Sushil Khanna, Global COO, MediaGuru
Broadcasters and media enterprises are facing a challenge of developing more and more high-quality content, managing it efficiently, and distributing it across an ever-shifting array of novel devices and platforms. To match this vision of personalized technology, on-demand viewer experience, content distribution, and binge-watching, broadcasters are now inducing disruptive business models and best practices that are shaping up the future of television.
Migration to HD and 4K
Television has moved way beyond its years of electro-mechanical rotating mirror-drum scanners and cathode ray tubes (CRTs). With multiple transformations, firstly from analog to digital and then from SD to HD, television screen is now ready to enrapture Ultra HD. Recently, NBC did a comprehensive 4K Ultra HD coverage of Rio Olympics and distributed it across cable, satellite, telco providers, and other media. Several broadcasters and production houses are now producing content in HD formats and are gearing up for 4K resolution, thus revolutionizing the delivery of television content.
Though pay-TV is here to stay, there has been a rise in cord-cutting – the term used for foregoing a television subscription for OTT/VOD platforms. Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, OZee, Netflix, and Prime have ushered in the age of TV Everywhere and burgeoning content. Over-the-top (OTT) television has come up as a new-age technology that has helped media organizations move beyond linear television, expensive cable bundles, and inflexible programming. Media enterprises like Star, Viacom, Sony, and Zee have already taken a leap by launching their platforms while others will soon join the bandwagon given that the advertising revenues from such platforms are increasing every year.
Centralized Management of Media Assets
Content continues to grow in size and volume and, therefore, managing it is becoming difficult. Be it legacy content or born-digital, broadcasters want their media assets to be available to their users across networks. Media organizations are investing their time, effort, and money finding a solution that seamlessly integrates with their workflow and makes search, accessibility, and distribution of content easy. It does not help only in organizing the content but also provides them an opportunity to leverage their media assets for monetization.
Digitization of Content for Preservation and Monetization
With the growth of digital media and platforms like OTT/VOD, the demand for quality content is also growing. This has led the broadcasters to tap into their archives in search of content. A lot of content is still in analog format and it needs to be digitized, restored, and archived for future use. Obsolete formats like 1-inch, 2-inch, U-matic, Betacam, Ampex tapes, and films have a limited shelf life and they keep deteriorating. It is, therefore, imperative to preserve this valuable content and optimize it for being reused in digital media. Using subscription models or by licensing, content owners can generate parallel revenue stream for their organizations.
Majority of operations that we see today in a studio, MCR, or a PCR will soon move to cloud. Right from your NLE, production automation, graphics solution, storage, disaster recovery sites, MAM to playout, the infrastructure will be hosted on secured cloud. On the delivery side, television channels will be hosted in the cloud from where the contentcan be pushed on variety of platforms – OTT/VOD, IPTV, social media, etc. Because most of the technical infrastructure is available as a service (SAAS, PAAS), it reduces the overall cost of broadcasting. If a broadcaster wants to increase his reach without burning a hole in his pocket, cloud broadcasting is the way to go.
To conclude, factors like expanding Internet connectivity and broadband infrastructure, smartphones, and live streaming apps, social networking, and cutting-edge technology, etc., have transformed the television experience from linear to an era of anytime, anywhere, and any device availability of content. However, in terms of solution uptake to drive the same, the market still lacks clarity and is fragmented regarding the choice of services and product, which needs to be worked on.