How VTR's cloud VOD service neared full deployment 4 months after launch

Murali Nemani - CMO, Product Management & Marketing

Time and again when operators have faced the question of how to expedite new services the answer has been simple: CPE virtualization. Whether it’s next-gen on-demand services in The Netherlands, online video at scale on existing STBs or revolutionary new user interfaces in North America and the Caribbean, moving the intelligence from the device to the cloud has unlocked rapid time to market for transformative customer experiences.

Today, Cloud UIs once again are breaking the mold. This time the visionaries are the team at Chile’s largest pay-TV operator, Liberty Global’s VTR, who unveiled jaw-dropping results from their expanded VOD service. Using cloud browsing technology, VTR has driven customer engagement by creating a breakthrough navigation environment across almost their entire subscriber footprint, leveraging the set-top boxes that already are in customers’ homes.

The two-fold challenge VTR addressed is a common one for the pay-TV industry: First, unlocking the value of Web-based VOD experiences – enhanced search and discovery, intuitive navigation and previews – that cannot be supported by existing STBs, without undertaking the daunting, home-by-home process of rolling out next-generation gear. And second, ensuring that the same cloud-based service seamlessly can be delivered when next-generation devices are introduced, allowing uniformity both in service delivery and in the user experience across every subscriber.

VTR augmented the capabilities of its existing devices by shifting some of the functionality from the set-top box to the cloud. VOD interfaces rendered in the cloud are streamed via VTR’s existing video infrastructure to the STB, and are navigated using standard remote controls – creating a virtualized environment that is transparent to the subscriber.

Our customers have done more than their share of cloud-based innovation, but we never cease to be impressed at what else can be accomplished. For VTR, it’s meant:

  • Being first to market in the Central/South American regions to unlock the potential of fully cloud-based services for VOD, online video or next-gen UIs;
  • Achieving rapid time-to-market of four months from initial launch to availability nationally to more than one million subscribers; and
  • Driving huge increases in engagement – most notably a year-over-year increase of 138% in total VOD streams delivered.

While it’s too soon to project the future for VTR, we do know two things for certain: First, that industry-leading pay-TV operators who have broken new ground with cloud-based services have seen impressive results; and second, that VTR’s success already is generating interest from other operators in the Americas and beyond. We suspect that the more they look specific needs, the more they – like VTR -- will find out that cloud virtualization is the solution.