In the last 20 years, broadband service providers of all types have faced increased competition from directions that may not have been foreseen beforehand. Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max are just the most recent threat to OTT, following Hulu and Sling’s packaged OTT services.
They followed Microsoft’s and Google’s retail initiatives, which in turn followed Directv MDU in Alabama and Echostar’s/Dish Network’s hotel initiatives from the early 2000s. All of these initiatives are still in place today.
Internet protocol television (IPTV) platform companies have incorporated technological and business strategies to develop television platforms. They are now providing those platforms as white label and cobranded TV (TVaaS) services.
While there are differences between the players, they all offer IP video and have transport or full carriage rights to deliver content through the local service provider’s network.
Additionally, all emerging TVaaS providers offer service provider branding of their services, and the majority offer TV Everywhere multiscreen services that use the same relatively low-cost caching infrastructure. Some TVaaS providers are beginning to engage with alternative service providers who focus on MDU, senior living, institutional, and even hospitality video services, in addition to typical residential video providers.
Here are a few emerging TVaaS providers.
Business users can now access TiVo’s new IPTV service, Stream. A single-user experience for smart TVs, tablets, mobile devices, and traditional set-top boxes is created by combining live and streaming content. With the recent merger of TiVo and Rovi, they have a large portfolio of intellectual property rights and advanced features.
In 2017, MobiTV pivoted to focus on the TVaaS industry in the United States and Canada after years of supplying IPTV systems and infrastructure for large content and mobile phone providers. They offer tight integration of services. Additionally, it offers advanced features, including transporting many types of content and quickly setting up new business customers on its hosted platform.
For many years, a major player in IP television has also adapted to market changes with the release of its Minerva 10 platform. Minerva 10 includes catch-up and restart TV and a network DVR. It supports a wide range of TV, mobile, tablet, and set-top platforms.
Its Skitter Services is one of the newest entrants into the IPTV TVaaS market. In addition to being white-labeled, SkitterTV is deployed with a unique business model that includes full content rights for each channel in its portfolio. SkitterTV partners directly with local service providers to deliver content. These partnerships will involve revenue sharing and the co-location of local caching servers and content delivery networks.
Television as a service platform typically procures transportation rights for delivering content to a local service provider. The provider’s responsibility is to secure carriage rights directly or through a co-op organization to carry the content to a customer’s viewing location. SkitterTV, on the other hand, acquires full carriage rights but has to partner with the local operator to deliver the service.
In the past three years, deployments of and use of TVaaS platforms have grown dramatically. It has resulted in some growing pains. Due to IPTV’s reliance on a fairly complex IP network, the service can be more susceptible to outages caused by high network usage levels and short bursts of extreme usage.
The new TVaaS providers are experiencing similar service interruptions and outages that Netflix and YouTube experienced during their early years of deployment. In the meantime, TVaaS platforms have made considerable progress lately in reaching a much higher service-level quality, just as OTT services solved their quality and reliability problems one by one.
When considering switching to TV-as-a-service technology platforms, service providers should understand how these networks differ from those they are accustomed to. Furthermore, they should understand how architecture and deployment decisions can influence reliability.
Overall, the tradeoff will greatly reduce most service operators’ capital costs, provide their subscribers with more advanced features, and improve the quality and professionalism of users’ experience.
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