Matt Smith, a recognized digital media industry evangelist and thought leader, joined Anvato in 2014 as chief evangelist. He has spoken at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, TVNext, Streaming Media East & West, and NewTeeVee, and at many other events. Prior to Anvato, Matt served as vice president, technology for Chideo – a next-generation network for charitable giving that connects fans with the personalities they follow and provides exclusive media experiences on any screen. Chideo is founded by Internet pioneer and billionaire philanthropist Todd Wagner. Matt previously served as vice president, Internet television, at Envivio, where he worked closely with premier customers and technology partners like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe, to ensure that key digital media strategies were carefully planned and brought to market quickly and successfully.
Jennifer Lynn: Could you tell us more about your current role?
Matt Smith: I am chief evangelist and solution architect for the company. In this role, I leverage my years of operations, product, and technical experience to understand the needs of our customers and help them find the right solutions our platform provides that then help power their OTT and TV Everywhere experiences. We help power video experiences that reach every screen for broadcasters, programmers, media brands and beyond.
Jennifer Lynn: What are your initiatives?
Matt Smith: Anvato is focused on making OTT and TV Everywhere deployments that are extremely efficient, easy to manage, and very monetizable, where workflows are established in weeks, not months, and help our customers deliver the most premium video experiences in the market.
Jennifer Lynn: How do you see organizations further evolving in the future?
Matt Smith: We see more organizations moving toward our model of operation, leaving video workflow to companies with the most expertise, freeing them to work on other areas in and around video workflow. Rather than ‘boil the ocean’ and dedicate valuable resources to video processing, we believe organizations will gravitate to signal to screen type supply chains, where most of their video and audio processing is handled by a powerful platform and the customer can focus on how and where to integrate video.
Jennifer Lynn: What trends have you seen in the industry?
Matt Smith: While not “technology” exactly, the move in the industry to more concatenated, connected, cohesive workflows that control every aspect of the video experience are trendy. As OTT video preparation and delivery becomes more complex and becomes “better than broadcast,” the hardware and software solutions that make up these workflows must be more powerful and efficient. From video capture and digitization to cloud-based editing, syndication of those assets, CMS, blackouts and ad insertion, and more, the requirements for today’s OTT offerings are such that these powerful, connected workflows are needed to deliver on the promise of what monetizable OTT must be. Also, 360-degree video is something we see becoming very relevant to our customers and their audiences soon. We are working with them and will be delivering class-leading capabilities in our product to service this need imminently.
Ad-blocking for video publishers is a big threat today. The threat is absolutely relevant and real for those who use client side requests for content and ads. At Anvato, we manipulate all content (ads, programming) exclusively in the cloud, at the server side (SSAI) for all clients. The content we create has never been interrupted by an ad blocker, and our customers have been monetizing their content for the past few years.
The real issue with ad blockers is when client-side requests are made for ads (CSAI) where an ad blocker can “see” that request and interrupt the stream and in turn, the viewing experience. Given that Anvato’s output all look like one contiguous stream of content to the player (because the ads are stitched in), the blockers have nothing to see, and hence nothing to attempt to block. Further, when our platform has processed a live event, that content is instantly available for VOD consumption, and the ad breaks are fully monetizable, given that the ad pods were marked when the live event was in progress.
Hearst Television SVP of digital media Roger Keating offers more industry insight in this executive interview.