Jonas Engwal, CEO of Bedrock, has more than 20 years’ experience in the media and technology industries. He shares his view of the streaming market and how Bedrock, a European streaming-tech venture, is on the path to become the biggest streaming platform in Europe for national premium content.
What is Bedrock?
Bedrock is a leading streaming-tech company formed as a Joint Venture by Groupe M6 and RTL Group. Our teams design, build, and power, streaming services specially tailored for leading national media companies. Our uniqueness lies in our ability to provide end-to-end platforms, with best in class user experience across AVOD and SVOD on all devices, helping our partners to deliver OnDemand video, linear channels and live sports. We are massively investing in people and tech with 400 team members across Europe working on seven different streaming platforms, and addressing multiple challenges in terms of scaling, performance, and peak traffic. On our way to becoming the biggest streaming platform in Europe for national premium content, we already entertain over 45 million users, delivering cutting-edge user experience across all devices. Since 2008, Bedrock has strongly relied on its experience in digital innovation and streaming technologies to help our partners achieve their business goals on any connected device.
What are the main challenges in the streaming market?
With broadband access now a commodity, streaming is booming all over the place and, almost every month, a US studio or a global player launches a new international streaming service with a broad catalogue, aggressive pricing, and a state-of-the-art user experience. Competition is set by global players with massive scale (Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video) who deliver an outstanding streaming experience everywhere.
This level of competition is a tremendous challenge for national broadcasters and platforms. The smart move for national champions is to join forces on technologies (with Bedrock, for example) so as to measure up to global streamers on user experience, while investing in local premium content to differentiate themselves.
For advertisers, it brings a lot of opportunities. The growth in streaming consumption offers the possibility of a real convergence between traditional broadcast and digital, providing the best of both worlds. For example, they now have access to DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion), precise targeting, real-time measurement, and so on. The streaming competition also offers them more high-quality national platforms, with premium content, which are the best recipe to guarantee brand safety and brand suitability. From the viewer’s point of view, streaming brings more choice, better content, and, most importantly, a better user experience. The only remaining question for viewers is “Which platform to use?”
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What makes Bedrock different?
Bedrock is the only platform designed by a media company for media companies. We build and power end-to-end streaming services for leading European media companies. Bedrock also stands out in the tech landscape, as we are the only largescale strategic media player that offers an all-inclusive partnership model around its streaming platform. This model allows us to deliver state-of-the-art performance to our partners, on par with global streaming giants, for a cost similar to running a leading national video streaming service. When a leading national media is facing global players such as Netflix, Amazon, or Disney, it’s almost impossible to get to the required scale to compete. Bedrock provides this scale along with its high value, end-to-end platform shared across partners in different countries, so that national media champions can focus fully on content, marketing, and their businesses.
The streaming market is crowded and challenging, but what are its advantages?
There is a boom in streaming offerings. But streaming is not a craze, it is here to stay. It’s a great way for media and advertisers to connect with end-users. There are several thousand TV channels in Europe, but only a few big ones. And it’s the same with streaming – a small number of companies dominate the streaming market. Consumers increasingly say: “I don’t watch TV anymore.” This is a misconception. Streaming is TV! It’s just a better way to consume content, and to reach the users. Streaming is a game changer, which is triggering a powerful wave of innovations for the media ecosystem and for consumers. Viewers and users will, over time, move from legacy broadcast to streaming. They might watch the same channels, the same kind of content, but in an improved way. This switch is not underlined by content, but by a better and more personalized user experience. Global players have thrived in that new landscape, as they are used to scaling their operations in multiple territories on a technical, marketing and content level. The national leading media groups are catching up and Bedrock is helping them to succeed.
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CTV is on the rise and has surpassed mobile for online video consumption. What do you think of this trend?
The oracles which predicted the death of TV were mistaken. Now more than ever, there is no war between CTV and mobile. They are completely complementary. For different moments, different ways of consuming and different use cases. It is logical for people to spend more time with big screens, as the viewing experience is better, thanks to (now standard) technologies such as 4K, HDR, or Dolby atmos. Bedrock, like other large plat- forms, is putting a lot of effort into CTV and OTT developments. The race around big screens is intensifying with multiple businesses, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Sky, investing.
What’s your view on the online video KPIs system?
Merging GRP and CPM is a big topic, and we are actively following the local and global initiatives of linear broadcasters adopting digital KPIs like impressions.
CTV is a major subject for Bedrock – measuring viewability has been a challenge on the native app, but the industry, through the IAB, has addressed that concern by developing a new technology called Open Measurement SDK. Due to the huge surge in CTV usage and advertisers switching their budgets, the new technologies will evolve quickly to support that new environment.
At Bedrock, we implement SDK, so our platform can be agnostic to any viewability provider on any device. However, one missing KPI is the lack of clickthroughrate on CTV. We are working with our partners on innovative ad formats that will leverage more interactions with mobile devices, adding that performance KPI to compare with click through rates from other environments.
SVOD services, such as Netflix or Disney+ are changing the way advertisers address certain targets. What is your take on that?
Streaming is not only SVOD. Streaming offers a variety of models to the consumer, even for the same content: Subscription based, Advertising based and Hybrid, which is a mix of the two. Consumers will increasingly be able to choose when to consume content with ads, or to avoid the ads by paying. As an advertiser you will touch only those people who are interested in watching your ads, and ROI will be easier to measure.
Streaming is a win-win-win. It makes more sense for users, advertisers, and broadcasters. For example, viewers are more willing to watch ads on streaming, because ads are more relevant; advertisers can be more confident that their ads were viewed, and, ultimately, they are able to engage more effectively with consumers.
What are the benefits of your streaming platforms for advertisers?
All of our partners are national leaders. That is the reason why they take streaming very seriously and are pushing the boundaries of the streaming experience. We provide their marketing and sales house teams with the best tools and innovation and deliver powerful data collection for targeting and engagement; Dynamic Ad insertion; and innovative formats such as “100% attention,” “Pause Ad.” They score high and qualitative audiences on clearly specified shows to ensure unparalleled brand safety for advertisers. We provide a best-in-class user experience, platform stability, and a deep under standing of digital advertising technologies.
What does the future look like for Bedrock?
I’d say the future looks pretty amazing! We have seen a lot of changes recently in our industry, with the consolidation of major companies in Europe, especially in France and the Netherlands, where we already have a strong footprint. We are well placed to take that forward thanks to the streaming war shaping the future of the industry, together with media companies needing our expertise.
In addition, we look forward to further expanding geographically beyond Europe to create more scale. Which is good news for our partners as this will ensure that we can deliver fantastic content in the same way as the global streaming giants. /