moco-logo-white-LP-small

FOUNDERS CHAT: RECAP

Topics Discussed

  • Speaker introduction
  • The history of monitoring (starting with slow-record VCRs!)
  • How Volicon was founded, and how it shaped the market
  • What is Moco
  • What's next (including OTT, Facebook Live, and Quibi)
  • What does the future hold for the industry and engineers

Or read the transcript from the Q&A

Schedule a Moco Demo

MEET THE SPEAKERS

volicon-logo-LP
gary-l-webinar-LP

Gary Learner

Cofounder of Volicon

Gary cofounded Volicon, the industry standard compliance monitoring tools of its time. In 2017, he led the effort for Volicon's acquisition by Verizon Digital Media Services. He has over 20 years of experience in the broadcast and tech industries. 

moco-logo-LP
rakesh-webinar-LP

Rakesh Agrawal

Founder & CEO of SnapStream

Rakesh founded SnapStream and has grown it to hundreds of customers who use its two products, one of which is Moco: Compliance Monitoring by SnapStream. He is also a prolific tech investor and technology early adopter and evangelist.

OTHER EVENTS IN THE SERIES

Completed (Watch Now)

moco-tour-image-LP-2

Product Tour (Watch Now)

Moco's Powerful Compliance Monitoring Features in Action

Completed (Watch Now)

volicon-moco-transition-image-LP

Product Tour (Watch Now)

Making a Speedy & Seamless Transition from Volicon to Moco

REQUEST THE RECORDINGS

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah, so thank you all for joining us today. Gary and I will do some short introductions and then we'll jump right into it. So Gary.

Gary Learner:

Thanks Rakesh. Everyone, welcome. It's good to spend time with you as I jump the gun by saying that I've been part of the broadcasting and the media industry for the last 20 years. I've co-founded several companies while the focus will be more on Volicon and compliance logging and monitoring. I've also co-founded two other companies. Exatel, that was doing broadcast recorders as well as many additional video recorders. And my latest venture, Opus Digitas, is dealing with user generated video, which is very relevant to technology that is being deployed today. Thanks for hosting, Rakesh.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah, it's great to have you. I got to know Gary because when we negotiated an agreement with Verizon to take over Volicon, Verizon brought Gary back after Verizon acquired Volicon. Gary was there for a little while, then he had left and started his new country Opus Digitas, and they brought him back in. We worked really closely together in the transition. My background is I've founded SnapStream nearly 20 years ago, and we started life as a consumer product that was often used outside of consumers. This led us later into making this business to business product, and sometimes gets used for monitoring and compliance, but our focus has been in television search and TV clips. Gary and I would cross paths a lot, and we were friendly and collegial with one another and at trade shows we would always give each other demos and, like I said, we got a chance to work closely together over the last year and really got to know each other better. [crosstalk 00:02:13]

Gary Learner:

It was actually great, at every big trade show we would visit each other's booth and see the other's product and the set of new features, and it's just an indication of respect, appreciation, and competition that we were experiencing. We didn't have it with anyone else, just with you Rakesh.

Rakesh Agrawal:

One of the other things I've done over the years is I've been an investor in a lot of early stage companies, I'm an investor in over 50 start-ups directly. Two that I highlighted here, one is Vidpresso, which is a media technology company that eventually got acquired by Facebook. It was about a year and a half ago that they got acquired by Facebook and they're part of the Facebook Live team now. And then a self-driving car company. The reason I mentioned this is because zooming out from SnapStream, where I've been a student of broadcast, technology, and media, I have a general interest in technology and the future of technology. I'm always thinking about where the hockey puck is heading as an investor. So, let's dig into it. I want to give everyone an overview of where we are headed today. It's a little out of order, but we'll start actually talking about the history of logging and monitoring. I'll turn it over to Gary, and he's going to share with us how Volicon was founded, and then Gary and I are going to riff a little bit on what lies ahead. [inaudible 00:03:57]

Rakesh Agrawal:

