Piksel helped OSN to become the first major player in the MENA region to launch a commitment-free, multi-device OTT service.

OSN is the MENA region’s leading pay TV broadcaster. With over 20 years of broadcasting experience, OSN provides unparalleled expertise and stands on an unrivalled foundation of content and technological knowledge. This position of strength has been established through extensive research and development throughout the company’s existence, meaning OSN is in a unique position when it comes to understanding consumer tastes, preferences and trends across the diverse MENA territories.

OSN launched GO Online TV in May 2014, and it is currently the only OTT SVOD service in the region with output from three major Hollywood studios: Disney, Paramount and Sony Pictures. GO Online TV made it finally possible for viewers in the MENA region to access thousands of hours of premium entertainment including Hollywood blockbusters, critically- acclaimed Arabic productions, award- winning TV series and most celebrated animation movies and kids content, without signing up to a long-term satellite or cable pay TV contract. GO allows viewers to access content online via a large range of devices for just $10 a month, commitment-free.

The challenge

OSN wanted to increase their existing customer base by reaching out to people who were not current subscribers to their premium pay DTH offer. OSN realized that on-demand OTT offers were growing in popularity and wanted to be first major player to market in the MENA region, with a commitment- free, multi-device OTT service. The goal was to quickly launch a new service that would provide a large amount of premium content to the most used consumer devices.

The project aimed to leverage the investment made in the OSN Play platform to launch the new service. The work included the provision of a new back end infrastructure; new integration points with OSN’s business systems for authentication, entitlement, and billing; and the design and delivery of a new branded website and device applications with a re-envisioned user experience.

OSN Go Online TV

The solution

GO Online TV is supported by Piksel’s multi- screen solution for delivery of over-the- top services, the Piksel Digital Showcase. Digital Showcase gives content distributors the opportunity to create more captivating viewer experiences, and promote deeper engagement. Available as an on-premise or fully SaaS solution, it is highly flexible and cost-effective, thereby helping OSN deliver GO Online TV to market quickly.

The services Piksel provides are part of its unique modular platform – the Piksel Palette – and include experience design, development of the client website and devices (including responsive website, iPad, iPhone, selected Android tablets and phones, Samsung and LG smart TV applications) and integration with OSN’s back-end systems. Piksel is also responsible for the build-out of the video platform infrastructure for GO Online TV and OSN Play, and provides the managed services to ensure the broadcast levels of service availability.

Piksel built out the changes to the back-end software, and managed the transcode, ingest and upload of the thousands of assets. Piksel also managed the design of the new brand, and the implementation of it in the new responsive website and device applications. These were tested across a wide range of browser, operating system and device combinations to ensure a high-quality experience for end- users.

GO Online TV is compatible with all Internet providers and is available on fixed, Wi- Fi, 3G, and 4G mobile broadband across 24 countries in the MENA region. It is a feature- rich service that allows subscribers to browse/search and play back video-on- demand (VOD) on multiple devices.

Users can register up to five devices and watch on any two concurrently. The cross-platform personalised experience allows users to start watching a video on one device and resume watching it on another from where they left o ; to see “watched” and progress indicators across the website and device applications so they know which episodes or movies they’ve already watched and how much of them they’ve watched; and to set up and maintain a list of favourites which they can access across all of their devices. Enhanced filtering on landing pages allows users to filter content not only by category (action, drama, romance) but also by the primary language (English, Arabic).

Other features include:

  • Thousands of hours of Movies and TV Shows available to watch On- Demand
  • Browse and search for content in either English or Arabic (LTR/RTL layout)
  • Multi-language (English and Arabic) audio and subtitle options
  • Adaptive bitrate video for the best user experience with playback supported over Wi-Fi and cellular (3G/4G) networks
  • A safe environment for kids including PIN-based parental control features
  • Social integration with Twitter, Facebook and Google+
  • Sign in with Facebook or username and password

In order to adhere to OSN’s studio contractual requirements the service implements PlayReady DRM content protection and video playback is geo-restricted to the countries where OSN has licensing rights.

OSN Go Online TV

The results

The Piksel Palette’s modular framework enabled Piksel to deliver GO Online TV, from inception to launch, within five months. Since launch in May 2014, the GO Online TV service has been further enhanced with the introduction of cross-device personalization; the device limit has been increased from two to five and recently the service has been extended on to Smart TVs. In the same period the content catalogue has grown 50%. Five months after launch, Saudi Arabia ranks number one in terms of subscribers, followed by UAE, Qatar and Kuwait respectively.

The iOS platform is used the most often to consume content, followed by PC and Android. The GO Online TV service was awarded the ‘Outstanding MENA OTT Initiative’ at the 2014 Broadcast Pro Middle East Awards as well as the 2015 Digital Studio Awards ‘Content Delivery Program of the Year’.

“Launching GO Online TV was all about helping our Millennial audience access the highest quality content via the technology which suits them best – at the moment we’re seeing usage split across smartphones 30%, tablets 30% and PC/ desktop 40% – and we’re very excited to see how the recent introduction of GO Online TV on smart TVs influences this mix.”

Mark Billinge
Chief Technology Officer, OSN

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