yes brings live and on-demand content to any screen with Cisco Videoscape.
Satellite TV provider yes is the direct-to-home (DTH) pay-TV provider in Israel, serving nearly 650,000 subscribers - with 40 percent market share. In this relatively small marketplace, yes faces stiff competition, which is predicted to grow significantly. The company’s strategy for success: embrace new technologies and innovation to deliver a superior media experience and a better user experience. To that end, yes was the first Israeli pay-TV operator to introduce high-definition broadcasts and the first to offer a personal video recorder (PVR).
As yes sought to solidify its market position and reputation as a technology innovator, company leaders believed the natural next step was bringing the TV experience to more screens.
“Israeli TV subscribers are very technically savvy and hungry for new video experiences,” says Ron Eilon, chief executive officer, yes. “We wanted to be the first TV provider in Israel to offer subscribers live and on-demand video on their personal devices, anywhere, anytime.”
Many pay-TV providers around the world now deliver video to mobile devices, but those services are often confined to devices in the home, connected to the set-top box (STB). Yes wanted to offer subscribers something truly unique in Israel: the ability to access live and on-demand programming from anywhere. Given that more than a third of Israeli pay-TV subscribers own tablets, the company believed this capability would prove an important differentiator for yes.
The yes satellite DTH delivery model offers a number of advantages, allowing the pay-TV provider to deliver broadcast TV literally anywhere in the country, including temporary installations, military outposts, and other sites that cable providers cannot easily reach. But the satellite model, which is inherently a broadcast technology, also presents challenges when implementing new video experiences, such as streaming on-demand video to tablets and smartphones, which are based on unicast. For many satellite operators, adding unicast services to broadcast video infrastructure is a complex and expensive endeavor, often resulting in multiple generations of technology that do not easily interoperate and require separate management, and can provide a disjointed user experience for subscribers.
Yes needed a way to deliver an amazing customer experience, integrating both linear and on-demand video and providing the same quality of experience on any device. And they needed to do it while protecting their existing DTH video infrastructure investments, without having to undertake a massive equipment upgrade.
Yes has had a strong partnership with Cisco® for many years. When planning the new multiscreen video experience, the company once again turned to its trusted video partner.
“Over the years, we have developed a close relationship with the Cisco video team, and they understand our business and our goals,” says Itzhak Elyakim, vice president of engineering and chief technology officer. “The easy answer for many technology vendors is to recommend swapping out thousands of devices deployed in the field. Cisco helps us bring new video services to our customers in a way that builds on our existing infrastructure investments.”
To support the new “yes GO” mobile streaming service, yes chose the Cisco Video Everywhere solution, part of Cisco Videoscape™. The solution provides everything yes needs - encoding, adaptive bit rate (ABR) streaming, content delivery network (CDN), and content management and entitlement - to bring a state-of-the-art TV experience to subscribers on their mobile devices, wherever and whenever they choose.
The service enhances the video experience and yes value for existing video on-demand (VOD) subscribers, who can now stream video to up to two concurrent devices as part of their existing subscription, at no additional charge. Users can browse the programming guide and stream 60 channels of live TV, as well as access tens of thousands of VOD titles, from their Android or iOS devices, as well as Macs and PCs. They will be able to pause, rewind, and fast forward video, and start a program on one device and resume on another (such as pausing a show on their living room TV, and picking it up where they left off from their smartphone at work). And subscribers can use the service anywhere - inside or outside the home. For yes, the service also provides an additional avenue for monetization - for example, subscribers may have the option to pay an additional fee to add more devices to their yes GO streaming plan.
