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NAB 2017: Data a Key Driver for OTT Services, BAM Tech CEO Says

Las Vegas – Gathering and analyzing viewership data increasingly is becoming a key tool for over-the-top video and TV services, Michael Paull, the recently named CEO of BAM Tech, said here Tuesday.

Having access to consumption data gives distributors and their content partners a way to “super-serve” their customers, Paull said in his first public appearance since taking the helm of BAM Tech, the Disney-backed technology services and video streaming spin-off of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM).

RELATED: Michael Paull Named CEO of BAM Tech

Paull, an industry vet who previously ran Amazon Channels, Amazon’s curated subscription VOD platform, said streaming data shows how long viewers are watching and if they are coming back, and also provides other critical information that can help to drive programming and scheduling decisions and a clearer view on where to focus infrastructure spending.

“You have real data, as opposed to sample data,” he said, later noting that the flexibility  OTT allows content providers the ability to “micro-program” because they have access to “an infinite number of slots, even in primetime.”

“It’s about building scalable data analysis capabilities,” Paull explained.

BAM Tech’s other clients (and financial backers, in some cases) include Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, HBO and World Wresting Entertainment. Competitors include a wide range of multiscreen specialists such as Verizon Digital Media Services, Comcast Technology Solutions, and NeuLion.

RELATED: Disney Buys One-Third of BAMTech for $1 Billion

He said it’s the mandate of BAM Tech to build a “best-in-class” platform that delivers live entertainment and technology services to other content owners and providers, doing it through a scalable system that handles and manages elements such as real-time encoding, blackout restrictions, and a flexible capacity system that can support “significant concurrent usage.”

“I see a huge opportunity in over-the-top distribution of live entertainment,” Paull said in his keynote conversation with Will Richmond, editor and publisher of VideoNuze.

He said BAM Tech is also positioned well as consumer viewing behavior continues to shift toward a wide array of devices whether they are in the home or on the go.

“Consumers expect, not just want, to watch anything at any time,” he said, adding that supporting multiple mobile and TV-connected devices has become a prime requirement. When they are paying for programing they want to watch when it’s convenient to them, not when it’s convenient to broadcast.”

Under Paull, BAM Tech is also exploring new OTT opportunities around the world. Last year, for example, BAM Tech secured a multi-year deal with Riot Games to distribute “League of Legends” eSports content.

And though OTT services are helping to drive the cord-cutting trend for pay TV, Paull noted that MLB’s out-of-market subscription service is “complementary” to traditional TV.

“I don’t view my job to disrupt anything” but to provide a platform that supports how consumers want to access their content,  he said.

BAM Tech is also keeping an eye on emerging platforms, such as virtual reality and augmented realty.

“We are looking at a variety of things in the VR and AR space,” Paull said. “We’re excited a about the potential opportunities for people to become more immersed.”

BAM Tech, he said, is also exploring the addition of data-driven dynamic ad insertion systems that can work in tandem with a broader range of business models.