Interview: Mirada’s EMEA Key Account Manager on our strategy and vision during the pandemic

Interviewed by CabSat, Juan Manuel Muñoz, Mirada’s Key Account Manager for EMEA region, addresses key questions regarding how the pandemic affected our business and what is our vision for the future.

How did you adapt your business when COVID-19 struck?

In our case, it was a seamless transition. Before COVID-19, we had already been encouraging our staff to work from home on certain days if they thought it could be useful for balancing their professional and personal life, so we already had all the necessary tools in place. Having said that, we had not foreseen a scenario in which the whole company would be working from home for several months, and we are pleased to be able to say that it has gone quite well.

We took some immediate measures to compensate as much as possible for the informal communication that happens around the office. We have set up daily management video conferences of around 30 minutes and every two or three weeks we have an interactive, company-wide catch-up call. Our HR department also recently launched a survey asking our employees about their experience and what role they would like the office space to play in the future. In general, the response was very positive and we’re now using our employees’ feedback to redefine how we want to use our offices and improve our way of working.

We work with customers all around the world, many of which have deployed their video platforms in the cloud, so there has been no significant change for them aside from the fact that we meet online more frequently, instead of visiting them in person.

On the other hand, we have labs to test our multiscreen software in different models of smart TVs, STBs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, etc. that many people share and this can be a challenge to deal with at times. Although, the biggest challenge of all was how to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary, which happened during the lockdown. Instead of us all gathering together for a party, we organised a virtual event that was quite fun, – but we will, of course, be celebrating it again when we can all meet together safely.

Between February 1st and April 30th total linear TV consumption increased by 24%

What does the post-pandemic situation look like for your key clients and industry targets?

I think the first question would be: What does the current situation look like for our customers? Many of them have been taking actions to keep their subscribers entertained as they stay at home, such as adding extra kids and news channels, opening up premium packages and offering discounts on TVoD content. We wanted to investigate the effects that these actions have had and we’ve worked with our customers to compare consumption for different types of content before and during the lockdown using our analytics platform LogIQ.

Between February 1st and April 30th total linear TV consumption increased by 24% and, as expected during a global pandemic, much of this increase came from the huge growth in consumption of linear news channels which escalated by over 80%. Meanwhile, the selection of premium linear channels opened up by Mirada’s customers saw more than a 170% increase in consumption.

On the other hand, general video on demand consumption increased by 41%, with children’s on demand content rising by 56%. Additionally, children’s VoD content consumed on a tablet device increased by a staggering 122%!

It will be interesting to see what impact the lockdown has on the industry in the long-term, as large numbers of consumers have been introduced to new content consumption models and on new devices that they might not have otherwise tried. Operators with a powerful video consumption intelligence platform during this time are in a unique position to analyse their performance, refine their offering and increase their future revenues.

As for your vision for the region – what are the first big innovations you will undertake, if any?

We are continuously looking at new ways to improve our offering and bring innovation to our products.

We’ve recently launched our multiscreen technology, Iris, in what we’ve called Swift Mode and we are receiving positive feedback from operators across the region. It’s a new turn-key solution that enables operators of all sizes to deploy a proven and competitive cloud-based video service with all the advanced features, capabilities and the engaging user experience that is currently only offered by a handful of top tier operators. Through a comprehensive and affordable ‘pay as you grow’ business model, operators can benefit from a rich collection of features of content discovery, promotion and advertising, while avoiding high upfront costs and reducing time-to-market.

Our data analytics platform, LogIQ, which provides consumption, operational and navigational insights, is included in Swift Mode.

And, of course, Swift Mode customers will also be able to benefit from Mirada’s new and exclusive tool, UX Evolver, which we are hoping to showcase at CABSAT. With this back-end tool, operators can adapt and evolve their user experience to suit new technologies and changing consumption habits, such as those that we’ve seen during the lockdown.

With UX Evolver, operators can pick and choose in real-time every element of the user interface, from manual and automatic content strips and templates to static and video banner ads. They can even adapt the entire navigational structure of their platform’s content catalogue if desired.

Together with audience segmentation – which uses unassisted machine learning for inferential clustering – micro-targeting for UX personalisation can be achieved. Mirada’s clients can use the tool to carry out A/B testing and check the efficiency of any visual or navigational changes that have been made in the platform. With the help of data gathered by Mirada’s data analytics platform, LogIQ, operators can compare and make data-driven decisions to implement changes to the rest of their platform, help boost the user experience for their audience and maximise revenues.

Transforming these social and technological challenges into business opportunities for our customers is our key priority at Mirada.

What are the key priorities on your mind?

While we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in worldwide TV content consumption since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, there’s also an overwhelming amount of subscription services available for consumers. Content fragmentation is rapidly creating a new problem in the video industry, which we refer to as subscriber fatigue.

Pay TV Operators need to look at ways of addressing this issue and transform it into an opportunity. Content aggregation is no longer enough and an optimal user experience becomes key. This relates not only to the design of the user interface and the advanced features it provides, but also to the editorial and personalised recommendations, the scalability of the platform, gathering information on how subscribers are interacting with your service and taking appropriate action, allowing them to use the device of their choice, addressing all the different audiences, etc.

Transforming these social and technological challenges into business opportunities for our customers is our key priority at Mirada.

Click here to contact Juan Manuel.

Click here to read the interview on CabSat website.