For our customers the new challenge is how to aggregate all content sources as part of the service. Aggregation of content at the head-end has been the ‘bread and butter’ of the PayTV operator for the last 40 years, but now the video delivery path has evolved to mean that aggregation must also be implemented on client devices through the integration of OTT applications. For instance, wouldn’t it be great if your favourite OTT services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime were accessible through your PayTV EPG, and even better if search was integrated too, so you no longer have to remember how you navigate to each show?
There is no single solution to the aggregation of video services and there will always be gaps in the operator offering while OTT vendors differ in their technical and commercial approach, but there are options and we can do better.
Some OTT providers are willing to enter into scaling partner agreements with technology suppliers such as Amino. This allows us to integrate and certify our devices for the app and reuse that certification for all of our customers. The operator then has a very simple on-boarding process to go through directly with the OTT service. Amino has implemented this approach with YouTube and it is probably one of the most effective approaches for all parties concerned.
A very useful additional feature which our customers get as part of the YouTube integration is Chromecast support. This is a convenient way to plug the gap for services which are not available on the device. It’s true that a separate device is not expensive, but a single device and single remote control is more convenient and makes this part of the large-screen viewing experience keeping the subscriber within the operator’s environment.
App stores are of course another great way to quickly add a large number of the most popular services. This is an obvious driver for some operators to migrate to AndroidTV as the Google PlayStore is an integral part of that platform. However, some good app stores also exist for Linux platforms and Amino has worked with a number of vendors such as Metrological to launch these.
I believe that the greatest challenge for an operator looking to make a success of aggregation is to get the big 3 OTT services, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney, onto their platform. Amazon and Netflix both require direct commercial agreements between the operator and the OTT provider. That’s not always easy, however where our customers have entered into such agreements, Amino has been able to integrate these services on both Android and Linux set-top boxes. Being a late entrant to this market, Disney does not require a direct agreement, but is limited to Android TV devices. It remains to be seen if they will make a solution for Linux platforms generally available.
Because of the scale of the upside, we believe that the successful operators of the future will embrace content aggregation despite the challenges. Amino’s technology approach and focus on these integrations and scaling agreements gives our customers the tools to deliver a rich catalogue of content. On its own even that may not be enough, but remember that operators rarely just provide video. I can’t think of any customer of Amino which only sells content. They are all providers of multiple services, including broadband, mobile and fixed line telephony, even power and utilities bundled with the TV and video. As a result, operators have retained a strong brand and direct customer relationship. Our customers deliver service and are responsible for every link in the chain. When you have a problem there is a help desk to resolve it.
OTT Services are a great source of quality content and there remains a large and loyal group of premium subscribers who value simplicity and service. For this audience, content aggregation will provide great content with the service levels they expect – a truly win-win situation for the OTT and PayTV providers.
VP of Product Management & Customer Support, Amino