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The content cocktail

April 9, 2014

Jelmer Kleingeld   

General Manager of the Chello Digital Media Centre (DMC)

Because of our role in media logistics and my team’s place at the center of linear and on-demand content workflows – we have a broad perspective of the media landscape.

With content owners finding themselves in an increasingly crowded market, they are competing with new entrants for an increasingly diluted audience share.  As the competition for viewer eyes appreciates, so does the requirement to maximize the value of investments in content and network carriage.

To deliver this value, our customers need highly integrated workflows – throughout the content acquisition, media management, transmission and on-demand publishing life-cycle.

Content-owners are forever seeking to simplify their interfaces between systems, service providers and people.  I’ve learnt that this does not mean these interfaces need to be consolidated; it just means that the pressure is on for service providers (like Chello DMC and Tata Communications) to accommodate our customers’ unique requirements.

Meeting these requirements means providing this flexibility by shaking up a convergence cocktail.

  • Customer X needs a Mojito
  • Customer Y needs a White Russian

The Chello DMC is blessed with a highly capable bunch of mixologists that deliver these cocktails and more; day in, day out. They ensure every need is met and no-one gets a compromised, curdled mess of a cocktail.

This requirement for flexibility and convergence is sector-wide and has resulted in a highly consolidated and highly polarized market.

Providing end-to-end services that deliver turnkey operations is great, but if you neglect the need for customers to choose services a la carte, or fail to accommodate their individual needs – your relevance depreciates, quickly.

There are big operations – optimized to cater for high revenue services.

There are small, agile operations – optimized for lower revenue services.

The trick to being relevant for both ends of the spectrum requires relentless engagement with processes.  It requires building, re-creating and integrating workflows to simplify operations. We are forever weeding out processes which stifle agility, whilst making sure we maintain the economy of scale and SLA-centric operations that our customers demand.

When I take a walk around the office, I witness this convergence in the most profound sense.  Formed in 2000, our business was built on the mechanics of broadcast television.  The same technical teams who used to manage steerable satellite antennas and transponder capacity, now find themselves busy with global IP multicast contribution, file-based encryption and CDNs.  They ensure the Chello DMC bar is stocked with the ingredients to meet every customer need.

I believe that content owners’ needs are analogous to those of their viewers.

Viewers are increasingly empowered to determine their own experiences. Content owners need to be empowered (by the flexibility of their service providers) to determine their viewers’ experiences.

Only with this empowerment will content owners be able to contend with the competition. Only then will everyone get what they ordered.

Speaking of which, mine is a strawberry daiquiri!