What we saw at NAB 2019 was the continuation of some of the trends in 2018, with the emergence of new developments. So the key trends for 2019 are:
The Direct-to-consumer Shift
The cord-cutting trend continues, especially In younger audiences, in a landscape where vMVPDs are multiplying and the skinny bundle model is gaining momentum. To adapt to this ongoing trend, more and more players are entering the direct-to-consumer OTT arena – broadcasters of the scope of NBC and ESPN are making the shift, together with content providers such as Formula 1 and the NBA recently launching their own services. On top of broadcasters and content owners going direct-to-consumer, FAANG have seen the value of live content and are aggressively moving into the space with the launch of their own services.
This changes the consumer dynamics of the TV of the future, that have been shifting since the rise of SVOD giants like Netflix and are now turning towards live. One major driver is the value of the live sports vertical, that attracts huge flash crowds from all over the world – customers’ numbers are rising, and so are their expectations for fewer and larger suppliers. And despite interactivity making its way into the live streaming discourse, ultra-low latency at scale is still a far-away goal in real-life deployments, and viewers’ tolerance to poor streaming is dropping fast. This is where our solution Sye comes in, solving these challenges with ultra-low latency, fully synchronized live streaming that maintains broadcast-grade quality at scale. Sye is already being used to stream to more than hundreds of thousands concurrent viewers every day, and it is also available as a Service, a perfect fit for live sports, live quizzes and live betting. We have recently partnered with Media Excel and Microsoft Azure and are now delivering a one-click, end-to-end ultra-low latency and synchronized offering that is inclusive of transcoding. Read more here.
The Rise of Live
The rise of live-streamed video has shaken established business models and created completely new ones, and the industry keeps on consolidating, as shown by mergers such as the one between AT&T and WarnerMedia (formerly Time Warner). Content is still king, and technology-driven, immersive content personalization is the next big thing. The demand for new types of production with more content, more angles, and the ability to tailor this content to the user later in the production and distribution value chain is increasing, adding pressure on equipment suppliers by pushing for robust solutions at scale. A consequence of this is the increasing move of professional media workflows to the internet, which is now becoming mainstream after being in the works for many years, and which is being driven, among other things, by the shutdown of c-band satellite in the US. The move into IP-based workflows makes for greater interoperability, with the goal of getting essence streams to move between studios faster and easier, and to get a better production workflow. An important continuing trend in this context is the market acceptance for the new SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards for professional live media transport over IP networks. These new standards are designed to support separate video, audio and data for live production and other professional media applications. We are supporting SMPTE ST 2110 in our Nimbra portfolio, and you can read more about it here.
Another significant trend we have seen in the rise of live is that of the strive for openness, which is becoming the key to ensure interoperability and simplified workflows. The ultimate goal of going towards easier and faster productions is why we have added support for RIST to our Nimbra portfolio for interoperable Internet media transport, made it open source, and we have also taken a leading co-chair role in the collaborative RIST Forum. You can read more about our contribution here. On the topic of interoperability in professional media transport, we have also joined the SRT Alliance and participated in a panel at NAB on leveraging SRT and cloud broadcast services to accelerate production in the Microsoft Azure ecosystem, about which you can find more info here. Another player looking to democratize access to cloud-based processing of live workflows is AWS, which has announced upcoming support for RIST, and has implemented Zixi to the same end.
Actionable Business Intelligence
In today’s competitive business environment, every enterprise needs to turn their data into comprehensive actionable intelligence that can be easily understood and monetized. Making business decisions based on solely on an organization’s transactional history amounts to management by assumption and anecdote. Organizations that truly excel do so by elevating their understanding their specific business drivers and how they can be dynamically optimized by leveraging leading and lagging key performance indicators. The wealth of operational, financial and utilization data managed by ScheduALL can now be leveraged to create analytics that are surpass mere descriptive information into predictive analytics that drive truly actionable business intelligence. Learn more about it here.
Remote Production is Booming
The rise of the value of live and the direct-to-consumer shift, combined with Increased cost pressure, are leading to broadcasters and media companies to change their way of producing and distributing content – first and foremost, Remote, At-home or Distributed Production is aiming at producing more and better content at lower cost, and is driving development for the ability to tailor the content for omni-channel distribution. In order to increase the amount of content that can be distributed to different properties and channels, and at the same time drive down the costs, broadcasters have to adopt more efficient ways of producing content, both remotely and automatically.
With the goal of achieving high-quality media transport while cutting costs, Net Insight was part of the largest remote IP production event ever in occasion of the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, held in Åre, Sweden. The production setup boasted the highest number of cameras deployed and the highest volume of remote signals sent to SVT’s headquarters in Stockholm. Read more about it here.
Crewing and Events Management
With the dramatic increase in live events and distributed production, the ability to efficiently coordinate all available resources regardless of location is truly essential in today’s media and broadcast market. Workflows and staffing requirements have dramatically increased in complexity, making it necessary to be able to manage these at a higher, events-based level instead of on a detailed, task-by-task basis. ScheduALL’s already-rich functionality has evolved with the industry and technology trends to provide unparalleled resource optimization capability. You can learn more about It here.
Towards the Cloud
It’s evident that cloud-based computing is no longer an increasing trend: it’s a reality that has firmly arrived and matured into a variety of diverse deployment options, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Analytics as a Service (AaaS). The Evolution of ScheduALL fully embraces cloud computing for any of these options (including a customized hybrid of any of the above), based on an organization’s individual requirements. You can learn more about It here.
The continuing shift in the way of producing and distributing content is driven, among other things, by the growth in content volume and by the introduction of 5G, which is forcing content to move out of satellite and into new infrastructures to free up spectrum. Following this, one significant trend that appeared is the utilization of cloud resources for producing, transcoding, storage and playout in order to achieve elasticity, robustness and the cost benefits of shared resources.
This is why Nimbra Edge was born, our secure, interoperable and easy to use cloud transport solution, made to scale and deliver professional live media workflows such as primary distribution and interconnect services. Nimbra Edge targets primary distribution, sports and news interconnect through a cloud-native architecture. It was demonstrated at this year’s NAB and you can read more about it here.
All About E-sports
With the introduction of cheaper ways of producing and distributing content, new types of content and storytelling are on the rise and capturing eyeballs, and verticals in the spotlight include live sports, live news – one example being the Google News Initiative – and E-sports. Today’s audience requires technology that can provide distribution to multiple platforms and that is tailor-made for each viewer. This is why E-sports is now way past being a niche content vertical, with a market that is growing exponentially and expected to reach around $3 billion by 2022. The E-sports vertical is unique in the sense that it combines Quality of Experience requirements from traditional sports, namely ultra-low latency and scalability – to avoid spoiling the experience for huge global audiences – but also, due to its younger audience, has higher requirements in terms of engagement and interactivity. Our solution Sye, which combines ultra-low latency and scalability with synchronization of audio, video and metadata, allows for metadata overlays in the app, both one-time notifications and continuous streams such as self-updating leaderboards, making it a perfect fit for next-generation interactive live experiences. Sye’s synchronized metadata feature was demonstrated at NAB and you can learn more about the solution here.