Another of the panels that took place during the first Nextv Series Mexico’s virtual edition, held on December 1st and 2nd, was titled ‘The new challenges of video streaming’, where topics related to the boom’ of streaming during the pandemic period; how to manage 4K video streaming; and the arrival of HDR at the streaming ecosystem, were discussed.
Speakers chosen by Dataxis for the discussion were Ivan Neri Morales, CIO at TV Azteca; Gerald Zankl, Global Head of Inside Sales at Bitmovin; and Alexandro Campos Vegas, CTO at Blim TV.
‘Blim TV is an OTT mainly designed for the Hispanic market. We have content from the Televisa library and other industry partners, which is available for users through a subscription’, Campos described. ‘We are currently operating in 18 countries, Mexico being one of the main markets, and we have been making great strides in trying to take the product to another level, integrating all the features that an OTT should have. We are available on different screens, always focusing on the quality of the product’, he added.
In the same way, Neri gave his vision about the importance of streaming within TV Azteca, and reported that ‘in recent years, TV Azteca has grown on its linear channels and in all the cable areas, and it has also occurred in the area of streaming and distribution. As a group, we aim to have a strategy where the intention is to bring our content to our entire audience. Although there are platforms with more or less benefits, each one contributes differently according to its monetization model. But we always want to publish our content in as many media as possible, using all the technology, and with the highest quality. For this reason, in recent years, we have been working on internally improving our distribution and media preparation mechanisms, preparing internal flows to be able to innovate and reduce content publishing times, and improve the quality of ingestion and storage, edition, post-production editing; and shifting internal flows to a native IP streaming’, he explained, adding that ‘all of this is done in order to be ready for new technologies. This is the preamble to what we have been developing internally’.
In relation to the trends noticed in companies that adapt their content to the streaming market and how they changed during the pandemic, Zankl reported that ‘what we see in the market, before Covid but also during it, is a really big impact, which is related to costs. Everyone is trying to get new content. There is a lot of content in the market, even more than before, because many niche players are also entering the market. So what we have seen happening because of Covid was an acceleration of the entire technology adoption’. Later, the executive explained that ‘what happened with broadcasters, telcos and OTT services was that what usually happens in years, happened in months or even weeks. This is really the mega trend, based on how we can see costs at scale, because, due to Covid, the use of many services has increased dramatically, but services, especially SVODs, are able to monetize greater usability?’, he reflected.
Regarding when he thinks that HDR and 8K will be available for massive distribution in cable operators and OTTs, and which of these sectors will be prepared to offer them, Zankle said that ‘it really is a matter about where the adoption of the technology takes place, and where it is possible to adapt really fast. I also think that this adoption point of view is one of the critical parts to see how we can be successful in the best way. Also, Campos reported that ‘we have reviewed the issues of improvement in video quality and it is very exciting to know that, little by little, the infrastructure in Mexico and Latin America and the new technologies are allowing users to receive an increase in quality. Our task is to review and improve the quality of the titles, always with technology to make this distribution more efficient and improve the quality and bring that content little by little to our clients’. In addition, Neri stated that ‘we have been working on knowing the technology. A technology like 8K demands significant bandwidths – at least 40 mbps – but I think mainly that it is still a bit distant’. Likewise, regarding cloud storage, Campos assured that he saw it ‘as a partner and as a need’. According to the executive, ‘the strategy of having the content with the highest possible quality stored in the cloud cannot be distributed today, due to limitations such as the bandwidth of users, but, thinking towards the future, where that technology will become more available, we can. We also have to make it sure that content in the cloud is backed up and secure. One of the advantages of the cloud is that it allows us to have copies of the content in different physical or geographical locations, and that gives us benefits for delivery, although the risk takes place when content is moved to third parties. Security is one of the main concerns, both for storage and for distribution’.
In addition, regarding the strategies they are implementing to reduce latency and speed up video load times, Neri explained that ‘at the development level, we have managed to lower latencies, but experimentally. The new protocols have helped a lot, but the disadvantage that we have seen is that we have not found a way to monetize. By reducing latency, the fact of being able to monetize and establish monetization mechanisms in cases where there is no subscription involved is a bit complex’.
Regarding projects to be developed during 2021, Campos explained that ‘one of the challenges will be to expand the offer to allow users to access content for free; and we also want to have greater growth in our connected TVs ecosystem, to reach other devices, with all the challenges that this includes’.