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1 September 2022

IBC warm-ups ft. Quickplay time travel

Out with the new and in with the old. Wait, isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Not for Firstlight Media, which has resurrected the former Quickplay Media brand just ahead of IBC 2022, after rescuing the remaining assets from inside the crumbling AT&T video empire in Q1 2020.

It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, but at the same time is one that raises concerns that the newly formed company has struggled to reach the former glory days of Quickplay Media pre-acquisition – as a vendor known for supplying best-of-breed encoders, while supporting third-party encoders, and removing choke points for efficient OTT delivery with experience in handling high traffic volumes.

When merged with Firstlight Media over two years ago, the plan was for Quickplay’s content delivery capabilities to complement Firstlight’s AI-based personalization software and user engagement platform to create a one-stop OTT shop for premium video delivery.

Evidently, there has not been enough emphasis on the former components around delivery, and we’ll be watching closely how Quickplay conducts itself publicly following the rebrand back in time, paying particular attention to what customers are saying, with new names being teased at next week’s IBC Show.

The Canada-based cloud-native OTT video vendor claims the shift “capitalizes on the instantaneous and lasting recognition of the Quickplay brand as emblematic of streaming innovation.”

But why did AT&T sell Quickplay Media just four years after acquiring it? Simply, Quickplay served out its time as the supplier of video plumbing elements which essentially enabled AT&T to get on with making key business decisions around video. Many of those, we now know, were disastrous, but not by any fault of Quickplay, which played a pivotal role in encoding, packaging, app development, and security for AT&T’s numerous video ventures.

Meanwhile, Synamedia has reverted back to NDS. Only kidding, the UK-based video software vendor is keeping its current name and will use IBC 2022 to launch Fluid EdgeCDN.

We are sensing an emerging theme already ahead of the IBC doors swinging open, as Synamedia’s new portfolio of services for CDN operations features a sophisticated traffic prediction engine allowing ISPs to sell excess CDN capacity with a share of revenues going back to rights holders.

Synamedia’s Vivid Workflow-as-a-service video delivery and processing suite is also being updated with Vivid Connect, for cost-effective backhaul transport services, and Vivid Record, for time-shifted TV and cloud DVR – complemented by the recently-acquired just-in-time packaging capabilities of French firm Quortex.

Another encoding rival, Ateme, has announced “the beginning of a new chapter” – not one involving rebrand or acquisition but a plus symbol.

Ateme+ has been launched to embody the French firm’s full evolution into a cloud-centric and SaaS-based vendor. This means customers only pay for capacity and functionality they need, accessed through an easy-to-use management console and delivered using optimized compute on AWS, Azure or Google Cloud. Configuration, monitoring, user management and key metrics can be managed and customized via the ‘single pane of glass’ – while Ateme handles scaling of the platform.

Ateme+ wants to help broadcasters, service providers and streaming platforms shift spend away from a capex investment and toward a more predictable operational cost model – ultimately lowering TCO.

And speaking of French SaaS, Broadpeak has added another new service to its SaaS-based platform, this time looking to dynamic ad insertion in live and VoD streaming content.

The CDN specialist has branched into DAI as a service as an additional revenue stream at an opportune time in the market with FAST services on the ascent. The API-based SaaS uses server-side ad insertion technology pre-integrated with major ad servers on the market, reducing time to market for targeted ad streaming services and enabling OTT service providers to quickly monetize content.

Broadpeak lends its delivery experience to automatically handling ABR video transcoding as part of DAI-aaS, as well as audio normalization with loudness control technology.

Circling back to Canada finally, with SSIMwave, the perceptual quality measurement pro, which is introducing a “turbocharged” version of its SSIMplus VoD Monitor at IBC 2022.

SSIMwave’s press release then goes on to explain exactly what SSIMplus VoD Monitor has always done since it made its debut at IBC 2019, which is its algorithm-based video quality benchmarks to set quality-based checks on content for VoD workflow operations teams. Frame-by-frame and pixel-by-pixel analysis of video content can then be used to predict and score perceptual QoE by mimicking human vision.

Without seeing it first-hand, the only thing about SSIMplus VoD Monitor that appears turbocharged is a live sports streaming benchmarking demo in conjunction with the F1 Italian Grand Prix.

Everything and anything is being turbocharged in preparation for IBC 2022, as one of the PR buzzwords of choice this year, and Faultline will be making sure these big expectations are met.