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An Advanced VOD Solution for a Telecom Business

Media & Entertainment
VOD
Customer rating
4.9
This ranking reflects our expertise and success
An Advanced VOD Solution for a Telecom Business

About the client

Andersen was approached by a B2B/B2C Telecom business from the DACH region. The company provides a large spectrum of services: fixed-network/broadband, mobile communications, Internet, and IPTV products for consumers, as well as information and communication technology (ICT) solutions for its business and corporate clients. The company operates in the markets of 11 countries and has over 100,000 employees, most of whom are located in Bonn and Vienna.

Location:Switzerland
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About the project

duration24 months
Technologies
React
Redux
Java
Android
iOS
Python

Front-end:

React, CSS, SCSS, Sass (styles), Redux

Back-end:

Java 17 (a programming language), Spring Family, ORM (Hibernate and JPA), JUnit and Mockito (testing frameworks), Liquibase (DB migrations)

Mobile:

Android: Kotlin, Clean Architecture, Moxy, Retrofit, RxJava2, Dagger 2, ExoPlayer, Mockito, Kaspresso, Marathon iOS: Swift 5, Alamofire, PromiseKit, Firebase, RxGRDB, Core Data, Verimatrix, FairPlay

Smart TV:

Plain JavaScript (ES5/ES6+), React/Svelte (frameworks), GSAP, Python, Node.js, MySQL, Amazon S3, Apache Hadoop, GitHub, Git, Gradle, Apache Mesos, Sumo Logic, Express Gateway, Jenkins, Vector, Yarn

Specialists

    • 3 Front-end/React developers
    • 5 Back-end/Java developers
    • 2 iOS/Swift developers
    • 2 Android/Kotlin developers
    • 2 Android developers: Android TV
    • 2 iOS/Swift developers: Apple TV
    • 2 .NET developers: Tizen
    • 2 Web developers (HTML/JavaScript/CSS): webOS
    • 1 Solution Architect
    • 1 DevOps engineer (AWS)
    • 2 BA/SA specialists
    • 2 QA engineers
    • 1 UI/UX designer
    • 1 PM
    • 1 DM
Concept illustration

Project details

Business problem.
The customer is a well-known provider of Telecom services with huge experience in media broadcasting using conventional methods (TV, radio, etc.). However, a decreased demand for the consumption of information from these sources led to losses in revenue caused by lower broadcasting rates, audience withdrawal, and a reduced number of advertisements and promotion agreements. These were the key drivers that made the company embrace a modern approach towards digitalization.

How it has influenced the customer’s business.
The increasing popularity of VOD (video-on-demand) and streaming solutions in the OTT (over-the-top) market led to a lost opportunity for the customer’s business, as it didn't have a platform that could provide users with easy access to the media content online. The company was also lacking the ability to share content with broader audiences, increase content monetization, and attract advertisers via a VOD platform.

Opportunity.
The customer's idea was to diversify the business by developing a custom OTT platform that would augment the existing pool of content delivery tools. Such a platform was expected to provide high-quality VOD services enabling users to easily access the media content (streams, films, TV series, etc.) on all types of devices (web, mobile, and Smart TV). For the customer’s business, this would provide an opportunity to distribute its content among more people and hence gain a major share of the entertainment services market and better capabilities for video monetization and ad integration.

Goals.
The supreme goal was to increase the company's revenue and make it a leader among VOD service providers by developing a custom OTT platform that would be easy to modify and highly adaptive to user needs. The major business objectives set by the customer were:

  • Guarantee high-level security of the content. The solution was supposed to effectively restrict or complicate various illegal actions with video in the digital format to protect copyright and avoid revenue losses.
  • Allow for subsequent changes. This VOD solution needed to be scalable, highly adaptive to accommodate the possible modification of functionality, and easy to customize for specific business needs by decreasing the number of third-party integrations.
  • Withstand high load. The solution was expected to be able to deal with a large number of users simultaneously (around 10,000) without performance losses while ensuring low response time and a reduced number of errors.

Furthermore, user interviews and analysis of feedback in app stores, which had been conducted by our Business Analysts during the Discovery phase, revealed a couple of key user requirements:

  • Simplify the process of choosing the content by reducing the users' time and effort to pick relevant material. The solution was expected to provide users with all the tools required to choose content in an effortless manner and avoid searching for suggestions on forums or recommendation websites.
  • Provide availability of the content for a broad range of devices (web, mobile, and Smart TV). This VOD software was required to be available on all major platforms, including different operating systems, models of devices, screen resolutions, etc.

Current trends on the market

The growing market of OTT solutions is expanding both locally – in the DACH region – and globally. The majority of companies are either turning to white-label solutions with limited customization or opting to create a platform from scratch, which gives more space for possible changes and improvements. Furthermore, most content makers give preference to streaming platforms as a fast and efficient means of monetizing their content due to the easy spreading and promotion of works. As a result, many OTT platforms accumulate enough resources to invest in the production of their own content and compete with professional filming studios (e.g., Netflix).

Solution

Thanks to our contribution, the company can now benefit from a custom VOD streaming platform tailored specifically to its business needs, as well as to the plans of the company's marketing department and user preferences. Andersen's solution includes features for diverse VOD-related operations and the following user types:

  • Administrator – uploads, stores, and manages the content, ensures the security of the content, distributes the materials, and performs reporting and analytics.
  • Viewer – searches for relevant content via a recommendation engine, views and assesses the materials, and pays for the subscription.

Among other features, the resulting VOD solution offers the following advantages:

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Properly adopted content monetization models

Together with our Business Analysts, the customer's team selected multiple monetization models meant to provide users with a variety of options for accessing the platform’s content. The SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) model was adopted as a primary solution due to its high level of flexibility and freedom and the benefits from the features of the Membership Economy (including super users, so-called forever transactions, and recurring revenue). Notably, it was augmented by the AVOD (ad-based video-on-demand) model, which has two options: access to all content at a reduced subscription price with the ads-included feature or access only to free-to-view content with integrated advertisements. Such a decision served three major purposes: embracing a larger audience due to the increased availability of content, testing new approaches, and offsetting the hosting costs. The TVOD (transactional video-on-demand) model was applied to provide access to premium content and new releases outside subscription limitations. All of the above have made it possible to gain a larger market share, obtain viewers' feedback, and adjust the business model specifically to the users' demands.

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Rigorous content protection

As one of the key business requirements, the issue of security was given top priority and treated diligently by our specialists. The resulting solution included the following features:

  • The internal video paywall, which is a part of a larger DAM (Digital Asset Management) system, effectively restricts free access to digital assets by requiring a viewer to purchase the video or pay for a subscription to access the content. Technical realization of this feature is based on the AWS Lambda Edge service, which processes the user's data to return relevant types of content. For example, the user with a subscription receives full access to the content, while an unsubscribed user will only see the preview or a video with ads.
  • Integration of a digital rights management (DRM) solution has made it possible to prevent piracy and unauthorized usage of the customer’s digital assets. Andersen's specialists used different solutions to ensure multi-DRM support on the vast majority of playback devices. This required integration with three major DRM providers – Google’s Widevine, Apple’s FairPlay, and Microsoft’s PlayReady, which store and transmit content in an encrypted form – and the development of a key delivery service that conducts token verification and DRM licensing.
  • A role-based access control (RBAC) system was implemented by our team, which restricts access to certain content according to the user’s permissions deter