Home Podcast EP8 – The Ins and Outs of Technology Trends

EP8 – The Ins and Outs of Technology Trends

About The Author


Charley Thomas: I’m Charley Thomas, Director of Solutions Engineering here at Edgio based in Tokyo, Japan. Welcome to Beyond the Edge podcast where we’re talking about the ins and outs of technology trends and what’s affecting our modern digital lives and the people that are involved in it. So today I’m honored to be here with our new CEO, Todd Hinders, who joined us about a year ago as a Chief Revenue Officer and stepped into the CEO role back in December.

Todd Hinders: Thanks for having me, Charley. It’s good to be here not only here on the podcast, but here in Tokyo with you and our APAC team. It’s been a very busy week. We spent the last week in Seoul and Tokyo visiting customers.

Charley Thomas: But before that, I understand you were at NAB.

Todd Hinders: I was, I was. So, we went straight from Las Vegas to coming here. NAB, which is a big show for our business’ media every year. As you know, it’s 8 or 9 thousand broadcasters from all over the world coming into Las Vegas to share their wares and try to make more noise than the next guy. It was a good event.

Charley Thomas: Before Vegas, I understand you had some exciting announcements on the partner side of the business.

Todd Hinders: We did, we did. I mean the partner side and the customer side, it’s one of those interesting things. NAB used to be primarily a broadcaster show and it’s really become as much of a technology show as anything over the last handful of years. So, you have much more than just broadcast news, you have kind of the whole technology market. What we did is we try to you know get our news coming out over the fullness of time. We made partner announcements with Bitmovin and Grabyo.

Charley Thomas: Well, let’s start with Bitmovin. Some people know where they’re from in the past, but what’s the relationship with Edgio and Bitmovin?

Todd Hinders: It’s interesting. So, if you’re aware of or if you’re familiar with the video ecosystem, Bitmovin has historically had a cloud encoding technology. They’ve got a very broadly used and endorsed client platform from PCs to every kind of mobile device. And over the last couple of years, they’ve been making a move into analytics and like analytics is the thing that everyone throws around these terms, analytics. But at the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to show what’s the quality of experience for your end users. And so, analytics is what’s my buffering rate, what’s my take rate, are people staying on the experience, why are they leaving? Any kind of insights that you can give an operator or a video services operator helps them drive revenue, helps them keep people on their service.

Our partnership with Bitmovin is actually interesting because that client-side feedback is only as good as the telemetry that you can give the operator. Because we have a global network, because you’re actually integrating the Bitmovin analytics with the Edgio network, we have the ability to give an added layer of insights. For us, if someone’s having a rebuffering or lower quality of experience coming out of a certain region, we can automatically change traffic. There’s a real natural synergy between what we bring to the market and what Bitmovin brings to the market and it’s kind of exciting.

Charley Thomas: So, RUM data. Real user measurement has always been exciting for people to try to figure out what the experience looks like, but it’s always been complicated. It’s exciting to see that you know some integrated pieces going into the cloud and going out to end-users.

Todd Hinders: It’s always been very custom. We went from pray and spray to highly custom, very expensive to becoming more democratized if you will.

Charley Thomas: That’s great. Bitmovin is great. On the on the player side, I understand we also did an announcement with Grabyo.

Todd Hinders: We did. It’s one of those things where everyone wants to talk about doing more and more live events. We got Major League Baseball online. We got football of all flavors online. But when you go to the tier below, there’s a level of production investment that’s required that’s really hard for to justify, unless I’m doing a high school event or I’m doing a Tier 2 or Tier 3 sporting event or concert.

What you really need is cloud production capabilities that allow you to do that cost effectively. So, what Grabyo brings is live events, live event production for the masses, I guess we’ll call it for the masses. That’s, our marketing lingo. But putting Grabyo in front of the Edgio Uplynk platform becomes a very powerful turnkey solution.

What Uplynk is and just backing up just a little bit, one of the things that Edgio has is our video platform which we call Uplynk which is an end-to-end video services platform. Anything from ingest to encoding, transcoding, obviously all the way down to distribution. One area where we differentiate, and we think is a powerful place of differentiation, is uniquely making the content available to a user or a group of users. And content can be a sporting event.

If I’m going to have a March Madness tournament and there’s 64 game or 32 games going on at once, I can tailor where the content’s going or I can tailor the advertising. With Grabyo, they’re on the front doing the capture, doing the automatic clipping. They’ve got some really cool tech where we are determining where the ads go, who gets the ads and handling all the downstream distribution. Again, like the Bitmovin piece, it’s a really interesting partnership.

Charley Thomas: Oh, that’s really interesting, because, everybody’s a broadcaster these days, right? Being able to leverage other people’s experience and getting access to tools that you know traditionally were only available to the big broadcasters is really exciting.

