Delivering the Future…

ppsn-headshot-v1By P.P.S. Narayan, CTO Video at Verizon Digital Media Services

It’s not everyday you take on new responsibilities and a mission a big as “changing the way the world watches”. The Yahoo video team has joined Verizon Digital Media Services, and we couldn’t be more excited by the challenge that lies ahead.

As everyone knows, video consumption over the internet is exploding, and everywhere we look, this trend is being reaffirmed. Netflix streamed 250M hours on a single day in 2017. If averaged over the 100M subscriptions, that is roughly 2.5 hours per subscription! In some projections, we expect more than a 3x increase in mobile video consumption over the next four years. This explosive growth is driven by a number of factors in the market including rapidly growing mobile smartphone revolution, ever-improving data connectivity, and the social connectedness of the world via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others.

With numbers like that, traditional content owners, media companies and broadcasters are facing tremendous pressures to deliver the most personalized and highest-quality video to their viewers. In addition to delivering quality and personalization, they need to reach and grow their audience by offering new content, new formats and new experiences. And let’s not forget the need to monetize as well.

Through our mission, Verizon Digital Media Services will work to build “the #1 global OTT solution”. My role as CTO of the video team is to make that mission a reality by delivering on our strengths.

Diverse and complementary strength
Verizon Digital Media Services has been a rapidly growing force in the OTT space over the last four years. Our Uplynk Video Streaming service is the simplest way to adaptively stream quality linear, live and on-demand video to every device, worldwide. Today, our Uplynk Video Streaming service powers many of the largest broadcasters and video services across the globe. Add the world’s leading monitoring and compliance service that is Volicon Media Intelligence, and the first-of-its-kind Content Intelligence System, Media Xperience Studio, to the mix, and the future for Verizon looks exciting.

Now combine that with the Yahoo video team, which over the past few years, has built a comprehensive technology stack for video. The cutting-edge video technology from support for content delivery network switching to a world-class player and analytics service, has enabled Yahoo to scale and deliver to a billion MAUs, and stream high-profile live events (e.g. NFL live stream on October 2015) at performance that has been tuned to be the best in the industry across desktop, mobile, connected devices and Smart TVs.

Data, data and more data
Over the last couple of years, the Yahoo team has engineered our HTML5 MSE player. This player, built in-house, now delivers all the video views for Yahoo properties, and we look forward to bringing that technology to market as a core piece of our product line in the near future. This will enable us to give our customers a world-class look at what drives successful video experiences.

With the player, we have also invested a lot into data and data infrastructure. We have built language and vision frameworks to extract information from videos and then used with machine learning to enrich and tag video metadata. As users consume video, our player is able to collect data and infer experience metrics, such as session length and engagement. This data can then be used to engage users with more personalized content and better, more relevant targeting of ads. Finally, our scalable end-to-end instrumentation, allows us to optimize quality of service, with data about rebuffering, impacted views and start times.

From subscription services to ad-supported models, our future will be built on data collection and tools for big data that our customers will have at their fingertips. We must help them understand what type of content to create or acquire. We need to help them discover which content drives engagement for their audiences. They need to know how their users’ behavior and interactions affect their monetization strategies.

Working together is success…
From here on out, content owners and publishers who want to distribute their content over the top, can benefit from a broad and complete solution set of robust and powerful APIs to power their own brands. Our goal at Verizon Digital Media Services is to create the OTT platform that will enable all our customers to bear the joint strengths of our teams on their behalf.

As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning … Working together is success”. All of our teams working together will bring value and innovations from our combined strengths, and lead our customers to OTT success by driving reach, engagement and growth as we all work on changing the way the world watches.