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Cloud Streaming: Why Move Cable Video Services to SaaS?

What are the benefits of cloud streaming for cable video services that are driving MVPDs to move to SaaS.
October 27, 2021
4-Minute Read
Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy

Key Reasons Why MVPDs Move to Fully Managed Video Delivery Platforms

Aging MVPD infrastructures hinder flexibility for expanding and evolving video distribution services as new trends emerge. 

With the live streaming industry expected to continue to grow, the need for MVPDs to gain adaptability has never been more urgent. Many operators are moving to a SaaS to benefit from cloud streaming capabilities.

Simplifying Video Streaming Service Operations with the Cloud

With a fully managed service, you can outsource the complexity and costs associated with video headend management and upkeep.  Hosted in the cloud and offering 24/7 support, a SaaS gives you a worry-free cloud streaming solution to reduce operating costs and create competitive streaming bundles with almost no CAPEX investment. 

Outperforming the Competition & Ensuring Service Continuity

Viewers expect the same video quality of experience (QoE) for streaming as they receive from broadcast TV – regardless of the device, they are watching on.  As video compression capabilities improve we also see gains in terms of end-to-end latency reductions, and content delivery network (CDN) enhancements which in turn, positively impact the viewing experience.

A SaaS solution that offers all-IP streaming services not only eliminates in-house operational burdens but also enables proactive monitoring from 24/7 DevOps teams that provide the ultimate streaming service reliability, without you having to lift a finger.

Getting Revenue-Driving Video Streaming Services to Market Faster

With a video streaming SaaS, you can quickly spin up new features for live channels, or time-shift TV, nDVR, video on demand (VOD), and even dynamic ad insertion (DAI). You can benefit from high feature velocity and fast time to market without large upfront investment expenses.

You can gain greater flexibility for your services, on a per-channel basis depending on need or audience interest. By avoiding fixed infrastructure burdens, you can move to SaaS can help scale event viewing based on peak demand.

The Move to SaaS:  a Cloud Streaming Case Study

Schurz Communications, founded almost 150 years ago as a newspaper company, owns five cable systems that serve a large variety of geographic areas across the United States.  Today, Schurz Communications is one of the largest tier-2 MVPDs in the United States. With cloud transformation as a key objective, Schurz Communications' story demonstrates how MVPDs can benefit from a SaaS for video streaming in the cloud.

Removing the Burden of Legacy Hardware

Before moving to a SaaS, it was maintaining an operationally complex system, distributing multiple variant transmissions for eight unique video systems across five geographically diverse headend locations.

Its legacy video distribution equipment was a costly and cumbersome burden, from an MPEG-4 transcode farm to aging MPEG-2 consumer set-top-boxes (STBs), and an on-premises IP video platform. Facing the challenge of revamping and modernizing its entire infrastructure, Schurz Communications decided to end the cycle of an unsustainable hardware-based video infrastructure model. expansion with a move to SaaS. 

Gaining Capacity with no Hardware Investment

Schurz Communications wanted to move away from costly traditional video processing infrastructures. It chose the Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) E+ Premier SaaS platform for video streaming, powered by Harmonic's world-leading VOS360 Media SaaS.  Leveraging a fully managed streaming platform gave Schurz Communications a reliable solution to maximize the return on investment of its video services, without expanding the budget.

The E+ Premier platform offers a reliable, scalable solution to collapse operations into one versatile system in the most economically reasonable way possible.  Also, by removing the video headend infrastructure, Schurz Communications was able to create more space in the on-premises headend to increase its vCMTS deployment and enable greater capacity for its broadband services.

Generating Savings with the Move to SaaS

Converting legacy transmissions to streaming services removed the cost of Headend in the Sky (HITS) contract renewal and helped Schurz to deliver high-quality video services with ease. Even more beneficial was the ability to launch all new customers on low-cost STBs running Linux operating software. Schurz Communications' cloud transformation project is well underway with four systems planned for completion before the end of 2021.


When Is the Right Time to Move to SaaS? 

Content distributors are witnessing an industry-wide shift toward fully managed streaming.  With the evolution underway, MVPDs are searching for long-term solutions to stay nimble while cutting costs. If you're facing hardware-related challenges for your legacy video services, or if you have an aging network that you're looking to refresh, it may be the right time to make a strategic decision, and move to SaaS.

Your company may already be implementing a cloud-based strategy overall. It's a good time to talk to IT and collaboratively align on cloud objectives. If your company has a cloud-based strategy, it's another good indicator that your company is ready to move to SaaS. 

With a turnkey, cloud streaming platform like E+ Premier, operators can gain tremendous benefits. If any of these points below speak to your company's objectives, a move to SaaS for your video streaming services merits consideration.

Drivers for SaaS Adoption to Deliver Cable Video Services:

  • Eliminate most if not all of the video headend infrastructure
  • Gain a managed satellite distribution functionality
  • Leverage back office neutrality and seamless integration with key third party applications 
  • Ensure high uptime with guaranteed reliability
  • Support both legacy and streaming video in one platform
  • Protect existing ad revenue while transitioning to Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)
  • Get MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 multicast services are available with exceptional quality


Ease Your Company's Move to SaaS & Cloud-Based Video Services

Migrating to fully managed video streaming platforms provides versatility for MVPDs while lowering operational and maintenance costs.  It allows for a focus to be placed on simplifying operations, delivering subscriber expectations, and rapidly deploying new features and services.  

Schurz Communications chose a SaaS journey, by moving to the E+ Premier service to simplify operations, deliver subscriber expectations, and quickly add new services and features – all while lowering operational and maintenance expenses.   

E+ Premier is a fully managed SaaS video streaming solution available for cable, broadband and telecommunications providers. It's is powered by Harmonic's VOS360 Media SaaS, the world's leading SaaS video streaming platform used by several tier-1 operators worldwide.

The VOS360 SaaS leverages the power of cloud capabilities for an easy-to-use video streaming solution to launch streaming services that can scale on the fly.  You can adapt your video streaming services to changing market dynamics and integrate future features to handle evolving streaming and video delivery requirements. 

Schurz Communications proves that with a strategic move to SaaS and cloud streaming, you can easily able to adapt to changes in the media landscape, reduce operational costs, and provide an unrivaled quality of service.  Contact Harmonic if you’d like to explore the benefits of migrating to a flexible, SaaS solution with the agility and sustainably scalability of the cloud.

Robert Gambino is Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy. He provides business development and strategic direction for the company’s cloud SaaS platform with a focus on targeted advertising, personalization, origination and playout. Robert joined Harmonic after 17 years in telecom, running presales, architecture, and product strategy groups for operators and vendors in the video and ad tech spaces.

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