Published April 7th, 2020
First Look Media launches new OTT streaming video service for ‘culture cravers’ on topic.com, Apple TV and iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 7 April 2020 – 24i, the industry-leading video experience company, today announced that Topic, the new entertainment streaming service from First Look Media, has chosen 24i to power its new streaming video experience across topic.com, Apple TV and iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
24i provides Topic with a brand-new suite of subscription and ad-supported video applications each with a consistent, intuitive video experience irrespective of viewing platform or device. The next-generation 24i Smart OTT productised solution, integrated with specialist partner technologies from Bitmovin, CenturyLink, Cleeng, EZDRM and JUMP enables Topic to extend, manage and monetize its programming to a fast-growing audience of ‘culture cravers.’
“We’re committed to providing our audiences with compelling and thought-provoking programming that reflects their values and interests, wherever they wish to access it,” said, Ryan Chanatry, Topic’s General Manager. “The smart products and solutions provided by 24i enable the Topic team to dynamically create next-generation video experiences, customize the presentation of titles by platform, and to differentiate Topic in an increasingly competitive direct-to-consumer video market”.
Topic, which officially launched November 21 2019, is a new streaming service offering North American premieres of global favourites along with original programming that includes a variety of scripted dramas, comedies, discussion shows, documentaries, and non-scripted programming which highlight human-focused stories from creators with a passionate point of view.
“The quality and variety of Topic’s programming make it extremely attractive to their growing audience,” said Martijn van Horssen, Joint-CEO of 24i. “By being able to support Topic’s platform-agnostic delivery strategy, we are delighted to deliver their next-generation video experiences and super-charge their growth to new platforms and audiences.”
Topic aims to push the art of storytelling to new heights by exploring different genres and media formats to develop and showcase impactful and engaging programming. The new service sources programming from leading global media companies, acquiring the rights to titles premiering at the world’s most prestigious film festivals as well as streaming original programming produced in-house by Topic or in partnership with some of today’s most prolific creators. Topic’s parent company is First Look Media, a company that was launched in 2013 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Within the 24i Smart OTT product, Topic can readily launch and manage its new, next-generation OTT service and extend its reach to multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and the web. In addition, the 24i SMART BACKSTAGE management and insight manager ensures Topic delivers a consistently high-quality and personalised streaming service to every subscriber on their choice of device.
By Ryan Chanatry, General Manager. Topic
Following today's news on the launch of Topic, a new streaming video service for ‘culture cravers', Ryan Chanatry, General Manager shares his insights on the service, what makes it unique and what he and the team are providing a unique source of entertainment for people at home during what is an extremely challenging time He also shares some great tips for content owners looking to go direct-to-consumer with their own OTT video service.
1.What is Topic and how does it compete against Netflix and other popular video streaming services?
Topic is a new streaming service that launched in the US and Canada on November 21st. We’re a part of First Look Media’s entertainment division, which also includes Topic Studios. We are a curated selection of drama, comedy, discussion, narrative, documentary, and doc-shorts. We’re available on iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android, and Amazon Prime Channels. A monthly subscription starts at $5.99 and you can save with a yearly for only $59.99.
We are not aiming to “compete” with other mainstream services but instead are looking to appeal to a particular frame of mind among consumers who are looking for a compliment to their typical entertainment options.
Most of the non-major streaming services program to a particular genre niche (horror, British, etc), but our vision is that Topic will appeal to a frame of mind or specific sensibility instead.
Our programming sits at the intersection of entertaining, provocative, meaningful, elevated, and smart, and we see ourselves as a compliment to the major streaming players and definitely not in direct competition.
We feel that there is room in our audience’s lives for a service they want to actively associate themselves with, that reflects their values, and says something specific to them with its programming.
2. What are your ambitions for the service over the next year or two? Do you intend to extend to new markets?
We have many exciting projects in the works for 2020. We’ve recently premiered French drama Vernon Subtext, Shane Meadow’s incredible drama series, The Virtues (starring Stephen Graham), as well as episodes of our discussion shows Rough Draft with Reza Aslan, What’s Your Ailment?! with Maria Bamford, and coming on April 30th, Soul City, a three-part Topic Original set in New Orleans.
In addition to many more drama and comedy series premieres, we’ll be releasing narrative and documentary films throughout the year, highlighting engaging and critically acclaimed films from around the world, as well as lesser known titles that might not have had a previous presence on streaming services.
