The standards paradox
One of the reasons that content owners offload the responsibility of content preparation and delivery for VOD platforms to content services companies is the sheer level of complexity. This is brought about by a lack of standardization and the amount of manual labor involved in delivering to multiple operators — often on short notice. This often results in a large cost of fulfillment for content owners wishing to monetize their content over the Internet.
It’s easy to look at the various components of VOD delivery and surmise that there are already standards in place to make life easier. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. The explosion of multiplatform TV over the past few years has been brought about by a large number of technology innovators working in isolation to create new standards. As a result, for every component of VOD delivery (AV, metadata, subtitles/captions, network delivery) there is a growing number of competing standards.
Therefore, the paradox is that with many competing standards, there really is no official standard. As a consequence, delivery of TV and film to the Internet is still in its infancy and desperately in need of standards frameworks to remove the manual processes, complexity and costs.
Taking control with a single software platform
The good news is that standards are emerging that are better thought out and more relevant to the world of multiplatform delivery. Another nice side effect of the maturing industry is that viewers are consolidating to a smaller number of larger VOD platforms such as iTunes and Netflix. They’re also self-publishing to fewer and larger platforms such as YouTube and Dailymotion. Therefore, it will be easier for content owners to hit a larger audience while delivering to a smaller number of platforms.
In addition to this, software platforms are emerging to answer the new world of Internet TV delivery — whether through self-publishing or VOD delivery. New advanced MAM and workflow systems are emerging that can automate the complex business rules around VOD delivery, including transcoding, metadata transforming, republishing, packaging and delivery. These new software systems offer adaptors that plug in to existing platforms such as YouTube and Dailymotion and offer workflow orchestration for more advanced VOD delivery. Much of this new software is being offered as a service so content owners can take control of their content and delivery, thus increasing visibility and dramatically lowering their Internet delivery costs.
One thing that is for sure: Delivering TV and film content to the Internet will be quicker, easier and less costly in the next five years compared to the previous five years. This will be brought about by the consolidation of film and TV services and a slow adoption of standards for all elements of content delivery.
—Jon Folland is CEO of Nativ.