By Erik Ramberg, VP, Head of Global Business Development, MediaKind
Although the amount of media content audiences consume today has increased astronomically, availability and access to this content remains in a state of flux. Published in September 2020, Double Verify’s ‘Four Fundamental Shifts in Media & Advertising During 2020’ report found that global online content consumption doubled last year, with consumers turning to TVs, smartphones, and other forms of digital media to remain informed, connected, and entertained during pandemic-related lockdowns.
To remain relevant and keep their audiences enticed, content owners of all types and sizes must find new and dynamic ways of delivering their content to consumers. Traditional methods of video delivery, such as satellite or analog cable, are often costly and not tailored for streaming consumption. What’s more, the growing demand for content is placing less value on each piece of programming, making it more vital than ever for content owners to find engaging ways to reach their audiences.
What defines a content owner?
MediaKind has defined content owners as one of three key players within the media ecosystem today. Content owners possess the rights to live or on-demand content, be it sports, news, music, or other entertainment programming. Their goal is to establish and grow their brand among broad or niche audiences, achieved by delivering valuable content to consumers across a range of screens and devices. They have traditionally achieved this through deals with broadcasters and operators, as well as multichannel program distributors.
Over the past few years, we have seen many content owners and channel originators venture into the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) market, building and growing their own over-the-top (OTT) streaming services that are offered directly to their fan bases. DTC OTT services provide a valuable solution for content owners to maximize the value of their assets while also experimenting with exciting and engaging experiences for their audiences, such as betting, merchandising, ticketing, and social engagement. You can read more about the DTC OTT landscape within a sports context in MediaKind’s 2021 Sports DTC Forecast.
Streaming challenges for content owners
As the market stands today, there are currently just a handful of companies with the financial and technical means to deliver a successful DTC OTT service. These challenges boil down to two main areas: delivering live video at scale and integrating the service within a multichannel video distributor’s offering.
Those who possess more niche or targeted content and perhaps lack the technical weight and budget to build their own standalone streaming service face slightly more pressing challenges. They must still prioritize delivering content for aggregated service delivery while also finding time to expand their offerings for digital audiences.
Tapping the potential of DTC
Content owners must consider several prerequisites to build and grow a profitable and relevant DTC service. These include a personalized user and content experience, high-quality streaming at the lowest bitrate, seamless and instant content discovery, as well as an easy and unified billing process. The latency of the streaming experience must also be equivalent or similar to broadcast quality.
Hitting the target on these features is certainly not a straightforward endeavor. MediaKind has been working with several content owners to help them deliver the best possible content experiences to their audiences. Earlier this year, we worked with Altice Portugal to provide low latency coverage of UEFA Euro 2020, providing subscribers to its MEO streaming service with premium soccer coverage throughout the tournament. We also worked with NBC Olympics to provide encoding technology and 24/7 on-the-ground support during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, ensuring high-quality performance.
Our solution for the DTC market
Recognizing the potential for content owners to embrace more direct relationships with their fanbases, MediaKind has launched a new solution directly geared towards the DTC market. MediaKind Engage is a cloud-based DTC platform that allows broadcasters and content owners to deliver their services to consumers. The solution handles the contribution, distribution, encoding, and fan and consumer engagement elements to enable content owners to provide compelling and engaging content.
We’ve designed the solution to help content owners achieve their goals with best-in-class quality, reliability, and robust streaming, enabling them to reach large audiences – whether acquired through direct marketing or by integration with multichannel distributor’s sales channels. By choosing MediaKind Engage, we hope content owners can focus on what they do best (creating fantastic content!) while delivering experiences to their fans that might not have been possible a few years ago.
You can learn more about MediaKind Engage and the services it offers here.