Beyond that, we aim to super serve our intended audience by providing them with a curated selection of programming that appeals to their desire to experience stories and creators that aren’t represented significantly within mainstream North American entertainment choices. We also look to provide a distribution option for series and narrative & documentary film that deserves to be seen without having to attend festivals or awards shows.
If there’s a demand for Topic in markets outside the US and Canada, we’re certainly open to exploring that in the future!
3. How does working with 24i help you meet your mission to push the art of storytelling to new heights?
24i enables us to present Topic consistently across all of the major app platforms in a compelling and simple way. They allow us to focus on our programming and marketing, while knowing that our product experience is in solid hands. Backstage, 24i’s CMS, lets us make adjustments to how titles on Topic are presented in seconds.
Additionally 24i keeps each app up to date and best in class, allowing us to take advantage of new features and bring those quickly to our audience. Their experience working across so many different types of streaming services also benefits the overall product roadmap.
4. There has been a boom of streaming video services over the past few years and competition is fierce. What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own, direct to consumer service?
Zeroing in on the service’s niche is most critical. Audiences will support and make room in their lives for brands and services that speak to them directly and that they wish to identify with. Finding that audience connection is the key first step. From there, creating relationships with many of the established and emerging providers specializing in the streaming video space, such as 24i, enables you to get up and running at a fraction of the cost of a few years ago, while leveraging their scale and technology. Given the competition, one of the biggest challenges is creating awareness for your service among the intended audience. Experimenting with a variety of marketing and press levers is essential to figuring out how to break through the noise and ensure your programming is seen and understood by those who are most likely to subscribe. Testing and iterating across product, programming, and promotion to optimize your funnel can then kick in.
5. Since people started having to stay home because of the COVID-19 virus, demand for streaming services has never been so great. How is Topic managing this increased demand and are you doing anything special for your subscribers hungry for good programming?
We are grateful to be able to provide audiences with a unique source of entertainment during what is an extremely challenging time on so many levels. Working closely with our teams on the 24i side, we’ve increased server capacity to handle the additional subscribers and streaming time that we’re seeing. Additionally, we’re excited to imminently announce a limited series comedy special, that will include some extra special guests, taking place over April/May. It’s bound to lighten up people’s spirits. We have also rearranged our overall programming schedule to launch a few of our high-profile and most binge worth dramas and comedies earlier than initially planned.
We’ve also launched a special 30 day free trial that leads to a 50% annual subscription ($29.99), available here. Read the press release HERE
Contact us today to find out 24i can help you take your content to new heights.
Aug 13, 2020
Cambridge and Amsterdam, 13 August 2020 - Amino,
and sister-company 24i, today announced that
on 3/8/2020 Youfone launched the first
Android TV service in the Netherlands, providing consumers with a
next-generation converged OTT, VoD and live TV experience on TVs and mobile devices.
The Youfone service is powered by the
24i Video Experience Platform and devices from Amino, providing an end-to-end
solution that enabled the Dutch MVNO to completely refresh its user experience
and expand the reach of its TV service.
“The unique power, flexibility and
breadth of the integrated 24i and Amino solution meant that Youfone launched
the Netherland’s first Android TV service in just 5 months, rather than
embarking on a major engineering project of a year or more if we had followed
another path,” said Valentijn Rensing, CEO of Youfone.
“A key advantage of the 24i and Amino solution
is that it is truly end-to-end: covering all the functions we need from content
ingest, encoding and transcoding, management, customer care, content
distribution, all the software required from front-end to back end and even the
set-top boxes serving our TV viewing customers,” concluded Rensing.
Powered by the 24i Video Experience Platform, Amino 7x Android set-top boxes, and Amino OS, this is the first
deployment of the joint 24i and Amino cloud-based solution which enables video
delivery from any source to any device.
Youfone, whose TV service was initially
launched in 2017, tapped 24i and Amino in December
deliver an expanded TV and OTT offering. 24i and Amino partnered to provide
everything the Youfone service required, from smart Set-Top-Box (STB) hardware,
service management, a robust backend, and an intuitive UI layer. Functionality
includes transcoding, middleware, CDN, and front-end applications for Android,
iOS phones, and tablets; enabling live TV, catchup, restart and nPVR for
approximately 100 channels. This is the first joint deployment announced since
24i became an Amino Technologies group company in July 2019.
