The Operator App Store

“It’s a competitive issue. They [Operators] want to be offering these solutions on their platforms so that their customers don’t go somewhere else,” said David Adams VP Corporate Development for Accedo. Adams was referring to the idea that operators are beginning to offer app stores to stay relevant in a world where over-the-top is causing a shift in the way people search, discover and view content.

Last week’s announcement from Accedo and Nagra about their partnership to, “deliver an ‘off-the-shelf’ application store and a set of applications to pay-TV service providers,” reinforces Adams point that Operators’ see the need to stay current with competitive pressures.

The need for rapid application development and customization based on changing market demands is a thread running through the above interview. In the interview, Adams points to the popularity of video applications and provides an example where a YouTube application Accedo developed for an operator in Asia had 500k downloads in a single quarter.

The partnership with Nagra reinforces the importance of rapid innovation, as Nagra and Accedo are leveraging Web-based application authoring environments – HTML5, SVG, CCS and Javascript – to reduce time-to-market for new features. Based on the Linux operating system, Nagra’s OpenTV 5 client middleware is a a multi-service, multi-device platform that designed to create an active developer community, as suggested in their press release.

“Developers have access to all of the underlying OpenTV 5 functionality in both SVG and HTML through OpenTV 5’s Client Component Object Model (CCOM) API. In addition to the HTML5 environment, NAGRA’s open application development framework “Ninja” provides many of the common functionalities required for rapid application authoring and customization. These features  accelerate common development tasks such as menus and branding, back office integration, PVR  management, VOD portal listings or online community access. The OpenTV 5 CCOM and Ninja documentation is freely available at”

Adams suggest that video is driving the app store applications, as he cited one Asian operator customer had 500k downloads of a YouTube app in a single quarter. He suggested gaming isn’t necessarily as popular, but it is taking new forms as people are able to play on multiple devices instead of having to play on one-screen.

“We are at the very beginning of a huge revolution and until we see the iPhone of TV….we are going to see a lot of fragementation and a lot of companies throwing spaghetti at the wall…trying to differentiate themselves on look and feel.”

Adams suggests that it will be three or four years until the industry figures out the right user-interaction model. To his point, rapid innovation, where tweaks and adjustments can be made across devices and to user interfaces, will be critical for operators to remain competitive with nimble over-the-top solutions that are disrupting the traditional video distribution business.

[ViodiTV coverage of CONNECTIONS at TIA 2012 brought to you by Parks Associates]