nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Sye helps Amazon keep the flywheel spinning


Amazon’s purchase of the award-winning Sye streaming solution gives it essential technology to improve the streaming video experience of video streaming services. It could also help boost Amazon store sales.

Amazon buys Sye from Net Insight

Net Insight announced last Friday that it had reached an agreement to sell its Sye streaming business to Amazon for SEK 350 million ($37 million.) Sye allows a video provider to deliver live sports, news, and events with low latency. It also keeps multiple streams of the same event synchronized.

The deal makes a lot of sense for Net Insight. The company provides business-to-business video transport solutions that allow content companies to deliver high-quality video between sites reliably. Sye is an award-winning solution but is the company’s only business-to-consumer product. Selling it to Amazon allows the company to focus on its core business.

There are several reasons why it makes much sense for Amazon to buy Sye technology.

AWS could use the technology too

Amazon already has first-hand experience of the benefits of Sye. It has deployed it as a customer in some of its live-streaming services. However, Sye is implemented on Microsoft Azure. Moving Sye to Amazon Web Services (AWS) seems like a no-brainer. As well, if Amazon shares the solution with AWS, other AWS customers could benefit from low latency streaming services too.

[This piece was updated to clarify that Amazon bought Sye, and that AWS could benefit from the technology if it was shared.]

Low-latency streaming prevents the annoying lag between a TV broadcast and a simulcast stream. However, it is especially important in the more liberal betting environment in the U.S. Ensuring everyone viewing a race is seeing the same moment of the action is critical when betting is involved.

Net Insight Sye multiscreen syncIn addition, AWS could offer the ability to deliver new immersive experiences. The ability to keep multiple camera angles in-sync can be used immediately in live sports. For example, Formula 1 could allow a fan to watch their favorite driver overtake the leader on the main video feed while watching the driver’s CabCam on-screen in a PIP (picture-in-picture.) The fan can also monitor the driver’s heart rate, the cab temperature, and car speed all perfectly synchronized with the action.

Improves Amazon Prime Video sports experience

Amazon has purchased the right to deliver premier sports including NFL football and Premier League Soccer. However, it has attracted criticisms for its delivery, including frustration with latency. Many users would prefer the games to be carried by traditional broadcast TV. Sye would fix the latency issues and allow Amazon to provide experiences that traditional broadcast cannot.

Amazon also provides live linear TV services within Amazon Prime Video. For example, in the UK and Germany, Amazon customers can subscribe to Eurosport and Discovery Channel through Prime Video. Amazon can encourage live channel providers to take advantage of Sye features making the Amazon stream experience “better” than the traditional TV channel available from pay TV providers.

Keeping that flywheel spinning

Amazon remains first-and-foremost a retailer. Sye can help connect video viewers more directly with shopping in the Amazon store because it enables interactive features during video streaming. The synchronized metadata feature allows Amazon to offer viewers the opportunity to get a discount coupon or to buy something they see on-screen in the Amazon store. Moreover, now Amazon has wholly entered the advertising market; it can also offer these interactive features to would-be advertisers.

In short, Sye amplifies what Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, calls the spinning flywheel effect that connects viewing in Prime Video with purchases in the Amazon store.

Why it matters

Amazon picked up the award-winning Sye streaming solution for $37 million.

The purchase gives Amazon important technology to improve the streaming video experience of its services and those of its video partners.

It could also help boost Amazon store sales.


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