BFV Interview: Rick Phelps, Chief Commercial Officer at OWNZONES

In this issue Broadcast Film and Video speaks exclusively to Rick Phelps, Chief Commercial Officer at OWNZONES. The company offers an alternative to today’s out-of-date media supply chain with a faster, more cost-effective and secure cloud-native solution.

Can you tell me more about OWNZONES, and when it was established?

OWNZONES is a technology company founded in 2013 dedicated to revolutionizing the way studios and post-houses create, market and deliver their content. Our mission is to give audiences worldwide greater accessibility to content while helping content creators reach more users, more effectively. Our two main products, Connect and Discover, were built in the cloud and operate natively to provide cutting-edge technology and supply chain workflows for our clients.

The company recently announced that it was supporting studios and post houses all over the world through its cloud-based platform, OWNZONES Connect. The demand for content has increased rapidly in these challenging times. Can you tell me more about the platform and its benefits?

OWNZONES Connect™ is a browser-based, cloud-native platform that allows users to ingest, conform, transcode, package, QC, and deliver content to over 100 endpoints, whether those are broadcasters, OTT platforms, or other fulfillment partners. Studios and post houses can migrate their content and workflows to the cloud and enable remote users to continue to hit production and delivery deadlines, even while they’re working from home.

The cloud is instrumental in affording companies access to their content because it’s all centralized there where all relevant parties can have access to the same files, regardless of physical location. What’s unique about Connect is that it gives content creators/owners the keys to control their own content in the cloud at no extra cost to them. Connect makes it possible for companies to service their entire library of content from end-to-end entirely in the cloud.

In addition to serving as an orchestration layer that helps streamline production workflows in the cloud, Connect is equipped with several microservices that further automate, consolidate, and organize media. Our customers can take advantage of tools like FrameDNA™, which consolidates content versions in the cloud, Deep Analysis, which analyzes media and identifies various layout/formatting elements, and the Metadata Service, which dynamically maps asset metadata onto the requirements for endless different platform endpoints.

Am I correct in saying that it only includes operational costs?

That’s correct! OWNZONES Connect operates with an OPEX model, meaning you only pay for what you use at a monthly cadence. This frees up capital to be invested in other areas of the business.  

Can you tell me more about the company’s monetization platform, OWNZONES Discover? It reaches out to wider audiences and also increases profits?

OWNZONES Discover offers a white-label front-end screening and marketing portal as well as a customizable back-end management and delivery system. Discover is exciting and dynamic in its uses and monetization methods. It can be utilized as a B2C or B2B solution:

  • Discover can be used as a custom branded SVOD platform that a broadcaster, studio, or network can use to reach their consumers directly
  • Discover also serves as a B2B screening room that distributes digital screeners securely for film festival & award show considerations. Discover contains a rich CMS that provides keen user insights and analytics to understand reviewer behavior
  • Discover can also serve as a B2B content sales/marketing portal wherein customers (i.e., content buyers, reviewers, licensors, etc.) can search, screen, and favorite content to purchase. Discover works in tandem with Connect to close the gap between sales and operations by facilitating the instantaneous fulfillment of avails. It’s the only product on the market that provides a premium B2C experience for B2B use in streamlining the end-to-end content buying and delivery workflow

OWNZONES FrameDNA scooped the 2019 Product Innovation Award. You must be very proud to have won such a prestigious award in the industry?

We definitely are! We could not be more proud of our entire team for bringing a tool to the market that is changing the game for content versioning, archival, and distribution.

The automation that FrameDNA enables affirms that AI is no longer a buzzword–AI-driven technologies such as FrameDNA have tangible benefits across the industry. By leveraging tools like FrameDNA, content companies gain the time and space they need to reallocate resources to operate more efficiently.

OWNZONES was due to highlight its technology collaboration services with Amazon Web Services at NAB 2020 and how the companies are working together to offer content owners cloud-based solutions for creation to any audience or platform. You must have a very close working relationship with AWS?

Our platform was originally built upon AWS infrastructure, and we leverage several AWS tools, such as S3, EKS, Rekognition, and many more. Though our platform is cloud-agnostic, most of our clients prefer AWS as their cloud provider, and as a result our platform has become increasingly optimized around the AWS infrastructure and toolsets.

How is the company continuing to support its partners and clients during these challenging times?

Our current clients are continuing to fulfill orders during this time, and we’re helping them collaborate with their preferred partners in the cloud in order to get titles out the door. Operating in the cloud is of the utmost importance today, but migrating all assets and workflows is something that’s often seen as a significant hurdle to companies with large libraries. For new partners and clients, to help get their content into the cloud, and then into living rooms worldwide, we are offering free support to rapidly onboard customers to our platform and get them working in the cloud.