The turnkey, multiscreen solution provides Youfone with
the operational flexibility to deliver local or hosted live and on-demand
streaming content to any device and platform, including Linux and Android TV.
The hardware product deployment runs on AminoOS,
all managed through Amino SM
Amino’s cloud-based service management platform.
The solution is a hybrid cloud
deployment taking advantage of on-premise private cloud services for 24/7
headend services that minimize infrastructure cost and public cloud services to
maximize flexibility. It provides Youfone with nimble, modular operational
services, ranging from content ingest, infrastructure, capacity, load, API and
front-end monitoring, to change management and 3rd party support.
“The innovative 24i and Amino solutions
combined with the expertise of our teams enabled Youfone to launch an advanced
Android TV service powered by the 24i
Video Experience Platform and replace their existing set-tops with the
advanced Amino 7x devices,” said
Donald McGarva, Amino Group Chief Executive Officer.
“Traditionally, launching an advanced
modern converged OTT, VoD and Live TV service would take a year or more and
would be technically demanding. Before the 24i Video Experience Platform (VEP),
companies such as Youfone were faced with the choice between over-engineered
single vendor systems, smaller single-vendor solutions with gaps in
functionality, or the complications and delays associated in dealing with multiple
vendors. Getting Youfone up and running with the Netherland’s first major
Android TV service so quickly proves that VEP is the ideal solution for today’s
multiscreen market conditions,” concluded McGarva.
Cambridge en Amsterdam, 13 augustus 2020 -
en haar dochteronderneming 24i hebben vandaag aangekondigd dat Youfone de eerste Android TV operator tier service in Nederland
heeft gelanceerd. Vanaf 3 augustus 2020 levert Youfone haar klanten een “next generation”
geïntegreerde dienst voor OTT, VoD en Live TV op televisies en mobiele
De Youfone service
is gebaseerd op het 24i Video Experience Platform en de set-top boxen van
Amino, die samen een end-to-end oplossing vormen. Hiermee heeft de Nederlandse
MVNO de user experience helemaal kunnen vernieuwen en het bereik van haar
TV-diensten kunnen uitbreiden.
“De unieke kracht,
flexibiliteit en functies van de geïntegreerde oplossing van 24i en Amino maakt
dat Youfone in slechts 5 maanden de eerste Android TV operator tier service van
Nederland heeft kunnen lanceren, in plaats van een groot ontwikkelproject van
een jaar of langer te moeten doorlopen als we een andere route hadden genomen,”
zegt Valentijn Rensing, CEO van Youfone.
voordeel van de oplossing van 24i en Amino is dat het écht end-to-end is. Het
omvat alle functies die we nodig hebben: content ingest, encoding en
transcoding, management, customer care, contentdistributie, alle benodigde software
van frontend tot backend, en zelfs de set-top boxen die onze klanten gebruiken,”
Opgebouwd uit het 24i Video Experience Platform, Amino 7x
Android set-top boxen, en Amino OS is dit
de eerste exploitatie van een gezamenlijke 24i en Amino cloud-based oplossing
die video delivery vanuit iedere bron naar ieder device ondersteunt.
TV-dienst in 2017 werd gelanceerd, vroeg 24i en Amino in december 2019 om een uitgebreide TV- en OTT-dienst te leveren. 24i
en Amino werken samen om alles te leveren wat voor de Youfone-dienst nodig was,
van smart Set-Top-Box (STB) hardware, service management, een robuuste backend,
en een intuïtieve user interface. De functionaliteit omvat transcoding,
middleware, CDN, en frontend applicaties voor Android, iOS mobiele telefoons en
tablets; dat maakt live TV mogelijk, evenals catchup, restart en nPVR voor
ongeveer 100 kanalen. Het is de eerste gezamenlijke exploitatie die is
aangekondigd sinds 24i in juli 2019 door Amino Technologies werd overgenomen.
De turn-key multiscreen-oplossing biedt Youfone
de operationele flexibiliteit om lokale of gehoste live en on-demand streaming op
ieder medium en platform af te leveren, inclusief Linux en Android TV. De
hardware draait op AminoOS, geheel
gemanaged door Amino SM Engage,
Amino’s cloud-based service management platform.
