What if a startup could gain disruptive insights about its streaming customers?
Media & Entertainment
The number of Ad-Supported Video-On-Demand (AVOD) viewers in the U.S. will rise by about 9.0% in 2023 to a total of over 150 million, according to eMarketer and Insider Intelligence. Statista figures estimate that Video-On-Demand revenue could reach $69.54b in 2023. Competing in such a lucrative market comes with unique opportunities and specific challenges.
When Craig McEldowney, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of digital media entertainment/ SaaS company OTTera, and his team saw the need for increased business intelligence and better analytics, they knew they needed someone who got it. A strategic partnership with Sand Technologies enabled OTTera to develop a data-driven, groundbreaking approach that helped improve their StreamInsights product. This partnership and OTTera’s purposefully aligned business strategy are causing significant disruption in the mainstream entertainment streaming market.
OTTera, a leader in OTT and FAST streaming spaces, were looking to surface actionable analysis for internal use, and for their publishers and partners. One of OTTera’s main hurdles was to partner with an organization that understands large data sets and how to implement them into their business strategy. For example, knowing which shows would pull a customer into a specific streaming service and keep them watching.
“We needed better analytics on data sets, which was not directly in our wheelhouse. Our data consisted of millions of records daily, which we use to help power streaming service dashboards,” said McEldowney. They also needed to develop a better-developed approach that would be more cost-effective and efficient according to industry standards.
According to McEldowney, “OTTera’s initial solution was to track and aggregate consumption on VOD, which at the time was approximately 60% of viewing traffic on the services we power, and now represents closer to 40%, with Linear/FAST channels and third-party distribution making up the balance.”
McEldowney and the rest of the team at OTTera needed a technology partner to help them understand how to improve upon previous performance using deep industry knowledge and experience. Sand Technologies presented OTTera with a more cost-effective, better-architected approach as a proof of concept and demonstrated how that would work for them.
“Because of their vast industry knowledge, understanding of AWS (Amazon Web Services) and experience with back-end solutions, working well together clicked rapidly. It was an instant fit partnering with Sand Technologies,” says McEldowney.
Combining business intelligence-related aspects, industry tools, and back-end solutions allowed the team at Sand Technologies to develop a proof of concept (POC). After the POC was approved, the team helped OTTera add industry professionals to their staff.
The knowledge transfer from Sand Technologies to OTTera was a considerable part of this project’s success. Sand helped teach the new members of the OTTera team about the ins and outs of AWS, QuickSight and other crucial tools. These included data warehousing and analysis tools, to build pipelines and dashboards bringing together data sets from across multiple business units within OTTera’s footprint.
“With help from Sand Technologies, OTTera can provide a more complete view of inputs and outputs to the business. In addition to toolsets for publishers and partners, OTTera and Sand have built a rich ecosystem for inquiry and discovery, allowing OTTera to continue to lead the market with quick pivots and adjustments to the business model, offerings, and strategic positioning of the company,” McEldowney said. “OTTera can look across everyone’s data from owned and operated brands and leverage this information to emerge in new markets and properties they were trying to bootstrap.”
Once the solution had been developed, the best part came: implementation. “With help from Sand Technologies and our depth of relationships on the distribution side, we can continuously disrupt and break up mainstream entertainment,” said McEldowney. “StreamInsights Dashboards take those professional relationships we’ve established over the years and put stats and analysis behind it.”
Once the solution was understood, the team at Sand performed a knowledge transfer to help OTTera integrate their people into their team. OTTera was taught how to implement the solution. We showed OTTera the best way to build an advanced warehouse in AWS based on our deep industry knowledge.
After developing world-class data analytics software, cutting out the intermediaries, and reducing gatekeepers, OTTera has recently expanded vastly and rapidly into more markets, including Mexico and Brazil. As a certified delivery partner to top-tier platforms such as Roku Channel, Samsung TV+, and Vizio WatchFree+, OTTera is positioned to maximize the success of any streaming service with a strategic rollout of offerings.
“By partnering with Sand Technologies, OTTera could immediately align our [streaming service] clients with the publishers, quickly enter a FAST and linear space while cutting out the middleman, cutting out the fee structure, and reducing gatekeepers,” said McEldowney.
OTTera is now one of the fastest-growing PaaS providers worldwide, with deep penetration in OTT, FAST, and distribution/monetization. The screenshot below shows just a portion of OTTera’s services’ global reach:
Sand Technologies’ deep understanding of both the entertainment industry and the capabilities of AI made OTTera feel confident in the partnership and enabled the company to accurately represent its full footprint, model and identify areas for growth and innovation, and continue to extend its reach in existing and newly developing markets. Sand Technologies is proud to have helped OTTera become early disruptors of their niche in the steaming service industry.
The entertainment industry experts at Sand Technologies used their deep knowledge of the streaming market and their connections on the distribution side to help OTTera develop and perfect their service StreamInsights. With this ongoing support, OTTera will keep disrupting the mainstream entertainment industry, and its success will only continue to serve its customers while enhancing the consumer entertainment experience.
“Because of their vast industry knowledge, understanding of AWS and experience with back-end solutions, working well together clicked rapidly. It was an instant fit partnering with Sand Technologies.”