App Development

Sample Mobile Video Platform / OTT Request for Proposal (RFP) Template

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Recently, we’ve received an increasing number of requests for our mobile video delivery services, which is no surprise when you consider how quickly video delivery to mobile devices has exploded. Ooyala found that almost 40% of online video consumption took place via mobile in Q4, and Business Insider is projecting 73% per year growth in mobile video revenues over the next five years. That said, video delivery to mobile devices remains an incredibly complex problem, involving the mobile applications themselves, subscriber management, content management and processing, hosting, DRM, CDNs, etc. The complexity doesn’t stop there though, as you work through finding and implementing technical solutions to those issues, you’ll also want to consider your desktop, mobile web, game console, and interactive TV distribution architectures. Many of our clients are currently launching or re-launching their video delivery platform, and so are going through the very tedious process of creating an RFP.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a blog post called Best Practices for Writing a Great Mobile RFP. Since then, we’ve received an overwhelming number of requests for this post in Word format, and have also heard it’s been a very helpful tool for people going through the process of finding a mobile solution provider. To address the increasing number requests for digital video and OTT services, we thought it would be good to create a blog post with an RFP template for this area of mobile too. And soon, we will be developing RFP templates for field sales, field service, and loyalty program applications as well. If you would like us to send you one or more of those templates when they’re completed or the mobile video / OTT RFP template below in Word format, feel free to fill out our contact form.

Sample Mobile Video Platform/OTT Request for Proposal (RFP) Template

*Notes and prompts are in italics. They should be removed prior to distribution of RFP to potential responders.

Project Summary / Purpose: Summarize for the responders:

  1. What core business problem is the solution designed to address?
  2. Who are the end user segments?
  3. What is the competitive environment?
  4. How will monetization work in near- and long-term?
  5. What are the key success factors?
  6. What is the timing and what is driving it?

I. Video Platform Components: A video delivery platform for a media company is an incredibly complicated system with multiple components that can be delivered by a single or multiple vendors. In addition, there are a variety of inputs from and dependencies on third party systems. For each component below, summarize for the respondents what they are expected to deliver or existing systems they will be working with. For those functions the respondent is expected to deliver, ask client to provide detailed description of how the solution works, including screenshots:

A. Asset/Content Sources: Summarize the content you will be providing to the platform in as much detail as possible to avoid surprises later. Typical content sources include:

  1. Video Feeds
  2. Video Files
  3. Content business rules
  4. Content metadata: Summarize the metadata and source you expect to use and impact the project, for example:
  • Descriptive content
  • Multilingual translations thereof
  • T-VOD pricing
  • License windows
  • S-VOD tier

B. Customer Information Management

  1. CRM: Will customers information be stored in:
  • An existing CRM?
  • A third-party CRM to be created as part of this project?
  • A CRM to be provided by responder?
  1. Billing: Will customers information be stored in:
  • An existing billing system?
  • A third-party billing system to be created as part of this project?
  • A billing system to be provided by responder?
  1. Provisioning: Will customers be provisioned via:
  • An existing system?
  • A third-party system to be deployed as part of this project? If so, which one?
  • The responder?

C. Third-Party Systems: Please describe any third-party systems the platform will have to integrate with, such as:

  1. Recommendation engines
  2. Ad servers, including:
  • Pre-, Mid-, Post- tagging
  • Companion ads
  • Display advertising within pages
  • Take-over advertising within pages
  • Clickable video ads
  1. DRM Servers

D. CMS / Workflow: For each feature below, please describe if this function should be provided by responder, or if responder’s solution should integrate with another vendor:

  1. Ingest and distribution workflow for:
- Assets for content (video) delivery
- Descriptive metadata for transformation for delivery to various platforms
  1. Transcoding (including profile creation)
  2. Video encryption
  3. Image sizing by delivery platform
  4. Broadband capture
  5. DRM wrapping
  6. Digital ad insertion marking
  7. Subtitles
  8. Previews
  9. Descriptive content w/ multiple versions by device
  10. Localization
  11. Workflow rules
  12. Metadata customization and presentation, including editorial control of featured content
  13. Help content
  14. Personalization (e.g. history, watch lists, etc.)
  15. Origin server

E. Rules Management:

  1. Content restrictions
  2. User and device entitlements
  3. User and device authorization
  4. DRM & license enforcement

F. Metadata and Analytics

  1. Search and recommendation engines
  2. EPG
  3. Analytics and BI
  4. Admin rules
  5. Dashboards
  6. Admin alerts

G. Commerce

  1. Storefront services and global billing adaptors
  2. Subscriber management
- User history and profiles
- CRM adaptors
  1. Promotions and vouchers
  2. Loyalty management
  3. Parental controls
  4. Reporting