Some housekeeping rules, don't hesitate to post questions as we go through this, we have Gayan joining us and he can help answer questions if one of us is too busy. With that, let's get started.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Okay, let's talk about the history of logging and monitoring. Gary and I were talking about it, and we both have our own data points of how things unfolded in this space and category, so we kind of broke it down into three sections: Before 2000 with VCRs, sometimes slow record VCRs, digital video recorders, which kind of were mark with the introduction of TiVo, early 2000s, and then later 2000s, the second half of that decade, we saw these purpose built devices for monitoring. And that's coincident with Volicon's coming into existence. So this first stage where the way that monitoring and compliance happened was on slow record VCRs or just VCRs. I remember going into TV stations, where at that time our consumer product was used, Beyond TV is what it was called. And we would see, like you see in this photograph, shelves and shelves full of VHS tapes. This is obviously a consumer product that was being used to solve this business problem for stations. They would use it to be able to produce a record of exactly what they aired, if somebody needed a clip they would dub a tape, if there was a problem, you would rewind.

Rakesh Agrawal:

A lot of physical tapes to manage, thankfully, I think, we've passed this era. I think the last VHS tape was manufactured, I read an article about this, about 10 years ago or something like that. I think my parents still have some home videos on VHS tapes. Definitely a bygone era. Technology got a little better, but I would say the same phenomenon was occurring where people were using a consumer technology for a business purpose. But the technology was a lot better. We were now recording to hard disks, the backdrop of this was ATSC had been introduced, over the air television analog was shut down in 2009 and there's a gradual transition, in the United States, over to ATSC leading up to 2009. You had projects like TiVo, ReplayTV. This other space, that SnapStream knew pretty well, Home Theater PCs. Beyond TV, that's our product right there, Sage TV, Media Center Edition, this is what people used at this time to make a lot of their compliance recordings. This was the way that they made those compliance recordings. Like I said, it's the same thing, using this consumer technology to solve a business problem. Did you see these at customers, Gary, because I know at Exatel you were in a lot of these broadcasters.

Gary Learner:

Yes, we have seen those and probably the biggest one is the Comedy Central, that became the large customer of yours. Prior to using your project, they were using a bunch of DVRs to record content and manually extract content for their broadcasts. Or the John Stewart show, [crosstalk 00:08:31]

Rakesh Agrawal:

We still see it sometimes, that people are doing TV monitoring on these consumer devices. [inaudible 00:08:45] Little cardboard placards that are covering the IR window so that when they're in front of a rack of these devices they're not triggering the wrong device to change channels by mistake. They're pretty kludgy [inaudible 00:09:02]set-ups.

Gary Learner:

They are, but it also indicates there's ingenuity in trying to use existing technologies to solve business problems. Sometimes it's a good solution, sometimes it's a kludgy solution as you were indicating. But the good thing about consumer devices is they are relatively inexpensive, widely available, there are many vendors that can provide what you are looking for. This is not a sophisticated business problem, consumer type of device is a perfectly good option.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah, exactly. Moving on to the next point, it wasn't good enough, right, and that's when we started to see, in the late 2000s, these dedicated monitoring products crop up and really mature and develop into what I think is a standalone product category of monitoring and compliance products. As you'll talk about here in a moment there was regulations and a variety of other external factors that made these more and more of a necessity and a baseline for TV stations, for cable networks, broadcast networks, NVPDs, across the board everybody was using the products in this category to ensure both regulatory compliance and business compliance. I think you were saying, Gary, at the time, there was really only one other product in the market, right? Other than Volicon, when you guys introduced Volicon.

Gary Learner:

Yeah. Masstech was the only product that was available, at least here in North America, you know Masstech is being a long time player in the broadcast space out of Canada. It was Masstech and Volicon, and they were kind of eating away into the early stages of dedicated monitoring compliance product.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Cool. So before I hand it over to you to talk about the history of Volicon, I have a few poll questions. Let me put it up here, if I can get this to work. The question is, and everyone should see this pop up, my monitor says it's working, what methods have you used to do monitoring and compliance? So check all that apply, and then I'll share the poll results back out with the audience. We're getting quite a few VCR and VHS respondents here which is great.

