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September 15, 2023

Streaming Ahead: An Interview With Mangomolo’s CEO Wissam Sabbagh

We discuss partnerships, broadcast and business challenges, and the future of streaming

The demand for seamless over-the-top (OTT) video streaming has reached an all-time high, revolutionizing how we consume content. Leading the charge in this domain is Mangomolo, a world-leading, full-service OTT video platform provider. They are helping to empower their clients to unlock and maximize revenue streams in multiple ways. As traditional broadcasting mediums face challenges, many are looking towards the digital horizon, seeking transformative strategies to get there. Today, we'll delve into how they are helping to guide this shift, aiding businesses in their digital metamorphosis, and redefining the future of streaming. Moreover, we get a glimpse at what the future holds and the exciting innovations on the way in the not-too-distant future.

Neil: You’ve recently partnered with U-TO Global Solutions, a global consultant and technology partner. I was just wondering how you think it is that this partnership will reduce operational workloads?

Wissam: Hi Neil. Look, honestly, U-TO is much older than us. As a company, they've been around for more than 20 years, whereas we’re a much younger company. So, we were born 10 years ago in the midst of the digital transformation high. I think how this partnership, how the synergy that was created, is that U-TO understands traditional broadcast workflows, and we were able to meet in a place where we both agree that a lot of innovation and disruption has to happen in terms of automating a lot of these operational workloads that broadcasters go through nowadays. So Mangomolo as a platform is centered around automation. We rely a lot on artificial intelligence and automation to make things much simpler, and I think we were able to meet at that spot with U-TO and utilizing their knowledge of traditional broadcast workflows, we were able to complement that with our view on disruption innovation in these workflows and this is where the successful combination, I would say, happened.

Neil: Just on the subject, what do you see as being the main barriers to digital adoption?

Wissam: So there are a few, I would start with the first one, which is Newton's second law, inertia. So, I mean, a lot of our customers and the broadcast industry are used to the traditional way of doing things. So, it takes a while for these people to start looking at different ways and how to reach users. Content distribution is different. So when you're used to being a leader channel for a very long time , and then you want to shift into becoming a digital-first platform, it's a completely different game. So what applies there doesn't necessarily apply here. So I think that is the first one. So it's about the people actually starting to adopt that digital-first strategy. I think the second part, which I think is more relevant, is the idea of creating revenues. So a lot of content creators and a lot of broadcasters need to build a solid business case for them to do that digital transformation. And if they do not have a partner that's able to support them with different creative ideas on how you can monetize the content, how can you maximize viewership, what are your creative ways of creating different business models, they're not going to be able to create business sense out of that shift that they're gonna do. Because if you want to launch into the digital space, there's an investment that needs to be made, whether it's substantial or not. But there is a certain investment, and that needs to be just about justified with an ROI. And it's our job as a partner to help them build that business case and, eventually, prove that this new vehicle is going to be strategic for them as a content creator or broadcaster.

Neil: How are your services optimized for the monetization process?

Wissam: Our approach from day one was we wanted to build one platform that can literally accommodate you. Whether you are a small content creator playing around with a few videos or you are a huge multi-channel network that a broadcaster is launching an enterprise platform, and hence, we put together an entire module that allows customers to monetize in so many different ways and create hybrid models. So let's say you are a platform based out of Bangladesh, and you can create a business model for your audience in Bangladesh, where it's, for example, free and ad-supported. However, your audience in the Middle East can actually subscribe, and your audience in Africa can pay through the operator or carrier billing. So you can create all these different business models in a hybrid format that allows you to create new opportunities for yourself and monetize in a more efficient way, and all that is available in one single platform without the hassle of doing integrations and complex stuff. So it's localized. It's hybrid, and it allows you to mold your offering so many different ways and maximize the potential for more revenues.

Neil: Okay, and how is it that your content management system enhances the experience of the end user?

