Bigger is better? Not necessarily, according to CTOs of Tier 2 and 3 cable MSOs at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Wed. Being small brings challenges when it comes to TV Everywhere deployment, but it also means more flexibility and faster development and deployment, they said.
Many TVE programs are designed for large scale deployment, said Kelly Rehm, technical operations manager, Massillon Cable/Clear Picture. A cost-effective solution is using internal staff, he said. “We have taken open source (apps) available and the transcoding part is internal.” Being small has become an advantage thanks to the use of internal staff, he said. “We can process faster.”
Buckeye Cable System is still debating whether to develop its own TVE apps, said CTO Joseph Jensen. Once the app’s created, it needs to be maintained and updated, he said. “Once you own the app you have to be ready to support it. That takes a commitment.” Small and medium ops wanting to develop TVE apps could potentially collaborate and build a core platform that can be developed for each of the ops, Jensen said. Launching TVE is a change of mindset for small players like Buckeye. “We have traditionally asked customers to come to us to get content… The next generation app will allow customers to take our content onto alternative devices,” he said.
Another challenge for the small players is to attract and keep a skilled workforce, said Armstrong CTO Michael Giobbi. “You need to find ways to get your message out,” Jensen said. That means proactively partnering with local schools and community organizations, he said. Meanwhile, the CTOs’ revealed their wish list: clearly understand how to measure quality of experience and use that to better services and productions; cost reduction; and the ability to offer faster speeds. Additionally, “we need to create an innovation cycle much more tightly than it is today,” Jensen said. For small ops, the key is to stay on top of technology, Rehm said. (For more on the challenges of TVE for smaller ops go here.)