Survey: The Future of Playout

A Snell Advanced Media (SAM) worldwide survey predicts a significant move to Cloud playout is some years off yet, and demonstrates that the market for Channel-in-a-Box systems remains strong.

SAM have published the results of a survey it conducted in August among playout professionals around the world. Several hundred respondents gave their views on changing audience expectations and technology developments that are challenging conventional playout infrastructures. A detailed graphic presentation of the results is at the end of this story.

In-house, managed or Cloud?

57% of respondents are planning to keep managing their linear channel playout in-house even if they add new services, with only 16% looking to outsource any expansion. Of those planning to expand their services, 41% are looking to Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) solutions, with 19% proposing managed services and 20% going fully cloud-based.

Is the Cloud trustworthy?

We asked when respondents would be ready to consider software-only, Cloud-based playout with their primary linear channels. Only 13% of respondents would consider playing out their primary channels from the Cloud immediately, with 61% ready to consider Cloud playout in two to five years - the remainder either not considering it for up to 10 years or ruling it out altogether. Add on the implementation time to the consideration time, and for the great majority of respondents, Cloud playout of their primary channels remains a long way off - at least a full capital equipment lifetime cycle.

How long will scheduled linear TV live on?

This question provided the widest range of predictions, but clearly linear channels are not going away any time soon. 85% of respondents put its life expectancy between five and 15 years, with 15% predicting that it will still be around due to public demand in 20 years.

"The first key finding that came out of this survey is that while many people are undoubtedly interested in the principle of Cloud playout, the great majority see it becoming a reality only in a number of years' time," said Tim Felstead, SAM Head of Product Marketing. "The survey also shows that there remains a strong market for CiaB solutions over the coming years. While this survey also demonstrates the mismatch between the general level of hyperbole around the Cloud and the reality shown by solid testing, customers are nonetheless looking for a solid transition path to Cloud playout as it grows up to become a cost-effective, capable alternative. This very much reflects our own product roadmap to Cloud playout, which is the result of many conversations with our customers."

A detailed graphic presentation of the results.

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