Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Interview with Guy Tennant, Entriq
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Carlsbad-based Entriq (www.entriq.com) acquired DayPort, a supplier of video publishing and workflow management yesterday, and we had a chance to chat with the firm's COO, Guy Tennant, more about the company and its acquisition. Guy spoke with socalTECH's Ben Kuo.
Let's start with the basics. Tell me what Entriq's products do and who uses them?
Guy Tennant: Entriq is a company that focuses on providing the tools required for someone publishing a lot of video content on the Internet, as well as other channels such as mobile phones. We provide all of the technology need to publish time critical content and monetize the audience that you accumulate. We also focus on sports and broadcasters who are trying to get their content out there. We're also dealing with syndicate networks that have built their own audience but want to differentiate themselves.
What kinds of customers use your product?
Guy Tennant: We have a variety of customers between the two companies. We have some customers like the United European Football Federation, and the UEFA Champions League. The Champions League attracts football fans across europe, and has lots of rivalries and pretty heated contests. What Entriq does is we provide the ability for them to sell their archival content, and to send live content from those football matches across Europe, and also address the fact that a match might not be available in Europe, or because a local broadcaster hasn't signed up. We allow football fans to rapidly get the content they want. We enable UEFA to sell content to their customers, and we also address end user concerns if they had a bad experience or for some reason a purchase doesn't work through our helpdesk. We do the same thing for various other major leagues, including FIFA, the NFL, and at one time the MLB.
Our other category of customer is broadcasters. They might be a broadcaster for a single channel, such as Channel 4 or 5 in the UK, or platforms like BSkyB where we are basically giving them the means to provide content online and link it to subscribers. The major benefits for BSkyB is we control the process of how the content is extracted from the traditional broadcast chain, and packaged up and produced in an appropriate format through syndicate websites. For BSkyB, that might be BSkyB.com, or their affiliates, or even syndicates with their own audiences like a phone network, or in many cases a YouTube or Facebook.
Let's talk about your merger with DayPort -- why the merger, and what do you hope to accomplish?
Guy Tennant: Entriq is pretty much focused on building everything you want, if you are running a pay business on the internet. When it comes to digital rights management and commerce, and payment, and customer care, and discounts and promotions--you name it, we've got it. Where we're not focused as much has been on monetizing free content. That's the kind of content where you don't pay a subscription fee for--such as news, magazine programs, or other forms of content which aren't seen as premium content. DayPort has done that. Local news broadcasters, and major news organizations such as CBS use them to produce content for the Internet. They also have a focused advertising angle. Instead of extracting payment from the end consumer, they monetize through advertising. That has not been a traditional Entriq focus. The combination allows us to offer anything, from advertising to paid, and any business model in between. We enable producers to control the process, from concept, to production, to consumption, with an end-to-end set of services. That's what the companies are able to do now as a combined entity.
How big are the two companies?
Guy Tennant: The combined entity is going to be around 200 people. About 35-40 are from the DayPort acquisition.
There seems to be a lot of talk about DRM and dissatisfaction with where things are. What's your view of where the industry is going with DRM?
Guy Tennant: I think that DRM issues are a sideshow. The fact is, in an industry where content is valuable, if you want to sell it, you need to protect it--and you need to deal with that in a method that the protection is unobtrusive. The idea is to keep honest people honest, and you want to make it possible for them to enjoy consuming that content. There are lots of challenges, but it is a real need. Entriq spends a lot of effort making sure we have licensed DRMs for people to make use of, and we make sure the DRM we integrate as a service is interoperable and properly scaled. That is one component of our service. Another way to control access to the content that you attach premium value to, is not to protect the files or encrypt the actual files, but protect the means of how you get access to the files. There are some solutions there. You don't have to use DRM if you don't want to, and you can still provide the basic thing that you want, such as regional control--content producers generally sell their rights regionally--and also access control--knowing which users can get access.
There's also a whole raft of content you won't protect--that might be content with a very short half life, such as news clips, or where people lost interest in after a very short period of time. You don't need DRM there. The problem there is different. It's not about DRM, but figuring who is consuming the content and why, and profiling in the aggregate your typical consumer, and measuring the impact of your advertising. That's why we have solutions to enable companies to do those functions, and moreover, to do those functions across different disciplines, such as in the mobile silo and the broadcast silo, and across a wide range of devices. What we've done is to reconcile and measure customers across those silos, and put the customer back at the center of the organization. We have a suite of tools that people can use for all their different needs, and depending on which syndicates, or what audience they find online, if they need different packaging and timing requirements that they need to meet. We manage the whole process of managing syndication, and ensuring that a brand is protected across syndicate channels, and that the process of reconciling revenue with syndicates is properly measured and controlled.