By Tim Pearson, Sr. Director Product Marketing
(In case you missed it, you can catch up on Part One here)
The journey to all-IP requires a nuanced approach that aligns with the operator’s specific needs, particularly as they face new challenges along the way. Identifying those challenges early is vital, whether they come from consumers frustrated with buffering issues, not being able to secure exclusive deals with OTT providers or stemming leaks from pirate activity. Solutions therefore need to support migration efforts to protect both the existing and new service offerings and most of all, keep consumers engaged. Such solutions would include:
- Security at the core: Fundamentally, it shouldn’t matter which device the content is being consumed on just that it is secured at both a content (e.g. multi-DRM) and service (e.g. watermarking, anti-piracy) level. A core service protection strategy also inspires confidence with content owners who are more likely to licence premium content to the operator–resulting in new and retained subscribers
- Low-cost device support: All-IP enables operators to offer a full gamut of services to align with subscribers’ budgets. Entry bundles, such as zapper boxes or conditional access modules (CAMs), alongside OTT apps can extend the range and reduce subscriber acquisition costs.
- Hybrid STBs: Through its Android Fast Track program, NAGRA works with a number of STB manufacturers to secure content using on-chip security. Doing so enables operators to range an off-the-shelf STB offering that integrates with the latest user experience and is dynamically linked with their backend solutions in the cloud, ensuring the latest service and security setup is always present and box performance is optimised against consumer behaviour.
- Direct-to-TV solutions: In some cases, there’s no longer a need for a set-top box, as it can be virtualised. NAGRA’s TVkey Cloud solution, jointly developed with Samsung, was designed to do just that, wiping out the expenditure on manufacturing and deploying the STB altogether. This cloud-based solution, which was first deployed by HD+ in Germany, can be impulse installed during the setup process of a newly-purchased TV, instantly placing the operator’s service into the home and providing the operator with a new route to market. Such a quickly deployable and cost-efficient service is only possible thanks to IP.
- Watermarking and anti-piracy: The move to IP means operators are moving away from controlled environments and as the number of piracy threats grows significantly. As content is often the most expensive asset an operator has, it’s imperative they do all they can to protect it, especially with studios and content owners increasingly mandating that measures are taken to do so. Moreover, operators need to deploy measures to protect their entire service from restreaming via IP through reactive and proactive anti-piracy toolsets.
Migrating to IP can be daunting for operators used to controlling the end-to-end network both in terms of scale and cost. In order to keep the valuable subscriber base many have spent years building up, they’re now being asked to risk it all and move to a seemingly unreliable and unprotected wild west of content distribution. However, migrating to IP isn’t the start of the end, it’s the beginning of a whole new ecosystem where operators can learn more about their customers than ever before, giving them what they want, where they want. While there are risks, the new revenue opportunities, increased device reach and access to new subscribers makes all-IP the logical next step in content distribution and a journey worth taking.
Interested in learning more? Contact us for information on how we can help you with your IP migration strategy.