2020 Emerging Leaders - Kaltura's Zohar Babin

Zohar Babin (Kaltura)

The FierceVideo editorial team is proud to present its inaugural Emerging Leaders Awards, recognizing the brightest young professionals rising up the ranks of the streaming video and pay TV industry. Throughout the months of June and July we’ll be featuring these profiles with each of our finalists. We will announce the winners during our upcoming OTT Blitz Week of virtual panels happening during the last week in July.

Zohar Babin/Kaltura:

Zohar Babin leads Kaltura's VPaaS product strategy and business development, Kaltura's ecosystem partnerships, open source work and global developer community.

Babin joined Kaltura as a research developer and was promoted to managing director, leading Kaltura's open source community, partners marketplace program and core video platform product marketing. He was most recently promoted to EVP of platform and growth. He leads a 14-person team of business and tech professionals tasked with achieving growth multipliers via new business verticals and products, strategic partnerships and acquisitions.

Babin’s latest initiative has been facilitating with his team Kaltura’s acquisition of Newrow, a virtual classroom and video-conferencing company. Over the years, he has lead the development of an open source video platform and ecosystem, technology partners program and developer community. He has helped drive his company from solely a consumer-focused business to an enterprise and video cloud platform assisting companies like Oracle, Thomson Reuters Insider and Pearson.

What his colleagues are saying:

"Zohar is the epitome of Kaltura's company values - open, flexible and collaborative. He initiated and drove our open source project, which now includes a vibrant community of over 150,000 members, as well as our tech partner marketplace, serving as a source of tech innovation and partnership across the entire video ecosystem. Zohar has been a pillar in our strategic growth since inception, and he is a true innovator and visionary at heart.” - Ron Yekutiel, co-founder, chairman and CEO at Kaltura

Streaming Industry Q&A:

What streaming services do you subscribe to? 

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV but I make sure to try out almost every new service in order to keep myself updated on the latest industry trends and up-and-coming user experiences. During weekends I treat myself to some Netflix binging, as well as taking a peek at what’s new on Vodafone TV, one of our flagship customers, along with some local networks.

What are your favorite shows you’re watching in 2020?  

I am keen on documentaries, of any kind, and love watching "Blacklist" and "Fauda."

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 

I have had the privilege of being with Kaltura from the very start, and seen it grow from 4 people to almost 500, and from zero to over $100 million in annual recurring revenue, catering to many millions of users worldwide. During this time, we at Kaltura, myself included, had so many remarkable achievements that I’m extremely proud of. Among them is the wide spread adoption of our open source tools and the lively community around them, and our humble contribution to making the world a better place to live in through some unique deployments that help fight closed regimes in sharing news. We've also been able to support local communities through remote healthcare and online educational programs that make learning from the best teachers in the world accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.

What’s next for you in terms of new challenges in streaming TV? 

In TV, the challenges – and opportunities – are to make cloud TV the norm. Allow operators to leverage cloud-based television and deliver innovative entertainment experiences faster in a global scale. We are making TV truly smarter, launching into the era of cognitive TV where data meets the cloud TV experience which will allow consumers to enjoy a fully personalized, omnichannel experience driven by artificial intelligence. There is also the opportunity, especially in such times of social distancing and global uncertainty to leverage the TV as the new “campfire” and create TV based experiences that connect, inspire and educate us. 

Kaltura also stretches beyond TV, as video experiences are changing every aspect of the world as we know it. Coronavirus for example has a huge “green” impact on the planet. People working remotely means less travel and less consumption along with getting used to video-based personalized remote learning instead of brick and mortar schools, which means better learning outcomes for every individual, with fewer expenses and faster results. It also means people can truly achieve work-life balance and spend more time with their families. We will of course start seeing more VR and XR – we’re already seeing it impacting businesses, from better situational training use-cases to remote-travel experiences for people who can’t travel. We’re seeing significant growth in real-time video in collaboration, learning and remote healthcare as well as omnichannel live broadcasting that in many markets goes beyond entertainment and sports. 

The faster adoption of open source standards and codecs will also open the doors for richer and more innovative experiences as people will spend more time leveraging video in their applications instead of worrying about dealing with cross-platform compatibilities.