“Irdeto is bringing together a whole set of capabilities from right across its business into what we call TV Services,” says Adam Nightingale, head of sales at Irdeto. “It’s a very coherent, very tightly integrated set of capabilities that allow us to quickly deploy multi-platform services for our customers. It makes it quick and simple for them to get content from anywhere to anywhere and to monetize it on any platform.”
The cloud-based aggregation of Irdeto’s workflow automation platform with full support for multiple adaptive streaming formats and administration of content protection together with Accedo’s cloud-based connected-device application environment puts a version of TVE with value-added applications in reach of even the smallest operators, notes Accedo CEO Michael Lantz. “So far we have mainly seen the larger players launch TV apps, but we believe that smaller media companies will see the opportunity to generate new revenue streams and find new customer groups,” Lantz says.
Accedo provides applications, tools and services to media, consumer electronics and pay-TV companies globally. Its portfolio of applications for IPTV and connected TVs, including IPTV games, catch-up TV, VOD, music, sports, lifestyle, news, weather, social media and communication services, have been deployed on more than 50 operator platforms worldwide and with major media and Internet brands on most smart TV platforms, Lantz says. Accedo’s
Folding this apps foundation into an end-to-end TVE platform could provide significant differentiation for the partners and their customers. “The growth [in use of apps] is absolutely phenomenal at this point, and we believe that we are seeing just the beginning of the emerging TV apps industry,” Lantz comments. Accedo’s recently announced SmartApp solution is specifically designed to support TVE by greatly simplifying efforts to develop apps for multiple devices, he notes.
Another interesting new addition to the app foundation in the companies’ joint TVE platform is automatic content recognition made possible through a new affiliation between Accedo and Audible Magic, one of the leading providers of ACR (see January, p. 1). Accedo is integrating the ACR solutions in support of new social TV, interactive advertising and other applications for the smart TV and smart device markets. “We see endless innovation possibilities,” Lantz says.
Accedo and Irdeto are marketing their joint solution in their respective customer domains, which, given the CE side of Accedo’s market, makes for an interesting extension of the TVE paradigm. Anyone with content to offer, it seems, will have the opportunity to jump on this particular TVE bandwagon.
The TVE platform is designed to balance cloud aspects with in-house resources in whatever ways suit operators and other customers, Nightingale says. “We’re agnostic,” he explains. “We have our own facilities, multiple data centers from which we can host these capabilities.”
But, increasingly, he adds, “we’re seeing customers that want to host everything on their own sites. They might have a big investment in data centers or they’re in a less well-connected part of the world where it makes sense for them to host all the capabilities. Or customers can go to a hybrid model with some functions positioned in the cloud and others in their own facilities.”
Whatever architecture they use, the modularity of the Irdeto solution gives operators maximum flexibility to use third-party components, including legacy systems, as they choose. For example, despite Irdeto’s long history in conditional access and digital rights management, Nightingale makes clear the modular agnosticism of the TVE solution extends to content protection as much as anything else.
“There is no silver bullet for how you secure content,” he says. “We provide a product called Control which is essentially a DRM-agnostic management platform. And we integrate multiple kinds of DRM with that, including our own CA, and we work with competitive CA systems as well. Our goal is that however you need to secure content, which is a function of the devices you want to be on and the mandates of the content rights servers, we have the mechanisms that can secure it, control it from a central platform and distribute it securely to any kind of end device.”
That said, however, Nightingale stresses that, with its ActiveCloak dynamic security system, Irdeto brings to TVE a level of protection that will allow content distributors to meet Hollywood’s highest standards for getting high-quality premium content out to all types of devices. “We have a stack of very interesting announcements around Cloakware we’ll be making over the coming months where we’ve got customers that want to get on devices they couldn’t be on otherwise,” he says.
As previously reported (March, p. 10), ActiveCloak employs a client/server model to negate hacker effectiveness with renewable protection, diverse security and piracy monitoring across all protected devices. Beyond whatever CA or DRM modalities are used, the platform also augments protection by filling security gaps that are unique to specific device architectures and by securing authentication and other subscriber information as well as the specific content streams.
Nightingale also stresses that Irdeto’s role isn’t just about providing technology, cloud hosted or otherwise. “What Irdeto brings is a ton of expertise,” he says. “We’ve been in this market for 40 years in various guises. We know what works from a technology, a marketing and a business point of view. Understanding the marketplace is a very strong part of what we offer.”
Equally important when it comes to getting the business model right is the fact that the modular, cloud-based approach to TVE provides operators leverage to experiment, Nightingale adds. “What you do today doesn’t have to be what you do tomorrow,” he says. “The customers we work with who are the most successful are the ones who adapt very quickly. They do something now; they monitor the success of it in terms of the kind of content and how they’re pricing it, and then they adjust and refine the model until they get it to a point where it’s optimal. And then they keep on adapting it.”