By Paul O’Donovan, Director of Market Development D2C, MediaKind
The first hurdle consumers encounter when wanting to view content is being able to access it. We’ve all heard or seen about big events where people haven’t been able to sign in at the time the event begins or where the video streaming quality has suffered. And as you will have seen in a lot of our recent activity, we place a huge emphasis on enabling reliable and scalable live streaming for our customers.
Our solutions enable our customers to provide video services to millions of concurrent viewers, which we are achieving today through managed cloud applications that can be quickly and easily scaled to provide the capacity required at large events. They can then be scaled down or even turned off to minimize costs. It’s something that we’ve discussed at greater length in MediaKind’s new application paper, ‘Live without Limits.’
Using data to inform personalized experiences
In the past few years, the entire media and entertainment industry has looked to find new ways to support content pipelines, access more effective data services, and discover new ways to keep the commercialization of streaming services. Data and analytics are so critical because everything is now steered toward real-time interaction and more personalized experiences. Engagement is key. As my colleague Erik Ramberg mentioned in a recent blog: “to engage the fan of today requires a deep understanding of audience segments and, as part of that, a knowledge of local environments – spanning from where the viewers are watching their favorite content to what they’re watching it on.”
And he’s spot on! The challenge is now around bringing in existing and new audiences to support deepening the relationship with the overall brand. To reach a wide audience means increasing the accessibility of the content by focusing on the flexibility of access and finding tools that can adapt to different business models. That could be a pay-per-month or per-hour revenue model or driving a service through an advertising strategy.
To make the content relevant, you also need to think more than ‘streaming.’ It requires repurposing the content into opportunities for engagement and commercialization. That could be enabled by creating tools for targeted highlights, pop-up channels focused on audience behavior, fan curation, or providing multi-camera viewpoints for the audience. Ultimately, accessing content that goes beyond what is offered through traditional means is vital, especially where streaming is providing complementary offerings.
The importance of MediaKind Engage
Today, everything from production, publishing, and the consumer experience can be served from the cloud. Through MediaKind Engage, we have created a platform that enables sports leagues, rights-holders, and broadcasters to move and run their content workflows in the cloud. We offer the flexibility to bring in our industry-industry leading partners to provide functionalities such as cloud production or enable our customers to use their preferred vendor instead. We also offer a counterbalance for our customers and partners; they know their local markets; we have the data and analytics around what the consumers are watching their services on.
We understand the importance of fan engagement, which is why our Engage SDK enables our customers to decide how best to communicate with their fans, providing a user interface that matches the brand guidelines of a sports club or broadcaster. Real-time interactivity and data must also be closely aligned with the video itself. Data services need to be able to tell a story through the information it provides. The SDK in Engage helps in this regard by enabling customers to bring in partners to address specific use cases such as data overlays, gamification of content, commerce, quizzes, or betting, just to give a few examples.
Engage provides the functionality to enable data-driven real-time interactivity, merchandising, and betting, enhancing the consumer experience and monetization options for content owners. Today, advertising is a fundamental part of the direct-to-consumer ecosystem, with an increasing number of FAST services entering the market. Engage handles the complexity of ad replacement and ensures that valuable customer data is retained within the services. This means content owners can retain their valuable data and maximize their revenues.
Reliability, scale, choice, and relevance = are key to success!
Ultimately, reliability, scalability, choice, and relevance are the key tenets for success for our company, our customers and partners, and our industry. We are now laying the groundwork by providing the necessary tools to make it possible for the creation of richer experiences that enable fans and widespread audiences to watch the best possible content that engages large communities of fans. And it’s all informed through data-driven insights.