Analysis Connected TV

See if you agree with the Connies judges: we profile each shortlisted candidate

The Connies celebrates innovation and greatest follow across the media ecosystem. The awards lunch is held in the Banking Corridor, London

The Connies outcomes have been introduced this week and you can see the results here. It was a troublesome job for the worldwide class judges to determine their winners – and right here is your probability to see if you agree with their decisions. Under we profile each shortlisted entry from the ‘Video Technology Hero’, ‘Best User Experience’ and ‘Excellence in Analytics & AI for Video and TV’ categories, and in addition for the debut Oscars-style ‘Premium TV Award’.

== Video Know-how Hero==

Right here we have been on the lookout for know-how heroes – the options which are fixing the huge problems or opening the door to the main alternatives in the tv and video markets. The know-how have to be used to enable or help the delivery of a tv/video service. Applied sciences might come from each a part of the supply chain, from knowledge centres and headend or playout amenities by way of the broadcast networks to end-user units.

Avid – Avid MediaCentral

As we speak, audiences can access media content from anyplace immediately, and keep up-to-date via a variety of media, together with on-line platforms, cellular apps and social media. The race to ship information and other programming first calls for prompt distribution to a wide selection of platforms, each with its own formats and delivery requirements. Creating a workflow that integrates and automates delivery to each of these platforms is subsequently essential to profitable the media race.

Launched in July 2018, Avid MediaCentral is a strong next-generation media manufacturing, administration and distribution platform that goals to unravel these challenges. An intuitive UI makes it straightforward for media producers to look, access, edit, collaborate and publish content from any workstation, laptop or cellular system.

This technique eliminates cumbersome workflow silos. MediaCentral facilitates multiplatform delivery by automating background duties. Amongst the capabilities are automated content material indexing and workflow orchestration. Each workforce member is related in a totally integrated workflow that gives a unified view into all media belongings, whether or not they are stored on premises, in a personal knowledge centre, the public cloud or a hybrid setting.

IBM Aspera – IBM Aspera on Cloud

Acquired Gold Award (winner)

Shifting content has turn into rather more challenging. The file sizes are growing, and networking infrastructures are more numerous and versatile.

Media organisations are more and more adopting a hybrid cloud workflow that makes use of a mixture of public cloud, personal cloud and on-premises storage and compute assets. Information that have to be exchanged are sometimes stored in a number of clouds and on-premise techniques. Traditional transfer technologies bridging these environments are sluggish and unreliable, while physical disk shipments are sluggish and carry safety dangers.

Aspera supplies progressive file transfer solutions that assist media organisations operate and collaborate more effectively on a worldwide scale, and IBM Aspera on Cloud overcomes the file switch challenges of the hybrid cloud by allowing media corporations to securely and reliably transfer their content across on-premises and multi-cloud environments at unrivalled velocity.

Inner and exterior users can collaborate in a safe setting that tightly controls access to content and software performance. Main film studios, post-production corporations and broadcasters depend on Aspera on Cloud to scale back their manufacturing cycles while securely delivering high-resolution media worldwide with high High quality of Service.

Harmonic – Finish-to-end UHD HDR answer for reside sports activities streaming

Acquired Bronze Award

Shoppers spend extra time on OTT video providers, and stay sports streaming is a progress market. Harmonic provides an end-to-end answer for the supply of stay sports in super high-quality UHD-HDR format, while protecting bandwidth necessities low and latency (time behind true-live) similar to broadcast – one thing that is thought-about essential for the fan expertise.

The solution consists of the EyeQ content-aware encoding that can scale back bit rates by up to half, and real-time packaging. The system uses the CMAF small chunk packaging format for HLS and DASH delivery of UHD content to maintain latency as little as five seconds for OTT delivery, compared to an business norm of 30-35 seconds where CMAF isn’t used.

The VOS360 media processing SaaS (software-as-a-service) is certainly one of many deployment options. Leveraging the cloud, VOS360 allows OTT providers to be scaled up and down based mostly on actual needs, avoiding vital capital and operational costs. This is very helpful when managing ad-hoc occasions but in addition a approach for brand spanking new sports activities OTT platforms to get into the enterprise, after which launch channels shortly.

