With television networks relying more heavily on license fees paid by “over the top” (OTT) video programming distributors, Media Audits International (MAI) is readying the launch of an OTT digital audit program to audit distribution carriage agreements and subscriber/transactional records maintained by OTT content distributors—including multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) for “skinny bundles” of cable and satellite television channels.
During the first quarter of 2018, MAI, a provider of audits, revenue management and content management services for digital content providers, will be reaching out to TV networks and other entertainment media content providers to participate in its 2018 OTT audit program.
In addition to identifying license fee discrepancies, the audits can identify contractual issues that need to be clarified with both distributors and content owners.
Because OTT content delivery involves different forms of authorization, distribution, consumption, billing systems and data repositories, MAI’s OTT audit program will be managed by a new and separate digital audit team with a unique set of audit skills to audit complex IT infrastructures and online content delivery platforms, where massive amounts of transaction data are ingested and analyzed.
“At the same time cord-cutting and cord shaving have cut into the traditional revenue stream for television programming networks, the value of worldwide online distribution has risen to $46 billion per year and already represents two percent of all pay TV households,” MAI CEO Bruce Lazarus said. “From experience, we know the underlying billing systems and remittance processes used by new OTT content delivery platforms can evolve during this period of high growth, making this the best time to measure contract compliance with distribution agreements and ensure general payment practices are meeting everyone’s expectations.”
MAI currently audits more than 100 million cable, telco, and IPTV households per year to ensure that the financial and carriage terms are applied in a manner consistent with the terms of its clients’ distribution agreements.
More recently, its audit practices have been extended to assist providers of digital home entertainment using electronic-sell-through (EST), video-on-demand (VOD), streaming, and pay-per-view (PPV) platforms.
MAI also provides audit services for broadcast television stations (retransmission consent revenue), music labels/licensors, video game publishers, e-book publishers, and mobile application developers, among others.
Its digital OTT audit program will build upon these areas of audit expertise as well as benefit from the firm’s vast data management capabilities.