Based on its recent analysis of the pay TV middleware market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Wyplay with the 2014 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Leadership. Wyplay’s Frog, an open source middleware solution, allows Pay-TV service providers to seamlessly blend content sourced from hybrid sources including over the top (OTT), Satellite, Cable, Terrestrial digital television and conventional IPTV managed channels. With more established vendors offering self-contained middleware solutions typically optimized for one primary type of managed delivery, Wyplay stands out for its ability to meet the next-generation service needs of Cable, DTT, direct to home (DTH) and Internet protocol TV (IPTV) service providers at competitive price points in an open source model that gives operators flexibility and agility in responding to the needs of a changing transmission landscape.
“Unlike other multi-network middleware solutions, Wyplay is designed as a transparent solution. It enables a unified and consistently branded browsing and playback experience, regardless of the source a given linear channel or video on demand (VOD) title is sourced from,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Avni Rambhia. “For example, whether a channel is delivered over the air via DTT, satellite, traditional cable, or over the Internet, it appears as a service provider-branded offering to the subscriber; it is displayed in the same guide, and selected and rendered in the same manner.”
As Applications and User Interface can be based on HTML5, Frog can be deployed to existing set top boxes without requiring an expensive overhaul, as long as they have an IP connection. By extending the useful lifetime of expensive set top boxes through this software solution, Wyplay enjoys a lower barrier to entry while also delivering significant value to its operator customers by allowing them to economically and quickly pull their legacy installed base into a next-generation platform experience.
Frost & Sullivan estimates that the average cost of middleware is €15 per unit deployed. Additionally, companies typically charge upfront deployment fees, backend server fees, and ongoing service and maintenance fees. In contrast, Frog is licensed on a sliding scale that begins at €2 per subscriber and decreases with cumulative volume. The elimination of continuous royalties due to the lack of costs in the development phase or annual maintenance fees following deployment is another factor that sets Frog apart in the market.
“A key differentiator of Wyplay is that during development, even though Wyplay offers its own integration services, customers are free to work with a system integrator or development partner of their choice,” noted Rambhia. “Open source solutions always entail some additional measure of R&D and maintenance from the customer side, but even then, it is evident that Wyplay provides an extremely compelling price-performance value proposition.”
The lower price point enables service providers to innovate more aggressively with experimental models, such as social TV, where monetization is not yet significant. It also gives Wyplay a strong foothold in rapidly growing, yet cost-sensitive markets.
Importantly, Frog’s governance model does not include mandatory community contributions that are often part of open source licenses. Specifically, Wyplay does not demand that operators contribute their proprietary modifications to the source code back to the open source pool.
Wyplay also does not have any vested interests in parallel business models, so it does not require the inclusion of a proprietary app store or third-party VOD library, which is a must with some open source solutions. This gives operators the freedom to upgrade their version of the middleware and its apps, and distribute them freely, with or without continued reliance on Frog. This reduces perceived risk from a business perspective and provides a momentum boost from an engineering perspective.
Wyplay’s partner ecosystem spans the complete value chain from silicon, set-top box and system integrators to third-party software companies. It leverages direct sales for reaching Tier I customers, but is expanding to a partner-driven ecosystem distribution strategy to reach the lower tier customers and to expand geographically in markets such as Latin America, India and Southeast Asia.
“Overall, Frog is seeing significant traction in the embattled pay TV industry, not only on account of its enticing value proposition of effectively overhauling traditional services for the new age, but also due to its lightweight deployment process, competitive cost structure and liberal licensing policy,” observed Rambhia.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on investment that customers make in its services or products. The award recognizes the company’s inordinate focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive—beyond simply good customer service—leading to improved customer retention and ultimately customer base expansion.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.