10 Jul DEG Welcomes Edgio As a Member | Meet Eric Black, CTO and GM of Media
July 10, 2023 | DEG welcomes Edgio, the developer-friendly, globally scaled edge network as a new member. Edgio (NASDAQ: EGIO) helps companies deliver online experiences and content faster, safer, and with more control. The company combines its edge network with fully integrated application and media solutions to provide a single platform for the delivery of high-performing, secure web properties and streaming content. Through this fully integrated platform and end-to-end edge services, companies can deliver content quicker and more securely, thus boosting overall revenue and business value.
DEG recently caught up with Eric Black, Edgio’s CTO and GM of Media, who earlier led NBC Universal’s media technology strategy including guiding the team that launched Peacock in 2020, to discuss the technical challenges of the streaming transition and the innovations ahead for content delivery.
DEG: You have 20 years’ experience in digital video and live event streaming and nine Emmy Awards. With that perspective, what is it that major and independent media companies really need to be thinking about as they move live events from linear to streaming platforms?
EB: I have daily conversations with all kinds of media companies about the transition to streaming platforms. I consistently hear from them that improving time-to-market and decreasing cost while delivering an exceptional viewing experience are their big priorities. It’s a challenge for them, especially when major players have entered the market, and the economic landscape is rocky, but with every challenge, there is also opportunity.
It’s always vital to be business and customer-led, rather than falling into the trap of becoming only technology-led. By that, I mean making sure that your technology genuinely delivers on your own specific business goals and go-to-market strategy. Media companies typically consider two options: build it themselves or buy from a vendor. If a media company has the resources to go in-house, then there is a lot to be gained by owning your own tech. These include greater control and internal expertise that will help keep companies stay prepared for whatever the market throws at them. Media companies require best-in-breed solutions at every stage of the workflow that is suited to their specific needs, which means building in-house and owning streaming tech can make sense for certain areas of the workflow.
However, choosing a tech partner has been the most viable option since the inception of streaming video. By outsourcing specific technology, the chosen partner specialists can offer a quicker time to market and product resiliency by leveraging technology investments already made, which is crucial for securing audience and revenues. With a partner vendor, media companies have the tools in place already and have the support they need to customize, deploy and manage. For media companies looking to establish themselves in the streaming market, time-to-market is critical.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and both pose exciting avenues. What is critical is that, as long as they provide good content, they will be on the path to success.
DEG: Major league sports, in particular, are making a big jump to streaming services. What challenges are particular to sports, in terms of delivering best viewer experience?
EB: 2023 marks the 26th year of the streaming industry. We’ve come a long way, but it’s still very early in experimentation into what’s possible with live sports.
In the coming years, sports fans will be in for a real treat in terms of quality of experience, the connection they will feel to their teams, and the excitement they can get coming through to their screen on game day. Those innovations will go hand-in-hand with streaming services having an ever-growing variety of options to build differentiated services while opening up new revenue opportunities.
However, there can often be a ‘trade-off’ between scale and quality of customer experience. Media companies want reduced latency and cost but have to juggle achieving those outcomes alongside reaching mass audiences. Streaming providers also want to deliver more personalized advertising, different subscription models, and QoS across all devices.
Technology really can address all these opportunities and challenges, bringing content closer to fans while reducing costs and maximizing monetization opportunities.
DEG: What do you expect to be some of the biggest innovations in content delivery in the next five years?
EB: Interactive experiences will take more prominence. We now consume content faster, easier, and in more significant quantities than ever – we’ll see that move to the next level. Richer digital experiences driven by presence, connection, and interaction will hold the key to success beyond just watching a stream.
Another is continuing to unlock many more benefits of the cloud and how that interacts with edge side compute. The cloud has already revolutionized the way the media industry works, but we’re by no means at the end of that change. Cloud innovations will continue to help media companies uncover new ways to have a competitive edge through better efficiency, accountability, and quality. When paired with the power of edge side compute for specific workflow we can continue to increase performance, drive more personalization and lower total cost of ownership.
DEG: If you could introduce every DEG member to Edgio’s Media Platform and tell them one thing about its core value proposition, what would it be?
EB: Our Media Platform offers the ability to deliver (and monetize) video to millions of viewers worldwide at a fraction of the resources and cost from signal acquisition all the way through end user delivery.
A fundamental component of our Media Platform is the award-winning streaming solution, Uplynk which is laser-focused on helping our customers to achieve business success amid increased competition, subscriber churn, and platform fragmentation. It does this by simplifying complex content management and delivery workflows to give any media or content company greater control over how they can deliver digital experiences.
We’re incredibly proud of what Uplynk brings to our industry. In 2022 alone, it handled 39,000+ live events and generated 2.4 billion event views, 3.3 billion hours of streamed video, and 220 million hours of advertising.
DEG: What’s your idea of a perfect evening of home viewing, taking into account both technology and content?
EB: I may work in the industry, but I am a consumer first, and like everyone else, I want to watch great content. Sometimes my home feels a bit like a QA lab with the amount of devices I stream content with, which I do often to experience the differences in application and device delivery purely as a technologist. That said, you’ll find me ready to start kicking back with the NFL (New York Jets), excited to see Aaron Rodgers take the field. Like most consumers, I’ll be multitasking on other devices either for fantasy stats or email. And like most technologists I’ll have a keen eye on concurrency of events I’m watching that Edgio is delivering.
For more information, visit edg.io.