So says Steve Davis, general manager Asia Pacific and Japan for Ooyala, a global provider of video monetisation technology and services, and a subsidiary of Telstra.
Davis says the video industry's state of rapid evolution mandates that all video providers look closely at their business models to keep pace with the rapidly expanding market while also ensuring return on investment (ROI) – from production to distribution, measurement, and monetisation.
He says the emerging trend of integrated video solutions coupled with new demands from customers means more than ever, data-driven decisions are paramount.
“The reality is that media platforms are morphing, monetization methods are converging, technologies are advancing, and audience options are expanding. Each change is creating new data points that are producing industry-first insights,” he told journalists and analysts at a briefing on the “State of the Media Industry 2017” (registration required for a free report).
Ooyala is 10 this year. During this time, it has enabled content broadcasters and advertising publishers to get “online”.
It has more than 500 global customers, including ITV Studios (UK), Financial Times, Atresmedia, Sky & Sky Sports, PGA Tour, Walmart’s Vudu, Business Insider, TV3, Star India, RTL, The Telegraph, Media Prima and Blink Now that rely on Ooyala to help put video content online, engage audiences to improve revenue, and make them personalised/interesting for viewers.
Davis has more than 20 years’ experience in marketing enterprise software solutions and technologies to Fortune 1000 and other global organisations. He joined Ooyala in the US in 2011 as director of Strategic Accounts and relocated to the Asia-Pacific region in July 2016.
“Ooyala’s biggest issue here is that the brand and what we do is not as well-known as in the US. Ooyala was originally founded in 2007 by brothers Bismarck and Belsasar Lepe and their colleague from Google, Sean Knapp, to provide a video-on-demand (VOD) player platform – as they called it 'clickable video'," he said.
But that has grown – video consumption metrics (Video Ooyala IQ), ad serving (Ooyala Pluse), workflow automation and production asset management (Ooyala Flex) and a video platform that drive tighter engagement by delivering targeted content to viewers. “It is a wildly different company, far more data and analytics focused than the founder's vision,”Davis said.
“Of course, a Silicon Valley company under Telstra’s ownership now helps enormously in Australia (and elsewhere) as we don’t need to prove our credentials to clients.”
Davis spoke about what he claimed were Ooyala’s superior analytics capabilities for advanced business intelligence that help broadcasters, operators, and media companies build more engaged and more profitable audiences, with personalised experiences across every screen. “There is a huge difference between personalisation and annoyance,” he said about ad serving during video content.
“Broadcasters and publishers can easily compete against Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google with our platform. We are not only a viable alternative platform but a stronger alternative solution because we can work with any OTT (over the top) provider – we are CDN (content delivery network) agnostic,” he said.
“Look, everyone who creates content needs to know that we are one of the better solutions to hosting and monetising it.”
When questioned about future directions, he replied, “Innovation in video is driven by sport so what we are seeing is a big push for virtual reality and 360° video – alternative angles and shots to bring the viewer into the game. In fact, the big issue is not how good we do the job online but the impact it could have on people going to the stadium — offline — and that content needs to be available to them as well.”
How does mobile figure in the VOD mix? “Mobile has tipped past the 50% mark – it is at 60/40 now and rapidly growing. In some countries like India, it is already at 80%. 4G and 5G will make a huge difference and bring the speed to mobile devices for VR and 360° coverage.”
How granular is the data collected to provide personalised ad serving? “We don’t do personally identifiable information like the other four do. We use anonymised aggregated data.”
“My message to your readers is that Ooyala has all the tools for content providers and ad publishers — IVP, OVP, and media logistics — the latter is an amazing bit of technology that streamlines video production and distribution by managing asset and metadata plus workflow orchestration in a single platform.”