Todd Hinders: The personalization aspect as we get more and more competition for eyeballs, as we get into this place where there’s this proliferation of content online. If you’re a challenger, you say everyone’s a broadcaster, if you’re Disney, you’ve got all the money in the world to produce at a very high level. You got the best content this, that and the other. If you’re the World Surf League or some smaller brand, you have a niche, but you still need the highest quality production. People will jump from Disney over to the World Surf League as in this example and they expect a certain quality of service. They expect a certain level of professionalism, and you know that’s why, you know, we’re working hard to do that for people to have that at a cost-effective price point.

Charley Thomas: Absolutely. That’s great. Sticking in the vein of broadcasters, and I’m talking about the surfing and such, I think we did something also with Everpass, right? What can you tell me about Everpass?

Todd Hinders: We did. Everpass is a name that folks at home or at work probably or may not have heard of. It’s a relatively new company. But it’s a relatively new company that is already punching well above their weight. Everpass has created an entity to initially deliver the NFL Sunday Ticket into a closed network into bars and restaurants. If you think about the way that this has worked in the past, you got your satellite, you got your DIRECTV or your DISH tuner and that’s how bars and restaurants get everything. It’s a different window.

Well, Everpass is disrupting  the satellite space by going direct to those screens with their own solution. And this is one of those things where they started off and they have these amazing rights they get to market, football season isn’t going to go back. So how do I get to market in the fall with a tried-and-true package where I don’t have to have any technology on their side? So, they’re looking at this going with Edgio, we need you to partner to take that feed, make sure that it’s available in high quality into these closed networks onto a device that is actually a new device that they’re developing. Hat in hand of itself because the NFL brand is tied to it is super powerful, but the EverPass team is not even close to being done. This is just the first of many types of content sources that you’ll see,  because that screen in the bar needs to be filled, right.

Charley Thomas: And then I imagine accessing that content. Getting those content rights is not cheap.

Todd Hinders: Right.

Charley Thomas: So how do we help there? What is Edgio doing to help?

Todd Hinders: That’s the key point. They want to focus on being a content rights holder and an entertainment company, right where the infrastructure is taking a satellite feed or a terrestrial TS feed. Having that come into our Uplynk slicer, which puts it into a format that we can then make it available, we can transcode it depending on whatever the end devices are, these are things that they don’t want to be investing in.

The other side of this, we have our SmartPlay technology which I alluded to when I was talking about the Grabyo partnership it’s really important that we have the ability to add an individual screen or an individual group of screens, determine what content is going to be delivered and that can be the NFL Sunday Ticket, but you might have different ads for different DMAs. So, the other thing that we bring to this, is giving them the ability to determine which feeds, which advertisements go down to which screens, and that allows them to be very prescriptive in their licensing, and maximize their revenue take. So, it’s not just spray and pray.

Charley Thomas: It’s all about, how do you pay for all this. FAST, we’re talking about FAST channels. FAST is big outside of the US and I think it’s going to be about $1.6 billion in Latin America. It’s also growing, I think about $100 million down in Brazil by 2027. I understand we did something with a company down in Brazil, Newco.

Todd Hinders: It’s interesting how FAST has become this buzzword. It’s not a buzzword, it’s a business model. It’s free ad-supported television. It really only plays in places where there’s ACPM that can support the infrastructure. You have the cost of getting the video to somebody and has to be offset by the CPM and a revenue share. It is funny though, how this has become such a buzz, where we’ve been doing FAST since 2015. Uplynk was doing serve-side ad-insertion and FAST TV models in like 2015, 2016, quite frankly we’re doing 225 million ad impressions a day. This is a massive infrastructure and I think it’s a very well kept secret and we’ve got to make it a poorly kept secret.

In Brazil, one of those markets where we have a very cost-effective FAST platform, you don’t have to have as high a bar for ads as you would with other analogues in the market. So, in Brazil, there’s an advertising market that’s very strong, but it’s not as strong as in United States. It’s not as strong as in Western Europe. So, you have to have a really cost effective platform, cost effective solution.

What we announced at NAB was a partnership with a group called Newco. Newco is a pay TV operator in Brazil and the feed that they’ve had has been primarily available actually outside of Brazil for streaming, but only in Brazil via paid subscription. What we’re doing now is they’ve done a business deal with Pluto TV to make their feed available into the Pluto service.

What we’re doing there, is we’re essentially doing all of the signal prep and not only, are we passing along the study markers, basically where to play ads, but our channel programmer, our channel scheduler if you will, allows an individual at Newco to place ads more frequently or to prescriptively say, hey I want an ad here, I want this ad to play into this ad.

