Reporting back from the International Broadcasting Convention, Raymond Snoddy examines the latest trends - from VR and Voice UI, to the meteoric growth of mobile video and the rise of e-sports
TV sport is often a social experience that does not necessarily lend itself to wearing a VR headset so it seems unlikely that 360-degree video will replace traditional broadcasts. But imagine watching a motor race and being able to put on a head mounted device or pick up a tablet to have a live 360-degree video experience from inside the car, or in the pits during a pit-stop. Or being able to see parts of a football match from the manager’s dugout or from the crowd. The technology is now available to make this possible.
With increasing pressure to generate traffic, publishers are looking for viral, user generated content and video is the priority because of its higher advertising value. Social media should be more than just a platform for publishers to share content. It acts as a discovery tool and early warning system, and with the right monitoring platforms you can see which videos are going viral and jump on them early.
Metadata helps monetise online content. Today’s approach to preparing on-air content for OTT is slow and labour-intensive. The SCTE metadata framework, already implemented for broadcast video, can automate on-air into OTT transcoding with a dramatic pay-off, especially as the first hour of consumption online, after an episode is aired, generates the largest amount of traffic on OTT. And metadata enables ad insertion that is tailored to the consumer, opening up a pot of targeted gold.
The off-shore OTT opportunity: Determining the right distribution model for going over-the-top overseas
A key advantage of OTT delivery is the ability to ‘off-shore’ video around the globe, breaking down the barriers that traditionally restricted content to its native region. This will democratise content and more niche content owners will break into the mainstream OTT landscape. To off-shore, you must match content to the right distribution platforms and business models. In regions where CPMs are low, AVOD will struggle. If you are asking for money, make sure the end user experience makes purchases easy. Here is a guide to what to consider.
You can differentiate an OTT service by putting data at the heart of it. At the video infrastructure layer, analyse which bit rates are used and where, so unused content renditions can be discarded. Measure consumption to predict which business model (SVOD, TVOD or ads) will optimise revenues over time. Use consumption habits including drop-off rates to predict churn. Adapt the user interface to reflect behaviour, so VOD-centric viewers see VOD choices first.
In a world with more small-screen, personalised viewing, how does the big screen in the living room compete? On quality, by creating more of a spectacle. This is where UHD fits in, and many people believe that HDR brings greater visual impact, with its increased range between dark and light. This provides a new palette for creatives, but also needs new craft skills, from set lighting to colour grading in post-production. Across the UHD ecosystem there are hurdles to overcome but we are making progress.
It is difficult securing and delivering content to both managed and unmanaged devices without multiplying your efforts and cost. A successful hybrid strategy requires: multi-DRM support in order to reach the widest range of unmanaged devices; MovieLabs-level security to guarantee UHD sports and early-release movies; an integrated headend system so you can easily set subscriber entitlement rules without worrying about the device, CA or DRM being used.
For multiscreen TV ad targeting to reach the sophistication of other online advertising, the industry must drive standardisation around three areas: Preventing lost ad space, managing clearance and rights, and providing visibility of the results. As an example, ad metrics, in the form of standardised metadata applied by the creative and media agencies, should be stored against the advertisement itself, enabling cross-platform reporting.
Limelight Networks research shows that 41% of consumers cut the cord to save money, but 20% of sports fans will not ‘cut the cord’ until more live content is available online. Meanwhile, competition for online delivery is heating up and there are some things you have to get right if you want to succeed. These include ensuring that your entire website is mobile-optimised and your CDN observes traffic outside your content path in order to avoid causing latency issues.