What is in this article?:
What we’ve learned from this past year is that consumers want to watch video in places other than their living room.
Monetizing video streams
Yet that does not mean networks and local stations made a lot of money on it. NBC Universal provided access to more than 5500 hours of Olympics coverage, with 272 hours on the main NBC channel alone. That’s almost 2000 hours more than they offered U.S. viewers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It came away with a slight profit, although when you factoring in all of the operational costs, it was probably a wash (which is better than the Vancouver Winter Games, which lost an estimated $223 million for the network in 2010).
“Broadcasters have to figure out how to more effectively monetize multiscreen-delivered content, and that will be a focus of everyone in 2013,” said Sam Blackman, CEO of Portland, OR-based Elemental Technologies.
During the summer Olympics, his multiscreen services company helped broadcasters like EuroSport, CTV (Canada) and Terra Networks (Brazil) deliver 27 streams/channels at any one time to tablets, smart phones and computers.
“This year broadcasters made the first ever all-digital experience of the Olympics completely transformative,” Blackman said. “Instead of just watching a single TV channel, you could watch every event at any time, either live or on-demand. That’s very powerful for both the consumer and the media brand. We are seeing large providers like ESPN, ABC and HBO doing a great job, where some of their online properties are getting higher ad rates than they are with their traditional TV channels. It’s even higher than legacy VOD.”
What made it possible was file-based and IP file delivery architectures and workflows, which can be deployed and reconfigured relatively easily and cost-effectively. The days of SDI-HD baseband video are clearly numbered.
Karl Schubert, chief technology officer at Grass Valley, sees broadcasters and media companies around the world continuing an industry-wide migration to file-based and IP workflows, and manufacturers supporting that initiative with an increasing amount of software and networked platforms that allow users to work collaboratively and a lot more efficiently.
“The advantage of software is that it allows us to get closer to realizing what the creatives want to do,” Schubert said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about for a technology vendor. The closer you are to hardware, the farther you are from the creative process. When we speak to customers about their creative goals, we find can show them how we can help do the same current work with less physical technology in front of them. They immediately become interested. Who wouldn't? As a company, Grass Valley is working hard to enable creativity. So, the tools do not define the task, but the other way around. That’s how we’ll keep our customers and help them migrate to the next best thing and allow them to increase their productivity and realize their business and creative objectives.”
Getting there in the next few years is a challenge that Schubert has taken on with enthusiasm and an understanding that budgets are limited in many cases, so the digital workflow transition might happen slower than some might expect. This is especially true, he said, in emerging countries like China and South America, where many broadcast and production facilities are just now being converted from standard-definition to high-definition operations.
Indeed, the coming year will be filled with significant innovations in the area of IP-based networks and packet-based global signal delivery. But, can existing wired infrastructures needed to deliver all of this video handle all of this increased IP traffic?