Amid the pandemic, the number of subscribers to online platforms skyrocketed. It also intensified competitiveness among operators, giving new shape to the OTT business model and arousing the interest of new investors to offer this technology for accessing content. The interest in the development of independent platforms now joins the evolution of large global platforms that already operate in the Brazilian market and, in less than two decades, deepen the transformations in the audiovisual industry.
One of these transformations involves the challenge of incorporating content from a separate connected device or allowing “bring your own device” connected to the platform. This is because there is a complexity in software engineering to make the process possible, which may require investments in specialized human capital in devices and operating systems.
For Danilo Almeida, Head of Integration Engineering at Nagra -a company that offers security solutions and user experience on multiple screens for the monetization of digital media-, the ideal for the operator is to design the software so that it has similarities in relation to all platforms. “In the DTT world, each platform has its native DRM, to work on hardware and software. Thinking about the operation when the end consumer brings their own device is an essential part of the business. The user experience, regardless of the device, needs to be the same and, therefore, the need to work with a multi DRM system, a type of configuration valid for all screens”, says the expert.
The update of these DRMs, according to Almeida, is also of fundamental importance, after all security will depend on this. "Security is not just for your device, but for all connected devices," he warns.
Just to give an idea of the devices market size, according to the Centro de Tecnologia de Informação Aplicada (FGVcia) from Fundação Getúlio Vargas, there are 424 million digital devices in the country, including smartphones, tablets, notebooks and computers. Of this total, 234 million are smartphones - a preferred device, according to TIC Domicílios 2019, for internet access. On average, 58% of Brazilians access the internet exclusively by smartphone.
Considering this scenario, updating DRMs, according to Almeida, is also of a fundamental importance, as security will depend on this. "Security is not just for the integrated system, but for all connected devices," warns.
Diversity of offering
For Almeida, the diversity of offering in OTT services tends to benefit the consumer. “With the greater fragmentation and the greater number of packages, the consumer purchasing power increases. He ends up paying less and subscribing more, getting maximum access. Another advantage is being able to choose channels that promote more interactivity.“
By the end of 2020, there were nine streaming platforms available in Brazil only for fans in love with films and series. However, they are not limited to this content. With the heated audiovisual market and the impossibility of attending live events, platforms have specialized, like those that broadcast Live Sports, and have gained a valuable space. “The vibrancy and energy of the live experience may not be the same as watching the football game of the heart from a screen, but having access to the matches in real time, with the bids seen from various angles, player highlights, statistics , replays, is a way to satisfy the fans' anxiety“, emphasizes Almeida.
A recent survey contributes to the statement by the Nagra engineer, who showed that one in four new subscriptions made to Amazon Prime Video in the UK last year, for example, was a direct result of the offer of live sports. The immersive experience even has a sound device that integrates the supporter with the crowd, so that he feels at the stadium, and when it comes time for the scream of the goal, the fan has his voice added to hundreds more, as it would be if he were watching the game from the grandstand.
Expanding market and revenue opportunities
Although the fully qualified and engaging environment is a challenge for service operators and requires investments, the market has attracted the attention of investors. Sports leagues, for example, are seeing this transfer from physical space to online as an opportunity to create new revenue by attracting subscribers willing to get their favorite sports content.
According to Almeida, the fact that productions are suspended because of the pandemic raises the expectation that the resumption of dammed activities will be even more profitable for the audiovisual industry in the near future. For him, operators and service providers who want to take advantage of the windows of opportunity created by the pandemic need to focus their efforts on incorporating content in one place, delivering high quality experience, providing engaging situations and establishing profitable partnerships. “In the USA, the market already shows a certain amount of subscription fatigue. For this reason, the importance of adding content and offering consumers perceived value for the service provided”, he highlights.
Regarding quality, the consumer expects for the same he gets with the linear transmission. "Operators need to be aware of their content delivery structures, including the integration of adaptable bit rate solutions, striving for the same latency for subscribers using connected devices."
Next generation services should also be the focus of attention from providers, so that they offer engaging experiences, putting the consumer in control based on innovative interfaces that allow interaction and access to content that arouses the interest of the public in engaging and becoming involved and keeping faithful. “The consumer needs to have the feeling of being in person at the bid, in the making off, in the padock. This immersive experience, together with strategic partnerships, can be a potential new source of revenue. Captive audience and data intelligence contribute to creating revenue“, he highlights.
Risks of connected environments
In addition to integration and encryption for accessing detached connected devices, another point of attention is security. The growth of streaming and online broadcasting is closely accompanied by pirated actions to infringe copyright. To give the dimension of the problem, in the case of Live Sports, the English Premier League, only in the 2019/20 season, managed to interrupt 329 thousand illegal broadcasts. But, here, the technology to solve the problem is also hand in hand with the audiovisual industry.
The bottleneck, according to Almeida, can be approached from different angles. On the demand side, there are technologies to identify leaks at source, IP blocking measures, which contribute to mitigate the demand for illegal content. Having an adequate monitoring and detection system and being able to intervene in this is also a priority aspect. On the supply side, technologies such as those that identify the smart card used by the pirate server, watermark solutions, among others, can assist in the fight against piracy. “These pillars form a comprehensive scenario of challenges that will give new impetus to the audiovisual industry and to an innovative model of OTT services”, concludes Danilo Almeida, Head of Integration Engineering at Nagra.
The 'bring your own device' is a great convenience for the consumer, but for operators it is still a challenge to integrate with the streaming platform. Security is not only that of the integrated system, but also that of all connected devices” Danilo Almeida Head of Integration Engineering at Nagra