The Silicon Review
Platforms for the distribution of video content are “multi-sided” markets that generate value by connecting “upstream” (including professional and amateur) creators of video content with “downstream” users and, often, advertisements. The amount of material (i.e., one program at a time) and audience size that can be reached through conventional platforms like movie theaters and broadcast television are limited. Online video distributors (OVDs), here defined as any program or service that offers video streaming over the Internet, are subject to neither limitation. Anyone with a broadband Internet connection, anywhere in the globe, may access massive video content libraries “on demand.” A video distribution platform also gives you the freedom to edit your content however you see fit so that it is interesting, engrossing, and well-liked by the audience. For all of your video-related demands, it grants you access to a cloud-based server, so you don’t have to worry about setting up or managing your own framework. A solid video distribution channel’s adaptability gives you the opportunity to effectively disseminate to the most appropriate group.
Globally there are various companies delivering excellent distribution services for online video platforms (OVP) and over-the-top (OTT), but Lightcast.com stands out from the rest. With Lightcast.com you can create, manage and expand stunning TV Apps, Mobile Apps, WebApps across all major device platforms and app stores - all in your own branding, with all your video, audio and live-stream contents, fully white-labeled, and monetized only by you. Control all graphics, images, libraries, streams, metadata, gallery images and navigation structures through the Lightcast Media Cloud Management System. Lightcast.com will help you increase streaming revenues with turnkey multiplatform subscriptions, pay-per-view ticket sales, advertising, fundraising, product sales and sponsors across all platforms and devices. Allow your subscribers and customers to sign in to watch paid content across all platforms and devices. Create and manage video assets, audio assets, gallery images, archives, navigation structures, channels, live-events, series, categories, watermarks, linear streams, broadcast schedules, ad campaigns, live-recordings, social media distributions, podcast automation and hundreds of automated workflows for your media distribution. Put your distribution, publishing and monetization on auto-pilot and let the Media Cloud work for you! Do within minutes what used to take hours, days or even months. Manage yourself what used to require developers, programmers, producers and designers.
In conversation with Andreas Kisslinger, CEO of Lightcast.com
Q. Can you tell us about the journey of your company to date?
During Lightcast’s startup years of product and software development, Lightcast integrated forerunner OTT streaming platforms such as Yahoo ConnectedTV, SmartTV browser, GoogleTV, AndroidTV and of course automated workflows for instant publication to social media including YouTube and Facebook. When Andreas Kisslinger, CEO and founder of Lightcast got a hold of the first prototype of Roku’s set-top-box in 2010, he knew that this would change how we would consume media contents such as movies, series, documentaries, news and sports events, and that the future of television would be “streamed”. Our team of genius engineers and software architects began to build media streaming app templates for the Roku app store immediately and three years later, 50% of all apps in the Roku Channel Store were built and published by Lightcast.com. As a result Lightcast became a first-mover of OTT apps on every new app store and streaming device on the market. FireTV was shaped by Lightcast’s team of software architects and app developers years ahead of its launch and launched with over 100 apps of Lightcast’s clients out of the gate. In a similar fashion Lightcast was among the first end-to-end OTT providers who integrated new device platforms such as AppleTV, Samsung SmartTV, LG SmartTV and others into its Media Cloud content management middleware, and developed proprietary app templates for new app stores, streaming players and smart TV devices.
Q. What makes your solutions relevant in today’s streaming scene? Could you give us some context?
Lightcast.com’s proprietary app template framework for virtually every major app store and device, connected to the proprietary Media Cloud management system for real-time control, allows publishers to create, manage and submit new TV apps, mobile apps and web apps within a matter of minutes. With over 7,000 apps launched across all major app stores, our app templates are proven and enjoy a fast review and approval process with app stores. This allows publishers to save time and gets new apps up and running in a matter of days or weeks, instead of months or even years as it happens so often.
