Data Drives Progress

BAM Tech CEO Michael Paull, right, with Will Richmond

Viewership data is becoming a key tool for over-the-top video and TV services, said Michael Paull, the recently named CEO of BAM Tech, during his Online Video Conference keynote on Tuesday.

Access to consumption data gives distributors and their content partners a wayto “super-serve” customers, Paull said. It was his first public appearance since taking the helm of BAM Tech, the Disney-backed technology services and video streaming spinoff of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM).

Paull, an industry vet who previously ran Amazon Channels, Amazon’s curated subscription VOD platform, said streaming data reveals how long viewers are watching and if they are coming back, and 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 of 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 said.

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

He said the mandate of BAM Tech is to build a “best-in-class” platform that delivers live entertainment and technology services to other content owners and providers; it does this 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 during the conversation with Will Richmond, editor and publisher of VideoNuze.

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

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

Under Paull, BAM Tech also is exploring new OTT opportunities around the world. Last year, for example, BAM Tech secured a multiyear 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 said 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 reality.

“We are looking at a variety of things in the VR and AR space,” said Paull. “We’re excited 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.