Video services

thePlatform Places Live TV Bet

thePlatform Inc. is betting on a near-term spike in live video streaming. The company announced Tuesday that it is combining live and video-on-demand (VoD) workflows into its mpx video publishing system for TV Everywhere services. The move comes amid signs that programmers and operators are ready to add more live video to their smartphone and tablet apps, particularly outside the home. (See Time Warner Takes TV on the Road.) While providers have typically separated out the live TV streaming process from VoD delivery online, thePlatform is now combining the two to centralize the management of video encoding, metadata creation, ad insertion and content archiving. An independent subsidiary of Comcast Corp., the company has a number of existing customers that could be interested in delivering more live content online, including Fox Broadcasting Co. and Comcast's own NBCUniversal LLC. Marty Roberts, senior vice president of thePlatform, says it's not just sports programmers that are receptive to the new technology, but news providers too. Although a lot of online news isn't delivered live currently, he says, mpx now offers programmers an easy way to transition content segments from the initial live broadcast to an on-demand library. Another key feature in the new system is the ability to add "cue points" during a live or on-demand video stream, a process that unifies metadata control and simplifies dynamic ad insertion. The technology also works inside a customer's firewall. thePlatform is currently integrating mpx with Elemental Technologies Inc. (ETI) for video encoding, and FreeWheel Media Inc. for ad insertion. It plans to add other partners throughout the year. Roberts says thePlatform has been load-testing the new system during the past few weeks, and already has "a lot of customers in evaluation" with the integrated mpx product. — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable
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