A Comprehensive Solution
Cisco provided a complete solution to make yes GO a reality, including:
● Live and on-demand video encoding for multiple devices with the Cisco Videoscape Acquisition Suite and Cisco Digital Content Manager (DCM) platforms, which are part of the Cisco Videoscape Processing Suite
● Content management and multidevice entitlement with Cisco Videoscape Media Suite
● ABR streaming to deliver live and on-demand video in the best possible quality for each user’s device and connection, with the Cisco Videoscape Acquisition Suite
● Intelligent CDN framework that dynamically distributes the most popular content close to users, with the Cisco Videoscape Distribution Suite (VDS)
● Strong digital rights management (DRM) to protect content even as yes makes it accessible on new devices with Cisco Videoscape Security Suite and a third-party DRM vendor
● Comprehensive operational analytics with the Cisco VDS Service Manager, including tools to measure service usage metrics and quality for business purposes, as well as to empower technical teams to quickly identify and address any issues
In addition, the Cisco Videoscape solutions provided an open, modular platform for yes, with open APIs that allowed the company to smoothly integrate third-party elements into the solution, including the mobile device user interface (UI) and third-party recommendation engines. This openness was an essential enabler for yes to deliver a consistent experience with the same content, quality, and look and feel across all devices.
Yes delivers all of these capabilities through its high-performance data center, where all Cisco Videoscape applications run on Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®) platforms and Cisco Nexus® 5500 Series data center switches.
Unifying New and Traditional Services
Cisco helped yes create a next-generation multiscreen experience across all devices - STB, tablet, smartphone, PC, or Mac - with consistent quality for users. This is a major difference from many competing “TV Everywhere” services, which present a completely separate experience to subscribers depending on the device they use. With the yes solution, live TV networks have the same channel numbers across devices. Program guides and title information look the same whether users view them from the STB or a tablet. And VOD purchases made from the STB are automatically accessible on that subscriber’s mobile devices as well.
Yes launched yes GO in early 2014, and the response was overwhelming. In just the first few months after introducing the service, yes saw a significant spike in subscribers and market share, and a growth rate much faster than anticipated. Yes leaders credit this fast uptake to a subscriber base that was ready to embrace new experiences and a video everywhere solution that delivers the same consistent high quality on any screen or device.
“The response to yes GO has been even better than we hoped,” says Elyakim. “Even in a relatively small market, with some unique business and technical requirements, we’ve been able to create a state-of-the-art experience for our subscribers.”
In addition to growing market share, the solution is also helping yes generate new revenues. For example, thousands of yes pay-TV subscribers still use older STBs that do not support the company’s VOD offerings, which are based on “over-the-top” (OTT) connectivity via the Internet. The introduction of yes GO has motivated many of these subscribers to upgrade to a higher service tier, increasing recurring revenues as well as revenues from new VOD purchases. Some customers who choose to keep their previous-generation STBs are also paying a standalone subscription fee for yes GO - further increasing recurring and transactional revenues.
Most important, Cisco helped yes deliver a next-generation multiscreen video experience by building on the operator’s existing strengths and capabilities, instead of trying to replace them. Other DTH providers struggle to balance satellite distribution with the added complexity and management requirements of newer unicast and ABR services. Cisco helped yes combine its satellite distribution systems, previous-generation unicast VOD infrastructure, and new multiscreen ABR video streaming to realize the best of all worlds. The company continues to use its far-reaching satellite infrastructure and unicast VOD system to deliver linear and on-demand TV to subscriber homes, while augmenting them with OTT ABR content delivery to mobile devices and PCs and Macs. All of these infrastructures are unified in a single back-end system that allows yes to control content positioning, streaming, entitlements, security, and quality assurance for all screens - and integrate all of them into a cohesive viewer experience.
“If we had to upgrade 100,000 devices in the field to do this, it would have been impossible,” says Elyakim. “Cisco allowed us to build new capabilities on top of our existing ones, and we give our customers the same look-and-feel, the same high quality, across all devices. It changes our customers’ perceptions of the role we play in their lives. We are not just a satellite TV provider, we deliver personalized video experiences however and wherever subscribers choose to watch. And that sets us apart in the marketplace.”
For More Information
To learn more about Cisco Videoscape, visit http://www.cisco.com/go/videoscape.