Arris, SeaChange vary multiscreen strategies to attract European operators

AMSTERDAM -- Multiscreen is as much a watchword as 4K at this year's International Broadcast Convention, but vendors Arris (Nasdaq: ARRS) and SeaChange International (Nasdaq: SEAC) are taking different tacks to attract operators in the European market.

SeaChange is moving ahead with its goal to be a software-only provider. The Massachusetts-based company is trialing its Cloud Adrenaline Platform with the goal of rolling out in the United States soon, followed by Europe in 2014. The SaaS-based platform targets mid-sized and smaller operators that want to offer TV Everywhere and OTT (over the top) services to subscribers.

Arris multiscreen STBs

Arris demos multiscreen equipment options at its IBC booth.

Arris, meanwhile, is starting to leverage its recent integration of Motorola Home, which it purchased earlier this year. The vendor is rolling out various products based on Motorola Home assets, and is developing hybrid and DVB set top boxes for the European market in a clear move to compete with Liberty Global's (Nasdaq: LBTYA) hybrid Horizon STB.

For Arris, new product announcements took a few months as the company incorporated Motorola's set-top assets. IBC is the first show in which Arris presented a unified front with Motorola as part of its booth display.

Steve McCaffery, SVP EMEA, said there was little overlap between Arris' and Motorola's customers and locations, making the transition seamless. That's with the exception of infrastructure, however. Arris infrastructure is largely based around CMTS (cable modem termination system); Motorola focused on CCAP (converged cable access platform). McCaffery said this segment is going into R&D mode to figure out a smooth transition to all-CCAP infrastructure.

With Motorola's assets in place, "Arris is now a $5 billion business," McCaffery said. The international marketplace is a "big component" of the acquisition, with EMEA as a prime opportunity for the company.

SeaChange multiscreen demo

A look at some of SeaChange's Adrenaline Cloud multiscreen capabilities.

SeaChange's focus, meantime, is on getting its software-based multiscreen services to the European market. But the company is also looking at two major issues in IP-based video delivery: the user experience and delivering advertising to users in a more effective way.

With that goal, the Adrenaline Cloud platform--which has more than 40 customers worldwide according to Alan Hoff, VP of strategic marketing--also integrates with the vendor's Infusion advertising system. On Friday the company announced it has partnered with Axel Springer to deliver targeted VOD advertising--including customized VOD channels as well as ad placement and insertion for the multiscreen environment.

Video on demand (VOD) is an important part of SeaChange's multiscreen strategy. "RDK has helped the cable industry change," said Hoff. For example, "Comcast (initially) couldn't get advertisers to buy into VOD because viewers didn't watch it much. They didn't watch it because the content was not compelling. Thanks to the Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) effect operators changed their view. Cable realized 'binge viewing' of the latest TV series episodes was popular, and started making entire seasons available on demand rather than just the past week's show. Now 70-80 percent of cable subscribers are watching on demand."

Additionally, Comcast's RDK (reference development kit) set top boxes make targeted ad insertion possible, he said, explaining that ad content can be made more relevant and less repetitive by developing new ways to insert those ads based on a user's viewing habits combined with advertising opt-in choices.

For more:
- SeaChange issued this release
- and this release

Show coverage: IBCLive 2013

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