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Verizon Digital Media Services Brings Simplicity to Broadcasters

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[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at NAB 2014.] 

Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS) went through several changes in 2013, acquiring EdgeCast Networks and UpLynk and offering an expanded lineup of services to its customers. At the NAB conference, James Segil, CMO for VDMS (and former president of EdgeCast), explained what drove those moves.

"There’s been a lot of demand at Verizon for broadcast solutions, so our customers -- and you think about our customers, it’s the biggest broadcasters in the world, the biggest enterprise companies in the world -- these are folks that expect Verizon to deliver them a one-stop shop, right? A soup-to-nuts solution for everything they want in the IT technology space," Segil said.

Why would those major broadcasters and enterprise customers move to VDMS? Because they want a variety of services, but without the complexity.

"There’s a simplification message," Segil explained. "Folks are looking for a way to make sure that their workflow, their media management, their meta tagging is in an easy-to-use manner. Get it up into the cloud and get it out to end-users on any device, anywhere."

For more from VDMS and James Segil, watch the full interview below.


Eric: I’m Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen editor of Streaming Media and I’m here at NAB 2014 with James Segil from Verizon Digital Media Services. Welcome.

James: Nice to be here. Thanks, Eric.

Eric: Verizon has gone through some pretty big changes in the last year or so with the EdgeCast acquisition, with the UpLynk acquisition. Tell us about how all that came together and why Verizon is bringing those companies together in an integrated fashion?

James: Well, there’s been a lot of demand at Verizon for broadcast solutions, so our customers and you think about our customers it’s the biggest broadcasters in the world, the biggest enterprise companies in the world. These are folks that expect Verizon to deliver them a one stop shop, right. A soup to nuts solution for everything they want in the IT technology space whether it’s web hosting, whether it’s connectivity, whether it’s mobile delivery and whether it’s broadcast solutions. And so, VDMS, Verizon Digital Media Services, a while back started to really address that problem, came together with a bunch of really smart people and realized that buying some great companies was the way to go. And so they acquired EdgeCast Networks and UpLynk last year and put those together with the VDMS team and now we’ve been able to offer soup to nuts broadcast solutions to all of our video customers and big broadcasters like ABC.com, as well as a whole host of others are using it now and we’re powering a good percentage of the broadcast internet today.

Eric: So what’s the value proposition to networks like ABC in the media and entertainment industry for Verizon Digital Media Services?

James: Well, I think there’s a simplification message. Folks are looking for a way to make sure that they’re workflow, their media management, their Meta tagging is in an easy to use manner. Get it up into the cloud and get it out to end users on any device anywhere. Verizon brings the uplink technology, which allows a real simplified and effective workflow ad solution and transformation technology in the cloud and then allows us to deliver that file to any device anywhere using the EdgeCast CDM. And of course with the strength of Verizon’s network, we have a great lot of learning optimizing delivery to mobile networks, optimizing delivery to the wire line networks all over the world.

Eric: What role does quality of experience play both to the consumer and to the content owner and content publisher?

James: It’s critical. It’s the measurement, the unit that we all look at in terms of how effective are we are delivering to our customers. We have a number of different responsibilities, especially in Verizon’s position. We think about the end users. These are the folks who buy internet access from us whether it’s wireless or wire line. We have an obligation to make sure their web streaming experience or web surfing experience is exceptional. And so managing that quality is one challenge. And then the content companies who are also our customers expect us to deliver their content to end users anywhere anytime, again, at exceptional quality. And then there’s a third constituency and that’s the internet. We have an obligation to deliver not just to the Verizon access customers, but to AT&T customers, Comcast customers, Deutsche Telecom customers. We connect to everyone. We’re over the top. And so the complexity associated with that means that you need a CDN to handle the over the top, you need a work flow management solution like UpLynk and then you need a network that is really about quality and performance which is Verizon’s claim to fame.

Eric: Sure, sure. Now EdgeCast is a company that’s familiar to Streaming Media readers. We’ve written a fair amount about you. What does the acquisition of EdgeCast mean to Verizon and why did Verizon need EdgeCast?

James: Well, we’re all very good looking guys..

Eric: Yeah, obviously.

James: ..and I think that adds a lot of color and value to the management team. No, I’d say that there’s a lot of capabilities in the over-the-top access any network requirement. And having a global CDN solves a lot of that. You think about how telecom operators connect today. There’s ISPs, MSOs, wireless networks, backbone carriers. There’s a complex web of all different folks in the web delivery eco system. And having a CDN brings a layer of value in terms of how you connect to all places around the world and all users and Verizon needed that. You know, Verizon has the UUNET NCI backbone. They have the Verizon Wireless network. They have a phenomenal FiOS delivery network and what they needed was a CDN on top of that to allow them to overlay in every country in the world, to every major ISP in the world so that the interconnect and the global delivery capabilities are really there. I think that’s one of the big pieces of value we bring.

Eric: So what do you foresee happening in the rest of the 2014 from EdgeCast in specific and Verizon Digital Media Services in general?

James: Well, I think we’ll all continue to work out, take care of ourselves, look good and aside from that no makeup by the way. We’re all natural. We’re going to look for opportunities to keep growing the brand. So when you take a look at the enterprise customers that we have, big opportunity to get them onto our broadcast solution, help them with their web acceleration and security needs, tying in with Verizon’s security. We have a great security product, our web application firewall, which is rolling out later this year and will be tied in with Verizon’s security solution. We have an e-commerce platform that’s what I consider to be the best in the industry, PCI compliant, perfect for internet retailers, rolling that out to our global enterprise customer base. You’ve got all the broadcasters around the world. So not only the large domestic broadcasters in the US, but think about all of our European friends and cohorts, Asian as well. We’ve got a lot of big broadcast markets to attack. So I think 2014 and ‘15 is really about solidifying our position here in the US, expanding globally and then adding a complement of products and solutions to our portfolio to really round it out.

Eric: Very cool. Good stuff going on at Verizon digital media services. Thank you, James, for joining us here at the Streaming Media booth at NAB 2014.

James: Thanks Eric.

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