By Peter Berton
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Today’s adult content viewers want the same type of reliable streaming quality they get on Netflix, without the choppiness and buffering that can occur before a crucial money shot.
Red Apple Media attempts to solve the problem with a content delivery system the company calls Media Commander. The platform uses adaptive bitrate streaming to optimize video for the available bandwidth and the receiving device’s capabilities.
Chief Executive Officer Steven Daris explained a bit more about the process.
YNOT.com: What do you mean by “a true Netflix experience?
Steven Daris: Media Commander allows content providers to deliver their videos in the same adaptive bitrate streaming format as big-name outlets like Netflix. Adaptive bitrate streaming allows the viewer to enjoy clear, smooth video that automatically adjusts in quality according to the internet connection, without buffering or choppiness.
Adaptive bitrate streaming is much more complex than what most content providers — and even some hosting companies — are used to. As more video sites implement adaptive bitrate streaming — including Amazon Prime and YouTube — users will grow accustomed to this superior viewing method.
You say Media Commander operates “in the cloud.” How does that work?
Hosting in the cloud is similar to how one might utilize DropBox or YouTube. Clients post video files onto our servers, where they are stored securely and accessible to the client remotely through our web-based “dashboard.” You can reduce your server load and bandwidth while offering true adaptive streaming simply by using this video cloud, and in a matter of hours, you can be up and running with a Netflix-like streaming experience, even if you don’t host with us.
Media Commander’s token authentication and clustering abilities allow us to separate video servers and web servers, which provides a number of advantages. Normal website content delivery, such as HTML pages and images, no longer compete with the serving of videos. Video servers can be clustered, and clusters can grow and shrink on the fly to respond to varying traffic situations.
Another potential benefit you’ve mentioned is possible cost savings over other hosting or cloud-storage options. Are we talking substantial savings?
In some cases, we have noticed a bandwidth savings of more than 50 percent.
With progressive download, the viewer must download the full video file, even if he plans to watch only 10 minutes or merely wants to skip to the money shot at the end. But with adaptive bitrate, there’s no downloading required: The video streams in real-time until the viewer has gotten his fill. He watches what he wants without being forced to download the entire video every time he presses the “play” button.
Look at it this way: If your video files are 500 MB, your customers are downloading the full 500 MB each time they click on a video, which skyrockets your bandwidth costs. We all know the majority of site members’ viewing habits revolve around finding the right scene or clip, not the perfect full-length film.
So, let’s say your monthly bandwidth bill is $1,000. But since adaptive bitrate makes it possible to skip around without buffering delays and only uses enough bandwidth for what the viewer actually watches, you’ll likely cut that bill down to $200 to $300 by making the switch to adaptive bitrate streaming.
With customizable download settings, site owners can reduce bandwidth costs even more by fine-grain throttling and limiting the number of concurrent downloads per user or domain. In addition, our system allows an up-sales model in which the content owner or distributor can set download rates based on membership levels and then encourage users to upgrade for a better experience.
Media Commander’s security features also let site owners ensure only valid, authorized members access content, which reduces piracy and prevents link sharing — another cost savings.
Website members are a significant source of content piracy. Are you saying Media Commander’s security prevents that?
Files transferred by way of adaptive streaming present a far more difficult target for online content pirates, who tend to gravitate to sites that offer downloadable, full-length scenes. Obviously, the ability to download and save a file also affords users an easy way to redistribute your content on tube sites, file lockers and other common sources of pirated content.