Case Study - BOOXTV
In 2015, Amino acquired the Finnish Cloud-TV platform provider Booxmedia, in a move to strengthen its all-IP/Cloud services portfolio and align with the major industry shift towards TV viewing anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Included in the deal was BooxTV, a direct-to-consumer TV service, which has provided Amino with invaluable insights into the multiscreen consumer experience.
BooxTV was launched in Finland in 2009 as an over-the-top direct to consumer platform. It was founded to build a customer-facing solution that gave consumers lightweight yet robust streaming capabilities and the flexible multiscreen viewing experience which consumers now demand.
At the time, video content consumption predominantly took place at home through hardwired devices such as set-top-boxes and TVs. However, mobile technology was beginning to make its first serious inroads into the consumer ma rketplace for the delivery of video content. BooxTV spotted this trend and embarked on a development effort to launch a platform which would exploit the capabilities of mobile platforms to revolutionise how video content could be consumed.
The objective was to deliver a compelling range of content through all available screens and with an easy to use, coherent and consistent user experience. This created two major challenges. Firstly, how to deliver a service which was comparable with the best catch-up and on-demand services available on set-top boxes at the time. Secondly, how to deliver this across a broad range of devices rapidly and cost effectively.
The company approached the problem of delivering a comprehensive set of features by evaluating each of the functional components and carefully considering which should be developed in-house, which were available as open source and which should be delivered by partners.
By successfully integrating these into a single platform, BooxTV was able to deliver a service which supported Live TV, Network PVR, Pause, Restart Live TV and VoD for the most popular mobile devices and web browsers. BooxTV also supported ‘casting’ of content from a mobile device to the main TV screen even before industry giants Apple and Google launched their respective AirPlay and Chromecast services using dedicated hardware.
The second challenge of supporting the widest range of devices possible was also significant. To allow the platform to be developed, and to evolve cost ef fectively, would not have been possible with parallel developments for each device. BooxTV created a platform using the latest Agile development techniques and test automation to reduce the release cycle time. Combining this with shared code across devices where possible, significantly reduced the effort and therefore costs associated with maintaining device support.
Since 2009, the market has evolved with viewing on mobile devices increasing rapidly. However, the primary screen still remains the centre of household entertainment. Consumers are increasingly using secondary screens while watching content on the primary screen. One survey found that 56% of subscribers report using a laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet to do something related to the TV program on the primary screen. In creating a service which allows content discovery and advanced features such as casting, BooxTV has followed the market trend to use the second screen for more than just consumption of content.
Operators often view services such as Netflix as a threat to their business. However, in a recent survey consumers responded that they want to be able to access all of the TV programs they watch from one central service. A survey by the Finnish state-owned operator YLE rated BooxTV as the top streaming ser vice from a field which included Netflix and YouTube. This tends to validate the view that consumers value the single service offering which operators like BooxTV can provide.
Amino saw first-hand the challenges which its traditional customer base faced adapting to this significant market change. The company recognised the value in BooxTV as not just a technology platform but an OTT service with a depth of consumer experience which is missing from other platform vendors. Amino now has a technology platform which would help operators address both current and future market challenges – and has now incorporated the platform into its portfolio as AminoTV.
The expertise and insight gained from running the BooxTV service in Finland helps steer development for the benefit of the produc t roadmap and therefore all AminoTV customers. Analytics gained from the retail marketplace significantly helps Amino to understand consumer behaviour. This, in turn, allows better architectural decisions to be made incorporating the tools necessar y to run a profitable business and look beyond User Interface design which, while important, is only one challenge being faced by operators.
The E2E expertise and user understanding we gained when building BooxTV played a vitally important role in building our technology and the AminoTV platform. This is the key reason why we are able to successfully license our technologies to our customers
- Donald McGarva, CEO, Amino