Deltatre opens up on Massive Interactive acquisition and shaping the OTT market

Sports media service company Deltatre recently revealed that it had acquired OTT software company Massive Interactive in a deal worth around $127m (£99m). The agreement positions the combined businesses as the largest independent rival to the likes of Disney in terms of online sports coverage, reaching a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The move was driven, the company says, by the growing need for broadcasters and operators to offer customised, individual viewing experiences – an area in which Massive Interactive specialises. It also extends Deltatre’s reach into the entertainment sector.

SVG Europe had a chat with Andy Wasef, Deltatre’s EVP global head of OTT products, about what we can expect to see of the company in the future.

What sort of OTT innovations can we expect to see from the combined companies going forward?

Deltatre’s Andy Wasef, EVP global head of OTT products

Expect to see a lot from us in terms of a combined platform architecture that is one of the most contemporary and flexible on the market. We are designed for the next generation of OTT services where content owners require higher levels of sophistication in their OTT stack, enabling very specific needs and preferences, and a platform and products that are designed for growth.

Our philosophy is to create ‘beyond TV experiences, built for growth’ which means four main things: consistently improving the live and VoD streaming experience to match the quality and reliability of broadcast; combining that with the best of digital experiences and enabling user interactivity, control and personalization of the navigation and video consumption experience; products that are designed and built to maximise user engagement, retention and growth; and a modular architecture that comes with built-in integrations with the best MarTech platforms in the market to facilitate effective customer lifecycle marketing.

How does or will the Asian and South Pacific markets compare for OTT consumption and demand to Europe and the US?

They’re huge markets in terms of population sizes, video and OTT consumption, and rapid growth of both.  They differ in many ways though in terms of the willingness to pay or subscribe to services and price sensitivity, the need for lower bandwidth solutions without sacrificing quality, and handling massive scale cost-effectively.

If you see the numbers Hotstar deliver in Asia around cricket, for example, you can see the potential but that means you have to look differently at how you manage your infrastructure costs (which have to handle huge scale,) and you have to have a world-class video streaming ad infrastructure to make the economics work.

Why are the Asian and South Pacific regions exciting for Deltatre? What does Massive bring to the table in those markets?

It’s extremely exciting for Deltatre because we’ve done a lot of work in the region over the years (including this year with the Asian Games,) and we see huge potential both in the market generally and for us specifically due to both massive interest in the existing large sports there but also rapid growth in newer sports.

It’s a region where we recognise the value of in-market partnerships which we’ve historically had and are actively growing today.

With us adding Massive’s existing client base in APAC and significant presence in SE Asia, we’ll be looking to grow significantly there as we are in the US.

What is so interesting about Massive’s UI?

It all links back to our philosophy of delivering products and services for our clients that are built for growth. Massive’s Axis is a platform that is designed for the future of OTT services, enabling service operators to manipulate and personalise the UI and content experience, maximising value for users and increasing engagement, retention and growth for our clients.

The next wave of what is being built with Axis is incredibly exciting in terms of the ability to link vast amounts of data to enable the personalised user experience of an OTT service. It’s the most sophisticated UI/UX presentation manager on the market and the next generation is going to be even more impressive, meeting the demands of what is a rapidly maturing market. The idea of extending what Massive have built, marrying that with our next generation OTT platform, Amplify, and applying that to further Live Sports video experiences – as well as the breadth of media companies we both work with – is a fundamental element behind the deal.

Where do you see OTT services and demand going, especially through the lens of this new combined company?

We see the OTT sector as being somewhere between late adolescence and early adulthood depending on markets and also whether we’re talking about live versus VoD and sports versus entertainment. By that we mean that we see the industry maturing, smoothing out the rougher edges around quality and reliability and focusing on delivering a high quality, reliable, premium service that can truly be the best way for people to view and experience the content they love and ultimately be their first choice. That’s not to say we subscribe to ‘the end of TV’ narrative, we don’t, but it’s to say that the next phase of the industry will truly deliver on its promise to reinvent the way people consume their favourite content.

To enable that, it requires technical solutions that can provide the flexibility to match clients – and their end users’ – demands and preferences, that can be adaptable to different conditions (markets, video production workflows, technology infrastructure, audience demand etc), and that appear like the proverbial swan; simple, clean and aesthetically pleasing on the surface but working like crazy in the background to complete complex processes

And of course, as with so many industries, the intersections of data and machine learning and artificial intelligence are going to have a big role to play in terms of being key to delivering on these promises of reliability at scale, seamless operations, personalised engagement and the generation of increased value for users and OTT service providers alike.

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