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Best Practices For Content Monitoring

According to Parks Associates, more than 310 million connected households will have at least one OTT service by 2024. The recent explosion in video consumption on every screen has opened up new opportunities for service providers while also creating some challenges.

Today’s video service providers are handling a massive amount of content, and the OTT environment is much more complex than linear broadcast distribution. To deliver video on every screen, content has to be re-encoded, transcoded, and multiplexed. These transformations can adversely affect content integrity and user experience.

Given how competitive the video industry has become, service quality is important. Viewers have very high expectations today. They demand a flawless video experience, whether they’re watching content on a TV screen, smartphone, or tablet. Research has found that any amount of buffering or issues with the audio and video will cause consumers to seek out a different service.  If your video service experiences audio or video degradation, customer satisfaction will dip and you’ll risk losing revenue.

Video service providers can address these issues by deploying automated monitoring tools for traditional linear broadcast and OTT content. Automated monitoring solutions have become essential for delivering exceptional video-audio quality on every screen. Here we will share some best practices for monitoring content to ensure a superior quality of experience (QoE) on every screen, improve operational efficiency, drive higher customer satisfaction, and increase monetization.

Adopt A Solution With In-depth Monitoring And Checks

There are many different factors that can impact video and audio quality. Therefore, video service providers need a solution that can seamlessly monitor linear broadcast and online video delivery for quality and compliance, looking at all aspects of video streams such as quality of service (QoS), QoE, closed captions, ad-insertion verification, reporting, and troubleshooting.

Content monitoring should be performed in real time to assure that errors are caught quickly, to improve content integrity, and enhance network performance. Using a comprehensive solution for content monitoring, service providers can view various QoS/QoE metrics of an asset, including download time and bit rate, loudness, blockiness, and audio/video mean opinion score. A monitoring solution that offers a diverse number of checks will enable service providers to gain better insights into QoE and QoS trends.

Interra Systems’ new ORION 2110 probe supports SMPTE ST 2110, simplifying IP monitoring.

Interra Systems’ new ORION 2110 probe supports SMPTE ST 2110, simplifying IP monitoring.

Centralize Your Monitoring Operations

Another best practice to keep in mind is to have enterprise-wide visibility into QoE and QoS issues across diverse geographies.  In the OTT workflow, errors can occur at multiple points. Having a centralized view of errors, with monitoring probes placed at the encoders, transcoders, origin servers, and CDNs, helps in error isolation and correlation. A centralized monitoring system will provide you with alerts, along with video and audio quality tracking and scoring at any point, for any content. In essence, you will have unprecedented visibility and control over the entire video preparation and delivery chain for live and VOD content.

It’s important to choose a centralized monitoring solution that provides the real-time status of all channels across the network, including linear and OTT offerings. This will enable you to adopt a proactive approach to service monitoring and improve the quality of your OTT offerings.

Advanced features such as geo-map-based monitoring views, historical reports, and diagnostics are available today and will give you bird’s-eye view of the video and audio stream, with meaningful insights to enable quick detection and isolation of errors. 

Interra Systems’ ORION Central Manager for unprecedented visibility and proactive monitoring.

Interra Systems’ ORION Central Manager for unprecedented visibility and proactive monitoring.

Be Ready To Monitor Broadcast Over IP

Transitioning to IP is at the top of broadcasters’ to-do lists according to data from a recent Broadcast IP Transformation Report. As broadcasters and video service providers migrate to IP, monitoring ST 2110 workflows is critical. Video service providers need monitoring devices and software that support the SMPTE ST 2110 standards to assure exceptional video quality in an IP distribution environment. With an ST 2110 monitoring probe, you can ensure high quality and performance for SDI-IP streams and take full advantage of the flexibility and benefits of the ST 2110 standard. The monitoring solution should also support the ST 2022-6 standard to ensure smooth encapsulation of SDI signals into IP streams.

Keep An Eye On Ad Quality

With digital ad insertion technology, video service providers can deliver personalized advertising to increase monetization and provide a more engaging video experience to consumers. Research shows that, 47% of ad-supported OTT viewers see commercials as “useful or enjoyable.” And personalized ads leave a lasting impression. When surveyed, 72% of OTT viewers could recall a specific ad.

Digital ad insertion is a growing trend, and as more and more video service providers use the technology, it is important to ensure that ads are high quality and comply with all regulations. By deploying a monitoring solution that provides ad insertion monitoring reports with summarized and detailed cue information, you can guarantee superior service quality and advertising, keeping revenues high.

Specifically, it is important to adopt a monitoring solution with ad-insertion monitoring capabilities such as SCTE-35 cue messages and post-insertion verification for regulatory compliance. This type of solution will monitor all ad marker information for HLS and MPD content, log markers and syntax details, and validate the marker information based on checks.

Get Ready To Offer The Latest Audio And Video Formats

Part of a video service provider’s commitment to delivering exceptional quality is offering content in the latest video and audio formats. We don’t live in an HD video world anymore. Today’s viewers demand exceptional quality content on every screen, and there is a growing amount of content available in UHD, 4K and HDR to cater to those tastes.

Monitoring solutions need to support next-generation video and audio formats, including Dolby Vision and HDR. With a software-based monitoring solution, video service providers can easily support these new formats and other formats yet to come.

Embrace Software And Cloud Monitoring Solutions

Many monitoring systems today are built on custom hardware, but software and cloud solutions enable video service providers to take advantage of newer, faster processors for optimum performance.

Choosing a monitoring solution that is software-based, with the option for on-premises and cloud deployments, will give you the most flexibility now and in the future, while also ensuring you are able to deliver premium live and VOD assets to a global audience.

During the COVID-19 global health crisis, software- and cloud-based solutions proved that they offer an unparalleled flexibility, agility and simplicity, compared with on-premises systems. At one point, during lockdown, media companies did not have physical access to their buildings, and vendors were unable to install products. Software- and cloud-based solutions provided increased accessibility and helped to simplify remote operations.

A high-grade, software-based and cloud-ready monitoring solution can be used in the office, or at home, anywhere in the world to streamline content production and distribution.

Anupama Anantharaman, VP – Product Management, Interra Systems.

Anupama Anantharaman, VP – Product Management, Interra Systems.

Conclusion

Having a comprehensive monitoring solution is imperative today. The consumption of video streaming services is skyrocketing, and consumers expect superior QoE and QoS on every screen. Service providers are handling more content than ever before, dealing with a variety of content formats, and transitioning to IP and OTT architectures. Many service providers have limited visibility into their customers’ QoE and QoS. They need an enterprise-wide view into QoE and QoS, along with the ability to monitor IP and OTT distribution environments, in order to deliver outstanding content quality.

Our ORION® line of monitoring solutions empower service providers to deliver superior-quality video experiences on every screen so they can maintain subscriber satisfaction, increase revenues, and detect and resolve video issues all in real time - improving the quality of service provided.

Furthermore, these types of solution are deployable on-premises and in the cloud, increasing flexibility for service providers. Features like centralized monitoring, support for digital ad insertion, and IP probes, increase workflow efficiency and provide customers with intelligent video insights so that they can deliver better video quality, better monetize broadcast and OTT content, and avoid subscriber churn.