Gary Learner:

Probably some of us will be dating ourselves if we choose that option, right?

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah. I know of some customers that still have large VHS tape libraries. There's one customer, a political related customer of ours at SnapStream, that's in Washington D.C. that I can think of that has a pretty ridiculously large collection of VHS tapes. They scavenged eBay for equipment. Anyways, here we go. All right, everyone should see the poll results up on the screen. It looks like about half of the respondents have used VHS tapes and VCRs. I should have asked, type a note into the chat or the Q and A if your organization uses VCRs or VHS tapes today. I'd be really curious to know that. A handful on the DVR and DR recorder side, and of course 70% of the respondents are using a dedicated monitoring and compliance system. That's great. All right, cool. That was fun. Gary, tell us about the founding of Volicon.

Gary Learner:

I think as many successful products in the marketplace, which I consider Volicon to be one f them, came out of necessity. SO it was not an invention of the founders, it was an idea that was conceived by one of the thought leaders in this marketplace, Mel Olinsky. I don't know if I am seeing the next slide, Rakesh, or.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I just put it up there, so just let me know when you want me to [inaudible 00:14:12].

Gary Learner:

Thanks. That's fine. So Mel is a longtime veteran from CBS News, and was saying, look we have people running around with tapes, we have walls and walls as you have seen in a picture before of tapes, and we are sending people to retrieve a particular tape but then this tape is only available for one person to view. If there is another person that wants to look at that material, take a number and stand in line. We cannot rewind, we cannot go to a specific point in time, so it would be great if you would build a system that will give me random access to my recordings and I will be able to record myself and record a competition so we can figure out who broke the news first. It's important for us at CBS News to know that we were the first one to break the story.

Gary Learner:

We spend a lot of time with Mel and his team in New York, being out of Boston it was not that long of a commute, and define a system and Mel said if you build a system I will buy it. Sure enough, when we finally presented the version that was working to his satisfaction he wrote us a check and said, okay I'm your first customer. It's really interesting that many other customers showed up after that, Discovery, FOX, SHOWTIME, at the end there were over 600 customers in the U.S., and over 1200 customers worldwide. All of the U.S. broadcast networks and most of the large TV stations were customers of Volicon. Again, if there was something to take away for defining product or deciding a company, listen to your marketplace. Find your friends, find people that will not just tell you yeah it's a good idea, but are willing to write you a check in case you deliver what you promised to deliver, so that's the acid test.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I think it's interesting, when you and I were talking abut this, Gary and I discovered that we both knew Mel Olinsky, and the other thing [inaudible 00:16:45] you often have these visionary customers, and Mel was definitely that visionary customer. So he, at the time, when I met Mel 15 years ago, he had a son that was living in Japan. He wanted to create a way for his son in Japan to watch U.S. television from Japan. He had used our consumer product Beyond TV to make television remotely accessible. That was what we started SnapStream focused on as a consumer company when we got started. And I remember him coming up to me at a trade show and talking to me about if you did this if you did that it would make this a lot easier for me. What's also interesting is when you and I were going and looking, I was looking for a photo of Mel, he had a very similar role with Live View and their bonded cellular product as a visionary customer. YOu're lucky to get a visionary customer like Mel to tell you what to do, because if you listen to them and you do a good job of that, they'll lead you to good places.

Gary Learner:

Absolutely, no doubt. It's a [inaudible 00:18:03] from both of us that that's one of the key success factors in moving a company forward. If you can go to the next slide?

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah.

Gary Learner:

That's a picture from my first exhibition in 2005. A small team, there are a couple of people who are not here in the picture. You can send me some private comments on how badly some of us have aged. Anyway, it was a great time. It was really a start-up environment, start-up spirit, we all knew what we were supposed to be doing and what's supposed to be focused on. We greatly supported each other, and most of the people here in the picture are still close friends. I'm still talking to [inaudible 00:19:02], and occasionally to Julius and [inaudible 00:19:04] on a regular basis, and [inaudible 00:19:08] probably the most, at least once a week. You develop those relationships that stay with you for lifetimes. Next slide, Rakesh, please.

