Broadcasters are no longer simply broadcasters. No longer can they deliver one or a handful of channels, with a format decision as simple as SD or HD. Today, the expectation is that content will be available to computers and mobiles, across a range of delivery systems and that content will be streamed live, and it will be packaged and offered as video on demand, as a free catch-up service or maybe as a paid-for or subscription archive.

{mosimage}All that is a given. Today, the key challenges facing broadcasters are, first, how to deliver all this content at scale and, second, how to pay for it. Looking at the delivery challenge first, it is clear that scale is the real issue. According to Parks Associates, an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide watch online video, with probably a billion of those watching on mobile devices. Video traffic to mobiles is set to grow at 55 percent a year until 2020, according to McKinsey.

All these receiving devices have different requirements. There are four different versions of the Android operating system with more than 10 percent market penetration at the moment. While there is a long-term aspiration for delivery to move to MPEG-DASH, at the moment HLS is still widely used, which means that smooth streaming also has to be supported for those devices which do not want to use an Apple proprietary standard. Inside the streaming format, there are different codecs, bitrates, screen resolutions, and encryption systems.

Clearly, the idea that there can be dedicated broadcast hardware to create all of these outputs is crazy. The only way is that this can be achieved by software devices, and preferably virtualized on cloud devices, which can be spooled up and down as necessary. That provides the capacity, even in peaks, along with resilience through rapid replacement of failed processes.

A unified software delivery platform also offers a solution to the second challenge - how to pay for the service. Advertising remains the best source of revenue, but advertising has to be tailored to the platform and the consumer - ideally down to the individual.

The anytime, anywhere nature of today's video consumption experience makes this a difficult proposition. For the most part, the television advertising world has been unable to keep up with the migration of eyeballs to alternative viewing platforms and nonlinear content distribution models.

The good news is that 2016 is shaping up to be the year where the media world finally gets a grasp on the monetization of content, no matter where or when it is consumed. The omniplatform environment, which encompasses linear television, on-demand, DVR, multiscreen, radio and digital, demands that media companies look toward integrated solutions that place and monetize ads across multiple video consumption environments.

Nearly three quarters of respondents to Imagine Communications' Focus Forward 2016 survey cite the migration from a linear to an omniplatform ad management approach as being a top competitive priority within their organisation.

An omniplatform approach was also seen as the key to maximizing the efficiency and reducing the errors linked to ad management and as a way to enable media companies to maximise the value of their inventory, therefore, generating new revenue. Stepping away from a linear model is also expected to help broadcasters provide more value to advertisers and agencies.