Adobe has changed the way it sells technology used to enable high-quality streaming services from TV networks and other video providers. With the launch of Adobe Primetime — previously know as Project Primetime — the technology company is providing a suite of tools for video delivery. And it has signed up a couple of big new clients for the suite of products.
Over the last year, Adobe has been re-thinking and re-architecting its media-delivery business to move from offering up several different components needed for streaming video to providing a single unified architecture to its clients. It’s come up with a new, modular way of doing business that will allow customers to just pay for the services they’d like to use on a subscription or usage basis.
Primetime leverages Adobe’s video publishing, player, DRM, advertising, and analytics offerings in an integrated set of products. The idea is to provide a sort of one-stop shop that will enable big TV networks and distributors to quickly turn up TV Everywhere-type streaming video services. By doing so, they should be better able to introduce multiplatform experiences while also tracking and monetizing the content that is being made available on those platforms.
Previously, a company looking to offer authenticated streams on multiple devices would have to select lots of different pieces of delivery infrastructure — including encoding equipment, digital-rights management software, ad-insertion technology and the like. Then it would either work with a system integrator to get its services working, or stitch them together itself.
In addition to offering its own products to handle some of these issues, Adobe has also partnered with a bunch of product and service providers in the streaming video market. That includes everyone from encoding vendors like Elemental Technologies or Cisco to CDNs like Akamai to DRM technologies such as Widevine or Microsoft PlayReady.
Partnering will facilitate the process of introducing new streaming services by enabling content providers to mix and match the technologies they’d like to use without doing a whole lot of messy integration. Since every customer will have different needs and vendor preferences, Primetime gives Adobe the flexibility to provide them with the feature set and technology they want, without forcing them into choosing a certain vendor over another.
With the introduction of Primetime, Adobe is also announcing a few big launch customers for the platform: Comcast Cable and NBC Sports. Comcast is using the Primetime platform for its TV Everywhere services, enabling delivery of its Xfinity streaming video service on the web. Comcast is using a whole bunch of Adobe Primetime bits and pieces for Xfinity, including the player, DRM, ad insertion, ad serving and analytics. That’s mostly for its on-demand content, allowing subscribers to catch up with their favorite shows as long as they’re logged in.
For NBC Sports, Adobe Primetime is helping to enable more live streaming of sports content on more devices. That includes Major League Soccer and National Hockey League matchups. It also streams Golf Channel content for those who want to bore themselves to sleep. It’s worth noting that, even though NBC Sports is a subsidiary of Comcast, both groups made the decision separately.
In addition, Adobe has added a bit of a surprising feature to its product suite. Since it’s looking to provide a single publishing workflow, it’s added support for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) format, which is becoming more widely adopted not just for iOS devices, but plenty of other devices as well. Since a growing number of connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets have HLS is quickly becoming a de facto standard for providing adaptive bit-rate streaming across platforms and operating systems.