Verimatrix – StreamMark server-side watermarking for premium OTT video

Acquired Silver Award

Forensic watermarking means media house owners can determine illegitimate streaming of video, hint the supply of piracy and shut streams down – and achieve this quickly throughout reside occasions. Using watermarking opens the method to providing UHD/4K and different high-value content material. It also tackles content/revenue leakage throughout B2B content distribution.

StreamMark is notable partly as a result of it is a server-side know-how. In contrast to options that use client-side watermark embedding, there isn’t a have to combine with shopper units, and units would not have to be modified.

StreamMark inserts an identifiable but invisible mark into content that’s strong towards watermarking assaults like recompression and transcoding. The process is definitely integrated into present encoding, encryption and CDN workflows, with negligible efficiency impression.

StreamMark Reside helps real-time marking and fast extraction of watermarks during stay events, using tight integration with reside encoders. Real-time monitoring is carried out by Verimatrix associate TMG to allow illicit stream identification and shutdown/blocking of the reside content material leaks.

As a cloud-based service, StreamMark means watermarking turns into an automated process for both content providers and video service operators.

== The ‘Premium TV’ Award (International Category)  ==

This international category recognises an impressive achievement in the delivery of a premium TV service and/or premium TV programming to shoppers. In an Oscars-style course of, Videonet journal and our international category judges nominated a long-list of entrants before narrowing the area to the shortlist you see under.

Discovery Winter Olympics

Discovery’s all-screen protection of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics of 2018 up to date what it means to cover major sports in the 21st century, post-digital, post-social. They used digital as the means to succeed in out to extra individuals, hit a youthful demographic, provide extra complete coverage, and localise content material to a higher diploma for each particular person country.

The PyeongChang Olympics was delivered to 48 markets in Europe, masking 22 languages. Each minute was made obtainable reside on digital. Native tales have been created for every market. 1,000 social-first, short-form movies have been generated each day across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Snap Inc. in Europe provided user-generated and behind-the-scenes content.

Eurosport partnered with 20 digital influencers from seven European markets who have been embedded into editorial groups to co-create distinctive content for social media.

The new measurement methodology, endorsed by the Worldwide Olympic Committee, offered a picture of complete reach/engagement across free-to-air plus Pay TV plus on-line plus social (masking owned-and-operated platforms and people of companions). This was co-devised and carried out by French advertising and promoting big Publicis.

There was a document breaking 76 million reach for the Games by means of Discovery owned-and-operated digital or social properties, and a 386 million cumulative complete of people who seen Olympics content material.

Amazon (as a vertical media firm)

Amazon was shortlisted for its complete TV strategy, which is each broad and noteworthy. The corporate is usually chosen as ‘the media company to watch’ at thought-leadership events – creating more curiosity even than Netflix.

Amazon now consists of Amazon Studios as a source of content creation and helps to grow its SVOD providing on the again of its Originals. There is a rising collection of sports activities rights and the 20-game package deal for the English Premier League presents an excellent precedent: the first time anybody will televise each recreation in a fixture listing ‘round’ (and they’re doing it twice).

Amazon Prime Video is one among the main SVOD choices in multiple markets. Amazon-owned IMDB lately launched Freedive, which provides the company an AVOD offering. Amazon Channels has pioneered the concept of aggregating third-party subscription streaming providers.

Amazon offers its personal hardware units (Hearth TV streaming media gamers), providing a gateway to its own and other content in a rising variety of houses. Hearth TV can also be offered as an working system on some sensible TVs, like the Hearth TV Version fashions made by Toshiba and bought by the U.S. retailer Greatest Buy.

Amazon is absolutely expected to grow to be a key mover in digital promoting, which inserts nicely with a rising content distribution position.

