Live without Limits: Streaming at Scale

Live without Limits: Streaming at Scale

August 9, 2022 | 3 min read
Broadcast, Cloud, D2C, Direct to Consumer

By Boris Felts, Chief Product Officer, MediaKind

In the media and entertainment space, we often talk about the impact of ‘disruption.’ But the impact of streaming in the past 10-15 years meets that very definition. It has changed the way that all traditional players in the market are functioning. Indeed, the very idea of content consumption has now changed from being a push to a pull mechanism. And now, we see content owners moving into the direct-to-consumer space, traditional broadcasters developing standalone streaming services, TV operators becoming aggregated media services, and short-form content on social media platforms (such as TikTok and Instagram) capturing the imaginations of younger audiences. With all these trends, there are now many ways to integrate greater methods of personalization and monetization into live feeds

One thing’s for sure – the media supply chain from the original source to the consumer has shrunk dramatically. Thanks to the growing use of cloud technologies in removing the shackles of traditional media processing, delivery, and experience solutions, we’ve enabled innovations that will help transform the future of live content. It’s the most premium and high-value content around. However, a balance must be struck when migrating to the cloud. Considerations around the pace of change need to be considered, including skillset, architecture, and overall infrastructure. As many of the conversations at NAB Show revealed, collaboration will now be key to enabling a new era of ubiquitous streaming experiences. No one company has the complete capability set to make the process entirely end-to-end.

How do you realize a world of live streaming without limits?

We must go back to basics to realize a world where live streaming can be delivered without limits and at scale. It starts by addressing how content is produced, the way it gets delivered, through to the timing of how the content is marked up and the metadata – and then through the rest of the delivery chain. Streaming service providers and the people running the streaming service itself are driving this shortened delivery chain. It’s in stark contrast to the traditional broadcast chain, which involves many more steps and hoops to jump through before reaching the finished product at the end of the chain.

But both delivery models share a common bond. All live content is where the biggest audiences are found, whether it’s a major sporting event, a breaking news story, or a popular entertainment show. They are the drivers of massive concurrent viewing numbers, and it’s the content that consumers benchmark against regarding the quality and reliability of their service. Streaming offerings are certainly seen as the gold standard for innovation and flexibility – but it still lags some way behind in delivering this quality of standard at scale.

It’s hardly surprising; in the past decade alone, we’ve seen the rise of mainstream content being streamed across mobile devices and in different video formats, which are now largely being serviced by newer protocols for delivery such as Adaptive Bitrate (ABR). We’re also seeing a shift amongst content owners and broadcasters who are now forging direct relationships with consumers in parallel with their supply of media to aggregators. The challenge of migrating live broadcasts from linear to newer forms of delivery must encompass not just a single set of technical challenges but multiple sets – spanning technical and commercial. With live media irrevocably changing how it is produced, published, and delivered, the opportunity has arrived to transform the media ecosystem and remove its current limitations.

MediaKind’s new application paper

So how do you unlock the potential of live content? Frankly, there’s no cookie-cutter approach; it requires a significant shift in mindset both in terms of technology adoption and operational processes. While SaaS has been a popular approach for smaller broadcasters due to the simplicity of pre-built cloud media chains, it’s a more complex story for larger organizations where software updates and orchestration are more complex.

In our latest application paper, we outline just what it takes to truly stream live without limits. It outlines the market trends, key players, barriers, and how the entire media value chain can best seize the opportunities within the live streaming space.

Download the full paper by registering here.