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Three trends to watch at IBC 2018

Low-latency live video streaming, video quality with bandwidth savings, and machine learning-enhanced video workflows are the three key trends to watch at IBC this year. With the move to cloud-based video processing and distribution, OTT providers can take a holistic view of the workflow and take advantage of opportunities to minimise latency at each stage, actually achieving better-than-broadcast latencies for live events. Quality-Defined Variable Bitrate (QVBR), where video compression adjusts automatically to the complexity of source content, improves the quality/bandwidth equation. Cloud-based machine learning will support the automation of time-consuming, repetitive data-driven tasks.

Industry must focus on innovation to reignite growth in core services and fuel future...

For media and entertainment businesses at IBC, industry disruption and innovation will underpin most conversations, Accenture predicts. Here, the strategy, consulting and professional services leader lists three categories of innovation that will shine at this show: advanced advertising, blockchain and AI. The company also highlights the need to create a culture of innovation, and asks whether voice assistants are going to disintermediate brands.

Are we HDR ready?

We now have six different HDR systems. While the Ultra HD Forum has worked diligently to create and publish guidelines on how to implement these systems, having so many options has created industry confusion that has delayed HDR deployments. The live mixing of content in SDR with content produced in the various HDR systems seriously complicates live production. There are issues around mixing live with pre-produced content that has been produced with different light levels. The next step should be to define a small number of ‘universal’ profiles. As more UHD/HDR services come to market and we can judge the methodologies used, the industry will get closer to best practices and recommendations.

Will AR truly be a game-changer?

For many types of content, it is difficult to imagine how AR could add to the consumer experience, but sports is an obvious opportunity. Here it can enrich what is eye-wateringly expensive content. In premium video, sports will be the main driver for AR. It will be several years before we see the real impact of AR but it will be a game-changer. This is not another 3D TV, and the technology behind it is getting much better and cheaper.

Server-side ad insertion and prefetch: monetising major OTT events

Demonstrating server-side ad insertion at a trade show, where the system talks only to a first-party ad server, is not a true reflection of broadcaster realities. In live streaming they have millions of viewers ‘tuned’ to an ad break at the same time and a call to the ad server can result in seven further calls to programmatic ad platforms, adding latency. If the ad server cannot cope, the fill-rate for an ad break is dramatically reduced or ad breaks must be sacrificed altogether. Coping with mass-scale is a big challenge – and ‘prefetch’ technology is the answer.

How operators can surmount the key IPTV challenges to meet growing consumer needs

There are a number of things Pay TV operators must do to remain UX leaders in an increasingly competitive marketplace. They can bring order to chaos by bringing Pay TV and OTT, live and VOD together. Voice enables a highly personalised, highly conversational interface capable of addressing complex queries. Android TV Operator Tier is a recent option for integrating new services. In a fragmented market, there is an opportunity to guide consumers through the maze of content options using OTT partnerships.

Innovation is essential: It’s time to join the ‘Field of Streams’

It is no surprise that traditional media owners are joining the world of OTT. Their philosophy for building streaming services, including direct-to-consumer offers, is sensible: build it, and they will come. But building it is a whole new ball game that requires skillsets that many organisations just do not have in-house. Some engineers are upskilling but that is a slow process. Some companies draw upon their cross-organisational skills but collaboration may be sub-optimal. While we await the next generation of talent, a willingness to partner with external experts can unlock competitive advantage.

Five priorities for your Pay TV digital transformation strategy

The Pay-TV Innovation Forum has revealed the top priorities for North American Pay TV and TV network executives as they begin their digital transformations. This article provides some of the detail. In summary, they are: manage the roll-out of a more diverse range of video products; unlock the full potential of advanced TV advertising ; transform the end-to-end CX; leverage customer data and invest smartly in infrastructure and tech.

The future of personalised, multimedia entertainment is in the car

The connected car is a lucrative market, with in-vehicle infotainment predicted to reach $52 billion by 2020, according to a recent BIS Automotive Report. This large market is currently untapped by the broadcast and video industry. 5G will help establish the vehicle as a fully connected entity, part of the wider multiscreen ecosystem. For broadcasters, now is the time to move into automotive.

The value of getting ad insertion right

As broadcasters expand their OTT capabilities alongside traditional TV platforms, targeted ad insertion becomes crucial to monetisation. Ad insertion can help cover the cost of reformatting content for OTT. It boosts revenue by making ads more relevant and replacing outdated content. It overcomes rights issues, where original ads cannot be shown in OTT. Technology advances, including automatic and accurate metadata insertion, mean targeting is completely achievable.

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