NDS has always recognised that ‘content is king’, given that its fortunes are based on protecting its client’s content from piracy and unauthorised viewing. However, NDS has created its ‘Infinite TV Exchange’ (ITX) as a simple vehicle to get more content to viewers – and at a low cost.
The concept is simple: NDS has created a clever software system that allows content owners, broadcast platforms, broadcasters themselves and other specialised content owners to offer up their ‘unexploited’ content to a far wider TV audience. The content might be whole TV channels, from far-flung places, or speciality programming to satisfy niche audiences. But the over-riding desire is to get this content, however varied, onto the TV set itself, and seamlessly integrated into NDS’ existing EPG systems.
The content vendors can specify to the software whether the rights they have available are territorially restricted, the quality (HD vs SD) and a fee suggestion. The software tracks any dialogue between the vendor and potential buyer – and the terms, and legal domicile of any final agreement.
“Flexibility is the name of the game,” says Yoni Hashkes, NDS’ SVP for advanced products, speaking exclusively to Advanced-Television.com. He explained that the system allows any number of financial permutations to be developed, ranging from the usual minimum guarantees expected by larger content suppliers, to pay-TV revenue splits, FTA use on an advertising share basis and any number of variations on these themes.
Hashkes was one of the original founders of NDS back in 1988, and co-invented the VideoCrypt conditional access system used by NDS. Hashkes says while there’s plenty of uploaded material on YouTube – often illegally copied – ITX encourages copyright owners to exploit TV’s higher quality and to tap into the set-top box’s EPG.
Moreover, he says that about 100 content suppliers are already beta-testing the system. Specifically he mentioned Nat-Geo, Business Week, the Rolling Stone Channel, Classic Motors and dozens of others are already hooked into the system. “We are very different from YouTube. None of this material is pirated. It is all rights cleared, and the viewer gets a TV experience.”
The key appeal, besides the obvious B2B element, is in finally getting the content easily and streamlined into the home, and creating an easy “win-win” situation. Hashkes stresses that the end result is all about viewers getting more content to the TV set, and is providing a new window for long-tail content. “This keeps the costs [of distribution] right down. It widens the scope of material that a broadcast platform could offer their subscribers, whether from niche groups, or expats, or highly-specialised programming.”
Readers wanting to know more can look at www.infinite.tv