Thursday, June 07, 2012

All OVPS Are Not Created Equal -- Why Sorenson 360 Stands Apart

Yesterday, I wrote about Comcast/thePlatform's entry into the broader online video platform (OVP) market -- and welcomed them to it.  As I mentioned in my post, my company, Sorenson Media -- which is best known for being the leaders in video encoding/transcoding -- offers its own OVP called "Sorenson 360."  Although I mentioned that we believe Sorenson 360 stands apart from all other OVPs, I didn't give many details in this regard.  This post hopes to rectify that.

Bottom line -- all OVPs are not created equal.  Sorenson 360 stands apart -- and not only because it enables the highest quality video (which is a Sorenson Media hallmark -- and which alone, we believe, is worth the price of admission).  And, despite some nay-sayers in this regard, it is absolutely proven that quality "matters."  In the words of leading industry analyst IDC, and after its own statistical analysis in this regard, "user engagement is influenced by video quality."  This comes from the firm's "Streaming Video Quality & Engagement Study" published in July 2011.

Here's some more expanded precision on what I mean by why, in addition to differentiated quality, Sorenson 360 stands apart from all other OVPs -- and why this is much more than mere propaganda.  I thank my partner-in-crime, COO Eric Quanstrom, for his thoughts in this regard:

Unlike ALL other OVPs, Sorenson Media uniquely enables the management of videos through a lifespan that begins prior to the upload to the OVP. Sorenson Media alone covers a much broader workflow with its eco-system of inter-connected workflow solutions.  As one example, typically the Review & Approval / Asset Management piece is separate from the OVP -- often because it is NOT YET a fully Cloud-based story.  But, as companies broaden their approach, Sorenson Media has interesting stories to tell. A few key areas from a product perspective:
  • Review & Approval is baked in to Sorenson Squeeze (since v6.0) and just recently got a significant facelift in 8.5-- complete WYSIWYG editor + responsive design for consistent experience across any browser (Mobile, Tablet, Web) and universal playback. 
    • Review and Approval requests can also be generated solely through Sorenson 360 and now support exists in the 360 API for ANY asset type (we call this Abstract Asset IDs-- which means that we can support multiple files of a video-- any/all of the stages of a video's lifespan-- which would include Source, Mezzanine (Editing--ProRes, DNxHD or Archive--high-bitrate H.264, MPEG-2 or JPEG2000), Adaptive Bitrate or other final delivery (MP4, Flash, etc) formats).  
  • We also offer APIs at an even higher level of Review & Approval (for the media and entertainment business, as an example), which includes fan-out encoding with Adaptive Bitrate (Apple HLS), ALE edit metadata inclusion with videos, overwhelmingly tight security controls, playlist and commenting options -- all these features compete strongly with any of the services that currently ONLY do this as standalone companies (such as Pix Systems, Wiredrive or Aframe). 
  • We are currently working with some of the biggest names in video on initiatives for Mezzanine delivery of premium content from content partners (read: any major studio, advertisers or content producers who'd have their content delivered by these OTT (Over-the-Top) services).  These are "partner" deals, as we are tuning our transcoding software to comply specifically with the preferred intermediate (or Mezzanine) format supported by these firms.