We talked to Paul Martin, VP Engagement, Media and Entertainment at Concurrent during NAB NY 2017, who gave us a background of the company, where and how it is deployed in the current industry, and how it’s working to meet the needs of Next TV.
With previous positions at BT, and Snell / Snell Advanced Media, Paul has watched firsthand the evolution of the industry, and is well positioned to be at the forefront of the next generation of content storage and distribution with Concurrent.
“Concurrent has been around for 20 years and an early pioneer in the early days of VOD. With 11 patents, including ‘how to stream video over a network,’ said Paul.
Concurrent’s core customer base features larger cable companies in the U.S. such as Charter and Cox communications; in Europe with the UK’s Virgin Media, and in Japan with J:Com, focusing on the storage of large amounts of content and the ultimate management and distribution of that content to customers. “If you’ve got 500 channels on your lineup, you’ve got a lot of content coming in, and a lot of content going out. And that ‘content going out’ has evolved, from the basic delivery over a network to a set-top box to now handling the requirements of OTT,” said Paul.
The Concurrent platform has been evolving over time to handle the transition from consumption via a TV set-top box over a QAM network to an HTTP-type connection for OTT or a mobile device.
To manage costs, cable companies are moving from expensive set-top boxes with local hard-drive storage for content to essentially network-connected terminals with centralized storage, offering “Network DVR” functionality. Concurrent’s technology can manages that storage at that scale. Because of this centralized storage capabilities, cable companies can now offer private network storage services. Paul explained a sample offering: “Do you want your own terabyte or gigabyte of storage, brought to you by Cox or brought to you by Charter?”
“What I’ve found when I came from the broadcast industry to Concurrent – and I came from playout in broadcast – I knew that audience for playout was diminishing. The need to go into the on-demand and OTT world for broadcasters has become way more important. Content is king, and as you see at NAB this year, distribution is the pretender to be the king. They’re both equally as important.”
Paul expects at 2 or 3x growth in storage requirement over today’s content libraries over the next 2 to 3 years, and Concurrent’s platform can scale to fit those needs.
According to Paul, because of Concurrent’s heritage of building cable networks for the efficient distribution of content, the company is well positioned to handle the transition to OTT for its customers.
“Concurrent’s ability to store the content, stream the content, and more importantly, cache the content at the end, is where we believe we can help broadcasters deal with content growth, and have a means to distrubute content very cost effectively.”
“I don’t know of any one else in the industry at the moment who can solve both of those problems at the same time,” remarked Paul. “I’m excited with what Concurrent can do for broadcast because it’s proven technology. It’s deployed at scale today. We have to bring it out of its sister industry called ‘Cable Television’ into these other new systems for broadcast.”