For Broadcasters, Ignoring Video Streaming Is Risky Business

Traditional broadcasters risk a continued loss of young viewers to the new crop of OTT competitors if they don’t embrace video streaming—both live and on-demand—in a “whole-hearted and ambitious way.” That’s the opinion of Scott Puopolo, CEO Telestream, a company that offers transcoding and streaming technology to a wide variety of content delivery customers.

Scott Puopolo, CEO Telestream.

Scott Puopolo, CEO Telestream.

Speaking publicly as part of a recent IABM conference in London, Puopolo said the industry’s emphasis should be on multi-platform and multi-screen content delivery in order to keep pace. Citing a new report entitled “The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens”, which was published in October, he said the evidence is irrefutable among millennial viewers.

The report Puopolo referenced was prepared by the website “Common Sense Media” and looks at how kids age 8 to 18 in the U.S. use media across an array of activities and devices—including short-form, mobile-friendly platforms like YouTube. The website said the results speak to the individualized uses of media and the increase in time spent with personalized content on social media and in online videos—and the way shared family viewing and other formative media experiences are changing as a result.

“Research shows that for the increasingly influential millennial consumer audience, 24 percent of viewing takes place on a TV set, down from 48 percent in 2015,” Telestream's Puopolo said. “Over the same period, viewing on mobile devices has jumped from 19 to 36 percent of all TV viewing among teens.”

He said he believes that some broadcasters understand the potential offered by video streaming technology and others don’t.

“In fairness it isn’t purely a technology challenge but one of business models too,” Puopolo said. “More smartphones are sold every year than PCs, TVs and cars—there is a lot of change to understand and absorb as networks get faster and devices smarter.

“Until we acknowledge this revolutionary change in millennial consumer preferences and adopt a very different approach to multi-platform delivery workflows, there is a danger that broadcasters will let the most tremendous opportunity of our generation slip through their fingers,” he said.

In a presentation to the IABM members on December 4-5, Puopolo identified a need for technology companies like his to work with broadcasters to develop new infrastructure and business models.

“In this environment, tech firms need to be international beacons to shine a light on knowledge and ideas in the broadcasting world irrespective of the channel of delivery, and yet there is one over-riding issue that is being overlooked by many broadcasters,” he said.

“If you plot the rate at which new media viewing platforms are being created and look at the cost of illuminating those platforms with broadcasters’ rich content, then only the companies that radically alter their streaming workflow strategies can afford to stay in business,” Puopolo said. “At Telestream, we are working with many linear multi-channel broadcasters that seek to create an OTT network that is directly comparable with linear television in terms of quality of service and experience. The transition from OTT being a novelty to having the same consumer expectations as the linear TV experience in your living room is massive.”

To help broadcasters address these new competitive challenges, Teletsream offers its OptiQ platform, which represents a framework for live cloud services that support an implementation strategy of video workflow engines, multi-cloud deployment capabilities, and QoE/QoS monitoring solutions. The company’s website says OptiQ “enables the ability to unlock more live and interactive video services with greater flexibility and in a simple pay-as-you-go model.”

“Some commentators suggest that new streaming services are costing their parent companies dearly,” Puopolo said at the IABM conference, “but to [Telestream] the risk and potential cost to broadcasters of not embracing streaming workflows in a whole-hearted and ambitious way is far higher.

“[Broadcasters] need to create thousands, or even tens of thousands of narrowly focused channels that people are prepared to pay to view.”

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