Why are out-of-the-box products not working in the IPTV/OTT market?

An "Out-of-the-box" is a prepared feature or functionality of a product that works immediately after or even without any specific installation, deep configuration or modification. It also means that the functional aspect is available for all users by default, and they are not required to pay additionally to use those features, or needs to be configured. So why don't "out-of-the-box" products work in the IPTV/OTT market despite seeming simplicity and convenience?

1. Highly competitive market

Since the middle of 2010s, the number of companies that provide IPTV/OTT services has grown rapidly. For example, in 2015 the IBC exhibition organizers in Amsterdam had allocated a separate hall for companies from "IPTV / OTT / Connected TV / Content Everywhere systems supplier" category.. Two years later the exhibition space for the hhad to be expanded even more. In 2019 there were already more than 150 vendors represented at the exhibition — that is quite a lot for a one-niche market.

Most vendors declare that they provide out-of-the-box solutions — systems that start in a short time, with minimal configurations.. It allows customers to start video streaming business quickly. This works great in theory, but what do we have in practice?

2. Business tasks are paramount

In practice, customers come with a request not only to install a software, but to solve specific business tasks, including::

  • launching IPTV/OTT in the existing Internet Service Provider network;
    migrating Cable Operator to interactive television;
  • launching OTT in mobile network;
  • creating online cinema or OTT service;
  • expanding the list of supported OTT devices;
  • moving from an outdated platform to an up-to-date one.

Mentioned tasks are fundamental and often it is not enough just to provide an out-of-the-box product for solving them. You will also need to provide expertise in video broadcasting, software development, and dedicated R&D and technical support teams.

3. Each OTT project is unique

In practice, there is not a single identical OTT project as different business tasks require customisation on different levels. There are three levels of customization:

  1. Users interface and branding. Includes user application appearance: adding menus, localizing an interface, changing colors, etc. As well as bringing the appearance in line with the design concepts and corporate identity of the company.

  2. Incorporation into the ecosystem. Includes integration with billing systems, content protection systems, CDN, business support systems (BSS) and adapting the solution to the network architecture of the client.

  3. Development of features and extensions following client's requests.

The first level tasks can often be solved by software settings, editors or small changes in the code. The second level tasks can be solved using API and flexible modular product. While the third level tasks require an expertise and the R&D team.

4. The value of long-term collaboration in an evolving environment

Tasks of all levels are rarely one-off. The market is changing quickly, the number of subscribers is growing, their geography is expanding. As a result, there are new requirements: to the network, to content, and to the platform. In this permanently changing atmosphere, the customer needs a reliable support, a qualified partner — a company that will not just sell its "out-of-the-box" product which can support a product for a long-time, assist in scaling the streaming ecosystem and adapt the solution for the evolving conditions of the market.

5. Be a strategic partner

How can we understand that the company is able to become your strategic partner? There are several criteria for such type of company. The company:

  • has an expertise both in the video processing and in a software development areas;
  • is aimed at solving business tasks;
  • offers a flexible modular product which allows adapting the solution to evolving market conditions without going into a long-term R&D;
  • understands models of content monetization;
  • is ready for an effective collaboration with a client at all stages of the project, including both before putting the solution into operation and after it.

The collaboration with a company that matches these criteria most probably will lead a client to a success in a solving his business tasks.

About the author

Nick Pesegov
CEO Telebreeze
Telebreeze has been operating in the OTT market since 2011, constantly improving and refining its solutions to the evolving needs of the market. During that time we have implemented projects in 69 countries. Our customers are partners for us, because we build business together, improving and developing it.