Due to the continuing global pandemic, it’s been a while since my colleagues and I have been able to wander around the MediaKind office in Southampton, UK. But this step back from our media hub has given me time to reflect further on the sheer weight of expectation and demand that broadcasters and service providers face today.
Even before the pandemic and certainly as a consequence of it, the shift towards OTT streaming and particularly Direct to Consumer (DTC) services is not up for dispute. As my colleague, Erik Ramberg, explained in his recent blog post ‘Creating the Experience: Engaging today’s fans’, 80% of consumers in the US now subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service (source Deloitte Insights, June 2020). This is a pretty staggering number which goes a long way to demonstrate the rapidly evolving media landscape and consumer viewing preferences.
A New Age of Media
Evolving audience preferences and the ability to select content pertinent to viewer tastes and desires are causing widespread industry disruption. Business models evolving and content creation cycles being re-imagined. Viewer demands are also leading to a flourish of technology innovation, making the media and entertainment industry an exciting and dynamic market to work in.
Creating these amazing media experiences captures the imagination; we can make them highly personalized, easy, and flexible to access with the highest possible picture quality. But while consumers will be quick to agree on these principles, consistently delivering these amazing media experiences is certainly no short endeavor!
Yet it’s a critical part of the equation. The days of ‘one-to-many’ broadcast workflows have been replaced by a reality where all consumers expect access to whatever content they want, at a time that suits them, on a device of their preference. This has naturally led to a sharp uptake in DTC content delivery models, giving the consumer direct access to their favorite content – be it sports, concerts or virtual festivals. With brand loyalty towards particular sports teams, players and bands growing, content providers are beginning to evolve with this change and turn to disruptive new media technologies.
Adapting to Industry Disruption
At MediaKind, we are continually finding ways to adapt and evolve ahead of the market’s changing force, driven by a need to understand what our customers’ audiences want now and in the future and then adapt our technology solutions accordingly. One example of this is our investment in Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) based technology, which has come to the fore in delivering compelling DTC media experiences. This technology is fast maturing and enables significant benefits for delivering new DTC services. Combining our CE1 and CE Mini products from our Contribution and our Aquila Streaming solution within an integrated partner ecosystem content owners can now effectively and efficiently deliver demanding live feeds from the event source, directly to consumers within a single end to end platform.
This year has escalated these challenges to a whole new level. With live events on hold and many live sporting schedules paused, the year has thrown open numerous, unprecedented obstacles. To ensure our customers can continue delivering extraordinary experiences, whether on-the-ground or virtually, we have re-imagined our technology solutions’ capabilities while also looking to our industry partners to keep the wheels of the entertainment landscape turning and ensure consumers can remain connected and entertained through the power of media.
This was demonstrated not least with the delivery of a major interactive virtual film festival, The Chattanooga Film Festival, which combined MediaKind, Microsoft, Evergent, VisualOn, and Slalom’s technologies. Together, we created a highly innovative and scalable media workflow to bring an interactive virtual event directly to independent movie lovers worldwide. I would strongly recommend watching this webinar to discover how this special project came together in the face of great adversity.
Delivering Unbeatable Media Experiences – a MediaKind Application Paper
It’s easy to become accustomed to high-definition and engaging media experiences without considering the groundwork that goes into each soccer game, awards show, or virtual event. In the new era of media and entertainment whereby content owners can bypass the traditional broadcast route and reach their audiences directly calls for major innovations in scalable, flexible and reliable technology offerings.
The truth is, the media experiences that unite us and provide much-needed entertainment, news, and education require fully integrated and technology-driven solutions that match the complex ecosystem in which they operate.
To understand the challenges of delivering live and on-demand streamed content directly to consumers and the end-to-end ecosystem required to bring these offerings to market, MediaKind has published a comprehensive new application paper.