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Over the top content delivery: the counter-revolutionaries broadcast

November 2, 2015

Brian Morris   

Blog contributor

In my previous post, I described the move to non-traditional distribution models as an evolution within the broadcasting industry. Now content owners, enabled by technology providers are taking control in a world where the viewing patterns of consumers are dramatically changing due to advances in mobile, and flexible content provisioning.

The broadcasting counter-revolution is about staying ahead of the game and providing viewers with the platforms and services that give them more control when it comes to dictating their own viewing experiences.

For broadcasters and Over the Top (OTT) network providers, this means enabling content to be delivered via non-traditional distribution channels, to support on-demand and catch-up services that allow viewers to watch whatever content they want, whenever they want, on any device.  It also is enabling the disruption of regionalisation and rights management as content owners seek to extend reach and distribute their content on a global basis.

What about those events that you can’t simply watch whenever you want – events that require viewers to tune in live and truly experience the dramatic moments as they happen? Live broadcast has been around since 1946, with the BBC airing the first ever live football match in October of that year – almost 70 years ago. However, the challenges facing broadcasters are extremely different in the age of non-linear television.

Live broadcast events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015 games, which command over 200 broadcast territories to screen more than 20,000 hours of coverage, can no longer expect the viewer to come to them. It’s a case of bringing live events to viewers on mobile devices, through cloud-based applications and platforms on every conceivable type of device.

The ability to quickly deliver high quality content in HD, Full HD and 4K, depending on what device the content is being viewed on, is critical, and the benefits of being able to deliver it over the Internet has led to an increase in competition in the broadcasting space; with disruptors such as Netflix in the on-demand space and soon-to-be-launched live events channel.

Not only are companies with innovative broadcasting distribution models changing the way content reaches the consumer, they are also looking to produce and own their own content. Again, Netflix is a good example of this with its Netflix Originals shows such as Narcos, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

The success of these shows reminds us that in the midst of the broadcasting revolution, the number one priority for broadcasters is still to produce great content. If you have great content, there are a multitude of ways to deliver it to viewers, so it’s about exploring every possible avenue to keep viewers engaged and appeal to advertisers.

While technology is giving broadcasters new ways of increasing revenues, it also provides various means of reducing production and distribution costs to remain profitable. The operational platforms used by broadcasters to manage content, review and approve content, and format content are increasing moving to the cloud due to its ability to make huge pieces of film accessible to a global, mobile workforce.

Ultimately, the best counter-revolutionary movement broadcasters can make is to empower viewers more. Providing a great product is still the most important piece of the puzzle as far as broadcasters are concerned. However, the process of getting that product in front of viewers and appeasing advertisers has become far more complicated.

The good news for broadcasters is that connectivity providers such as Tata Communications, with its high speed digital network and ecosystem of hosted, cloud based media services can ensure that broadcasters are able deliver uninterrupted, high quality content across the globe.

Furthermore, with a fully supported content delivery network, a cloud-based service for accelerating Web content, videos, and live streams to audiences around the globe, a partner like Tata Communications can give broadcasters a foundation for innovation when it comes to distributing content.

This relieves the complexity and operational expenses that come with building the infrastructure to reach viewers, and allows content owners to focus on their core value proposition: developing  killer content.

Read the first part of this blog post: ‘Non-traditional distribution: a revolution from above and below’.