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NAB 17: Ericsson and Partners Create Content Discovery Ecosystem
A newly reorganized Ericsson media team unveils a system for building viewer loyalty and growing revenue, but a larger vision for the year ahead is lacking.

Doing more with data is a prime trend of this year's NAB Show, and communications company Ericsson plays into that with the launch of its content discovery ecosystem. Working with partners ColorTV, the Internet Video Archive (IVA), and XroadMedia, Ericsson is offering customers an API-driven data source of TV show and movie information, as well as the ability to make decisions based on that data.

Data available from the ecosystem includes images, poster art, clips, trailers, ratings, cast and crew information, and episode data. Besides providing media assets, the ecosystem includes applications for creating viewer recommendations, a universal search, and deep links. The ecosystem can also manage usage rights and create analytics. The goal is helping operators build viewer loyalty and grow revenue. All processes are available through a single API.

Ericsson's role is this ecosystem is creating the semantic data hub that sits at its core. Partner data is linked to a universal search with unified IDs. Ericsson has also pre-integrated the solution into its MediaFirst suite. Just before NAB 2017, Ericsson debuted the MediaFirst Management Controller which provides a central access point for the company's line of MediaFirst encoding and streaming services.

It's been a little less than a month since Ericsson announced a refocusing of its business strategy to "restore profitability," something the company pointedly did not want to talk about publicly during its pre-NAB press conference. The restructuring, which waved a giant red flag for the industry, created two units within the media business: Broadcast and Media Services and Media Solutions.

"For some time Ericsson has been challenged on both technology and market leadership and the group strategy has not yielded expected returns," said Börje Ekholm, Ericsson president and CEO, in a statement. "In our strategy review we have listened carefully to customers around the world and made an in-depth analysis of our portfolio and performance. To enable us to immediately take action and move with speed in execution we are today outlining our path to restoring profitability and to lead with innovation and best in class solutions in areas we have decided to focus on."

In a private NAB roundtable discussion with analysts and reporters, representatives from Ericsson's MediaFirst and the Broadcast and Media Services teams explained the company's end-to-end solution, modular approach, and emphasis on tailoring the experience to the user. It was a discussion that felt like it could have taken place two years ago at NAB. If Ericsson is going to drive the streaming industry forward and "restore profitability," it's going to take more than piecemeal offerings and me-too solutions.

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