The software that drives most OTT and IPTV deployments these days is varied and complex, yet there is still a general misunderstanding in the marketplace as to what reliable software platforms should cost and ultimately deliver.

Tech vendors by default are always trying to improve the efficiency of their software platforms and upsell their clients, so it is still frustrating to continually see so many cases of “tech whales” taking years to bring their clients to market and overcharging them by tens of millions of dollars. There is no longer any excuse for media companies to spend $50 million on a complex multi-year OTT deployment only to find out that the end result is either unreliable or simply unusable in some extreme cases.

Many tech vendors continue to overpromise what they are able to deliver on and decisions made during a RFP process are often made without any true understanding of how robust and versatile a software platform will be in the long run. Additionally, little consideration goes towards the long-term impact of the large IT teams required to manage and fix bad purchase decisions around OTT and IPTV services.

So while the “tech whales” continue to overprice and under deliver (for the most part) there are a handful of midsized and small cap companies that are now delivering cost-efficient and nimble software platforms that dramatically speed up the efficiency with which content owners can launch their digital storefronts.

We owe it to ourselves to be more thoughtful about what it takes to define a true TV Everywhere strategy these days. Why not take 60 days and hire a team that will define what your roadmap should be based on commercial goals, user journeys and most importantly proper data. More clients should give themselves the best shot at effectively monetizing and engaging their audiences.

If one is in the position to have the budget to target every device in a territory — which some of our customers do — that’s great news. But if you don’t, make sure you speak to your potential vendor about what new target devices are coming down the road and which ones truly make the most sense based on territory, demographics etc. There are a plethora of targets to choose from these days, but building apps on iOS and Android alone do not a TV Everywhere strategy make.

Most media companies and their joint venture or wholly-owned channels who have decided to launch OTT options for their consumers are still heavily reliant on complex internal budgets that show little to no efficiency when it comes to a global approach which will allow for the rapid development of large scale, multi-device applications and the use of cross-platform developer tools. Every solution should allow for the flexibility to deliver an out-of-the-box solution for Live, Catch-up, TVOD and SVOD. I’m also a true believer in templated off-the-shelf UI applications.

So before you write your next large software check, ask your vendor if you can speak to their past or current clients so that you can hear about how happy they really are. Make sure that before you are sold an OTT solution that it is a sustainable and fully supported software solution, and that there is an actual team that will still answer the phone once the project is deployed. It still pays to be able to have an expert (human) answer a call these days.

I’ll be at IBC in Amsterdam. Hall 14, Stand K17.


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