Smart revolutionizes video services to elevate customer experience


PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is breaking new ground in OTT (over-the-top) video experience for its customers, with the deployment of Firstlight Media’s cloud native OTT platform.

Firstlight Media will provide a seamless, cross-platform video infrastructure. This enables differentiated video experiences and a whole new suite of cutting-edge capabilities, without the cost or complexity of maintaining separate, distinct systems. The new platform offers the elasticity, scalability, and innovation of the cloud, while combining cloud-based innovation and in-country service delivery to optimize consumer experience.

The new video infrastructure will improve the delivery of services like Smart GigaPlay, which currently features exclusive or premium premieres of content resulting from studio and production partnerships. These include live sports and music events, top shows, and first-run films. The new platform will provide subscribers with access to TV channels, on-demand content, pay-per-view, and subscriptions to exclusive live streams.

“This team-up with Firstlight Media is part of PLDT and Smart’s commitment to continuously elevate the experience of our customers,” said PLDT Inc and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio, who recently signed the partnership agreement with Firstlight Media CEO and Co-Founder André Christensen. “Video is one of the primary drivers of data usage in the country. We at PLDT and Smart always strive to deliver world-class video experience for our subscribers, whether they watch at home using their fiber connections, or on their mobile phones using LTE or 5G.”

“Compelling interfaces and responsive, reliable delivery of high-quality content to any subscriber anywhere have become table stakes for the best OTT providers,” said Christensen. “Our fast, flexible platform has made it possible for PLDT/Smart quickly to create a total experience that is second to none today, and that is future-proofed to enable rapid expansion to new engagement and monetization opportunities that lie over the horizon.”

Joining Christensen in the signing ceremonies for Firstlight Media were Goutham Vinjamuri, Chief Operating Officer; Prabu Chelladurai, Vice President, Product & Customer Success; and Jim Vinh, Sales Lead for APAC; as well as Jake Mendoza, Customer Success Manager for PLDT.

“More and more, viewers are consuming content on mobile devices and in out-of-home environments,” said Arvin L. Siena, Vice President and Head of Technology Strategy and Transformation Office for PLDT and Smart. “Using the scalability and the agility of the Firstlight Media platform, we are harnessing the efficiencies of the cloud to create a service that gives our subscribers greater control over the viewing experience, increasing their levels of engagement and improving consumer loyalty and satisfaction.”

The new GigaPlay app was launched on March 26, at the start of the new University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season.

Firstlight Media’s OTT architecture uses a sophisticated, cloud-native technology stack to power the PLDT and Smart platform from end-to-end. This is expected to deliver significant improvements in performance, flexibility, agility, and scale, and offering best-in-class user engagement.

Firstlight Media has also partnered with various companies and apps with global audiences, including Struum, Rogers Sports & Media’s Sportsnet in Canada, Arha Media & Broadcasting Private Limited’s aha 2.0, and others.