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23 January 2020

Diversified Amagi with another cloud-based playout win

Although the company started with a focus on ad insertion, it seems Amagi has found solid success with cloud-based playout – going against the grain somewhat considering how playout systems have become basically bereft of value. Since launching in late 2017, Amagi’s Cloudport service has received a steady stream of new customers, as channel operators recognize the efficiencies of cloud management.

Announced this week, Amagi has bagged Insight TV’s three recently launched OTT channels – Insight TV Lifestyle, InWonder, and InTrouble – which will now be managed through Cloudport, the AWS-based platform.

 

These Insight TV channels are not necessarily mainstream, but that doesn’t matter – this is the medium-sized, but regular, deal that Amagi has built itself on.

Amagi’s Cloudport seems to offer a one-size-fits-all service. It can support multiple distribution platforms and deliver over satellite, fiber, or IP. The platform can also manage live broadcasts and ingest content from multiple live sources. Other notable features include automated scheduling, dynamic graphics, live controls and 4K UHD playout.

Amagi has steadily expanded, partially by diversifying from ad operations into cloud-based playout services in late 2017, and now serves over 250 channels in more than 40 countries, including Viceland, Discovery, and Zee TV.

As mentioned in our opening gambit, Faultline’s qualms about the playout market stem from exits by numerous vendors that were once highly successful, the likes of Green Valley and Imagine for example.

Playout is typically split into contribution and distribution feeds and commoditization has hit some players hard, Ooyala and Arkena being two more prime victims. But this rapid decline in value is primarily associated with the playout of traditional 24/7 linear channels – while virtual programming is offering new life thanks to the availability today of cloud infrastructure.

The newly adopted Insight TV channels will use Cloudport to manage broadcasts across three continents. In the US, the new STIRR platform offers all three channels, while Insight TV Lifestyle and InTrouble are broadcast in the UK and Spain, respectively. Insight TV Lifestyle is also delivered to Indonesia’s Oona TV platform.

We first covered Amagi at IBC back in 2012 when it was billing itself as the largest company reselling advertising. It would buy ad spots in national Indian TV channels, and then resell them regionally for far more money, getting paid many times over for each national ad slot, because it used an addressable advertising system of its own devising.

Despite its expansion to the cloud, Amagi still has one foot in ads. The company’s Thunderstorm platform provides automated ad-detection and OTT ad insertion, so that content publishers and vMVPDs can monetize linear OTT channels. Thunderstorm is powered by machine learning and supports multiple ad markers. Customers include SonyLIV and YuppTV.

Furthermore, Amagi’s Storm IRD platform allows geo-targeting of local satellite feeds without implementing any additional satellite transponders. This allows broadcasters to monetize targeted advertising without needing additional infrastructure. Storm IRD has been used by NDTV in the Middle East and AMC in Latin America.

For Insight TV, Amagi likely provided a competitive price. Amagi is based in India, where it benefits from far cheaper programmers than many cloud-based playout firms.

Insight TV’s 4K UHD channel can be accessed through select local broadcasters around the world, OTT providers, or through its own VoD platform. Subscription for the latter is priced at $4.99 a month or $24.99 a year and is accessible through all expected devices.

The content creator and OTT platform launched in 2015 and has expanded its global reach quickly. Insight TV has sold content to over 50 networks, and its linear channels now reach over 40 countries and over 130 million households.

Amagi’s other recent win two weeks ago was Shout! Factory TV. The niche digital channel’s relatively small library of 2000 hours deals in “cult and classic TV and film that have shaped today’s pop culture” and is available on VoD and OTT services with freemium and subscription options.

Amagi recently opened a broadcast monitoring facility in New Delhi, adding to offices in NY, LA, London, Singapore, and Mumbai.