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thePlatform Livens Up Multiscreen Video

thePlatform, the Comcast-owned online video publishing firm, has introduced a set of upgrades that will enable its programming and service provider partners to unify how they manage not just on-demand video, but live events as well, for a range of tablets, smartphones, PCs and other IP-connected devices.

Live video events tagged for multiscreen distribution typically have been managed independently from the video-on-demand asset management system, making it difficult to integrate the two starting from the encoding point. Enhancements to thePlatform's mpx video publishing console aim to  tie those two pieces together as service providers and programmers pursue new ways to stream an array of live/pay-per-view events, including sporting events, award shows, and news and political speeches, and then rapidly prepare an on-demand archive of those events.

“We’re finding that live events are becoming a critical part” of the video management’s decision engine,  said Marty Roberts, thePlatform’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The upgraded video management system relies on a centralized Web-based console that schedules and manages the acquisition of the live signal, as well as the encoding, metadata creation, and the generation of on-demand clips or full replays of the live event.

Because live events typically lack predictable breakpoints for ad insertion, the latest version of mpx also provides MSO and programming partners with the means to place those trigger points manually into the live stream. Those same cue points can then be carried over to the on-demand asset, allowing for a new ad to be inserted dynamically, the company said.

thePlatform’s initial version of the upgrade to the mpx console is integrated with Elemental’s Live video processing and the FreeWheel dynamic advertising insertion system, but the vendor plans to complete similar integrations with other technology partners later this year.

Roberts said a number of customers are testing out the new features but declined to name them. In addition to  Comcast and its corporate cousin, NBC Universal, some of thePlatform's other customers include Astral, BT, A+E Networks, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications, Liberty Global, Rogers, Time Warner Cable, Outdoor Channel, and USA Network.