H. Marketing/Promotions

  1. Email
  2. Social media integration
  3. Opt-in/out

I. Distribution / CDNs

J. Client-side Tools

  1. Video Players: Are video players being specified, or supplied by respondent? If by respondent, potential parameters to request of the video platform solution include support of:
- Live and OnDemand Video
- 1080p30
- HTTP Streaming (HL/HDS)
- DRM
- Closed Captioning
- CDNs
- Link to specific time / clip
- Keyboard controls on desktop web
- Accessibility features on mobile (e.g. TalkBack, VoiceOver)
  1. SDKs

K. Client-side Design & Development

  • Desktop web
  • Tablet/Mobile/Responsive Web (for Windows: IE, Chrome, Firefox; for Mac: Safari, Chrome, Firefox; for Mobile: Safari, Chrome)
  • iOS (iPhone and iPad)
  • Android (handheld and tablet)
  • Windows (handheld and tablet)
  • Chromecast
  • AirPlay
  • Amazon
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Xbox
  • Playstation
  • Nintendo
  • TV
    • Samsung
    • Vizio
    • Sony
    • LG
    • Others?

II. Video Platform Provider Background & Capabilities: Your main goal here is to ensure you find a partner that will help solve your business problems creatively, propose incredible design options, and deliver a stable, fast, elegant video experience, within timelines/budgets. Most video solutions are made up of a group of providers, so it’s important to make sure the responders answer all questions for each company that is part of the proposed solution. Also, make sure the partner you choose is easy to work with. The questions below are designed to help you compare the solution providers you are talking to.

  1. Please list all the companies and products you are partnering with as part of your response. For each, please answer the questions below.
  2. Summary/History: How did the company start? Who is the executive team and what is their background? What is the mission of the company?
  3. Differentiators: How does the company differentiate itself vs. competitors?
  4. Portfolio: Please summarize your top related projects, the problem you were trying to solve, and provide a link to each (if publicly available). Please highlight the functions you will be providing in this solution.
  5. Awards: Please summarize your top awards or other examples of thought leadership in the space.
  6. Hiring Process: Please summarize your hiring process. [Since you are ultimately buying the capabilities of the agency’s team, it’s important to understand how the team has been created.]
  7. Situation Assessments: [This is an absolutely critical part of the RFP as it will give you insight into how the agency thinks and approaches projects]:
  • [If you have a current video platform that will be updated as part of this project, provide it to the responders and let them give feedback]. Please perform a design and code assessment and make at least three significant suggestions for design and development improvement.
  • [If you do NOT have a current app/mobile but competitors do] Please perform a design assessment of the following (up to two) video deployments and elaborate on what you like and what you would approach differently.
  • [If you have initial wireframes or designs already created, have the providers review them and give you thoughts/feedback. You will learn a lot about how they think and hopefully come up with some good improvements.] Please perform a quick design assessment of our current designs, and your suggestions for improvement.
  • [You will want every respondent’s feedback on whether they can work with the current/proposed third-party systems or would suggest changes] Please review the third-party systems we plan on using as set forth in this RFP and give examples of when you have integrated with them before (if applicable) and/or your thoughts on integrating with them as part of this project, including any risks you see, or alternatives you would propose (including alternative solutions either you or other third parties provide). Please provide as much detail / justification as possible.
  1. Platform Capabilities:
  • Please describe your video platform for each of the attributes / features described above.
  1. Design Capabilities (for responders providing end-user interface design):
  • How many full-time employees constitute your design team? Part time? Freelancers? Subcontractors?
  • Where are all the above employees and freelancers/subcontractors located? Will any work be done overseas or by contractors/freelancers? Do any of your employees work remotely? If so, how many? Are the designers and developers in the same office? [Generally speaking, you will get better results from more tightly integrated teams – Forrester for example has done research that collocated teams outperform geographically distributed teams.]
  • Will we be able to interface directly with your Design team members (i.e. be able to call the designers directly)?
  • Please include a short resume of your head of design.
  • Please list at least two design team members with short resumes, at least one of whom would be assigned to our project if it were to start today (we understand that individuals may or may not be available when the contract is executed). [The goal here is to get an idea of the type of designers the agency has on staff.]
  • Please summarize a typical design engagement, by week, from start to finish including deliverables.
  • How will we interface with your team on a day-to-day basis? What tools will be used?
  • Please describe at least three design engagements that include substantially similar video experiences or functionality to this project. Please describe the problem, the approach taken, and the outcome.
  • Please include at least one example of where the design team differentiated between a phone and tablet version of a video app?
  • Please include at least one example of where the design team substantially differentiated experiences among iOS, Android, Windows, game consoles, interactive TV, desktop and mobile web?
  1. Development Capabilities (for responders providing end-user interface development):
  • How many full-time employees constitute your development team? Please also divide these by operating system (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows, Mobile Web, DevOps) or note where employees work on multiple OSs? Part time? Freelancers? Subcontractors?
  • Where are all the above employees and freelancers/subcontractors located? Will any work be done overseas or by contractors/freelancers? Do any of your employees work remotely? If so, how many? [Generally speaking, you will get better results from more tightly integrated teams – Forrester for example has done research that collocated teams outperform geographically distributed teams.]
  • Will we be able to interface directly with the development team (i.e. be able to call the developers directly)?
  • How will we interface with your team on a day-to-day basis? What tools will be used?
  • Please include a short resume of your head of development, as well as the head of each OS/platform (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows, Mobile Web) that will be used in this project.
  • Please list at least two members of each OS/platform team with short resumes, at least one of whom would be assigned to our project if it were to start today (we understand that individuals may or may not be available when the contract is executed).
  • Please summarize a typical design engagement, by week, from start to finish including deliverables.
  • What approaches do you use to ensure high-quality software, free of malicious code (e.g. inside jobs of stealing users’ personal information)? How do you manage/ensure best-in-class documentation?
  • How do you manage the use of open source or other libraries that could compromise the IP of the final product?
  • How do you ensure security of code and client materials?
  • Please describe at least three development engagements that include substantially similar mobile experiences or functionality to this project. Please describe the problem, the approach taken, and the outcome.
  1. QA Process:
  • How many full-time employees constitute the QA team? Part time? Freelancers? Subcontractors?
  • Which offices will the team members be in? Will any work be done overseas or by contractors/freelancers? Do any of your employees work remotely? If so, how many?
  • Will we be able to interface directly with the QA team?
  • Please include a short resume of the head of QA.
  • Please list at least two members of the QA team with short resumes, at least one of which would be assigned to our project if it were to start today (we understand that individuals may or may not be available when the contract is executed).
  • Please summarize a typical QA process, by week, from start to finish.
  • How will we interface with your team on a day-to-day basis? What tools will be used?
  1. References: Please provide three references of similar projects. Interviews with the references will be limited to 10 minutes.

