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Mark Donahue Mark Donahue is an associate editor for Telephony magazine. Previously, he worked in The Associated Press’ Chicago bureau, as well as two trade publications. He graduated from...more

thePlatform Simplifies “TV Everywhere” for Programmers

Company provides new features to enable consumers with TV subscriptions to watch more of their shows online


SEATTLE – Nov. 18, 2009 – Programming networks face an increasing number of technical options and requirements as they evaluate their “TV Everywhere” plans. Today, thePlatform, the leading white-label video publishing company, announced a new suite of features designed to enable programmers to provide “TV Everywhere” capabilities on their own Web sites, while preserving their financial and content rights arrangements with TV service providers.


“In a world where multiple service providers offer multiple subscription packages on multiple platforms, programmers need a simple, flexible solution that helps reduce complexity and meet the expectations of their service provider partners and consumers,” said Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform. “This is a natural enhancement of a very successful business model between programmers and TV service providers. Consumers win because there will be far more online video than ever before, and both programmers and service providers win because they can extend their video to the Web in a secure manner.”


To date, most of the public discussion about “TV Everywhere” has focused on the “authentication” of subscribers, in other words, how a programmer’s Web site knows whether an individual consumer is a subscriber to a particular TV service provider. thePlatform’s solution addresses that challenge and then adds the capability to validate and authorize the playback of individual shows. In addition, the company supports adaptive content discovery and monetization policies to support various business policies between programmers and service providers, and offers a range of other tools to improve online viewing for consumers.


Authentication and Authorization


The initial challenge for programmers’ Web sites is to authenticate a consumer is a subscriber to a particular TV service provider. Complicating matters are the various back-end billing systems used by TV service providers. Today, thePlatform introduced a new Authentication Adapter service as part of its media publishing system (mps). The Authentication Adapter will act as a proxy that can authenticate consumers for programmers for the numerous TV service providers’ billing systems. With this adapter, thePlatform will manage the complex cross-referencing and interface required from the various companies involved.


Once a consumer is authenticated as a subscriber, programmers need a mechanism to authorize playback of each show based on the consumer’s subscription package. To accomplish this, thePlatform maps each individual video to each service provider’s channels. By connecting the consumer to a list of approved channel IDs and each video to its channel ID, thePlatform’s video management system can provide robust and flexible authorization tools necessary for “TV Everywhere” video playback. Within milliseconds, thePlaform’s system can

verify alignment between the video, the TV service provider’s channel lineup, and the consumer’s subscription package; ensure that media rights associated with individual shows — such as airdates, geographic restrictions, and other business polices — are enforced; and re-verify that the consumer is still an active customer of the TV service provider. This approach will ensure that consumers can start watching their video instantly, while the business policies and financial obligations between programmers and service providers are maintained.


Adaptable Content Discovery and Monetization


Programmers also need flexibility when it comes to personalizing their video Web sites for consumers based on business arrangements with TV service providers. For example, if a consumer visits a programmer’s Web site and searches for a particular show that isn’t included in their TV subscription package, service providers have a choice of what to present to the consumer. These options include: constraining the search results to only those videos the consumer is allowed to watch; providing full search results with an up-sell opportunity to subscribe to a premium subscription package; or offering a pay-per-view option for that online show, similar to today’s TV video on demand (VOD) systems. thePlatform’s “TV Everywhere” solution serves as the source of standardized content access rules across service providers, providing programmers with the versatility to support these various scenarios.


In addition, thePlatform’s media publishing system (mps) provides programmers with a wide variety of other online video tools, including comprehensive video management, optimized content delivery network (CDN) policies, advertising campaign system integration, support for all major video playback technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Move Networks, and others, reporting capabilities and more.


Media companies use thePlatform’s mps as their open, central hub for managing, monetizing and syndicating billions of professionally produced online video views annually. thePlatform currently provides online video management services to four of the top five U.S. cable TV service providers, numerous programmers, and other leading media companies. thePlatform is also managing the back-end for Comcast’s On Demand Online trial in conjunction with numerous programming networks. A complete description of thePlatform’s capabilities can be found at www.theplatform.com.


About thePlatform

thePlatformâ„¢ is the leading white-label video management and publishing company. Media companies use thePlatform’s media publishing system (mps) as the open, central hub for managing, monetizing, and syndicating billions of professionally produced online video views annually. The company’s services provide unmatched versatility for designing and supporting video businesses on PCs, mobile, and TV. Customers include: Associated Press, BBC, Big Ten Network, Cablevision, CBS College Sports, CNBC, Comcast, Corus Entertainment, Cox Communications, ExerciseTV, Gannett/USA Today, HIT Entertainment, PBS, PBS KIDS Sprout, Sony BMG, Starz Play, Time Warner Cable, Travel Channel Media, and numerous others. With a nine-year history of service, thePlatform is an independent subsidiary of Comcast based in Seattle, Wash. For more information: www.theplatform.com.


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