The halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center are unlikely to be shaken by the news that linear TV consumption continues to decline. Now, more than ever before, consumers are increasingly spreading attention between other entertainment sources including on-demand over-the-top (OTT) content, video games and social media. Nevertheless, the plight of linear viewing is somewhat exaggerated, largely because some of the most popular content – including breaking news and major sporting events – continues to be best served in real-time, over the mass distribution medium of TV.
Operators wanting to deliver the best of both worlds have often scrambled to jump on board the OTT/Video-on-Demand (VoD) train with technology platforms that were far from integrated. The initial and often loss leading OTT/VoD platforms were built as separate silo, initially as test beds, that in many cases were expanded ad-hoc but never fully aligned with a broadcaster’s traditional end-to-end linear workflow.
As OTT/VoD has grown to become a proven, long term part of a broadcaster’s portfolio, there are many organizations that are now in the process of re-engineering these platforms to become part of an integrated workflow. The reasons are simple. For many, the primary objective is to improve efficiency and ultimately reduce costs. Having separate teams, infrastructure, networks and contracts makes little sense, especially as economies of scale can work wonderfully for content that is ultimately coalescing around IP-based workflows.
In addition to ultimate efficiency, another compelling benefit of integrated workflow is vertical integration. In the same way telecoms suppliers have bundled broadband, TV, telephone and mobile access, TV service providers are keen to provide a media service that spans all modes of delivery, with seamless experience continuity across every device.
Building an integrated and efficient workflow unifying linear and various flavours of OTT calls for the coupling of several common strands, including: metadata management, scheduling, and transcoding from constant bitrate (CBR) to Adaptive Bitrate (ABR). There are also technical issues that bleed into monetization such as ad-insertion. Innovators understand the benefits and the next few years will see more projects that aim to unify the two worlds for the benefit of their business and ultimately, consumer experience.
Join me at NAB Show on Tuesday April 9 2019 (9.00am-9.20am) at #N260, to learn more about the possibilities of evolving OTT operations from Linear to On-Demand. During my presentation, I will focus on a number of functions that can be enabled through integrated workflows, including:
- Transcoding linear content from traditional CBR to multi-profile ABR (h.264 or HEVC)
- Scheduling specific events/programs or entire linear channels to be recorded and protecting al recordings form data loss with video-specific optimizations
- Absorbing linear metadata about programming and converting it into consumable VOD metadata for file-based assets
- Creating frame-accurate advertising insertion points on linear content
- Streaming all content according to the correct protocol per device