11 reasons to leverage a SaaS based OTT Platform

Stein Erik Sørhaug
January 18, 2021
11 reasons to leverage a SaaS based OTT Platform

A few years back, a blog post like this would have focused on the reasons OTT should be a part of your content distribution strategy. The key would be to look at how OTT distribution can increase your overall revenue and grow your user base beyond your traditional reach. That kind of thinking is well in the past.

In 2021 the question is now focused on HOW you’re going to address your OTT strategy, rather than IF. In that evaluation some key questions arise.

Are you going to build your platform in-house?  
Are you going to buy hardware (probably not as it’s 2021)?
Are you going to license software to run on your own servers?
Are you going to invest in a scalable SaaS OTT platform?

Furthermore, there is another consideration which is commonplace for content publishers: Do you build it yourself or do you buy from existing vendors?

When considering an OTT solution, it is important to think about:

1. Do you have a common problem that available, customizable software can address?
2. Is the use of the software critical to your business operations?
3. Will the software be used throughout your organization and will it need to integrate with other applications?
4. Do you have a technology and development team that can develop, run, and maintain the platform?  

If the answer to the first three questions are «Yes» then you quickly start to look at the benefits of an off-the-shelf SaaS OTT platform. There are many benefits that can be listed, but here are a few:

1. Ready-made solutions, available when you need them. No need to solve the same kind of problems that vendors have been working on for years.
2. Greater flexibility and adaptability.
3. Modularity.
4. Proven industry leading functionality and solutions.
5. Engineers with specific up-to-date industry experience and knowledge.
6. Well defined APIs for extensibility.
7. Proven scalability.
8. Years of developing the platform and working out the kinks.
9. Expert support and training with no additional burden on your staff.
10. Functionality which is enhanced through customer feedback, anticipating your changing business needs rather than reacting to them.
11. The collective expertise of all the customers the OTT platform supports.

Having looked at the benefits, the next phase of your evaluation comes down to the breakdown costs of building your own OTT platform versus subscribing to a SaaS platform. Again, the various cost-types are many, but some key aspects to consider are:

1. Costs can easily run above 100.000 USD for annual salaries per team member. This typically includes developers, designers, IT teams, quality assurance, product management and potentially other types of staff services.
2. Operational costs, maintenance, customisations and integration costs: Depending on the size of the operation, you will have noticeable costs for office space and facilities. Keeping the software modules up to date with incremental improvements, new integrations and new features will in a short time be a substantial cost element.
3. Infrastructure cost: Servers, firewall, AC, network, deployment and software and hardware maintenance costs are incurred upfront and ongoing when you build your own OTT platform.
4. Software and licensing cost: Additional software license costs incurred including 3rd party licenses required to run systems. These costs are typically for security, reporting and monitoring which is crucial in an OTT platform solution.

With a SaaS OTT platform, all of the above costs are absorbed in the monthly contracts.

With some base considerations around the costs and decision criteria, let’s take a look at the complex functionality required to offer a flexible and scalable OTT platform and how Vimond VIA addresses them. A full OTT platform requires a huge amount of functionality, and we have shed some lights below on some of the key features.

Ingest & Acquisition
- Automated workflows for creating assets from ingest saves time, minimises duplication and reduces the risk of error
- Ingest from high volumes of content providers
- Automated Content Ingest (video, metadata, subtitles, images)
- Media RSS / Atom
- Pull or Push Feeds with Ingest Monitoring
- Content Update, Scheduling, Revoke

Content Management
- Fully featured Content Management System gives users and content providers control to easily organise assets and update metadata
- Multi-language Audio, Subtitles. Flexible Metadata Management
- Asset Versioning & Image Bank
- Organise & Group Content, add Chapter & Index Points
- Automate approval of content & channels from external publishers
- Apply rules to content (License windows, DRM, Concurrency)

Planning & Editorial
- Create compelling experiences to connect consumers to content, keeping your viewers engaged
- Promote Featured Content To Audiences
- Create & Maintain Independent Metadata
- Draft & Publish Content Experiences
- Archive Lists & Assets
- Smart Lists: Dynamic content sets adapt to viewers with A/B splits

- Make content from partners available to regional or global audiences, multi-region, multi-platform
- Adaptive Streaming suits any device or bandwidth
- Connect Viewers to local or remote media
- Use 3rd Party APIs to Personalise & Target
- Dynamic scaling on demand and cost efficient
- Monitor and limit streams and connected devices

Video Pipeline
- Simple video pipeline management , from ingest, through transcoding, packaging and DRM encryption, to playout.
- Single interface for distributing file-based media to OTT platforms
- Build multiple workflows without custom development
- Manage & Monitor Video Pipeline
- Asset storage:  On-premises, Cloud, CDN
- Add Subtitles & Metadata without Re-encoding
- Integrate Ad systems for ad-insertion

- Create compelling commercial packages and manage subscriptions for your viewers
- AVOD, SVOD, TVOD or a combination
- Multi-currency and region support
- Payment Integrations: Packaged and BYO
- Promotional Tools: Campaigns, Vouchers, Trial
- Set pricing, duration & availability of plans
- Create or import vouchers
- Subscription, Billing & Transaction History
- Email Engagement (sign-up, purchase, auto - renew)

Live Workflows
- Automatic creation of VOD content from linear and event based live streams reduces manual work and saves costs
- Live to VOD scheduling
- Ingest EPG data to create programs and events
- Automated failover
- Attach input signals to multiple channels
- DVR duration & DRM available on output

As you see this is a complex set of mission critical functionality. Every single one of the necessary features are costly and complex to develop, and expensive to maintain.

All of this functionality has grown through the global innovation of Vimond during 10 years of designing, developing and running OTT solutions.  

It’s very clear that in 2021, in order to build a fully working and competitive OTT solution, the correct path is to leverage a SaaS OTT platform built through the global experience of a vendor like Vimond and the Vimond VIA product line.

Take Vimond for a spin!

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