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Bitcentral’s acquisition of direct-to-consumer video publishing vendor Powr.tv this week sees the company edging closer to an end-to-end streaming publishing solution, building on its AI-powered video playlisting tool.
By Jennifer Pallanich | January 27, 2022 | 5:28 a.m. ET.
Bitcentral’s acquisition this week of Powr.tv is part of a plan to better help connect content creators to their audiences.
The purchase will lead to the integration of Bitcentral’s FUEL platform, which is an artificial intelligence-powered video playlisting tool that stations can use to offer videos over the top, with Powr.tv, which provides a direct-to-consumer video publishing solution.
The resulting unified workflow is intended to simplify video management, streaming, and distribution for broadcasters while also increasing monetization opportunities. With the integration already underway, Bitcentral will continue to focus on further streamlining the digital streaming workflow while optimizing monetization opportunities.
“Broadcasters want to spend more time in digital streaming,” says Bitcentral CEO Steve Petilli. “They understand that’s where the ad dollars are moving to.”With media spend on digital video growing around 17% annually and connected television growing around 25% annually, he says, Bitcentral spotted an opportunity.
The company had already developed the FUEL platform, which was “bridging us into the digital streaming market,” and Powr.tv brings additional capabilities and monetization opportunities, he says. “We felt this was the time for us to connect the two pieces together,” Petilli says.
Greg Morrow, GM of Bitcentral’s Streaming Media Group, notes the range of application providers spans entry-level to bespoke.
“What we see in Powr.tv is an enterprise-level versatile platform that is not entry-level but is a modestly priced SaaS platform that has robust feature set and flexibility,” he says.
Morrow says he believes the combined solution of the FUEL platform and Powr.tv will let customers more easily manage, distribute and monetize content while avoiding the integration challenges broadcasters historically have faced when trying to integrate offerings from two different vendors.
The purchase followed a strategic partnership between the two companies after Powr.tv realized FUEL was “a very complementary service,” says Powr.tv President Akshay Arvapally. “We realized quickly that this is a great marriage.” The combined solution will provide turn-key premium OTT application deployment, dynamic playlisting for VOD, live and linear content, and support for a variety of business models, including advertising (AVOD), subscription (SVOD), and transactional (TVOD).
One model monetizes co-watching experiences, which arise from chats during group-watching parties. For instance, Arvapally says, users can “purchase comments and highlight themselves to get more notice” during a live chat with a large audience. Morrow says one of Bitcentral’s priorities moving forward will be “leaning into” extending Powr.tv’s innovative social co-viewing technology.
Integration with Powr.tv has already begun, Petilli says. “Once we fully integrate, we will have an end-to-end platform that really has no competition in terms of versatility of what we do.”
And because broadcasters are chasing ad dollars in digital streaming and want an end-to-end solution, Petilli says, Bitcentral will focus on further streamlining that process, whether through internal development of those solutions or the purchase of “best of breed” technology.
“The pieces are out there now. We may have to buy a piece here and a piece there and tie it together. Broadcasters are looking for that end-to-end solution,” Petilli says. “This next wave of live linear and connected applications and the ability to do different monetization models so people can actually make money in digital streaming is where we’re focused.”
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