Video services

Concurrent Upgrades for Mobile & PC VoD

Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) is in hot pursuit of a strategy that reaches beyond its traditional world of cable video on demand (VoD), and the company is enhancing its MediaHawk platform to pipe digital video to TVs, PCs, and mobile handsets.

The company will target cable operators that are looking to put content on more screens, and mobile service providers and "over-the-top" Web TV companies. (See Concurrent Sets Multi-Screen Strategy.)

The idea is to allow service operators to ingest the source video just once, and then output it in formats and resolutions tailored to TVs, PCs, handsets, or whatever the target display device ends up being.

"Access to that content needs to be uniform and consistent," says David King, Concurrent's chief marketing officer.

In addition to preparing and transcoding standard- and hi-definition video for these different formats and devices, the vendor is matching up the new MediaHawk video convergence offering with an advanced advertising system that leans heavily on Everstream, a division that collects and measures data tied to digital services. Everstream presently aggregates data from more than 700 million VoD streams per month.

That capability will help service providers maximize the monetary value of the video they're piping to PCs and mobile devices, King says.

Advanced advertising is just one app Concurrent is applying to the new convergence system. It's also baking in network DVR and social-networking and content-sharing components.

Concurrent says these new multi-screen, convergence capabilities are being added to the MediaHawk 4500 system via a software upgrade.

Concurrent's challenge
Concurrent hopes to expand its existing TV- and cable-based VoD market, which today includes Cox Communications Inc. , Vidéotron Telecom Ltd. , Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Bright House Networks , and Japan's Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) . The company claims to have 170 commercial VoD deployments covering 32 million basic subs.

Most video service providers have multi-platform strategies already underway or somewhere near the top of their agendas. A recent Heavy Reading study showed that 90 percent of 120 service providers surveyed felt a three-screen video play would be a necessity within the next five years.

"They [Concurrent] are targeting a market that's ripe and growing," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Aditya Kishore. The challenge, he adds, is that Concurrent is primarily a cable player that's trying to break in and gain ground in markets where they're not as well established. Concurrent, he adds, will have its work cut out because the mobile and online video sectors already enjoy strong vendor ecosystems.

"In a more cluttered environment with more competition in each vertical, they'll be bumping against more established players," Kishore says.

Concurrent's rivals include Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), and are all working on video convergence strategies on their own or through fresh partnerships. (See Arris Pumps Up Video With Dolce's Verivue .)

And even Concurrent acknowledges that it's still early in its new convergence game, and has no deals with mobile or Web TV companies to show for it yet.

"We're not about forcing customers to use us in every link of the chain," says Jim Brickmeier, Concurrent's VP and general manager of converged video solutions.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Michael Harris 12/5/2012 | 4:08:27 PM
re: Concurrent Upgrades for Mobile & PC VoD

"The idea is to allow service operators to ingest the source video just once, and then output it in formats and resolutions tailored to TVs, PCs, handsets, or whatever the target display device ends up being."

Now MSOs just need the content rights to do it.-á Probably more challenging than the technology, if history is a guide. :)

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:08:21 PM
re: Concurrent Upgrades for Mobile & PC VoD

All this multi-screen, cross-platform talk gives me a feeling of deja vu....seems like it was the content rights and the business negotiations,-ánot the technology, that kept TWC's Mystro effort in check in the early going, causing them to strike up Start Over deals with programmers and preserve the ad model-áby disabling fast-forward. But that was only for nDVR apps...now we're talking about on-demand to all devices and access technologies.-á-á And those deals will likely be much more complex and take longer to hammer out.


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