Five Questions with Make.TV CEO and co-founder Andreas Jacobi ahead of IBC2019

IBC2019 may be kicking off tomorrow, but LTN – a leading IP video transport solutions company – did not wait to make a splash. Earlier this week, LTN announced that it has acquired Make.TV.

Make.TV’s cloud service is used by broadcasters to easily access, curate, and publish live video streams across multiple platforms, whether live telecasts, over the top channels, or social networks. A company like ESL (the world’s largest esports company), for example, uses Make.TV’s Live Video Cloud product to make this process as seamless as possible.

With so much at stake – hundreds of millions of viewers who tune in across every conceivable device and platform expecting high-quality production value – ESL needs a single solution to help acquire user generated content and live feeds, visualize and manage the available content, and then distribute it. This is as complicated as it sounds.

For more on Make.TV and how the company is helping broadcasters of all sizes, we spoke with CEO and co-founder Andreas Jacobi:

Found Remote: What will Make.TV be showcasing to partners at IBC this year?

Andreas Jacobi: Make.TV will be exhibiting in Hall 14, Stand A24, where we’ll be showcasing our award-winning Live Video Cloud solution. Live Video Cloud enables routing and management of live video at a scale that’s never been done before, solving the time, resource and reliability issues associated with live video. By using it, programmers, advertisers and any content creator can acquire content quickly, easily support remote production and deliver live content across broadcast, online and social networks.

FR: More broadcasters are integrating user-generated content into live telecasts. How does Make.TV enable them to do this more seamlessly?

Jacobi: Smartphone cameras have considerably evolved over the last five years. Anyone with a smartphone is a potential content creator. Hyper-localized, hyper-personalized, authentic, user generated content is driving greater percentages of viewing time. In fact, this ability to produce video content at speed has led to a surge in the amount of content available and by 2022 live video is expected to make up 17% of all video traffic on the internet.

Make.TV is leading the way in building flexible, affordable pathways between individual content creators and major viewing experiences. Live Video Cloud makes it possible to acquire content from unlimited concurrent live feeds, including hyper-local sources from anywhere in the world. This can include professional cameras, drones, encoders, online sources as well as mobile phones through Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) applications. Crucially, in time critical situations, WebRTC does not require contributors to download a dedicated app, this makes it particularly useful for news broadcasters.

FR: Make.TV has had particular success with esports and sports partners. What about Make.TV’s Live Video Cloud makes these types of broadcasts a good fit?

Jacobi: Live Video Cloud excels in enriching content acquisition, simplifying mass content curation as well as distributing and syndicating content across networks. It all comes down to the specific needs of each broadcaster and we’ve been able to solve a number of pain points across several segments. 

esports is particularly interesting because many esports companies are not locked in by exclusivity rights and can freely broadcast content across several channels. The largest esports company, ESL is one of our customers. ESL needed to rapidly build brands globally, monetize content with minimal operational overhead and connect with a fragmented audience. They also need flexible, reliable ways to create and deliver localized live and VOD content across multiple platforms. Live Video Cloud is a good fit for ESL because it helps them expand delivery destinations and distribution capabilities.

In February this year, ESL ran a series of large-scale tournaments in Katowice that were attended by over 170,000 people. Utilizing the unlimited distribution capabilities of the cloud has enabled ESL to distribute live signals from its esports events to reach millions of concurrent viewers across 70 different destinations. In doing so, ESL broke its viewership records and reached a global audience of over 230 million viewers who watched 157 million hours of esports tournament content.

FR: Publishers have to create and manage an increasing number of channels, whether for YouTube, Twitch, or across OTT platforms. How do your solutions make scheduling this programming and monetizing this programming easier?

Jacobi: Audience retention is a major challenge for broadcasters in the digital age, so we see them adopting to platform agnostic distribution models to increase their reach. Live Video Cloud enables broadcasters to simultaneously distribute content to unlimited outlets. This means that a single program can be delivered across more channels than ever before including, linear, OTT and social media.

The challenge then becomes managing advertising. Live Video Cloud integrates with Make.TV’s Playout and that provides the operators with detailed configurations for triggering advertising APIs across numerous platforms which ensures a smooth end user experience. These platforms have helped to significantly automate ESL’s advertising approach which previously required a much larger team.

FR:  With quite a few video cloud management platforms – including from much larger companies – on the market, how does Make.TV continue to stand out?

Jacobi: We never stop innovating and improving our solutions. Video cloud management platforms are a relatively new technology and I don’t think all broadcasters have grasped their full potential just yet.

Make.TV already pioneered the first cloud-based multi-source acquisition and we’re now applying that technology to integrate other aspects of the workflow. For example, we’re enabling clients to use third party solutions to integrate graphics and editing capabilities. Virtualization is just the first step in migrating the broadcast workflow to the cloud. Solutions need to be built for the cloud in order to take advantage of its agile properties including insight into each service, simply running an instance of a service on a cloud VM doesn’t provide the dynamic scale, data insight, and remote management that will define the agile broadcast workflow.

We’re always thinking about the broadcaster’s pain points and how these can be dealt with through the cloud. Eventually all aspects of the workflow will move to the cloud with integration between services, management, and insights.  

Adam Flomenbaum

The new Found Remote