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NAB 2019: NPAW Talks Analytics and Quality of Engagement


Jan Ozer: Jan Ozer, here, from Streaming Media Magazine. I'm here with Jon Shields, from Nice People at Work. Hey, Jon.

Jonathan Shields: Hey, how are you today?

Jan Ozer: So, we know Nice People at Work, or NPAW, as quality of experience monitors, so why don't you, you know, tell us a little bit about what quality of experience is and what the baseline of your products are that deliver that to your customers.

Jonathan Shields: Okay, great, yeah. So, Nice People Work's a video analytics company. It specializes in quality of service, in quality of engagements. So, traditionally we come in from a video operation standpoint, so better understanding your video playback experience. So, buffer ratios, join times, exit before the video starts, and then we work with a lot of the content owners for them to better serve content, content recommendation. We also have ad analytics that goes into the ad ecosystem and how it's performing and how it's impacting engagements. So, the whole video ecosystem is pretty much covered by a lot of the stuff we do.

Jan Ozer: So, you talked about QoE and QoS. Is QoS your CDN product?

Jonathan Shields: So, QoS is, from a holistic standpoint, so, everything included in quality of service, so CDN balancer is the ability to move traffic in playback experience to different content delivery networks based on the quality that they're delivering, and it could be different in North America or South America. So, we help, in real-time, move traffic between different providers.

Jan Ozer: Based on, I guess, business roles and, you know, quality of experience at that moment, and...

Jonathan Shields: Exactly. That's exactly what it is. So business roles and also performance metrics.

Jan Ozer: Okay. What about automated? If I'm asleep and things are going poorly.

Jonathan Shields: Exactly, that's exactly what it will do for you. And also if there is an issue in, you know, a region, or in a local state, this will actually move the traffic on your behalf.

Jan Ozer: Okay. So, this market segment is reasonably new, right? I mean, 10 years ago there was no QoE or QoS monitors. Who's using your product today? Which types or companies, or any companies you can identify, and who's not using it who should be, and what's the argument to them if they should be?

Jonathan Shields: Okay. Yeah, so, today, maybe in North America we'll talk a little bit about, but they are the Foxes, the Turners, the Tubis, the Pluto TVs are using it today to better understand their video ecosystem and the companies that are kind of the next evolvers, we've identified and we're already speaking or working with them, so there's a fair amount of companies that now see this as mission-critical, versus in they past it seemed to be a question of "Do I need something like this?" They've seen the impact that it's had in other organizations, so, the ability to drive metrics in the right direction is hugely important. The ability to manage the expectations regarding engagement is hugely beneficial. So these companies that are using us are winning in their space substantially, 'cause they're providing a better service, better recommendation, better ad ecosystem. So, others are now seeing those benefits and really saying "Okay, we really need to kind of get on board with the technology."

Jan Ozer: So, how do you see this working? I mean, obviously, content companies are probably your most dominant type of client, but how much are you seeing movement in the corporate space who just want to deliver good video to their employees, to their service providers, to their partners?

Jonathan Shields: Yes. So, we work with Pluralsight, which is an e-learning company. They just went public a couple of months ago. So, we're seeing that, not only from the e-learning standpoint, some more enterprises are coming online, saying "Hey, video's important," and it could be internal and external, so I'm training, you know, 20-30 thousand employees worldwide, I want to know what's going on, or how my CEO's livecast is going. So, it's very important not only internally for organizations, external-facing, how are people engaging my content all around the world, 'cause a lot of these companies are global. And it's very different once you leave North America. Performance metrics are very different from a quality santdpoint, so...

Jan Ozer: So, what's new with the show? What are you showing that you didn't have last year?

Jonathan Shields: So, probably three different products that I would touch on. One is smart ads, which is the ability to, not only is the ad requested and delivered, but the video quality playback experience of those ad providers and how they're impacting engagement has been hugely important. The ability for smart alerts, which is anomaly detection based on time of day or week of month, whatever might be, so predicting and notifying based on anomalies that happen in the environment. So, that's been a huge piece. And then we've also talked about smart users a little bit in the interview here, but that's the ability to predict churn, so if you have an AVOD or an SVOD service, the ability if you have a million users, the ability to predict churn based on the one percent that might leave and to really cross-promote and upsell products to them or give them discounts so that they stay with you. So, patching the bottom of the boat and it's always usually about net new acquisitions, which is usually the public-facing figures, but this is really making sure that you're keeping the subscribers that you have also on your service.

Jan Ozer: So, what type of metrics are you tracking there? Is that stuff you can talk about? I mean, how do you know a person's about to leave your service?

Jonathan Shields: Yeah, it could be when was the last time they accessed video or playing video? Or how long are they spending on the platform, or with the content? Is the content being consumed in full in its entirety, or they're only watching 50% of the content, which means the content is not that engaging? So really, building a baseline and a profile based on the user base and then the ones that are reducing their consumption—maybe hours or minutes of playback—you can really identify that, hey, these guys might be at risk in the last three months, you know, they've really been heading in the wrong direction, so maybe we can do something special for them to make sure they don't go anywhere else.

Jan Ozer: And alerts are a big thing. How do you differentiate your alerts from other QoE and QoS companies, because, obviously, I want it to be intelligent and I want it to be on time, I want to know what the problem is. How much of that are you doing?

Jonathan Shields: Yeah, so, the fact we're collecting over 5 billion plays a month, from 120-130 countries worldwide, for over 100 customers, we have a really good understanding of what's going on in the ecosystem already. We can apply those alerts based on information that we have for a specific customer. So, we'll customize it towards their dataset, so it's just one customer, but we know a lot of other information regarding what's going on with other ISPs, CDNs, networks in the world, so we can really kind of give them a little bit of advance warning on what's going on in their environment and why they should pay attention to it.

Jan Ozer: Okay. Alright, well, listen. Have a good show and thanks for taking the time.

Jonathan Shields: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

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