Gary Learner:

This is another validation for listen to your customers or listen to who will become your customers. Just listen to their use case, we pride ourselves that we never invented anything within Volicon, and we pride ourselves that we only implemented our customers ideas. That was extremely important, it was like a culture, and it was a methodology and a strategy for us that proved to be successful.

Gary Learner:

A couple of examples with CBS News, integrated ratings data so they could see how certain aspects of their broadcasts influenced their viewership. With Discovery, we actually met them in 2005 and they told us we have two languages so we want to be able to record them both and be able to listen to them individually, and we want to monitor the cue tones for local ad-insertions that are happening somewhere down the road. Quickly, we showed up in Miami with Discover Latin America and illustrated the system anda very quickly earned their business and they've been a very significant customer throughout the duration of their company. Next slide, Rakesh, please.

Gary Learner:

So another success factor for Volicon is, I would say, is essentially being able to react quickly and innovatively to transitions that have happened in the marketplace. I like this slide for a couple of reasons. I can think back and think that each one of the changes that have happened in the industry transformed the company to be something different and better than what it was before the transition. And what is happening today in the world, we obviously did not expect this to happen, it happened without any advanced warning. I invite those people who are running companies or thinking of starting companies use that as an opportunity because while it's hard, change is difficult, and change will either make you or break you. But at the same time, it gives you an opportunity to react better to what is happening in the world and position yourself better.

Gary Learner:

Each one of those transitions, for example, are not only changes that have happened in the industry, but each one of those transform the company to be bigger, stronger, and much more significant player in that marketplace of compliance and monitoring. Next slide.

Gary Learner:

So in 2016, as you know some of you probably know, Volicon was acquired by Verizon. It was a next step in the evolution of the company. We were really excited to work with a large corporation like Verizon, or Verizon Digital Media Services as it was known back then. I think today it is Verizon Media. Seeing the fruits of our labor and our customers being transitioned to a large corporation with a lot more capability than a much smaller entity that Volicon would have at that time.

Gary Learner:

So in 2019, Verizon, to reach an agreement with SnapStream, to either take over Volicon products or Volicon customers, Volicon services. During that time, this is when Rakesh and I closely and my real intention was the transition would happen this way as smoothly as possible. I deeply cared and I still do for the customers and the relationships that we have established over the years for it was very important for me to make it as positive an experience as possible. I was glad to answer from Verizon to come back in and help with that transition.

Gary Learner:

As a result of it, a lot of the customers didn't see the interruption in service, they continued to use the product and in 2020, SnapStream introduced its own version of the monitoring and compliance product based on the well proved technology that they have developed for the last close to 20 years and they have established themselves as a strong plater in that industry. For them, it was a very natural transition to address the compliance and monitoring views case, and continue to be in front of the same strong customers that Volicon had had. And new ones as well. Rakesh, it's yours. Moco, cool name by the way.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Yeah exactly. As Gary talked about, we took over the Volicon business from Verizon. I think today, we have about 150 Volicon customers that get support services from SnapStream, and those are contracts that extend through the middle of this year and on into 2022 in the case of some customers. We've built a product called Moco, which is a full monitoring and compliance product. It does loudness monitoring, watermark detection, audio watermark detection, it does message monitoring, all of the notifications and all of the capabilities that are important in a monitoring and compliance product. I think we've applied a lot of our craftsmanship in the Moco product to implement things that are small but big time savers.

Rakesh Agrawal:

One of the things that we pride ourselves on is being focused on usability and very responsive to customers, and as we built this we've uncovered some really great optimizations that help our customers, Moco customers, work pretty quickly with our product. All of our support is U.S. based, we have a great support team. More than 99% satisfaction rates, and as I was mentioning, our engineering team is incredibly responsive. The other thing that is a real strength for us is we integrate in from our Moco product to the core SnapStream product so organizations that also have a digital strategy to share clips on Twitter or Facebook, to your CDN or your OVP, SnapStream has a vested product on that side as well. We've seen a lot of monitoring and compliance products that have some basic features around social media, but we have really sophisticated product on that side as well. That's one of the other strengths that we bring to the table.

