As IBC 2016 winds down, The Broadcast Bridge asked Telestream president and CEO, Dan Castles, for his thoughts on the growing phenomena of video streaming. While technology can make it easy, he notes that there is more to creating and delivering good content than just ‘point and shoot’.
Today, full motion video is taking over from text and images as the mainstream communication medium of choice. Streaming is available to anyone with a smartphone almost as easily as it is to a TV broadcaster. Anyone can become a professional broadcaster in minutes. But there’s more to it than just pressing record on a smartphone. To maintain tight control over the viewer experience, there are decisions to be made regarding the cost of distribution, video quality and reliability of systems being used,” said Dan Castles, President and CEO of Telestream. “Having these controls and building viewership of their own website and app are the keys to profitability in streaming video for broadcasters and content owners.”
This year in particular, IBC is a showcase of the latest technology and business developments in all parts of the streaming landscape. Throughout the RAI Convention Centre’s halls, many of IBC’s exhibitors will respond to rapid changes in consumer media consumption patterns with an emphasis on live and on-demand streaming.
But is this change within IBC keeping pace with market drivers? Mobile technology is evolving at a staggering pace: it is predicted that by 2017, over a third of the world’s population are projected to own a smartphone, which is an estimated total of 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide – most of whom will be hungry for high quality live and pre-recorded video content.
The impacts of these market changes are illustrated in Europe by the UK regulator, Ofcom’s, 2016 report on Adult Media Use and Attitudes. It shows there has been a considerable rise (from 6% in 2014 to 16% in 2015) in the proportion of adults who only use smartphones or tablets to go online, and not a PC/laptop. In other words, these newer devices are not just supplementing PCs/laptops, but are replacing them. This pattern is seen across all ages, socio-economic groups and genders, but is particularly marked among newer users and younger people.
There is an increasing usage of mobile phones beyond more traditional media devices. From 2005 - 2014, adults were most likely to say they would miss their TV set the most. Now mobile phones are the most-missed media device. The smartphone is also the device mostly used for social media and is the preferred device for the majority of online activities. Adding the increased usage of mobile devices to the existing laptops, streaming devices and smart TV’s means more screens overall are involved in streaming and more endpoints need to be served. The scale of streaming continues to go up, and there is no sign of it slowing any time soon.
“In this environment, IBC’s core audience needs to make the right decisions and back them up in their business models. Content streaming – both live and on demand – provides broadcasters with access to potentially new revenue streams, through consumers watching high quality content on their favorite devices,” Castles comments.
He believes that for those organizations seeking to exploit the potential offered by streaming, there exists the technology today for them to effectively build a scalable and profitable streaming business that complements their traditional broadcast operations. They can build their audience by using video on social media, for example, to drive traffic to their channels. They can effectively control the cost of distribution of streaming content, its quality (right up to 4k) and the reliability of the stream to make it comparable to TV broadcasts. Ultimately, organizations can maximize monetization of the new streaming audience.
According to the 2016 Big Broadcast Survey Global Trend Index from Devoncroft, the most commercially important issue over the next 2-3 years is multi-platform content delivery (broadcast, web, mobile, etc.). The big question is whether the industry is ready to make the required choices to address this issue. “For example, one of those decisions I spoke of earlier is whether or not to use a third party CDN to distribute content.” Castles remarked. “For some, having distribution in house, a do-it-yourself CDN if you will, is required for their viewer satisfaction and for their business; for others using an external CDN provider works just fine."
“If we acknowledge this revolutionary change in consumer preferences and adopt a very different approach to multi-platform delivery workflows, the broadcast industry is able to take advantage of the most tremendous opportunity of our generation,” Castles concluded.
Dan Castles, President/CEO
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