Sling TV

Acquired Bronze prize

U.S. based mostly Sling TV, owned by satellite tv for pc Pay TV provider DISH, has trail-blazed the concept of the digital Pay TV operator (typically generally known as Pay Lite), giving shoppers the choice to entry premium TV content from some of the best-known manufacturers, aggregated and out there in a single place, with out the long-term subscription commitments of traditional Pay TV and with more flexibility when choosing content material.

Sling TV supplies primary bundles of streamed channels, the potential to buy thematic bundles or further standalone channels on prime of these primary packages, and most lately the provision of ‘a la carte’ providers that can be bought with none primary package deal. The service subsequently caters for cord-cutters and cord-nevers with a variety of budgets and adaptability demands.

Sling TV was the first digital Pay TV supplier in the U.S. to offer pay-per-view events, starting in 2017. Know-how innovations embrace a cloud DVR function and availability on the Oculus Go VR headset.

Sling TV has enjoyed consistent progress, countering the market-wide (U.S.) strain on full-flavour Pay TV subscription numbers and revenues. Yr-end 2018 outcomes present that Sling TV had 2.42 million subscribers, which compares to 9.9 million for the basic DISH Pay TV supply.

Amazon Channels

Winner (acquired Gold prize)

Amazon Channels represents a brand new sort of content material aggregator, providing a set of streaming/OTT providers in one place with an umbrella consumer expertise, unified content material discovery and subscription fees taken care of by way of widespread billing. It suits shoppers trying to create their own mixture of subscription TV providers, mixing an ‘a la carte’ mentality with curated comfort.

Amazon Channels is credited with making it simpler for shoppers to ‘stack’ a number of SVOD/D2C (direct-to-consumer) providers at a time when this behaviour has turn into commonplace. It is serving to content material house owners to succeed in and sign-up shoppers to their subscription gives and it offers a shop window for special curiosity streaming providers.

Amazon Channels is a vital digital distribution choice for content material house owners and accommodates some major names including ITV Hub+, Discovery and Eurosport Participant. A number of genres are coated, from MGM (films) by means of Hayu (actuality) to Shudder (horror/thriller) and Funimation (anime).

Amazon Channels gained the Premium TV Award. Their staff is flanked by (far left) Jon Block, awards host and David Pidgeon, Editor of Mediatel Newsline

BBC R&D UHD-HDR

Acquired Silver prize

The BBC R&D public pilot of UHD-HDR stay streaming throughout the 2018 World Cup and Wimbledon tournaments helped deliver the advantages of this superior format to the public. They have been part of ongoing efforts to prove the model for ‘free-to-air’ UHD-HDR over the Internet.

The trial Extremely HD coverage acquired over 1.6 million stay requests. Alongside with the commonplace coverage, they contributed to streaming data at the BBC. UHD streams for both tournaments peaked at around 60,000. This was the first time the BBC had proven main tournaments stay in UHD on BBC iPlayer. All 29 of BBC One’s World Cup matches have been out there in Extremely HD and High Dynamic Vary on the streaming service.

The BBC used the Hybrid Log-Gamma version of HDR it has standardised with Japanese broadcaster NHK. This offers improved picture high quality not solely to HDR Extremely HD units, however to the overwhelming majority of Normal Dynamic Range Extremely HD units too. At the lowest finish of its bitrate options, HEVC encoding delivered 1280x720p50 resolution at 7Mbit/s (50 frames per second).

== Excellence in Analytics & AI for TV & Video ==

This class rewards know-how/answer providers, video service suppliers (e.g. content material producers, curators, aggregators or distributors), community operators and gadget/app builders for the use of knowledge analytics, synthetic intelligence or machine studying to enhance television (as a type of leisure, as an operations process or as a business).

ThinkAnalytics – Personalised suggestions throughout BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds

ThinkAnalytics works with media house owners to construct closer relationships with their audiences utilizing a mix of metadata enhancement, personalised content material discovery and real-time viewer insights. Corporations can model and measure behaviours related to content material engagement. These capabilities are increasingly related to broadcasters now users sign-in to streaming providers. Insights can be utilized to offer a superior content material discovery journey and improve the viewer expertise.

