Anvato broadens focus, adds first SVOD customer to ranks

TV Everywhere solutions provider Anvato is adding a new element to its portfolio: over-the-top services. The company has signed up its first OTT service provider customer, MHz Networks, and is powering that media company's new SVOD (subscription video on demand) offering.

MHz Choice, an $8 per month subscription streaming service launched in the U.S. in October, is using Anvato's turnkey Media Content Platform (MCP) to deliver content.

"We needed a powerful video infrastructure that is end-to-end: pre-integrated with subscriptions, plans and entitlements out of the box," said Frederick Thomas, CEO of MHz Networks, in a press release. "Anvato provides outstanding video quality, scalability and flexibility, all key requirements for MHz Choice across all platforms."

For Anvato, providing an SVOD structure for MHz represents a new strategy and opens it to more OTT opportunities. "For us it's exciting because it's our very first subscription customer," said Matt Smith, Chief Evangelist at Anvato, in an interview with FierceOnlineVideo. "It represents a new frontier for us."

The company has provided TV Everywhere solutions to networks for several years, including all 28 of NBCUniversal's networks and more than 200 local stations across the country.

"At the last several trade shows I've been to in the last 18 months I've had a few companies come to me that I'd never heard of before," Smith said. "[For example] a Latin American licensor of episodic television or movie content who says 'hey, I've got the biggest Spanish language library of drama in the region,' and they're asking us if we can help them build a product whether it's authenticated or subscription, so they can offer their wares to viewers in North America without having to go through the traditional cable carriage negotiation with the standard operators."

MHz Networks provides international programming to U.S. audiences. The service initially launched a free linear OTT livestream in 2014, but shut down the service in November 2015 due to costs that "far exceed the financial return," the company said in a statement on their website.

While their product is now entirely on-demand, MHz Networks is competing with other OTT-based providers such as YipTV, which live streams more than 100 Spanish language and international channels to U.S. subscribers, and Mitú, a former YouTube MCN (multichannel network) with a focus on U.S. Latinos. Its MHz Choice SVOD service is available via Amazon Fire TV and Roku streaming devices as well as on desktop Web browsers and smart TVs.

"There's increasing demand for Spanish language television and if anyone who reads this is sitting on the sidelines thinking, 'okay I've got this library of content, do I go traditional or do I go over the top,' this is an example of where you can go over the top and be successful," said Smith.

Unlike Mitú and YipTV, which built their own streaming platforms, MHz decided Anvato's solution, which Smith describes as "signal-to-screen" delivery, was the fastest way to transition to an SVOD environment.

"It really dips down to whether the potential customer wants to take the bushel of content if you will, and hand it to someone and say 'I trust you with this' and hands it up, versus someone who says 'I want to be involved and I want to be arm in arm and talk about how this evolves and how it goes to market,'" Smith said.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Google, Scripps, BBC: balancing consumer demand, video technology an expensive proposition
Scripps ramps up live TVE streaming, dynamic ad insertion from Anvato
Looking for content in all the wrong places: OTT executives puzzle out discovery

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