June 14, 2010 – BeBanjo, a two-year-old startup just entering the North American market, is bringing a cloud-based VOD operations solution into play with a value proposition that's already gained significant traction among tier 1 players in Europe.
"If you look at how on-demand comes together around different service categories like VOD, catch-up, TV Everywhere, there are a bunch of people dealing with different networks and cultures," says BeBanjo co-founder Bastian Manintveld. "Two years ago we set out to create software that would allow you to more easily pull together all parties involved in on demand."
The resulting product, Sequence, built in close collaboration with Spain's Telefonica in support of its Imagenio IPTV service, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that has also been deployed in the U.K. by BskyB in conjunction with its Sky Player, a TV Everywhere type platform, and by terrestrial broadcaster Channel Five and in France by TV Numeric, a cable company. As described by Manintveld, Sequence, accessed via Web browsers without requiring installations on user's machines, connects all parties involved in the media workflow with each other.
BeBanjo, based in Madrid, just added a second product, Movida, another Web-based system that helps cable networks and on-demand service operators manage rights, scheduling and metadata for any kind of on-demand service across any kind of platform. Like Sequence, its commercial model is based on an all-inclusive monthly service fee with no up-front fees to get started.
Movida's rules-based approach to scheduling, rights management and distribution of metadata leads to dramatic improvements in productivity, Manintveld says. It enables companies to distribute their content across on-demand platforms without increasing headcount and helps generate more revenue.
"Very few if any scheduling tools were really conceived from the ground up for VOD," he adds. "And this is the only tool in world that's built for what we in Europe call catch-up."
This is not a digital asset management system, Manintveld stresses. "We're the management layer on top of all that," he says. "This is a software tool for the 20 to 30 people who need to run on-demand services day to day. Usually the people who need to run on demand are the last people engineers and operations people think about.
"Movida is the most challenging thing we've done as a company so far, and it's being rapidly adopted," he continues. "We feel now is the right time to bring it to TV channels and other on-demand services in the U.S."
Rather than requiring TV distributors to manually track rights and manage scheduling and metadata for each episode or title on each of their distribution platforms, users set the rules once, leaving Movida to take care of the rest automatically, Manintveld says. "Movida can export rights, scheduling and metadata to each VOD distribution platform using our APIs, while giving you an up-to-date overview of your rights across all platforms, devices and business models," he explains. "The user-friendly interface lets you schedule library, archive and acquired content with ease and helps to ensure that no rights are underutilized."
The way it works, Manintveld says, is that the customer integrates the linear playout of content with Movitas. "Someone comes in over their browser and says, 'I want to schedule this service one hour after it's available on Hulu or Comcast or whatever,'" he says. "Movitas keeps the schedule and puts that out with the metadata and rights data with the playing of each episode."
Cost savings associated with an SaaS strategy are a big driver behind BeBanjo's early successes with Sequence and should help push penetration of Movida, notes Jorge Gomez Sancha, the company's other co-founder. "Most enterprise level TV solutions are ugly, complicated and very expensive," Gomez Sancha says. "We're changing all that while still addressing the same operational challenges. Movida is a beautifully crafted, easy-to-use solution built on an open architecture and a well-documented API library that allows it to interface with our clients' existing infrastructure."
The two BeBanjo products can be bought and used independently but are completely integrated with each other so that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts, Manintveld says. "If you use both you cover all the extra work in your plan from the point where you acquire rights to the point where you play out the content on one or multiple streams," he adds.