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20 January 2022

Dreams of Twitch abound broadpeak.io SaaS switch

Anticipating that all its hard work might end up buried by the CES tsunami, Broadpeak delayed its planned announcement – holding out a couple more weeks to unveil what the French CDN and multicast ABR specialist believes is one of the company’s most significant product moves to date.

Months of development has produced broadpeak.io, a new software-as-a-service video API platform capable of delivering so-called “advanced” and “streamlined” video streaming to subscribers. broadpeak.io is being marketed as an alternative to bulk streaming methods, as an API-based platform capable of evolving to host several applications in a cloud-based environment enabling personalized streaming.

Unsatisfied by the punchy press release, Faultline grabbed some time with Broadpeak President and CEO, Jacques LeMancq, who explained that broadpeak.io’s nimble approach is different to the company’s typical business model – which is focused on (but not limited to) serving pay TV operators and telcos. These traditional Broadpeak customers have their own networks and so are comfortable deploying Broadpeak infrastructure, LeMancq explains, while the idea with broadpeak.io is to offer its portfolio as individual modules on a SaaS basis so that no infrastructure is required.

Eventually, the plan is that broadpeak.io will serve an entirely new customer base in the “new media” market, according to Le Mancq. He already has a dream customer lined up too, revealing, “I would be proud if Twitch was using broadpeak.io.”

But surely something has gone weirdly wrong for Amazon’s video game live streaming platform if it finds itself deploying multicast ABR, which it would have to do via an operator (as DAZN has recently via TIM in Italy). This why the first port of call for broadpeak.io is centered around contextualized streaming needs, starting with the inclusion of blackout as a service, to comply with content distribution rights and policies by blocking certain content.

Coming next in broadpeak.io’s contextualized streaming funnel is targeted ad insertion as a service, to monetize HLS and DASH video streams, followed by regionalization as a service, which is more targeted at the traditional crop of cable operators and vMVPDs to tap into local ad revenues.

Twitch’s signature does sound a little ambitious right now, but the key part for Broadpeak is how transforming into a SaaS and API-based vendor – embracing the flexibility and agility of the cloud – enables Broadpeak’s services to keep pace with the increasingly fast-paced demands of video delivery customers. And who knows, one of these days Twitch might come knocking.

For clients, broadpeak.io brings simplicity and scalability by plonking its products into the cloud as easily accessible SaaS applications. As for its flagship Advanced CDN and M-ABR capabilities, these are more difficult to turn into API-based modules in a SaaS model, but never say never.

“We try to make the Broadpeak UX simple, but the APIs are advanced,” LeMancq explained. “Our model is like Netflix – we deliver a perfect UX without compromising on quality, which is why we say it’s advanced.”

Another reason Broadpeak throws around the advanced superlative is because its software modules have integrations with many partners, across millions of subscribers, arguing that this makes broadpeak.io more advanced than the competition. We like a bit of fighting talk, even for something barely off the production line.

While not strictly a customer case study, broadpeak.io has already been plugged into peakVU.TV, which is Broadpeak’s own recently released “super headend as a service” in the US. This is targeted at tier 2 and 3 operators, those that don’t necessarily have the cash to invest in technologies such as transcoding, so can plug into the broadpeak.io API to scale a full line-up of linear channels with the broadpeak.io API within hours. Not quite Twitch.

LeMancq’s mention of partnering with data plane vendors reminded me of a similar comment made to us by Synamedia, seeking partners to push the data plane out among the forwarding components in the network, like RF tuners, towards the edge and into the CPE itself, while the control plane sits in the middle of the network. At this, LeMancq compared broadpeak.io more to Mux or API.video than to what Synamedia is offering.

“On broadpeak.io you can log in and use it as an actual service. This is pure SaaS,” he emphasized. “We don’t want to rush. We want to try to do this right.”

Another big change that comes with targeting a more modern breed of customer is working with teams with different ways of thinking (in other words, that means younger people, but we wouldn’t want to stereotype any industries). Bringing a whole new way of offering your services in turn means a whole new way of doing business – with the potential over time to change an organization’s entire culture and identity.