III. Project Proposal:  Your goal here is to ensure the mobile agency understands your business needs, has enough of an interest to put real thought into a proposal, can meet your timeline/budgets, and help you understand how they think.

  1. Project Concept & Recommendations: What do you most like about video distribution concept and the platforms we would like to support? What are you most concerned about and what would you change if you could?
  2. Other App Projects: Can you tell us about other apps that you have done and describe some great mobile experiences in the space we are in (or a related space)? What made them great?
  3. Work Examples: Please provide an example of previous work for each major functionality of the project. If there are proposed functionalities that you have no previous examples for, please explain your approach and why you believe you will be able to perform.
  4. Project Approach: Please summarize your approach to the project, and what you believe will be major variables/risks that will drive success/failure based on our goals. What will drive consumer adoption and use? How can those risks best be managed on our side and your side?
  5. Timeline:
  • Please propose a timeline for initial launch.
  • Please include an approach to ongoing updates and optimization. How often do you suggest updates be made? How will updates be staffed? How will emergency fixes be addressed (e.g. a crash caused by a change to a feed source or API)? What should budget be?
  • Describe your rollout and training-support approach. Is this cost included?
  1. Budgets:
  • Platform setup
  • User-side/app development
  • Variable costs based on typical parameters (e.g. data delivered, DRM licenses issued)
  • Variable costs for subscriber management and payments
  • Proposed ongoing-support budgets for user-side/app development
  • Other costs
  1. Measurement, Analytics and Ongoing Experience Improvement and Management [Video projects are no longer about launching an app or mobile website, and going back and doing an update every 6 months. Video distribution is about constant and never-ending analysis and improvement. Don’t think about the project as an upfront project followed by “maintenance,” instead think of it as a long-term engagement with a partner/agency during which time the goal is to work together to constantly revise and improve.]
  • How will measurement/analytics be set up?
  • What metrics will/should we be measuring? How will we together use analytics/reviews to drive continuous improvement of the prouduct?
  • What should our budget be for ongoing review of data and implementation of resulting improvements?
  • If we would like the agency to perform those tasks, what tools would you use and who would perform what roles?
  • Please give two examples of similar projects with ongoing engagement work centered on analytics/performance improvement.
  • Describe your ticketing/support system.
  • Describe your internal process to keep documentation current and communicated to clients.
  • Describe downtime with similar installations over last 12 months, including causes, impact and resolution. Describe how your architecture handles peak audience situations.
  • Describe maintenance process and any anticipated / scheduled outages and how those would be addressed to minimize impact.
  • Describe your platform roadmap for next 12 months.
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