As more people use connected TV, and streaming accounts for a growing share of all viewing, it is imperative that content providers and advertisers have a well thought-out CTV strategy. They need to understand how audiences are responding to greater content choice, especially as user interfaces make it easier to move between broadcast and streaming, and from linear to on-demand. The challenge is to decipher viewing preferences and locate desirable audiences. Understanding the ‘Total TV Watcher’ requires a data-first approach that puts viewing data at its heart.
Cloud-based service continuity solutions are a flexible, cost-effective option that can be used to maintain the highest levels of availability for broadcast and OTT channels. Rather than recreating a hardware infrastructure and spending the time and money to maintain it, broadcasters and service providers are increasingly relying on the cloud as a simpler way to secure their 24/7 channels and pop-up channels, as well as test new services. Offering immediate activation, a pay-per-use business model and dynamic scalability, the cloud sets the standard for flexibility.
When we emerge from the coronavirus-induced ‘temporary normal’, we may see media agencies and brands more empowered, and determined to experiment in a bid to get revenues flowing and do more with less. This will put more emphasis on the role of automation. For broadcasters, automation is the basis for innovation as well as reducing operational expenses. This article outlines the opportunities created when an automated, cloud-based approach removes silos and swivel chairs from sales and platform management.
While multi-DRM provides a basic level of protection for OTT streaming services, it should be considered as a baseline from which to build. It addresses the content security threat but the service itself remains vulnerable, and the surface area for pirates to attack is considerably greater in streaming than in traditional broadcast. What is needed is a comprehensive security strategy that includes watermarking, a way to deal with credential sharing, and anti-piracy services that identify leaks and prompt actions ranging from takedowns to device advisory messages. The risks from increased virtualisation should also be addressed.
Android TV offers several key advantages for Pay TV operators, including faster time-to-market for new TV services and reduced total cost of ownership. To reach the full potential of the platform, Android TV needs to be enhanced on the video delivery side. By integrating low-latency streaming, multicast ABR and server-side ABR control into the Android TV framework, Pay TV operators can deliver outstanding television experiences on the set-top box OS that is set to lead the market in the years ahead.
New media formats will become the new normal thanks to 5G, with several innovations benefiting from the vastly increased bandwidth and lower latency. Holographic video will be back on the agenda, with people watching their favourite shows in true 3D. Broadcasters will be able to exploit the popularity of e-sports and incorporate it into services, and use AR to improve viewing experiences, including on the second screen. Broadcasters should be looking at how they harness the IoT, from in-vehicle entertainment to interactive billboards and wearables.
To coincide with Videoscape Europe, the thought-leadership event for premium video streaming, we are publishing a profile of this year’s winner in the ‘Contribution to Streaming Video Excellence’ category at the Videonet Connected TV Awards 2020. That prize went to Harmonic for its VOS360 Live Streaming Platform and here the company gives more details on the solution.
Unwanted latency has serious consequences for the streaming UX – to the point that it can cost you customers – so must be taken seriously. To reduce latency, we need to redesign delivery networks and how content is requested, and harness AI. By removing the acquirer server and creating a direct and consistent connection between the origin and the requesting server in a CDN, delivery times and congestion can be reduced. The solution must seamlessly identify the best delivery path for video, predict congestion on the current route and intelligently switch to a different route with more available bandwidth if necessary, in order to prevent delay.
Dynamic ad insertion adds to the already complicated OTT workflow, and to avoid errors you must keep an eye on correct placement of ad markers, frequency and duration of targeted ads, resolution and bit rate, and much more. It is impossible to perform all the necessary checks manually in real-time while the content is being streamed. Automatic monitoring is the answer, providing a complete end-to-end workflow audit with real-time alarms that mean service providers can quickly resolve issues before they affect a viewer.
More streaming means a more diverse distribution landscape for ad-supported television, but marketers should avoid the sole pursuit of mid- to long-tail inventory aggregation, data, hyper-targeting, and tech utilisation in the connected TV environment. In other digital media, this approach has disregarded the value of quality content and meaningful reach, and led to lower-funnel activities. Instead, you need to put content front-and-centre of your planning in the connected TV space and use partners with the best content who can deliver the broadest audiences. That is how you leverage the huge potential of CTV to deliver non-linear, big screen digital audiences for upper-funnel marketing.