IT and IP technologies have enabled the boom in connected devices such as PCs, mobiles, tablets and games consoles. This has given audiences a greater choice of viewing platforms for watching their favorite television content not only on different devices, but also using different services, such as on-demand or streaming.
Such a trend is not only going to continue, it will grow exponentially over the next decade. Ericsson’s strategy group predicts that there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide in eight years. This will drive a dramatic rise in the number of hours audiences spend watching Internet video, which is expected to overtake traditional broadcast TV by 2019.
The freedom offered to audiences of what to watch, and where and when to watch, has led to a shift in the dynamic of who is in control of the viewing experience, away from the broadcasters and aggregators to be firmly in the hands of the consumer. While there are still those happy to watch what is available, more and more viewers want to dictate what, when and where they watch.
To be able to effectively compete in such a marketplace, broadcasters need to repurpose original content for multiple platforms and formats. However, additional transcoding and packaging creates more work for broadcasters and content distributors. Typically, the broadcasters and content owners have responded by adding “silos” within their operations center to cater to new platforms, increasing costs and complexity. This is happening at a time when they are seeing their main source of income, advertising, reduced as it is spread across more channels, and they are looking to reduce costs and become more efficient.
Along with the requirement for multiplatform distribution is a realization that live events can drive a premium revenue model, either by pay-per-view or through increased advertising. Therefore, there is a move amongst content owners and broadcasters to cover more events and produce more content from each event. This means deploying crews and equipment to smaller B & C events and trying to become more efficient in the coverage of such events.
Over the last few years, IT and IP technology has enabled nonlinear workflows in post production and news, dramatically increasing efficiency and reducing costs. However, because of the performance required, it has had little impact on the live production environments, where workflows have barely changed in 20 years.