Wissam: I think because Mangomolo is a turnkey offering, so it's a truly end-to-end offering, the data is all consolidated in one place. So usually, how things are done is you've got a platform and integrations with so many different systems, and then you end up with a lot of silos of data that do not actually communicate together. Mangomolo, being a turnkey solution, has a consolidated outlook on data. So we understand the user better. We are able to optimize the content that is being showcased in front of certain users, the localization aspect of the system. So we know what demographic that music user is coming from, and the content is optimized. Based on that, payment gateways are optimized based on that. The features that can be locked or unlocked are also based on that. So I think that is the biggest strength that we have today, being turnkey, and our CMS is able to capitalize on that consolidation of data and provide a better user experience to the audience of our customers.

Neil: Okay, one question I had as well was why you felt that the low-touch approach was less relevant today for clients and consumers?

Wissam: That's a very good question. A lot of companies in our space might not agree. They still follow that approach. I think the core of our ethos is if you want to do a digital transformation, if you are a broadcaster or a content creator and you want to do a digital transformation, you're not looking for technology, you’re looking for a partner. So that partner needs to accommodate you from the building of your strategy. So the initiation of putting the plan together, building a proper business case, looking at the data. They should support you not just with the technology but eventually with creating revenue streams by dropping in ideas, doing different technology implementations, just to make sure that you're not just buying technology. So we really believe that this is crucial, especially that, as I said, you've got a lot of broadcasters and so many different markets who are not digital first.

Neil: That's true.

Wissam: So these guys do not want just technology, they want the partner that can support them with that entire cycle, and this is, I think, our strongest strength as Mangomolo, that we accommodate a customer from the initiation up to making money or creating revenues on other platforms.

Neil: Are there any particular innovations that you foresee happening within the market in the next few years?

Wissam: It's an interesting space. The next few years are going to be interesting. I would say that there's gonna be a convergence between social media and streaming platforms. We see that already starting to happen. I think that convergence is gonna be more visible in the next few years. I think AI is gonna be more incorporated into entertainment platforms. Not just for speech recognition and subtitling and recommendation. I think we're going to see a lot of content being driven through AI. So, content being produced with the help of AI, and that those are gonna start finding space on these platforms, I think localization and globalization are going to happen. So you're gonna have a lot of platforms focusing on local content, yet, they want to go global, so they're going to use that same and double it and distribute that internationally. We saw that with a lot of big platforms. For example, you see a lot of Spanish series in the Middle East, and they are big hits. They're big hits because you have a cultural similarity. So, this is gonna happen. I think new revenue models are going to be created, so you're not just gonna be selling subscriptions or pay-per-view or ads. I think e-commerce is something that's gonna be integrated into entertainment platforms as well as live events. So, there's a lot that's gonna be happening. I think it's gonna be an exciting next couple of years or so for this industry.

Neil: Okay, and just in regards to Mangomolo, are there any new features or innovations that you'd be looking to introduce that users could look forward to

Wissam: I think this is what keeps me awake most of the time. It's how we can continue to be disruptive and create new trends and this is the nature of Mangomolo. Yes, we are working on a lot of new releases. I think we're mostly focusing on the monetization aspect as to how we can maximize the value of content for our customers, as in how can we allow our customers to monetize their content better. Because that would solve a problem that is in the market today. Two, we're focusing a little bit on sort of modules that allow content exchanges, modules that allow different content creators to reach out to broadcasters with content, and we're working on workflow components regarding social media distribution, and things like that. So, we launched a social media module related to content, clipping, and distribution. We launched something for fast channels, which is also a big thing. This year, you keep on hearing the word fast. So, yeah, I mean, we're working around the clock on that. We're gonna have new launches very soon. Hopefully, we're going to be announcing one in the next few months, and it's exciting as well.

Neil: I think that's all the questions I had for today. Thank you very much for your time. Look forward to the comments from people.

Wissam: Thank you.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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