There has been an explosion of audio-visual content across India. This isn’t just with respect to digital media creators who are leveraging social media platforms like YouTube or Instagram, but also in the Over the Top (OTT) space. In fact, even though the OTT industry isn’t growing at the pace it did during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were forced to stay indoors with limited entertainment options, there has been a huge increase in demand for regional content. And content creators can’t wait to cater to this demand.
However, building and operating one’s own OTT platform is not an option for many players, not just because of financial concerns, but due to technological and logistical challenges. With an aim to bridge this gap, Yotta, the data center arm of Mumbai-based real estate major Hiranandani Group, is launching YottaPlex, an OTT Platform as a Service, which is not to be confused with an OTT player itself.
Sashishekar Panda, VP & Head – Products & Services, Yotta Data Services sheds light on this important distinction saying, “Unlike OTT players like Amazon Prime or Netflix, YottaPlex or Yotta is not an OTT service provider. It is an OTT Platform-as-a-Service that lets content creators and publishers build their own OTT service on our platform and launch it for their audience. With YottaPlex, content houses can bring their vast pool of content on a digital platform and deliver it to their end-users via mobile, web and TV. YottaPlex, essentially, allows content houses to launch their own OTT services like Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Panda elaborates, “Building an OTT platform requires huge capital investment in the underlying IT infrastructure, further combined with software development, specialised skilled resources and operational costs. With YottaPlex, we are enabling content creators and publishers to tap into the on-demand content market, without the hassles and high costs of building an OTT platform from scratch. Powered by global OTT platform service provider, Setplex, YottaPlex delivers an end-to-end OTT platform that can be fully customised, along with a range of content monetization capabilities.”
Further explaining the rationale behind developing a product like YottaPlex, he says, “India is generating a massive content pool, which holds the opportunity for tremendous monetisation. Currently, a major share of content monetisation is captured by distributors and publishers. We want to establish a distribution equilibrium across the content value chain through a monetisation marketplace using OTT or IP-enabled technology, which would ensure better monetisation while enhancing content consumption.”
One also needs to get a better understanding of what kind of content is in demand, given how the OTT sector is constantly evolving. “It must be noted that on-demand content goes beyond the traditional entertainment domain. With digitisation in education, healthcare, wellness, gaming and lifestyle segments, an increasing demand is witnessed for content from these domains,” says Panda, adding, “This serves as an ideal opportunity for regional content players, educational institutions, lifestyle companies, corporates, house of worship and broadcasters to monetise their content through the OTT channel.”
And YottaPlex allows them to precisely do that. “YottaPlex is a complete, highly-scalable and secure cloud-based OTT Platform as-a-Service that helps them launch their own branded OTT service on web browser, smartphones and TV – all of it with superior user experience and user interface. It serves as an end-to-end platform, right from content ingest to playback,” says Panda.
But there is also the matter of the regulatory environment that is becoming more stringent. But Panda says that they have nothing to worry about on that front as “YottaPlex offers an integrated Digital Rights Management (DRM) framework that ensures compliance with regulatory guidelines, thus delivering robust content security. It allows OTT service providers to achieve 100% standards-based multi-DRM security, utilise CMAF encrypted format for secure distribution of premium content and ensure compatibility with various client devices while safeguarding against unauthorised use and piracy.”
He further says, “YottaPlex utilises the highest encryption standard for unified service delivery with universal client DRM compatibility, while adopting the industry-standard CBCS encryption approach which ensures compatibility across all modern manifest types for clients. Additionally, it offers seamless integration with DRM technologies like Apple’s FairPlay, Google Widevine, and Microsoft PlayReady, while complying with the rigorous security standards mandated by major studios and rights holders for licensing, distributing, and delivering premium content.”
YottaPlex is also cognizant of other ground realities surrounding challenges with respect to the thin line between free speech and hate speech, as well as content aimed at a mature audience. It is, therefore, instituting a number of checks and balances.
“This has been a major concern in the industry, and regulatory authorities have created frameworks to curb it. We also understand that certain types of content may not be suitable for all audiences. We are trying to address it through rules, principles, guidelines, and features which can help address it,” says Panda.
YottaPlex understands that a lot of preventive measures can become successful if content owners are taken into confidence. “We encourage content owners to categorise their content; viewers are warned content that could be inappropriate for some users. In addition, viewers can use parental controls or other features to restrict access to certain shows or content,” says Panda. “Moreover, content generators are required to adhere to regulatory guidelines to ensure their content is suitable to be published. We are also witnessing an increasing role of AI and Machine Learning technologies to identify and flag inappropriate content,” he adds.
While the announcement about YottaPlex was made last month, the actual launch will take place in December. Watch this space for more!