Published July 29th, 2020
This week we are celebrating the launch of our all-new Video Experience Platform. In the latest episode of the ‘In Conversation With…’ video series, Pim Verbij, VP Product at 24i, explains the ins and outs of the new platform.
The Video Experience Platform in short, is the latest evolution in the 10+ years 24i has spent innovating the video experience. Over the past years, 24i has developed and released applications on many devices, including, but not limited to: web; mobile; SmartTV, consoles and Set Top Boxes. The Video Experience platform is the logical successor to all that experience amassed over the years.
Being able to deliver apps at a quick pace (fast time to market/revenue), while still being highly configurable and scalable, lies at the heart of what the Video Experience Platform offers. It is a combination of technology, a way of thinking and a way of working, all in order to accelerate how we develop and publish video applications to market. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.
When you read the subtitle above, you might begin to wonder what I mean with this. Why the Three Musketeers? That’s exactly what the Video Experience Platform is: a combination of three products, that combined, make the ultimate video experience.
Going top to bottom, you obviously need a website and apps, that will be used by your users. That’s where the Smart Apps product comes in. Comprised of a single code base for all types of devices, and heavily relying on microservices and ready-to-use components; we leverage the Smart Apps product to quickly setup and create applications.
So now you have your app. But what does the app look like, how do you position and display content in such a way that it attracts users and keeps them on your platform? That’s where the second musketeer comes into play: Backstage. Simply put: Backstage is a CMS and integration manager that allows you to configure almost every aspect of your application. You can adjust the branding, determine the content shown, and even leverage partner-integrations in order to get the most out of your application.
Finally, you obviously need to make sure that there is actual video content making their way to your apps. That’s the third musketeer: Smart Video. Whether you need Video on Demand, Live Video, Catchup and many more; Smart Video is there to handle any type of content.
Which brings us to the D’Artagnan of this story: the actual video content. The series and movies that your customers have grown to love and adore. The goal of the Video Experience Platform is in that sense also very simple. We don’t want you to worry about setting up apps, branding, or delivery of that video content. That’s what we do for you. Allowing you to fully focus on making sure that your users are getting the content they deserve.
The Video Experience Platform is not done, and it never will be. Like technology in general, we are continually evolving and adapting to the changes in the market. This allows our customers to continiously leverage the latest and greatest features offered by the platform.
People usually say that change isn’t always easy. That is however a key thought behind this platform. We want to change, we want to evolve and adapt. And that’s where the key architecture behind the platform comes into play. Everything is setup to be interchangeable, through the use of microservices.
As an example, the platform comes with recommendations built-in. We take user data, make some calculations and recommended content comes rolling out. There are however companies specialised in only that: recommendations. Our microservices architecture allows us to quickly switch between various recommendation engines. The input will still be used data, and the output will still be recommended content. In between is however a different microservice, that calculates the recommendations in a different way, leveraging the partner implementation. By switching between these microservices, the entire platform still continues to work as expected, but you are now using a completely different recommendation engine. Simple as that.
24i has always been at the forefront of the field. Over the past decade we have created many applications, where the focus has always been on delivering the best app-experience for the end-users. That remains unchanged. The Video Experience Platform only aims to accelerate that behaviour.
The experience from the past decade has shown us what is exactly needed from things like the backend, that we know are working well in the front-end apps. By having complete control over the entire video chain (from content ingestion to front-end application), we are able to deliver a seemless experience across all platforms. Each aspect of the Video Experience Platform is developed in such a way, that end users get the best experience.
We do however still want to offer maximum configurability. Apps should look exactly how you want them to look, and should present content in such a way that we know is working for your end-users. That’s why the platform caters to both aspects of the field. We make sure that end-users get the content in the best way possible, meanwhile enabling you to configure the apps in every way you see fit.
Short time to market, offering the entire video chain in a single package, end-user focused and with maximum configurability options; the Video Experience Platform aims to make things easy for you. We don’t want you to have to worry about getting your apps live on time, or having to resubmit applications only to change a little image. That’s what the platform handles for you. And it’s all ready for use. Right now.
If the video, or this accompanying blog, has interested you in the platform and are you keen to learn more? Feel free to get in contact so we can have a chat about the possibilities available to you or download the 24i Video Experience Platform brochure for more details.
