IP & Live production workflows – Key to competing

While digital change is felt everywhere, few sectors have experienced the degree of disruption that has reshaped the TV and broadcast industry. Wave after wave of technological progress has swept across the industry, bringing both pain and opportunity. Those slow to respond have lost market share (or worse), but the agile innovators have taken advantage of the new conditions and grown to positions of strength.

Despite the massive changes that have already taken place, much more is still to come. The biggest change underway is the accelerating move to more content platforms, more screens (especially mobile), and OTT. And for those who are willing to transform their networks and workflows, mobile creates major opportunities for new revenue streams and business models.

Viewing on the move

Since 2012, weekly viewing has risen by 1.5 hours across all screens. But this total figure hides a fascinating trend – use of fixed TV screens has declined by 2.5 hours, while weekly mobile screen use has risen by 4 hours. The decline in relevance of TV sets – at a time when they are more sophisticated than ever before, with extraordinary features and picture quality – merely underscores how compelling and essential mobile devices have become to viewers.

According to Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report, the “mobile” trend will continue and, by early 2020, half of all TV and video viewing will be on a mobile device. Even when viewers are watching linear TV, their mobile devices are increasingly on hand as well. Content providers who are able to capture users simultaneously on multiple screens, rather than allow those screens to compete for the users’ attention, will open up powerful and compelling monetization opportunities, extracting more value from every piece of content they control. For example, providers can add value to live sports events with app-based scorecards, replays, player profiles, gaming features, and social interaction – all monetizable via premium subscriptions or advertising opportunities.

Live is where the action is

As for what people are watching, one of the main growth areas is live content. Live events, such as sports and concerts attract huge interest from viewers. With the growth of mobile, people expect more from event coverage – more camera angles, more information, more features. But they also want to participate more, interacting with the event and with other viewers. Networks at the Rio Olympics carried four times as much data traffic as those at the London Olympics, only four years earlier. Up to a third of that data was up-link traffic, suggesting massive levels of social sharing.

Doing more with less

With the impending arrival of 5G mobile networks, not only will greatly expanded bandwidth drive consumer expectation, it will also enable providers to deliver more and richer content. Higher resolutions, such as 4K and 8K, and immersive streaming video in AR/VR and 360 formats will quickly become table stakes for competing on the main stage.

As compelling as these new opportunities are, it’s a major challenge to fully take advantage of them. Covering more live events means moving to a distributed production model, with flexible, on-demand resources and efficient workflows. Creating content and applications for multiple device types requires agile, service-centric platforms. Making the most of second-screen social potential calls for truly synchronized, low-latency delivery. And bringing it all together and delivering at scale is only possible in powerful, high-capacity networks.

A new position paper by research agency Ovum, examines the current state of the industry as it responds to these transformative demands, and discusses the importance of live production workflows on IP networks for lowering total cost of ownership and helping businesses improve their average revenue per user (ARPU).

Data source: Ericsson ConsumerLab TV & Media Report 2017