Kaushik Moitra, Partner, TMT Law Practice
Path-breaking advances in technology and viewer behavior are driving a transformation in the way video content is delivered to viewers. The change involves a migration away from traditional broadcasting models and platforms toward digital distribution over the Internet to a widening array of connected handheld devices. This fundamental shift has triggered major disruptions for broadcasters, calling for scalability, cost flexibility, and agility of cloud computing.
Disruptive forces require established broadcasters not just to adopt a new approach to technology, but also to navigate a radical shift in their embedded culture and skillsets. In doing so, they will need to equip themselves to compete more effectively with agile over-the-top (OTT) entrants.
Today, broadcasters are experiencing three major disruptions driving them toward the scale and flexibility of cloud broadcasting:
- Viewers now demand more choice than ever, requiring far more computing power and resources than traditional broadcasting. Meanwhile, the proliferation of devices and channels demands more flexible business models and systems to better engage an increasingly fragmented and demanding audience.
- There are more time pressures in bringing new offerings to market. Viewers expect rapid evolution and expansion in their choice of content experiences, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their solution development and rollout cycle to keep pace.
- There are greater cost pressures on technology sourcing and operations. Factors including rising prices for content rights, intensifying competition from lower-cost agile entrants, and strains on legacy technologies are creating a need to reduce up-front technology investments and align costs more closely with usage and revenues.
- The entry of agile, software-based OTT competitors into the video delivery industry has changed the game for incumbent broadcasters. It is imperative that they respond and keep pace with this change, or risk getting left behind.
Cloud solutions enable broadcasters to stay abreast of industry developments and compete with OTT providers by helping them realize four potential benefits:
- Faster speed to market closes the gap on the faster service delivery cycle of the OTT entrants.
- Scalability to handle spikes in workload, including live events, and surges in the popularity of new services.
- The ability to collect, store, and conduct analytics on vast amounts of data, generating insights to drive personalization, service development, customer experience, and one-to-one relationships.
- Driving on-going service innovation through agile development, constant iterative experimentation, and a culture of "fail fast and fail cheap - then move on."
The use of cloud solutions will progress on several fronts in the coming years as they become ever more prevalent in video-delivery operating models.
Viewer cloud solutions will continue to advance and cloud will play an increasingly pivotal role in the delivery of content-rich services to multiple devices, whether funded by advertisement revenues or subscriptions.
In summing up, one can safely conclude that cloud will increasingly underpin video content delivery, including catch-up services. Broadcasters are making growing use of cloud solutions including public cloud to power offerings such as catch-up services, with metadata relayed directly from the cloud when a viewer clicks on a particular date or piece of content. Cloud will complete the positive business case for "digital end-to-end" tapeless workflow from production to delivery. Access to video coverage of live events will become ever more democratized, global, and social.