Q. Could you tell us about the technologies that power your offerings?
The backbone of Lightcast’s app framework for all major TV and mobile app stores is its proprietary content and app management system called the Media Cloud. This is the type of UI/UX which busy content creators and media publishers need in our times in order to simplify otherwise complex tasks, automate workflows and get more done in less time, and for less money. Lightcast’s proprietary app framework utilizes a single code-base for many app stores and device types, and offers the most consistent user experience across all app types. We want to avoid end-users, our customer’s viewers, having to learn the interface of a new app on every device they download it, but allow them to feel right at home, able to browse, navigate and watch instantly, whether on a Roku box, a FireTV stick, a Samsung SmartTV, a Smartphone or an iPad. This consistency is a foundation to success for content creators and media publishers.
Q. Growing the company based on employees’ passions must the priority. Do you ask your employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their career unfold?
While we constantly hire new employees for specific positions, we realize and acknowledge that each person comes with passions, skills and interests which may very well (and almost always do) go beyond the scope of work and job description they have been hired for. We would be outright foolish not to allow them to develop beyond their current role and harness their passions and skills. We consider everyone on staff, in every team, office and country, a stakeholder and contributor to Lightcast. Building great products and servicing amazing customers, is truly a team effort, and as a development company, we consider ourselves not only developing apps, but also people. For this reason, for instance, we always try to “hire within”. Rather than using head-hunters and recruiting agencies to find new talents for us, whenever a new role becomes available, we always look for the necessary talents and drive among our existing staff to see who might be able to grow into this new role, take on the challenge to be promoted, and develop their skills to new levels. We have the obligation to develop people just as much as developing software and apps.
Q. How would you describe your leadership style? And which supporting skills do you think are most important when it comes to leadership?
As a multi-national company with employees in over 5 different countries, and offices on different continents, we always had to excel in “remote” workflows and collaboration processes. With our C-Level executives and managers being unable to be in all places at the same time, we had to build Lightcast on a foundation of trust rather than control. While it may appear challenging, our employees truly cherish this culture of trust and atmosphere of family. Our C-Level executives, and our managers in all tiers, breed a culture of personal attention, love and care, and of accessibility. Everyone, in every department, team, country, office and level, enjoys the benefits thereof and the opportunity for personal development it brings along.
Q. Trust is a difficult attribute to measure and a delicate dynamic to maintain. How do you maintain this with your clients?
We always strive for transparency and an open flow of information and communication. From sending out Tips of the Week, to Release Notes, to feature highlights, event invitations, server updates and of course detailed updates on each customer’s account, activity, improvement opportunities and business recommendations; we invest into each customer and their businesses and organizations far beyond just providing app templates and streaming services. Almost all of our customers are able to see and recognize this on an ongoing basis and appreciate the care and genuine interest in the success of their operations.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We have too many new services and features to be launched to name in one article. In short: we are in the process of redefining and shaping how streaming and media consumption will take place in the future.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
From AI integration, to virtual realities, from smart cars to new screens in households, from wearable infotainment screens to interactive apps – we are pushing the cutting-edge of tomorrow’s streaming media capabilities constantly. Our customers are always the first ones to know and to benefit of every new development and release. Remaining a sleek and agile development operation allows us to outrun most of the competition, respond, identify, design and build faster than most comparable end-to-end OTT providers can.
Meet the leaders behind the success of Lightcast.com
Founder and CEO of Lightcast.com, Andreas Kisslinger is one of the secret pioneers and whales in the OTT space and streaming industry. As a serial entrepreneur since the age of 19 in the media and tech space, he has his finger on the pulse of customer needs and regards excellence both in product development, as well as in customer care, as core virtues and values of Lightcast.com.
Co-Founder and Director of Customer Success, Marlene Kisslinger has been crucial for the success of the company with over a decade of experience in high-energy tech startups. Her diversified set of business skills combined with a passion for clients and their unique needs made Lightcast.com one of the most customer-centric companies in the streaming industry.