Verizon Adds Smarts to Digital Media Services
Verizon is layering a new platform on top of its content delivery network and video processing services. The telco today is announcing the new Verizon Media Xperience Studio, a platform for over-the-top video providers that it calls a first-of-its-kind content intelligence system.
The Media Xperience Studio combines a traditional content management system with functionality for end-to-end tracking of digital assets, management of video playout and app creation. It's content and service management all rolled into one, with a large dose of data added to the mix for product optimization.
"The intelligence layer that really moves content management forward has kind of sat outside on its own, and what we've done today is pull that intelligence layer into [the content management system]," says Mary Kay Evans, CMO for Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS).
She adds, "The amount of information we're capturing and putting into our system and then allowing the customer to see it, make intelligent decisions and create customized programming easily inside a single system -- that's a big innovation. That's the big step forward for us."
The Media Xperience Studio fits with the existing services in the VDMS portfolio. At the network layer, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has the content delivery network service it acquired from Edgecast way back in 2013. The next layer up is video processing, or all of the functions that go into preparing content for delivery.
Media Xperience Studio sits on top as the final layer, providing visibility into the lifespan of every content asset all the way from production through to consumption.
Verizon uses the concept of a "single source of truth" with the Xperience Studio. Every digital asset is tagged and tracked, and content owners are given the opportunity to adapt and improve how those assets are presented to customers at every step along the production and distribution path.
There are seven components to the Media Xperience Studio:
- MX: Orchestration -- the master data record used to monitor content through production
- MX: Apps -- a tool for customized app development
- MX: Subscriptions -- a system for powering billing services and managing content entitlements
- MX: Programming -- a user interface added to existing VDMS technology that allows customers to build virtual linear channels
- MX: Syndication -- a monetization tool for distributing content to third-party services
- MX: Personalization -- a system for personalizing services based on user preferences and a content recommendation engine
- MX: Vision -- the data analytics element for gaining insight into how content assets perform
Customers don't have to implement all of the components at once, and they can deploy pieces of the Xperience Studio with other solutions they may already have in house.
"This industry is still, I would say, very much in its infancy ... and by nature of being young, it is very fragmented," says Evans.
To counter that fragmentation, Verizon is offering numerous APIs with Xperience Studio that allow for integration with products from other companies.
As for how Verizon plans to sell its new platform, many of the composite technologies are already in place with customers today in one form or another. The telco, for example, started testing customized virtual linear channels at least as far back as 2015. (See Verizon Builds Toward OTT Launch .)
And the components of Xperience Media Studio have largely if not entirely been honed through use in Verizon's own products. Case in point, the Subscriptions module powers NBA League Pass on Verizon's Go90 service.
Evans says that Xperience Media Studio will become part of the backend for services sold through Verizon's new Exponent wholesale business. (See AT&T, Verizon Want to Wholesale IPTV.)
She believes customers will buy the new system because it solves the visibility problem content providers have today.
"That lack of visibility, where data is difficult to standardize or aggregate, that's a pain that our customers have come to us with," Evans says, "and it's a driving factor in why we built the Media Xperience Studio."
Customers will make the switch to Xperience Studio, she adds, when that lack of visibility becomes a driving factor for their business.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading