move to different sets of resources, scale up and down, they have ability to do that dynamically. And secondly is, again, creating that really seamless experience and also innovating around all these new devices, right. If we just replicate the basic television experience on your iPad, or on your Xbox, or on your Roku experience, you're creating another sort of television experience. You are not leveraging all these new technologies' inherent capabilities built into these devices. So, we're certainly excited about the online opportunities around leveraging these new devices and technologies built into these devices, and some technologies that we're building to create a next generation experience not seen today. And bringing that level of innovation to our customers and creating that best level experience is the reason why we exist today, why we're very excited about the future.
Troy Dreier: Very good. Thank you for joining me, Mio. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from the red carpet.
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