The last few years have demonstrated that consumers are open to change, as viewing habits and preferences rapidly pivot towards digital platforms. Audience demand for OTT platforms is increasing at an impressive rate. A recent report from Allied Market Research found that “the global OTT market size is projected to reach $1,039.03 billion in five years, growing at a CAGR of 29.4% from 2020 to 2027.”
Changes to content delivery methods are also gathering pace. Liberty Global is looking to abandon DVB-C (Digital Video Broadcasting - Cable) in favor of all-IP delivery, impacting its extensive channel portfolio throughout Europe. Add to that the launch of Sky Glass, an IP-based, fully-featured deployment that integrates hardware, software, and content. As well as a new digital-first strategy for ITV, with the launch of its hybrid streaming service ITVX. It is clear that change is on the horizon.
The widespread adoption of IP contribution and distribution will not only influence overall OTT market growth, but also maximize content reach and access, expand demographics, and help support advertising revenue generation.
Below are three key benefits of an IP-based approach to live content delivery:
The contribution and distribution of feeds using a traditional infrastructure is often costly, with limitations extending right through the content delivery chain. Satellite is also not well suited to the evolving landscape of broadcast, where expanding cost-effectively into new regions has become a significant driver for revenue opportunities.
Certain regions fall outside of a satellite footprint for distributing content. Moving live feeds from events in Europe to regions such as APAC requires multiple hops. By contrast, IP can use a combination of downlinks, cross-connects, and teleport facilities, within a blended content delivery network to get the content where it needs to be at a fraction of the cost. This allows providers to trial more variety, localize feeds in different regions, and increase access for global demographics.
A one-size-fits-all delivery approach, where consumers are served a limited selection of content from major broadcasters, works with the satellite model. But to truly diversify choice for consumers, the feeds from live events need to increase in volume and be more varied. This is particularly relevant for live music and sports offerings which aim to provide an immersive experience for OTT viewers.
Content personalization such as recommendations, can arguably only be achieved over IP. But another key factor in delivering a more customized experience is the ability to pause and restart live TV, allowing the audience to fit the content around their schedule and not the other way around. With IP, content formats can also be expanded to engage consumers and deliver unparalleled content depth, including multiple camera angles and more supplementary content. This has huge implications for leveraging innovative technologies such AR and VR within a live event context. Instead of simply offering fans a front-row seat, multiple feeds would enable providers to give them VIP backstage access. For fans that want to follow the action from every viewpoint, a variety of feeds could give them a 360-degree event experience or allow them to become part of the half-time pep talk.
Monetizing an audience
Offering an alternative for customers who are unable to afford the subscription price tag is important, and the cost-effective nature of IP can help an AVOD model thrive. Audiences have the benefit of enjoying premium live content and providers can build up an audience quickly. But one of the key issues with this model is the potential for churn if the advertising becomes irrelevant. By implementing personalized advertising technology using viewer data, providers can help ensure that the audience sees only relevant commercial messages.
With diversified content and an affordable delivery method, comes more monetization opportunities. Providers can mix up the content offering and then tailor the advertising to suit. The cost-effective nature of IP delivery means that opportunities for niche sports content then comes to the fore. By targeting less conventional sports, the audience is less generic and that will also make them feel more connected to those messages.
In a world where content providers are looking to diversify offerings around live events, enhance monetization models, and maximize reach in new regions, satellite delivery clearly has significant drawbacks. It’s important to ask – if you are using the cloud to get content to consumers, why not leverage the recent advancements in IP technology to transport the live feeds in the first place?