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October 31, 2011

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DVB, IPTV, OTT Goes Well with Beer & Pretzels: Notes from Verimatrix’s EMEA Autumn Summit

It was a pleasure to host our EMEA Autumn Summit this year near our new Munich office during Oktoberfest. Our customers and ecosystem partners attended the 2-day workshop to network with our combined European-based team and senior executives, as well as gain a full understanding of the direction of our VCAS security architecture. We laid out our product roadmap to show how we are meeting the needs of both our DVB and IPTV customers that are broadening their services to hybrid DVB-IP and multi-screen delivery. We haven’t received an RFP in the last 12 months that didn’t include some multi-network, multi-screen component. Even if customers are not ready to make that type of network transition now, they certainly want to understand their future options. The Summit also provided a valuable forum to exchange views with experts and industry peers on the state of revenue security, potential threats and the piracy scene, and what’s next in the pay-TV marketplace.

We brought in two guest speakers to provide a broader view: Alan Constant and Steve Bjuvgard of Imediaco, a firm that provides technical and strategic consulting services across the entire range of media distribution technologies with particular expertise in video security. Alan offered an insightful perspective on the next 10 years of pay TV, by examining the previous 10 years. His convergence prediction is that DTH will be initially replaced by some form of hybrid network and then OTT on unmanaged networks. Steve dug deep into piracy issues with some regional case study examples. He deftly broke down the status of piracy, along with the regulatory and legal enforcement environments in Asia and the Middle East. For example, in some Middle Eastern countries, it is estimated that up to 40% of urban households accessing pay-TV signals are unauthorized – meaning non-paying users. Fresh from IBC, I also had some reflections to share. The most obvious was the lack of 3D “noise” on the show floor when compared to 2010. We saw only modest advancements in the positioning and development of 3D solutions and services. The 3D hype was soundly replaced by multi-screen services – although definitions differ, it is clearly the evolution of network convergence and it is no longer considered “new and mysterious” as it has been in years past. And it is worth pointing out that the falling prices of DVB set-tops are opening new markets, particularly in emerging regions. Of course, operators are making decisions on the best ways to secure assets on these different delivery networks. As a validation of the software-based security approach, we saw even the legacy smartcard providers announce their software-based, multi-screen solutions. Of course, the other piece to the multi-network, multi-screen puzzle is content rights, which we find are dragging out these next-generation implementations. We are working on some ground-breaking research regarding content rights across different networks and devices, so stay tuned. All in all, the attendees at the EMEA Autumn Summit were a very interesting and dynamic group, representing both technical and business disciplines, with very ambitious and advanced business plans.  The speakers shared the difficulties of combatting piracy, not only through technical means but also through judicial, commercial, and creative mechanisms. Of course, fun was had by all during our “extracurricular activities,” such as the visit to the Erdinger brewery with an extended tour of its facilities, where we learned everything worth knowing about beer making, and the Oktoberfest event itself, which was a totally OTT event (pun intended). We look forward to hosting more events in 2012. We would love to get your input on what you’d like to hear from Verimatrix. Leave a comment and let us know.

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