Viewpoint: Satellite Operators Poised to Support Diverse Video Demands For 2016 Olympics

A seismic shift in the media-consumption landscape means that a growing number of viewers will be looking to enjoy the 2016 Olympics on a variety of devices, in multiple resolutions and all in real time.

The 2012 London Olympics was the most watched event in TV history, reaching 3.6 billion viewers worldwide. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil are expected to exceed that number, with a majority of viewers consuming the Games via traditional linear TV distribution.

However, the next Olympics will have viewers ready to enjoy their athletics' performances not just on the living room TV set. Rather, they will expect to be able to see the competition on any variety of devices. This means broadcasters need to get ready to supply those needs.

The number of viewers watching content via streaming and OTT remains relatively low today when compared to traditional linear channels. According to NSR’s “Linear TV via Satellite: DTH, OTT & IPTV, 8th Edition” released in May, OTT is not expected to have a major impact on linear TV until 2024. However, OTT is growing and NSR says “it will be essentially mandatory for DTH and Cable TV platforms to have an OTT component in order to compete against other third-party OTT platforms.”

This means broadcasters must ensure their distribution systems can deliver reliable, high-quality coverage to a variety of devices. Industry executives must develop infrastructure that can deliver content via multiple distribution paths as well as prepare for surges in viewership and have the necessary measures in place to handle peak demands – all while ensuring their economic models provide a return on investment.

Satellite operators, one of the longtime backbones of global content distribution, are responding to the challenge of supporting these shifting viewing habits by providing new solutions that allow broadcasters to ensure that their viewers – whether they are sitting in front of a TV in their living room or watching on a personal screen in a moving vehicle – see the best coverage when and where they demand it.

These new solutions include multimedia networking platforms and managed services that enable broadcasters to easily upgrade a legacy satellite-based network to a next-generation, automated hybrid satellite and terrestrial converged IP network. These systems accommodate traditional and digital/multiscreen media and optimize network efficiency, while enabling programmers to simplify operations with easy management of satellite and terrestrial networks.

Other innovative solutions include new scheduling software that enables broadcasters to effectively manage their occasional-use (OU) capacity during fast-breaking news events – thus helping to better manage bandwidth fluctuation during times of high demand.

Media professionals now must support traditional linear broadcasting as well as a variety of other formats that are gaining in popularity. This makes the stakes higher than they’ve ever been for content distributors, whether delivering live events that pique global interest or making sure customers are satisfied on a daily basis.

As the leaders of the entertainment industry adapt to changing viewer preferences, one thing is perfectly clear: satellite is strongly positioned to play a key enabling role from a cost and network-flexibility standpoint. The year 2016 will be an inflection point for the industry, as consumers begin to drive OTT to the forefront.

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