This blog is also published on Medium by Matthijs Langendijk
Jun 17, 2020
The streaming video market is fiercely competitive and heavily dominated by a few key players. However, over the past few months, smaller, niche services have witnessed phenomenal growth as people seek out new live and on-demand content to keep them entertained.
In episode 3 of the #In Conversation With… video series, Ryan Chanatry, General Manager of Topic, the new streaming video service from First Look Media, reveals how by complimenting vs competing with the streaming giants, the service is creating a strong following of "Culture Cravers" looking for new perspectives and viewing experiences.
Hosted by Craig Kierce and recorded from home, we hope you enjoy watching and invite you to check out Ryan's blog on the subject here.
May 06, 2020
By Ramon Duivenvoorden, Chief Commercial Officer at 24i
The key to producing consumer products cost-effectively is mass-customization. We’ve certainly come a long way since you could have a Ford in any colour as long as it’s black, but a modern car manufacturer will not give you a huge number of product variables – yes, you can choose a colour other than black, and you’ll be able to buy a sports pack, or upgrade the in-car entertainment system, but the car OEM will probably decide whether the model you want has a spoiler!
In many ways, software development has followed a similar path – the developer has decided what the solution set should be for a given problem, built a product around that solution set and allowed some level of customization around that.
Over time, additional features are required that go beyond the level of customization allowed in the original product specification. Pretty quickly under this development paradigm, the client has a system that’s no longer based on a solid code-base, so it cannot benefit from roadmap upgrades, shared innovation and maintenance. At the same time, they also have a system that lacks the benefits of custom development such as full control over code and feature set.
This is how media entertainment apps have traditionally been developed, and we think it’s broken. Fortunately, there’s another way.
Over the last 2 or 3 years, we’ve striven to base 24i product development on what we call Customer Centric principles.
As you might guess the overarching philosophy is to put the customer first, but in reality, what does this actually mean?
We’ve boiled this down to a number of principles that we adhere to in how we think about s/w development and build products, as follows:
So, how does this work in practice? As an example, one of our clients wanted to move from a profit to a non-profit model. The consumers using their app could move from a subscription model to a ‘single charitable donation for life’ model. There are complex rules that have to be adhered to when you’re accepting charitable donations – if this customer had been with a traditional developer, the switch would have needed a lot of new code, too much time and money, and potentially compromise the architectural integrity of the application. This is assuming they did not select an out-of-the-box vendor that would simply decline the request for the new flows.
Because our app was built on micro-services, with a minimum of dependency between the services, we were able to replace the components that needed to change and make the switch in weeks. More importantly, we enabled this change without a branch in the client’s code, so that moving forward they continue to gain from future 24i product roadmap developments.
I believe that sooner or later virtually every client has specific needs that are critical for their business. Yet, at the same time, most requirements are common between all streaming media businesses. Our Customer Centric approach based upon micro-services means that we can deliver scale, innovation and stability on these common needs, while offering the freedom to break free for that custom 5% that enables our customers to set themselves apart from the competition or fulfill unique business needs.
We know that customer-centric development based upon micro-services is the way to go – but it’s not necessarily obvious to potential customers how great an advantage this is, until they need to make a key pivot in business model, or another customized change is the one that breaks this particular camel’s back. Which is why I’m writing this blog!
If you would like to know more about our approach to Customer Centric development, please get in touch - and look out for upcoming blogs from 24i CTO Pavel Jacko who will discuss the technical principles in more depth.
Contact us today to find out 24i can help you scale and extend your OTT streaming services
May 15, 2020
It is no surprise that video streaming services are experiencing exceptional growth while lockdowns around the world keep people at home where they want to be entertained. Netflix added 16 million new accounts in the first three months of the year and niche video services such as BroadwayHD, Topic and Pure Flix, have also seen a significant increase in streams and subscriptions.
In the first of our own video series In
Conversation… , Martijn van Horssen, CEO and co-founder of 24i shares insights on
why some media companies are doing better than others during the Corona crisis,
- The 'Watch Party' effect and other smart marketing tactics
- The AVOD challenge and SVOD opportunity
- Scaling services for peak demand and growth and
- How 24i is supporting customers and employees during this testing time.
Hosted by Craig Kierce and produced from home, we hope you enjoy watching this honest and open interview and we look forward to bringing you the next episode of In Conversation soon.