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DISTRIBUTION & DELIVERY Software-defined workflows key to OTT and TV everywhere success by Steve Reynolds, CTO, Imagine Communications T he rising popularity of over-the-top video offerings and TV Everywhere services continues to transform the media and entertainment business. Whether through “pure- play” OTT services from dedicated providers, “catch-up TV” offerings from broadcasters or authenticated TV Everywhere services from pay-TV operators, the ability to access content on any device, anywhere is now firmly ingrained in consumers’ expectations and viewing habits. The growth of OTT video consumption and TV Everywhere adoption offers content providers and service operators tremendous new opportunities to engage their audiences and further monetize their content, but also creates operational pressures that require fresh approaches to their workfl ows. This is particularly signifi cant for broadcasters and service providers who must integrate the workfl ows for these new offerings with their existing television infrastructure. 64 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 91 JULY 2014 While OTT services and TV Everywhere have very different business models, they share many common operational challenges. The demands of OTT and TV Everywhere at scale are refl ected in the extensive media processing required to bring expanding content volumes to a diverse array of viewing devices. A recent SNL Kagan analysis of TV Everywhere offerings from leading western European pay-TV providers shows 79% targeting at least three viewing platforms (such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles and PCs), each with many device variations within it. “Pure- play” OTT services often target even more, including dedicated streaming media players. Though many devices share common characteristics, they vary in their support for video formats, wrappers, metadata and the adaptive bit rate (ABR) delivery protocols needed to provide reliable viewing experiences over varying network conditions. Delivering optimal media experiences across this broad range of devices requires creating and managing parallel outputs supporting many different combinations of specifi cations. Of course, profi tably bringing content to multiple devices is not just about transforming video into varying formats. Direct integration of capabilities such as automated quality control (QC), loudness compliance and branding is necessary to maximize effi ciency. The ability to integrate video processing operations directly with the organization’s business systems is essential in enabling new monetization opportunities through applications such as addressable advertising. Seamless, automated management of the entire workfl ow – including tight integration of both live and on-demand OTT or TV Everywhere operations with any existing ‘traditional’ television workfl ows – is crucial to effi ciently deploying, maintaining and operating the services. Just as important, organizations need their multiscreen operations to be agile enough to respond quickly to changing market dynamics and