Rakesh Agrawal:

So anyway, that's just a brief frame on Moco. I'd like to just do another poll question and then we'll move on to looking towards the future. There's two parts to this question, the first one is: what monitoring and compliance product do you use today? And once you answer that, you'll see the second question which is if you're in the market to purchase a monitoring and compliance product, and if so, what timeframe? Gary if you look back at that photo of you and the founding team of Volicon from 2005, what would you say the number one thing is you didn't know at that moment in 2005?

Gary Learner:

I always believed that being naïve is a good thing, so there are a lot of things that we didn't know, we didn't know how many mistakes we would make. We have made plenty. But the thing is, sometimes when you know how challenging it is going to be, you are afraid to start it. But once you start it, you put one foot in front of the other and you are making success and making great progress. I didn't think it would be as exciting as it turned out to be. Broadcasts, logging, compliance, very technical, very deep and impersonal, but it turned out to be an outstanding adventure.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Awesome. Cool, by the way, this is not a webinar about Moco. I did talk a little bit about it, but if you want to learn more about Moco you can go to SnapStream.com and we have two other webinars planned, for I think one next week and one the week after that. Which are a deeper dive in the product, and there is also a webinar planned with the technical lead on the product from our engineering team, there for a Q and A and a round table to talk about the product. Let's talk about the future now, Gary, so as we look ahead to the future, and we have a pretty broad frame here, but over what's traditionally been called television, we're in this whole new world, moving from the left side of these images.

Rakesh Agrawal:

What you see on the left hand side is basically traditional television. Cable providers, satellite providers, you have set-up boxes, typically the viewing was done on just a television device inside the home. And there's obviously this huge shift that's happened and is increasing to this new world where the devices are platforms, there are apps that run on top of those platforms. So the platform would be like a Roku or an Apple TV, Android TV. Apps would be sometimes services, like Netflix, can be things like TikTok, Facebook Live. And what's interesting also about this new world is a lot of those apps also have networks associated with them. Obviously Facebook is the biggest example of that, but TikTok has all these other dynamics. Twitch is a huge network and a community of people. You even have these devices, so the viewing of course is not just happening on TVs, but it's also happening on obviously on our mobile devices. That's not anything near a new phenomenon, that's well established now, but also you have these other types of viewing devices.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I put the Facebook Portal device on here, which is a video conference device, but it is also a media consumption device. It has integrations with Facebook's Watch platform. This is the backdrop in which we talk about where things are headed in the future. You probably live very much in the area of a consumer in both of these worlds, I'd imagine, like all of us.

Gary Learner:

Yeah. [inaudible 00:32:45], the expectations are that no matter where you are watching the content, it will be completely uninterrupted experience. Everyone references the TV set, you just turn it and it's on. You don't need to do any special things. The same expectations are going to all the device. Obviously, in all the devices, they give you a lot of other opportunities or a lot of other points of experience that would not be possible with traditional TV but we'll talk a bit more about that later.

Rakesh Agrawal:

That's right. Obviously, this is all multi-screen as you were saying, the resolution and the bit rates and the aspect ratios, those can all vary across these different devices. I have another poll question, I think this is our last set of poll questions. I'm curious, as we talk about this, people are always wondering does linear television go away, does cable, satellite, do they go away, so I'm curious to know what everyone's take here is on how long before linear television quote, unquote goes away. And another question is where do you watch TV today? And it's a multiple choice. I should see the poll here, great. It's popped up. SO let everyone answer these questions.

Rakesh Agrawal:

We did put one of the places you watch TV as your smart fridge, for those of you that are in that niche that own a smart fridge and watch television on it. Great, I'll share the poll results out here. You should see them there. All right. SO a fair number of people don't believe that traditional television, linear TV is going away ever, 40% of the respondents. 5-10 years for the other third of you, and the other third in either less than two or less than five years. What do you think Gary?

