TVB Europe 74 June 2020

Page 18



THE STREAMING LANDSCAPE This June issue of TVBEurope was always planned to chart the evolution of the streaming landscape following a busy period of platform launches and consumer take-up; what we hadn’t bargained for in our planning last autumn was the remarkable context in which we would be doing so. With much of the world confined to their homes in recent weeks streaming more on demand content, accessing more content via social media, and consuming more and more internet bandwidth as they work from home, are there lessons to be learnt about the capabilities of streaming technology through this testbed of lockdown? Will consumption habits

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, what key trends were you seeing with streaming in terms of the advance of the technology itself, and its application/adoption by broadcasters and media companies? JIM O’NEIL (JO): 2020 was turning into a watershed year for broadcasters and media companies in the streaming world. The number of big service launches in the US alone signaled that media companies had determined streaming wasn’t just a part of the future, it was the future. Disney started a big push in late 2019 with the launch of Disney Plus and continued that with expansion in the first quarter. There’s little doubt that the company has realised where consumers are going and wanted to be a part of that transition. Of course AT&T went all-in with its HBO Max launch plan, and its growth moving forward. Comcast/NBCUniversal launched Peacock earlier than planned as ad spend on traditional TV took a nose-dive in March because of the pandemic. But they already had determined streaming was going to be one of its core businesses.


be forever changed in our ‘new normal’? Are media companies late to the party with quality OTT offerings suddenly too late to play catch-up? To try to make sense of it all, we assembled a cast of industry experts to pore over these questions, and more, in our virtual roundtable. Contributors include (in no particular order): Jim O’Neil, principal analyst, Brightcove; Guy Taylor, head of account management, M2A Media; Luke Durham, CTO, Switch Media; Anders Wassén, head of online video development, Red Bee Media; John Wastcoat, SVP alliances and marketing, Zixi; and Erik Ahlin, founder and CEO, Vidispine.

GUY TAYLOR (GT): For M2A our expertise is in building services to deliver live sport. To that end, lowering latency has been something of increasing focus. We’re seeing a move towards standardising protocols for low latency and it was interesting to see Amazon’s acquisition of low latency specialist, Sye, from Net Insight at the start of this year, which is a statement of intent. In other areas, we’ve been working on dynamic content insertion and multi-track audio. With the global potential of any live streaming service, broadcasters are looking to maximise the reach of their content, through localisation. Dynamic content insertion, based on SCTE standards, and multi-track audio allows them to do this, whilst lowering their cost of delivery; both technologies facilitate the delivery of one stream to many. LUKE DURHAM (LD): Even prior to Covid-19, content owners were looking at ways to reduce costs and complexity, allowing them to extend their reach, free up operational resources and adapt to the changing OTT

landscape. They are looking for a best-of-breed solution without the need for customisation, other than adapting to company branding. Features this type of ‘off the shelf ’ solution may provide include secure VoD and live streaming with DRM; a global CDN service; real-time analytics reports; comprehensive metadata; high-definition ABR encoding; dynamic adinsertion (DAI); and a range of ready-to-go applications across every screen. DAI is a must for the modern media workflow. We’ve seen a lot of organisations put their traditional linear broadcast channels online without maximising the revenue from them. The ability to replace traditional broadcast ad breaks with more personalised, targeted and lucrative ads is hugely beneficial. This is particularly true in the area of live sports. DAI technology is a key feature for optimised monetisation as it uses server-side ad insertion technology, as opposed to the far less reliable client-side technology. ANDERS WASSÉN (AW): A trend that was apparent even before the coronavirus outbreak was cord-cutting, with households shifting to internet-based content consumption