For subscription providers, AI/machine studying algorithms and greatest follow methods assist scale back churn, appeal to new subscribers and optimise revenue opportunities by way of subscriptions, ad-hoc purchases, promotions and promoting. Actual-time analytics let clients measure the effectiveness of editorial, promotions and advertising, and fine-tune their advertising efforts to maximise their investment in invaluable content material.

The BBC is concentrated on ‘reinventing’ iPlayer to offer a person, personalised service – and doing the similar for its radio providers. ThinkAnalytics gained the tender to provide the BBC with a personalised recommendations engine as part of the BBC Personalisation programme. It now helps help the presentation and supply of the BBC’s in depth catalogue across BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.

NAGRA – NAGRA Perception

NAGRA Perception leverages AI to foretell individual TV viewer behaviour corresponding to propensity to churn from a Pay TV service, to buy a package deal or to eat specific content. It generates clever operational actions that improve each an operator’s bottom line and subscriber satisfaction. It addresses 4 important areas: subscriber worth, operations, content and advertising.

This set of tools helps the advertising, operations and enterprise intelligence teams. NAGRA Insight is deployed with 4 Tier 1 Pay TV operators.

NAGRA Insight allows Pay TV operators to quantify the behaviour and tastes of each subscriber as the foundation for additional actions, together with automated, personalised advertising. It allows elevated upselling by call centre agents by recommending the greatest TV product to supply each subscriber and the content inside it that they’ll like.

A suggestion engine predicts the VOD content you will take pleasure in based mostly on linear TV and VOD consumption. This will drive VOD usage and so scale back churn or income loss to OTT rivals. NAGRA Perception helps operators determine the explanation for video quality problems, measure their enterprise influence and advocate customer retention actions which might be personalised to each consumer.

Synamedia – Synamedia Credentials Sharing Perception

Category winner

Credentials Sharing Insight is taken into account an anti-piracy world-first, utilizing AI, behavioural analytics and machine learning to assist streaming video suppliers fight the rise in informal account sharing and switch it right into a revenue-generating alternative. It can be used to detect and shut down large-scale sharing fraud. The answer is in trials with a number of suppliers.

Informal account sharing doesn’t solely value media house owners revenue – it increases infrastructure costs to help non-paying streamers. Since content rights house owners typically limit what number of units can view their content, OTT players might hold the gadget limit decrease for reliable clients to keep away from breaching contracts.

Till now, most OTT providers have treated casual password sharing as a simple method to market their service to new audiences. Nevertheless, current research show that youthful generations, used to accessing providers without spending a dime, not often develop into paying clients.

Synamedia Credentials Sharing Insight identifies, screens and analyses credentials sharing exercise. By integrating the sharing coverage engine with their marketing campaign administration/CRM system, streaming providers can apply specific policies – like upselling to an account that permits extra concurrent users – to anybody whose sharing rating exceeds a pre-defined threshold. The security course of and advertising cycle may be totally automated.

Synamedia took first prize in the ‘Excellence in Analytics & AI’ category: that is James Clark (centre) receiving the trophy

SoftAtHome – AI Addressable TV

SoftAtHome is utilizing AI for an addressable TV know-how that maintains consumer privacy by profiling his/her knowledge inside the set-top field, as an alternative of doing this by way of the cloud. This eases GDPR issues. Subscriber profiles are only saved regionally inside the STB and are encrypted to ensure no one can access the personal info.

The AI algorithms can work out which household member is watching a television, an inherent problem for a shared display. The system makes use of mixtures of time cut up (e.g. when the TV is watched, the time patterns), usage (e.g. what content is watched, for a way lengthy) and distant management utilization to help decide which household member is in front of the TV. Inside three clicks of the distant control, the system can differentiate which of two individuals dwelling in a house are watching.

Bluetooth-based proximity detection and voice signatures (when voice-based TV control is used) are other knowledge points that can be harnessed. Totally different profiles are then activated and used to target the right advert to the right consumer at the right time. This answer consists of audience measurement algorithms and frame-accurate advert insertion. It may be used with multiscreen units in the residence.