Gary Learner:

I agree, I don't think linear TV is going to go away, I'm surprised that so many of us are still watching television on the traditional TV device, I expected it to be lower. And I think that over time that number will get lower because there will be more options and more capabilities that will not be possible towards the traditional TV device. However, I believe what we call a linear TV is going to redefine itself. It's no longer going to be linear, like one to many without the ability o interact back without the ability to personalize and customize. SO even things that we are watching what is called a traditional TV will have some interactive and personalization components. It still might be called a linear TV, but in a different shape and form.

Rakesh Agrawal:

This is already happening, has it taken over the mainstream? Maybe not at our generation, but definitely, my kids, they watch TV across all these devices and definitely more on mobile devices and their laptops than they do on traditional televisions. I don't know if the interactivity thing has fully taken off, TikTok is arguably very interactive, right, people do a dance and then everyone else copies that. THey're mimicking that, right, so there's this give and a take with that network. Like you were saying, these new technologies are really opening up completely new behaviors from consumers. In my mind, it starts with the consumer behaviors. You have new content formats, I'm curious if anyone has tried Quibi, but one of the novel aspects of Quibi, this new Quick Bites is what it stands for, the new service does is this technology called turn style.

Rakesh Agrawal:

They have two completely separate tracks for the same narrative, for the same story, that you can see when you rotate the phone from portrait to landscape. It remains to be seen, is this something that consumers are going to latch on to and become a permanent thing, or is it more of a flash and pan? Regardless, this is at least an experiment that is being run and we'll see where it ends up. It's quite possible that this is something that becomes mainstream, it's also possible that it isn't.

Gary Learner:

It's [crosstalk 00:38:41] to emphasize what you're saying, Rakesh, it's a great example of taking advantage of the capability that exists within your display devices. Obviously, you cannot turn your simple display or TV set sideways just to have a different experience, but with your phone you can do that, with your tablet you can do that. So here it comes something that tries to take advantage of that capability that didn't exist before. Personally, if I have to place my bets, I would not bet on Quibi but that's just personal thinking. I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I just realized that I have left the poll up on the screen. That's right, I don't know, you haven't seen this turn style technology have you, Gary? I'm curious, do you think it will survive? I personally don't think it will become a permanent thing, it's a little too complicated for consumers.

Gary Learner:

I don't know, I think, if anything, it'll become a niche application for certain content and certain use cases where it makes sense. But as a mainstream, it's not going to catch, that's just my two cents. I don't know.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Also, obviously, 360 degree video's a thing, and that leads into a new model for consumption around virtual reality. I think this remains to be seen, exactly how this enters the mainstream, how virtual reality enters the mainstream. I think it has a lot of potential and its being figured out in real time. Its quite possible what we have happening right now around COVID 19 and people having to practice social distancing, that's a big boost for virtual reality. I know that there are a lot of people crisis product management, figuring out how they embrace the new behaviors and patterns of usage. The other thing I'll say is we talked about new content types, but also, just the basic viewing experience is being innovated. There was a time when picture and picture was the thing that was being used to sell television, and there are really great viewing experiences that are being built on top of these new platforms.

Rakesh Agrawal:

For example, I used ESPN Plus not too long ago. ESPN Plus is great, it lets you create these multi picture arrays so if you're a sports fanatic you can watch four things at the same time. Pick one live event and put it here, and put these other three events as smaller pictures to the right of that and you can change the audio stream of each of those. I happened to do this with Wimbledon, and I actually discovered that there is wheelchair tennis. I had no idea that there was wheelchair tennis. There is also infinite inventory with the Internet, so you can air anything as opposed to having a limited inventory of a single broadcast channel.

Gary Learner:

It's not a great example, but the Olympics. There's so much that is going on, and the broadcasters or the event organizers, they have to pick what is happening as a main event, and that's the one that is being broadcasted. With [inaudible 00:42:49] services, there's essentially a limitless number of channels that you can create and limitless number of user experiences and combinations of stuff. That's not a great example of something that we call traditional TV will not be possible, with linear TV. Although there are some attempts to do that, they created picture and picture, but then it is not as flexible as something that you roll your own version of it.

