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By Jef Graham, Chairman and CEO at RGB Networks.
The past 60 years have seen what may be the most transformative period in modern history, with broadcasting being one of the areas experiencing some of the most incredible developments. This is perfectly illustrated by the long and prosperous reign of Queen Elizabeth II, who just recently celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. 60 years ago, when there was only one channel available (the BBC) and just over two million TVs owned in the UK, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the first to be televised live on British television.
Today, the Royal Family’s Youtube channel alone has received nearly 38 million video views. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were broadcast live on hundreds of channels all over the globe, with BBC1 alone commanding 15 million viewers for the Diamond Jubilee Concert – and that’s not counting viewing figures on catch up and on-demand! While the Queen’s Coronation required most people to crowd around the only television set in an entire village, today, technology enables the access of video content free from any delay or jitter anytime, anywhere and on any device.
With this overwhelmingly rapid technological advancement towards TV Everywhere provision, it’s completely surprising to me that some video service providers (VSPs) still haven’t made a move towards implementing multiscreen video services. There were over 256m connected TV devices in use worldwide at the end of 2011 and according to In-Stat, this figure will shoot up to 1.34 billion by 2016. This also makes the prospective revenue streams available through advertising and social TV a rapidly growing area of untapped potential. Clearly, those VSPs which are not embracing and deploying these services will quickly get left behind and become mere delivery networks for others that do. However, many providers are struggling to navigate the infrastructure, storage and cost challenges of incorporating IP-delivered video into their architectures.
These challenges can be effectively managed with IP video delivery through advanced transcoding and adaptive streaming technology, which not only enables VSPs to move into a simpler and more standardized operating environment, but also provides them with new options for content monetization across all screens – namely, with targeted ad insertion capabilities. Fundamentally, providers need advanced ad insertion in order to monetize their service, and adaptive streaming over IP networks offers them simpler, cheaper and more scalable ad insertion than offered by traditional methods while allowing targeting at granular levels down to individual devices. Furthermore, with the various adaptive delivery protocols out there today, content providers must also ensure their network delivery infrastructure is equipped with the capability of receiving standard video containers, slicing them into segments, and delivering those segments along with encryption where required if they want to ensure seamless video playback in a large-scale and cost-effective deployment.
It’s clear that in this day and age, the key for any VSPs looking to solidify their market position is to ensure they have a future-proofed business model against any new technological developments – an inevitability in the broadcast industry. While it’s still unclear whether providers will be able to charge more for services delivered to devices beyond the television, with the anticipated record-breaking broadcasting events coming up this year, the advertising premiums that can be commanded with targeted ad insertion through adaptive streaming are a compelling market-changing capability which VSPs can no longer afford to ignore.