It gives you a lot more flexibility and how they monetize it even though it’s going through the Pluto service, which is actually a really powerful thing and we’re excited that’s it’s only one channel today with this organization, but it’s the type of thing that we do day in day out. So, it’s a lot of fun.

Charley Thomas: That sounds like it’s a lot.

Todd Hinders: I mean this is the interesting thing is there’s a lot of work. When I was at AWS, now we launched a product to do something similar and that was you think about the amount of time and energy that we put into getting one stream launched. We did it at high quality, but we’re able to do that where you launch a stream every day. We can actually do this with incredible velocity and I think that’s the real power because we’ve been doing this for almost a decade.

Charley Thomas: That’s true. So, moving back from Latin America into the States, I understand there’s also a broadcaster in the in the States, Sinclair, that we have something going on.

Todd Hinders: So, Sinclair’s been a customer of Uplynk for a very long time. They use Uplynk today for their streaming of the broadcast service. The other thing that Sinclair is very excited about is they are a core backer of the ATSC 3.0 Spectrum and the utilization of the ATSC Spectrum in the United States. And so, all this really means is if I want to deliver content to an end user, like I got the Internet, I got my phone. But what if we are in a car? What if we are in an untethered device? What if we are trying to get to televisions and we don’t want to have to have a cable service?

This over-the-air thing may not be here ubiquitous today, but if you step back and you look at what, I think there was some press about Peacock doing the NFL playoff game, and we were in the rotation of many CDNs, I think they had upwards, upwards of 20? What was it? It’s like 20 million unique subscribers on at a given time watching this show and the people were saying it almost broke the Internet.

The other thing that ATSC 3.0 can do, is it can help with regional offset. There’s a number of business models more than it being any kind of like huge thing today. It just shows that for Edgio we’re focused on the next generation of distribution. We really do lean into multi-CDN, multi-delivery. We’re one of many solutions and we want to be embracing the future, not being threatened by it. It’s an interesting partnership and we’re happy to be partners, shoulder to shoulder with Sinclair. When people have an ATSC 3.0 tuner and the services are available, we’ll know it through our manifest manipulator, and we’ll send them the right feed.

Charley Thomas: That’s really interesting. Look, you bring up breaking the Internet, right? One of the nice things about the Internet is you have a direct connection to your end user, right. You can provide a personalized experience, you know you can do on the content, on the advertising but also unicast going to one-to-one is hard to scale when you get to big events like this. So, this is really interesting to see how we could use different spectrums,  to get access to a broader audience, particularly around that. I’m sending the same thing out to everybody, so everybody should get it.

Todd Hinders: Cable is great because you send one feed down and everyone can get it. But when you start talking about multicast in the cloud or across networks, it gets very complex very quickly. And so, having a hybrid regional unicast or unicast regionally over-the-air can be powerful.

Charley Thomas: Sounds like a lot of stuff is going on.

Todd Hinders: There’s a lot of new products going on.

Charley Thomas: Edgio as a company has to put out a lot of different solutions. So, what do we do? It sounds like we did something with the Vercara.

Todd Hinders: I mean so here’s the thing about Edgio and we’ve been talking a lot about media here, and we’re coming right off of NAB. But we have two interesting businesses. We have our media business, and we have our application business, applications for basically web hosting as well as a very, very robust security platform. And they both run on our global network which makes these things differentiable, which gives us a lot more control. And so next week, two weeks, we have the RSA show which is kind of the where NAB is the Super Bowl of broadcast.

RSA would be the Super Bowl of security and we’ve announced a partnership with Vercara, and we’ll be co-presenting at RSA as they have white labeled our security platform and are offering it to their, I think it’s 2500 customers. So, this is becoming a core piece of their platform, under their brand, under their go-to market, and it’s been a long time pulling this together, but we expect good initial traction, and we expect more.

At RSA, coming up, we’ll also be exhibiting, where we’ll be showing our security platform but giving a sneak peek into our attack surface management, our surface area management platform that’s going to be coming out this summer. The thing that I would say is if you worry about, your WAF rules, your API protection, these things that are bespoke offerings and you go, hey, I know I have a risk here and so I’m going to plug it. Well, what do you do? And you’ve determined that you have a risk because you did a scan. Well what ASM, Attack Surface Management does is it gives you the ability to do a scan continuously and to send flags. With Edgio’s security platform, we have the ability to be your eyes and your ears across your entire surface area while you’re sleeping, while you’re doing other things, and focusing on your core business, and this is coming up this next week in San Francisco. So come see us.

Charley Thomas: That’s great. I really appreciate that. So, you’ve been taking it easy in your first five months. I appreciate your time and I think with that, we should wrap it up.

Todd Hinders: That would be great. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Charley Thomas: Thank you very much.

Todd Hinders: Have a have a good day and thank you. Come see us at RSA.