White-label OVP thePlatform -- celebrating its 10th anniversary this year -- is rolling out a new platform for video management that it says is more user-friendly, giving customers a streamlined approach to handling large video libraries, while also allowing them to customize their interface and their workflow management.
Mpx Beta, announced Monday night, is more than a revamping of the company's current platform, it's been completely re-engineered to be scalable and in tune with the needs of a developing TV Everywhere and OTT environment, targeting both large- and mid-market content publishers.
"The knock on thePlatform used to be that our product was very complicated and difficult to use," said VP of marketing Marty Roberts. "With mpx Beta, we address that issue very aggressively, and we think that's going to make us even more competitive. Increasingly, publishers are looking for ways to distribute their content to more places; they want to do it quickly, efficiently and at a reasonable cost. Across the board there's a lot of opportunity."
Roberts said mpx Beta gives publishers a more intuitive way to manage their content, allowing them to set up workflow that suits their needs by opening up the UI to customer modification. "We incorporated blade navigation in the system to allow users to get fine detail on files with just one click," Roberts said. "Our usability testing showed that no two users used our platform the same way; mpx Beta allows users to customize the interface to make it work for them."
The new system also allows publishers to establish multiple publishing profiles to push content to more places with less effort. "If we know what a device or website expects to see we can set up a profile for it and take workflow out of the process," he said. During a preview, Roberts pointed to Apple's iPad as an example of how easy it was to add a new device profile to mpx Beta.
"We've re-architected the entire platform from a monolithic to a service-oriented device," he said. "We're re-inventing everything thePlatform does today and creating a platform that we think can last the next 10 years."
Roberts said most customers wouldn't necessarily interact with some of the new services mpx Beta offers, saying that in some cases it's more about what happens under the hood that matters, allowing thePlatform to scale its services as needed.
"With mpx Beta we can expand capacity to handle load in a reliable way, ultimately moving toward a carrier-class structure," Roberts said.
The Comcast-owned company also is rolling out a new software development kit that will allow customers to extend and enhance mpx Beta. "We're opening up our API and providing extensive documentation for our customers so they can take our platform and improve it in ways they find helpful," said Roberts.
Getting to mpx Beta has been a long process, he said, with the company focusing about 70 percent of its engineering for the past two years on its development. In some ways, it represents a sea change for the company.
"We know we weren't as easy to use as we should have been, and we really have addressed that here," Roberts said. "I think what we're most excited about with this product, is addressing complexity and making process simple for our customers." Roberts said it will continue to drive the TV Everywhere initiative, where it already is serving as the backbone for offerings from Comcast and from Rogers Communications in Canada. But the company also is very aware that the OTT market continues to grow, and it wants its piece of that pie as well. "We're not looking at mpx Beta as a solution for just the TV Everywhere market," Roberts said. "We see it as a great system for any market."
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