• World Biz Magazine

MICHAEL STATTMANN, CEO OF CASTLABS - INTERVIEW WITH WBM TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO



MICHAEL STATTMANN, CEO OF CASTLABS HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.


Michael Stattmann is a co-founder, CEO and CTO at castLabs GmbH, a company specializing in digital video delivery solutions. With over 20 years of technical development expertise and over 15 years of entrepreneurship, Michael pioneers software and cloud services for Media & Entertainment businesses to deliver premium content to customers with player technology, content protection and DRM licensing, and encoding/packaging services.


Michael also carries thorough understanding of digital video distribution and mobile TV ecosystems and technologies, especially in the area of security, business models and business integration leveraging OTT adaptive and low latency streaming, multicast and broadcast video delivery technologies. Being CEO and CTO, he is not only leading the technical development at castLabs, he is also putting castLabs’ technologies into a broader business context when talking to customers, investors, partners, and staff.



"We take initiative with creative thinking and an experimental mindset to constantly improve and push boundaries. We strive for professionalism with a high sense of responsibility and commitment. We make video delivery easy by removing barriers so our customers can concentrate on providing leading-quality movie, TV, and audio experiences for the viewers."


Describe castLabs' approach to innovation?


We take initiative with creative thinking and an experimental mindset to constantly improve and push boundaries. We strive for professionalism with a high sense of responsibility and commitment. We make video delivery easy by removing barriers so our customers can concentrate on providing leading-quality movie, TV, and audio experiences for the viewers. Our squad of dedicated developers have created a range of fresh monetization and secure playback technologies designed to navigate deployment challenges.



Share with us some of the trends you can see in the markets you operate in.


Artificial Intelligence is surely setting a trend in the OTT industry by not only serving recommendations to audiences and content discovery, but also with content material enhancing, video indexing, content promotion and video streaming workflows optimization. There is so much information to process that it cannot be done via any other way and it is being used in both live and on-demand scenarios. AI is aiding in providing a more scalable service with a better user experience and I am sure it will only continue to grow and develop further.



"The global pandemic has resulted in a surge of demand for video streaming worldwide in the short term. It even led to bandwidth reduction by some services to reduce the strain on networks. That’s good news for all existing and recently launched streaming services, but requires scalable and easily configurable infrastructure."


How is your industry moving forward after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?


The global pandemic has resulted in a surge of demand for video streaming worldwide in the short term. It even led to bandwidth reduction by some services to reduce the strain on networks. That’s good news for all existing and recently launched streaming services, but requires scalable and easily configurable infrastructure. Also a shift to more remote work and education opens up opportunities for innovation and new types of video streaming services.


It is important to ensure the protection of privacy and intellectual property in video distribution. The decline in cinema visitors also starts to change the way movies are released and it is likely that we will see more “digital first” releases in the future. For the long term we hope that the production of cinematic and TV content will resume soon, the industry as a whole seems to be doing comparably well and was quick in adjusting to the changes in processes and every-day activities to make sure that digital video remains accessible to as many people as possible in the safest and most protected way. We predict the future of video delivery will continue developing and striving as it has been proven once again to be highly demanded.



What drives you as an innovation leader and entrepreneur?


Pushing boundaries, increasing efficiency and raising the bar for both content quality and UX, as well as content security. Talking specifically about castLabs’ working environment - we’ve removed classical management hierarchies and implemented Holacracy as a progressive organizational framework. This gives our collaboration a participatory structure based on clear roles, transparency, and distributed authority among all colleagues. This allows us to experience a truly flexible working environment with a high level of empowerment and self-responsibility.



"Video streaming is very versatile and each service has their own specific requirements. We make sure to create our solutions in a way to allow as much transparency and customization as possible. This gives our customers open access to all of the tools they need to create personalized experiences."


What’s next for your castLabs?


Video streaming is very versatile and each service has their own specific requirements. We make sure to create our solutions in a way to allow as much transparency and customization as possible. This gives our customers open access to all of the tools they need to create personalized experiences.


Apart from continuing to further improve and develop our technology solutions we are also venturing into exciting new projects such as ABOVE. It is a joint-venture with Touch Inflight Solutions, an open standards-based content supply chain platform for the cost-efficient encoding, storage and distribution of encoded video and related metadata through cloud-based services.



What excites you about your work in your industry?


Enabling cloud-based content workflows and online distribution of highest value content requires a deep understanding of cybersecurity, cryptography, content protection technology and tools as well as media technology. It requires a quite diverse set of expertise which needs to constantly evolve with new technologies and threats appearing all the time. And at least the cybersecurity aspect reaches well beyond media and entertainment. It's a challenge which never gets old.



What improvements do you want to see in your industry?


It is important to ensure the protection of privacy and intellectual property in video distribution. The decline in cinema visitors also starts to change the way movies are released and it is likely that we will see more "digital first" releases in the future. The content production was also affected and we will have to wait a little bit longer until our favorite series and binge watching can continue.


For the long term we hope that the production of cinematic and TV content will resume soon, the industry as a whole seems to be doing comparably well and was quick in adjusting to the changes in processes and every-day activities to make sure that digital video remains accessible to as many people as possible in the safest and most protected way. We predict the future of video delivery will continue developing and striving as it has been proven once again to be highly demanded.



What technologies do you expect will transform business in the coming decade?


Video streaming has radically changed the way we consume information and blockchain technology has been gaining increasing attention in this sector too. There is still a lot to be done to achieve its full potential and to be essentially accepted but as there are many prospective advantages coming with it, I am excited to see where it will go in the upcoming future.


As I’ve mentioned before - Artificial Intelligence will definitely continue to transform the industry in the coming decade and companies will continue to adopt the latest technologies to catch up and service this growth. Advertising keeps accelerating, powered by digital video, people will continue watching content and companies to monetize it. As well as the ever-evolving streaming protocols and technical processes, including new media formats that require more processing power.



"We’ve removed classical management hierarchies and implemented Holacracy as a progressive organizational framework. This gives our collaboration a participatory structure based on clear roles, transparency, and distributed authority among all colleagues."


What makes a good leader?


We’ve removed classical management hierarchies and implemented Holacracy as a progressive organizational framework. This gives our collaboration a participatory structure based on clear roles, transparency, and distributed authority among all colleagues. This allows us to experience a truly flexible working environment with a high level of empowerment and self-responsibility.


Our aim is to foster a positive and learning company culture based on trust, transparency, autonomy, mutual support, fun, and respect.



About castLabs

At castLabs, we’re all about pioneering software and cloud services for video markets worldwide. Our mission is to push the limits of digital content distribution while making it accessible.


We make video delivery easy by removing barriers so you can concentrate on providing leading-quality movie, TV, and audio experiences for your customers. Our squad of dedicated developers have created a range of fresh monetization and secure playback technologies designed to navigate deployment challenges.


www.castlabs.com