Rakesh Agrawal:

That's right. The example I have on the right here, maybe by a show of hands, you can click to raise your hand in the interface, how many people here have used Netflix Party, has anybody used this? I used this a couple weeks ago with some friends and it lets you watch a movie on Netflix or a TV show on Netflix in synchronization with other people. Everybody is watching the same show, in our case we were watching, it was like two of my friends, in two different places, we were all watching The Good Place, and when I hit pause, it paused it for everyone else, and in real time, we had chat comments that were going as we were watching. These joint watch experiences are also possible because of these technology platforms.

Rakesh Agrawal:

This is all to say that consumer behavior is going to be shaped by this and then, in turn, those behaviors are going to shape the technologies and the way that monitoring and compliance, your things that are equivalent to monitoring and compliance in this new world are done.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Gary when you and I were talking, we were talking about how this one-to-one session management as opposed to the one-to-many session management, how that ushers in this ability to do personalization.

Gary Learner:

That's essentially the underlying premise that based on that capability, you're building a lot more capability that is impossible with the broadcast way of doing things. So because you know who is on the other side, you can truly personalize as well as interact with the user. I've mentioned that in opposition to us is doing user generated videos so you can allow the viewers on the other side become producers or become contributors of the content. There is nothing that stops us from doing that, we just need to find the right way to utilize that capability. More of that is happening, we see personalized advertisements, personalized content, and I believe that over time it will break some of the stigmas that have been created around commercials and advertisements. Were all being annoyed by it because it is not relevant to what we are looking at. But give me stuff that I am highly interested in, and it becomes more informative and more attractive to me, more personal to me. I believe that over time we will find ways to eliminate this negative stigma that is associated with advertisement, and create value in the process.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I don't know about that. [crosstalk 00:46:44]. I think that it can definitely be made more useful. I think there are scenarios where, search is a good example, I have an intent and the ads are actually useful. I've probably gone and done searches and specifically looked at the ads because I want to know who's buying that key word to know who the players are in a particular space. I don't mean from a competitive intelligence standpoint, but just if I'm a buyer in the market, the ads can be helpful. Of course, ads that are more personalized, no question about it, they're more likely to be of interest. That's the Holy Grail of advertising, if you can target ads in such a a way that the viewer is delighted by them, it's game over at that point.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Gary, obviously if we go away from the consumer behaviors and talk more about the back end, you and I were talking about cloud based work flows.

Gary Learner:

Any presentation about the technology today would not be complete without mentioning cloud based solution. Broadcasts, video chain, is no different. This is just one example, AWS is a well known and strong player with Elemental being the foundation for the video workflow. One thing that I will mention is that it's also becoming much more relevant with what's happening today in the world. Talking to some of the thought leaders in the industry about what's happening today and asking them how they manage doing everything that you do from home. The cloud is definitely a big help in their [inaudible 00:48:59]. It might not solve all of the issues, but it definitely solves a lot of them. We can mutually connect different components and mutually connect cables from one device to another and share content and so forth that would not be possible accomplishing just by sitting in front of the computer and not having physical access to the facility.

Gary Learner:

One thing that was stopping from completing this workflow was how do we reliably and inexpensively deliver live source into the cloud, and with recent initiatives by Restart RISTD, consorting with players like [inaudible 00:49:51] and Video Flow, there are solutions today that allow you to use an existing public Internet infrastructure and essentially deliver live content to the cloud. Once it's there, you essentially can build and customize your workflow out of [inaudible 00:50:14] but as well as other components and have it completely reliable and uninterrupted experience across all the different devices. It's a complex thing that is becoming possible because it's all in one place.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I know that Volicon had maybe just a handful of cloud monitoring and compliance solution deployments, I know that we've had conversations and there are a couple of deployments that we have on the radar that'll be completely cloud based. We can run SnapStream on a local appliance or we have hosted infrastructure as well. I think as workflows move to the cloud, its only going to be natural in some of those cases, where it makes sense, where customers want to do the monitoring and compliance function, loudness compliance, do all of that in the cloud also.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Talk for a moment about data driven video. Data increasingly drives video today.

