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14 January 2021

Blunt but vital updates suggest MediaKind is feeling the heat

It appears MediaKind is feeling the competition heating up among all-in-one video platforms, having just announced some overstated updates to its MediaFirst offering – a fully virtualized cloud-based TV platform technology for pay TV operators.

While it promises increased agility, scalability, and fast-to-market capabilities, few of the updates jump out as revolutionary, causing us to wonder whether MediaKind is getting nervous – as it battles to keep clients from moving to Android TV Operator Tier and RDK-based platforms.

Despite talk of significant developments, Faultline really had to comb through the press release to nail down any organic changes, with the only tangible updates arriving on the UX/UI side of things. Universal search, rich metadata, and advanced personalization are three important areas where tweaks have been made by MediaKind, as well as enhanced features for content and UI management.

Of these, we feel the advanced personalization updates are most noteworthy with claims of churn-crunching. While the announcement itself struggles to do this justice, we understand that MediaKind has introduced dynamically-generated promotional rows within the UI – giving operators the opportunity to directly combat causes of subscriber churn.

If someone experiences poor quality, or is dissatisfied with the content they are viewing, operators can use these promotional rows to promote premium content or offer a complimentary free period on a platform, for example. Small nudges to subscribers through the UX can go a long way in combatting churn.

For some context, a recent forecast on Customer Journey Management offerings from our research wing Rethink TV found that operators can save $4.6 billion in churning pay TV revenues over the next five years by implementing such technologies, including those from MediaKind.

MediaFirst also now allows viewers to bookmark content across any device with Chromecast, Download & Go. All of these features help operators hone their service towards the individual needs of each consumer, in the hope that a more personalized service will prevent people from cutting the cord.

Appealing directly to stretched pay TV operators, MediaKind argues that these updates increase the value prospect of MediaFirst, by pulling profit margins wider from both sides. Improvements in the speed of defining and deploying next-generation services reduces operational expenditure, while improving user experiences aims to reduce subscriber churn.

MediaKind also says that the platform allows for additional broadband pull-through revenues – a lifeline for any sinking pay TV service – but unfortunately the vendor fails to specify how this is achieved.

MediaFirst’s virtualized infrastructure allows operators to leverage web services within a converged multiscreen experience. Operators can host and manage any combination of linear, multiscreen TV Anywhere, and pure OTT. The platform allows operators to roll out a complete pay TV experience to end users, with live content, VoD, time-shifted content and restart TV capabilities all at their fingertips to be administered on the fly, as well as cloud DVR and multi-DRM capabilities.

A few other bells and whistles have been added to entice operators. MediaFirst is now pre-integrated with Evergent’s CRM and billing platform – further proof that operators are dead set on integrating their services with managing the customer journey.

As the recent Rethink TV forecast underlines, OSS/BSS is no longer a good enough term to describe the complex web of Customer Journey Management that is having to be undertaken by operators. All video platform providers, such as MediaKind, are going to have to increasingly integrate with traditional OSS/BSS vendors, such as Evergent, and that this partner list will grow longer.

These updates to its top tier offering comes just weeks after MediaKind entered the Android TV arena with Mediaroom Play in December. This was to stop an exodus of pay TV operators leaving its IPTV platform, Mediaroom. Many operators could not afford the jump to MediaFirst, and the gulf between the two technologies made Android TV Operator Tier or RDK an attractive alternative and a natural next step in the evolution of in-home entertainment.

We can conclude that MediaKind is launching an offensive on all fronts to stop clients on all price tiers from leaving its ecosystem. Additional and advanced features are needed to keep customers for the premium MediaFirst service, while Mediaroom Play’s end-to-end clout has provided a serious entrant into the increasingly crowded Operator Tier scene.