== Greatest Consumer Experience – All Channels & Platforms ==

This award recognises innovation and greatest apply in the consumer expertise, accepting entries from across the media business together with TV/video. It showcases experiences that deliver content providers closer to shoppers.

KT (Korea Telecom) – Voice UI system for KT Olleh TV

In August 2018, KT (Korea Telecom) deployed a brand new voice consumer interface (VUI) system for its Olleh TV Pay TV service, initially concentrating on 1.6 million of its GiGA Genie STBs. This enables users to navigate TV with no remote management, using voice instructions – which might be quicker and more convenient. You possibly can bounce to a menu choice that does not at present show on the display, for instance.

A key innovation is the use of real-time contextual knowledge to assist improve the accuracy and velocity of the voice recognition and Pure Language Understanding (NLU) processes. The underlying GUI (graphical consumer interface) sends details about what is displaying on display to the VUI and this is used to assist interpret a voice command.

In one other innovation, the VUI system recognises it’s being given a voice command with out having to attend for the consumer to finish talking. This means the voice-to-text translation that sends knowledge to the NLU system can happen sooner. The VUI copes with brief and frequent voice instructions. There isn’t a need for a ‘wake-up word’ with the Olleh TV voice answer.

OnePlace from Canal Digital, supported by 3SS

Extremely Recommended by the judges

Canal Digital is a leading Pay TV supplier in the Nordics. In February 2018 the firm launched OnePlace, a next-generation service based mostly on the Android N model of the Android TV operating system. That is out there on UHD set-top bins and PVRs to clients in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

A key function is the provision of broadcast TV, VOD and widespread streaming providers in a single place, with customers capable of transfer seamlessly between these content sources – making Canal Digital a ‘super-aggregator’ of content. Netflix is deeply built-in: one choice is to pick the service within the EPG whereas viewing your current TV programme. Search and proposals think about all content material, including from third-party apps provided by way of Android.

The Canal Digital branded custom launcher and UI have been developed by 3SS, whose design, improvement and integration experience helps underpin the service. The UI permits subscribers to get the most from key OnePlace options including the built-in Google Play Store, Google Forged and Google Assistant (which includes voice search). Conax supplies content safety and Technicolor middleware dietary supplements the Android TV OS.

Since its launch, OnePlace has migrated to the Operator Tier model of Android TV.

Com Hem – Com Hem Tv Hub

Class winner

Com Hem supplies Pay TV, broadband and phone providers in Sweden and its Com Hem Television Hub platform acknowledges the growing reputation of both on-demand viewing and streaming providers in Pay TV houses but the enduring importance of linear TV. This contemporary UI introduces a ‘flow’ content expertise that takes users simply from VOD to apps of their selection and to stay content material – in any order.

The main target is on discovering what you want shortly and interesting the trendy viewer for longer. Suggestions supply more relevant content material and numerous choices encourage continued viewing.

Com Hem Tv Hub is one among the first TV merchandise in the world to harness Android TV Operator Tier – the model of Android TV that provides operators nice management over the consumer experience with a custom-developed ‘launcher’.

This service provides viewers access to ultra-high-quality 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Vary) content material formats, consists of in style streaming providers like Netflix, TV4 Play and SVT Play, and consists of Google Forged, Google Play Store and Google Assistant (enabling voice interaction).

The Com Hem/Tele2 group celebrated two awards, for Greatest UX and International Grand Prix

Chair of judges for the Connies is Mark Cross, Director at Chartroom. The judging panel for the international classes above was:

  • William Cooper, Founder and Chief Government, informitv
  • Steven Hawley, Principal Analyst and Marketing consultant, tvstrategies
  • Ian Nock, Managing Director and Founder, Fairmile West
  • Benjamin Schwarz, Marketing consultant, CToic Consulting
  • David Worth Principal, Scala Advisors
  • John Moulding, Editor-in-Chief, Videonet.