Gary Learner:

We are seeing because of the variety of use cases and because of the variety of devices, and global footprint of the content that is being delivered, they either become a much more prevalent and valuable component in the whole transition part. Data carries a lot of information in there to specific broadcast right rules, if you have the right to deliver particular content, and what is the substitution there, as well as a bunch of other decisions that are automating the process of delivery of content to every single device and ensuring that every single device will have the best experience that is tailored for this device.

Gary Learner:

Automatic format description, AFD, is one of them, because we have a variety of resolutions and aspect ratios so how do you optimize for each one of them. Manually doing it is not an option, I have D standard as one example of those. Tons of data that is being given in and anything that is being automated, anything that is being done by the system eliminates operator errors, eliminates delays, assures continuity and assures a secure way of doing things.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I think traditionally data has been like a payload that sits alongside the audio and the video. The VANC, or ancillary data, the ANC stands for ancillary, but I think that there's also this world that will emerge where the video experience is driven by some mark-up language like HTML that takes the video and then puts graphics on top of the video, and other interactive components, et cetera. I was an investor in this company, Vidpresso, that I mentioned earlier, and that's what their vision eventually was for, video that was rendered and assembled at the clients side. Now they're on the Facebook team and I suspect some of that is a part of what they're working on over there. In this sort of world where video is just one of the inputs to the video experience, you can imagine a video experience that's completely responsive and where the score and other information is rendered on top of the video and the framing of the video is all done algorithmically at the clients side, dependent on a whole variety of factors including that's how ads get inserted, et cetera. I feel like that's where this all heads.

Rakesh Agrawal:

We'll go into Q and A, maybe a question I'll ask you Gary as we go into Q and A is what does this all mean to the broadcast industry and compliance monitoring? What do you think all these changes on consumer behavior and devices and the services and the platforms, what are the implications of that for broadcast monitoring and compliance?

Gary Learner:

I probably have bad news and good news, I think. The challenge for the broadcast engineers is becoming more and more complex. Previously, just not watching over the linear TV, the old TV is becoming a part of it, and variety of devices, different regions and different time zones and all of that other good stuff that is the expectations are that it has to work flawlessly in assuring outmost user experience possible. That's the bad news, and coming from that industry watching a lot of those guys, they are wearing 17 different hats, they're doing so much, so how do you find the time to do more within the limited hours you have during the day. That's the bad news, the good news is that what we are seeing is that the same way as the broadcast infrastructure was merged together with the IT infrastructure, and a lot of the IT technologies and capabilities become available as part of the broadcast chain, simplifying, automating it, and making it simpler to manage. The same thing that we see with what is usually called linear or traditional TV, and the OTT, all of that is beginning to merge.

Gary Learner:

They are like the same entity, they are responsible for it. There are a lot more tools, a lot more capabilities, a lot more vendors, a lot more smart companies that are providing solutions to make your job as a broadcast engineer easier. That's the good news, and a lot of good news its still exciting, its never dull, its never boring, there is a lot more complexity, there is a lot more cool stuff that is happening and that's an exciting time to be part of the industry.

Rakesh Agrawal:

I want to open it up for Q and A, we can stick around for a few minutes. I was just looking at the time, we are right at an hour. But Gary, are you fine to hang out for a little bit if we want to take a question.

Gary Learner:

Sure

Rakesh Agrawal:

Awesome. Fire away with your questions.there was one discussion I was having with Steven in the panel and he pointed out that in some of the places we talked about traditional TV and we were referring to just the display device, which is absolutely true, and he was making the point that that, as a display device, where it's passive TV watching on a couch in a living room, his belief that that's not going away. I have to say that I agree with that, I don't think that sort of scenario of TV watching is going to die anytime soon.

Gary Learner:

Very good point.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Anybody have any questions? I think I lost my Q and A slide here. Our contact information is on the slide by the way, if you have any questions you can send that over to us. If you want to get in touch with me or Gary later, all the information is there. Any questions from the audience? Doesn't look like it.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Gary, thank you so much for joining and sharing your story of how Volicon was founded and the broadcast and monitoring compliance industry.

Gary Learner:

My pleasure, thank you for hosting and thank you all that participated.

Rakesh Agrawal:

Thanks everyone, bye.