WiseDV's Vassil Lefterov Talks FAST 2.0
Vassil Lefterov, Vice President of Business Development, WiseDV, sits down for a chat with Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and Contributor Editor, Streaming Media about the evolution of Free Ad-Supported Television (FAST) and how WiseDV's app is serving that market.
“So, Vassil, tell me a little bit about yourself and your background in the industry,” Siglin says.
“I'm based in San Diego,” Lefterov says. “My background is playout automation. I've been doing this for 20 years through my company PlayBox, which I created back in Europe, in Bulgaria with 19,000 clients. So I've always been providing forward-thinking technologies to my clients. And when I found the WiseDV company, I was amazed how nicely it is all designed, the architecture, the software, the platform, everything was giving me answers to all of the unsolved problems with my previous technology. So I fell in love with this technology, and I decided to start working for the CEO of WiseDV. Basically, it is the next-generation platform I'm happy now to provide to my existing clients all over the world.”
“Very good,” Siglin says. “So, you've got traditional, origination devices and vendors like PlayBox and Synergy and other companies like that. What's different between what you're doing and what some of those traditional ones are doing?”
“We've been in this market for a very long time, so we know exactly the limitation of these vendors,” Lefterov says. “Now the industry is changing extremely fast, and vendors need to adapt much quicker than before. And WiseDV has done an excellent job in foreseeing the demand of the market. Actually, there are features in the technology which the clients will need in a couple of years. But the company has been clever enough to create this already. So we are talking about flexibility of the architecture, and we are talking about different business models that adapt to the various needs of clients and resellers in different geographies.”
“So you mentioned that the company's created solutions for problems that you see going forward, maybe needed in a couple years,” Siglin says. “Do you have to educate the market to the fact that these are the problems they may potentially run into and why your product solves that?”
Lefterov says, “There is a lot of pioneering work and explanation and evangelization now with this whole fast revolution. We see a lot of channels, but there is room for improvement of viewer experience. Compliance standard for ad revenue, distribution, a lot of things which WiseDV has properly addressed now. And we basically explain [to] people why a tech company properly addresses [these] issues and…basically we help our content creators make money. And indirectly we facilitate the ad agencies to make money from the app so both advertisers and content owners are happy. This is our goal, and the technology is perfectly suited to do that.”
Siglin wonders what WiseDV’s geographic priorities and solutions are for different parts of the world.
“We have been doing business predominantly in North America,” Lefterov explains. “But now with myself coming on board the company as a VP of Business Development, we are expanding this to everywhere. And my skill sets, and existing resellers and clients are all over. And we started doing a lot of regional initiatives, like serious seminars in the Middle East. Also, we are very carefully monitoring the changes which will come after the Ukraine and Russia war, and we are ready to help rebuild. There will be lots of changes in those previous Russian republics. So we are coming there.”
“What about emerging markets like Africa and India and others like that?” Siglin says.
“Traditionally, those markets, I've been serving with my previous technology,” Lefterov says. “Internet-enabled broadcast delivery is coming there. It is not as quick as in North America, but there is no question if the only question is when…”
“Certainly, fair point,” Siglin says. “So as you look forward, you've designed systems that are essentially addressing issues that these companies will face in the next two or three years. If you look even beyond that, what are some of the future developments that you see in FAST as it takes hold in the industry?”
“We see the FAST concept evolving to what we call FAST 2.0,” Lefterov says. “So this is something which we conceptualize…and essentially, we see the total convergence between traditional tele cable and satellite-delivered television with OTT streams and the FAST channels. So currently FAST is a very efficient way of delivering, but the viewer experience suffers. So we think that the evolution in the next couple of years will be to have absolutely the same quality of your experience on the FAST platforms, so it is impossible to distinguish between traditional television and FAST channels. And proper technology tools are needed for that. And WiseDV has exactly focused to deliver those things.”
Siglin mentions that he has heard WiseDV has a new interview tool, and he asks Lefterov to elaborate on that.
Lefterov says, “We have the Bozu tool, which has many roles…it's a wide video conferencing platform with different verticals, so remote interviews, groups working within companies, sports, watch parties, eSports all kinds of educational scenarios. Basically, we address the limitations of systems like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. So this is a next-generation platform. We are extremely enthusiastic about it. For the moment, it's free to use. Everyone can go there and enjoy the functionality.”
Learn more about FAST and video conference tools at Streaming Media East 2023.
[Editor's note: This is a sponsored interview with WiseDV. Streaming Media conducts sponsored interviews based solely on their value to our readers.]
The popularity and growth of FAST shows us that viewing behaviour, despite the rise of streaming, hasn't really changed much at all. People want choice, but they want it in a way that meets their needs.
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