Mirror Image Releases OTT Distribution and Ad-Blocking Solutions
[This sponsored interview was recorded at Streaming Media East 2016.]
The content delivery network (CDN) Mirror Image had a lot to show off at the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City. It demoed miPublisher, a next-generation online video publisher; miAcceleration, a website acceleration tool, and Campfyre, a platform that content owners can use to stream their shows to desktop, mobile, and connected TV viewers. Campfyre is easy to use, and its starting price can't be beat.
"We also have a new OTT product we call Campfyre," said Robert Andrews, Mirror Image's chief operating officer. "This is a very easy, very inexpensive—as a matter of fact, it's free to begin with—product that enables companies with digital content to deliver those to OTT, set-top box, connected devices, and start to deliver their content to that audience."
Content owners trying to monetize their services with ads know that the rise of ad-blockers is a serious concern. Luckily, Mirror Image has a solution for that, as well.
"We're doing a lot of ad delivery performance enhancement, ad revenue optimization, and some other new services that we've just launched, including a product that enables content owners that currently have their ads being blocked—that's a particularly important issue in the industry these days—we have a product that helps publishers solve that problem," Andrews said. "If they're losing revenue to ad blockers, we give them a friendly, gentle way to address that problem and regain the revenue that they're losing."
For more Mirror Image news, scroll down for the full interview.
Troy Dreier: Hi, this is Troy Dreier, coming to you from Streaming Media East 2016. We're having brief conversations with the thought leaders in our industry, and I'm very pleased to be talking to Robert Andrews right now. Robert Andrews is the chief operating officer of Mirror Image. Welcome.
Robert Andrews: Thank you very much.
Troy Dreier: I know Mirror Image has been active in the CDN space for a long, long time. For those watching who aren't familiar, tell us when you were founded and how the company's grown.
Robert Andrews: Well, Mirror Image is one of the original CDNs and dates back to 1999. It has been a classic CDN, a CDN providing high-performance, high-capacity digital delivery globally. That's its roots. That's the legacy of Mirror Image, and from that we have embarked and have looked to do and innovate many other new services. Most recently, that's what we've been doing.
Troy Dreier: Mirror Image recently updated some of those services, right?
Robert Andrews: Of the delivery network, they have all been updated. There's new technologies we put into place. Our performance has leapt forward. Glad to see the results, as reported by many third-party measures in the industry. Our performance is amongst the best and fastest of the industry, so we're really happy with the results.
Troy Dreier: You get at something I wanted to ask. We've seen a lot of changes in the CDN space. How do you rank among your competition?
Robert Andrews: In terms of performance, capacity? In terms of performance, we are consistently—in terms of throughput—ranked among the top five, oftentimes top three in the industry. In terms of response times, in terms of latency, speed, we are also among the top five or six in the industry globally. The results of what we've been doing and investing in our network has been dramatic.
Troy Dreier: You've got a booth here at Streaming Media East, which we love. Right? You're meeting with people and doing some business here.
Robert Andrews: We always do. We're a faithful customer of yours. We come to Streaming Media East and Streaming Media West all the time.
Troy Dreier: Well, we love it. What are you showing off at the booth?
Robert Andrews: We are displaying, presenting, demoing a number of new services that we have launched. Of course, we're talking about our performance, the investment in our network, the enhanced speed and capacity that we have. We're also talking about new services pertaining to streaming, management, and delivery, our new platform, called Publisher. We also have a new OTT product we call Campfyre. This is a very easy, very inexpensive—as a matter of fact, it's free to begin with—product that enables companies with digital content to deliver those to OTT, set-top box, connected devices, and start to deliver their content to that audience.
Troy Dreier: That's Campfyre.
Robert Andrews: That's called Campfyre.
Troy Dreier: With a "y," instead of an "i."
Robert Andrews: Yes.
Troy Dreier: Okay, and you also got one- You said Publisher, but it's miPublisher?
Robert Andrews: It's called miPublisher. Yeah. Mirror Image's products have a naming convention. You'll see miPublisher—
Troy Dreier: With an "i."
Robert Andrews: —with an "i." You will see a website acceleration product called miAcceleration. You will see an edge computing or an edge application family of services that we have that we call miLogic. That is also quite new to Mirror Image. That very much fits to and is focused on the ad tech space right now. We're doing a lot of ad delivery performance enhancement, ad revenue optimization, and some other new services that we've just launched, including a product that enables content owners that currently have their ads being blocked—that's a particularly important issue in the industry these days—we have a product that helps publishers solve that problem. If they're losing revenue to ad blockers, we give them a friendly, gentle way to address that problem and regain the revenue that they're losing.
Troy Dreier: What strategy do you recommend for ad blockers?
Robert Andrews: Well, the first strategy is you really need to know your audience. Are they particularly offended by ads being delivered, in which case, they should be smarter about the ads that they're allowing to come to their site. Without even using products of ours, they should be particularly sensitive to what their audience might find problematic: banner ads; noisy, bright, sparkly ads; those types of things. If that's not the case, if it's just in general that their audience just doesn't like ads, then their solution is they can offer a subscription-based model for monetizing their site and their content or their applications, or they could provide an alternative to those ads, either ads that they deliver themselves, meaning the publishers provide their own ads and monetize their site that way, or they can use our product which ensures that the ads do openly get delivered to their site.
Troy Dreier: Okay, so are a lot of your customers interested in reaching OTT devices right now?
Robert Andrews: They are, yes. What many content owners are realizing is that the traditional connected audience, meaning the cable-connected or satellite-connected audience, is shrinking. It's also a one-way audience. It's a very linear, unidirectional audience. There's no interaction with the site owners or the content owners. In the case of the OTT space, in our product, we can enable content owners to deliver their content to the digital-connected audience, choose the content that they want to see, and oftentimes, interact with those content owners. I think many large publishers, the owners of content, whether they are event producers or other, realize that they need to really support that audience and that their traditional connected audience is shrinking. They're looking for products like Campfyre to deliver that content.
Troy Dreier: Let's leave off with a little crystal ball gazing, a little look in the future. What features or services are coming from Mirror Image?
Robert Andrews: Well, the OTT-related products, Campfyre, again. We have a string of products related to ad revenue. Ad optimization products are coming. The ad blocker override product that we have is available today, and there are other products that are coming that enhance publishers, website owners, to enhance the revenues that they earn on their ad placements. We have products coming in that regard, also. In general, I think you'll see Mirror Image doing more with respect to live, VOD, and audio streaming. We will continue to invest in that area. I think you'll see Mirror Image doing more and more with respect to computing or providing applications on the edge of our legacy CDN network. Right now, again, the emphasis is very much pertaining to ad delivery and ad optimization, but we're going to be offering many other things through that capability, also. Front-end optimization [FEO] is an example, also. That's a family of products that we're just starting to release, and miAcceleration is the first of a variety of FEO-based products that we'll be offering.
Troy Dreier: It sounds like you're in all the hot areas.
Robert Andrews: We are very busy.
Troy Dreier: All right. Well, sounds good, and we're happy that you're succeeding here at Streaming Media East. Coming to you almost live, this is Troy Dreier.
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