The Sponsors Perspective: TAG Video Systems Introduces New Business Model For Broadcast Technology

With the emergence of the cloud into the media production and delivery space, the broadcast and media industry must embrace an entirely new approach to acquiring and deploying technology. Large capital expenditures (CapEx) are increasingly being replaced by operating expense (OpEx) budgets that are more flexible and aligned with the operational requirements of broadcast facilities.

This article was first published as part of Essential Guide: The Liberation Of Broadcast Technology


Recognizing the value this approach offers Broadcasters and media providers, TAG Video Systems launched a new business strategy called “Zero Friction” that takes a multi-functional technology platform (the MCM-9000 monitoring, probing and multiviewer system) and adds the freedom to use that technology anywhere, anytime for as long as you’d like.

Kevin M. Joyce, Zero Friction Officer at TAG Video Systems, calls that the three pillars of the Zero Friction concept …. multi-functional technology, operational agility and the business model to back it up.

The industry is shifting from a Capex to an OpEx model, “We’re not only allowing you to move to OpEx, we are optimizing the utilization of the client’s assets.”

Most live production assets are utilized less than 50 percent of the time. Under this new business model, a customer that does live production in London in the morning can deploy the same technology in in New York in the afternoon and only use one license.  

“Customers have been telling us that the old model of buying and operating broadcast technology was not sustainable,” Joyce said, adding that OpEx models represent a different way of thinking about broadcast operations. “You can’t have assets be deployed and only used 50 percent of the time. That’s when we realized CapEx and OpEx was not the point. That’s just a different way of paying for something. OpEx models allowed us to think beyond finance and focus on operational and business models.”

TAG’s software started as a product focused mainly on content delivery, but now handles all four of the major broadcast applications: live production, playout, delivery and OTT. It works with both compressed and uncompressed video and supports all major industry standards such as SMPTE ST-2110, ST-2022- 6/7, JPEG 2000, MPEG TS, DASH, HLS and CMAF. The technology is also available in the cloud, working closely with platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure & Google.

The company was launched in 2007 with an IP-based probing and monitoring platform, until one of its customers, a large network operations center (NOC), asked if it could develop a multiviewer as well. TAG came up with a software-only system that did just that, leading to customer wins at other NOCs across Europe. Years later, Sky in the U.K., which was using the TAG multiviewer for compressed workflows, asked it to develop a similar product for uncompressed SMPTE ST-2110 workflows.

The media giant was also looking for low latency with the highest resolution UHD/4K and it all had to be done in software, IP and COTS. At that point such flexible technology did not exist in the market. So, TAG developed an uncompressed solution that allowed the company to target other broadcast applications. Today, Joyce said, TAG is still the only monitoring, probing and multiviewer system on the market that is 100 percent software, 100 percent IP, and 100 percent cloud or on-premise COTS hardware based.

“The TAG value proposition is what Zero Friction is all about,” he said. “Now that we have the technology customers need, we are enabling them to manage that technology themselves across their entire media organization. We now have an operational and business model that allows them to take advantage of this multi-functional architecture in a highly elastic way. Broadcasters now have the freedom to allocate their licenses not only where and when, but for whatever product they desire.”

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