De oplossing is een
hybride cloud deployment, die profiteert van de on-premise private cloud
services voor 24/7 headend services; dit minimaliseert infrastructuurkosten en
public cloud services, en maximaliseert tegelijkertijd de flexibiliteit. Het
levert Youfone uitgekiende, modulaire servicecomponenten op, variërend van
content ingest, infrastructuur, capacity load, API en frontend monitoring, tot
change management en 3rd party support.
oplossingen van 24i en Amino, gecombineerd met de expertise van onze teams,
stellen Youfone in staat om een Android TV service te lanceren, gedragen door
het 24i Video Experience Platform, en
om hun bestaande set-top boxen te vervangen door geavanceerde Amino 7x devices,” zegt Donald McGarva,
Amino Group Chief Executive Officer.
gezien vraagt het ontwikkelen van een geavanceerde, geïntegreerde OTT, VoD en
Live TV service een jaar of langer en zou technisch gezien heel uitdagend zijn.
Vóór het 24i Video Experience Platform (VEP) waren aanbieders als Youfone
gedwongen een keuze te maken uit extreem dure, over geavanceerde systemen van
één leverancier of onvolgroeide systemen met ontbrekende functionaliteit van
één leverancier, of voor de complicaties, vertragingen en risico’s die
samenhangen met een oplossing die door verschillende toeleveranciers wordt
geleverd. Dat we voor Youfone in Nederland de eerste grote Android TV operator tier
service zo snel operationeel hebben gekregen, bewijst dat in de hedendaagse
markteisen voor multiscreen-diensten VEP
de ideale oplossing is,” stelt McGarva.
Mar 10, 2020
24i Smart Operator enables T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom to efficiently launch best-in-class branded IPTV and TV Anywhere experiences on a wide range of mobiles, tablets, Smart TVs and STBs
Amsterdam, The Netherlands –
March 2020 – 24i, the
industry-leading, global video experience company, today announced that its
Smart Operator product has been deployed by
T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom to provide IPTV and TV Anywhere video experiences to T-Mobile
TV GO, Magio GO and Digi GO customers
in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The deployment has now gone live on iOS, Android, Android TV, web
and Smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Linux and Android IPTV set-top-boxes
(STBs). 24i has provided a single code base approach across
all three of the T-Mobile Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom services and includes data-driven content optimisation, discovery
and engagement tools including recommendations, analytics, targeted content and
audience measurement. The 24i-powered services
are proving to be highly popular throughout the Czech
Republic and Slovakia and, together with 24i, have been nominated for a Connected TV Award in Advancing the TV Experience.
Key deployment achievements
“24i Smart Operator provides us with a productized solution that provides a next-generation, personalised video experience for each subscriber.“ said Marcel Šatánek, Head of PM Connected Home & Terminal Management, Slovak Telekom. “A key motivation for choosing the solution is it's unique ability to enable a ‘develop once, deploy everywhere' content workflow, effortlessly handle device proliferation, legacy and third-party integrations, while providing instant access to new technologies and platform capabilities. Furthermore, Smart Operator has the ability to manage the linear and on-demand content services for all three brands via a single centralised back-end system. By combining the functionality to provide IPTV and TV Everywhere, 24i saves us time and effort managing our services and the power and flexibility of their solution enables us to provide our customers with an incredible video experience on all devices, both now and in the future.”
“I am thrilled that Slovak Telekom is the first, large-scale multinational to deploy our new, next-generation Smart Operator product,” said Martijn van
Horssen, Joint-CEO of 24i. “We worked very closely with the Slovak Telekom and T-Mobile Czech Republic project teams to ensure that our platform provides all the
functionality they need, as well new features that really excite customers such
as continue watching (cross-platform), binge viewing, view showtimes and
recordings to a STB or the cloud. Before creating our solution for
operators, providing a unified experience across
territories and so many devices would have required a massive engineering
effort. Both operators are already seeing the
benefits of combining IPTV and TV Everywhere in one platform with powerful
branding capabilities. We’re looking forward to ensuring that the T-Mobile
Czech Republic and Slovak Telekom video experiences we
are powering continue to excite and attract consumers throughout the region.”
Operator is a turn-key streaming video app development product that enables
operators to deliver live, linear and on-demand video services via an intuitive
user interface on to any and all devices.