Broadcasters must leverage robust IP networks for more reliable delivery of low-latency, broadcast-quality live video, says Andreas Jacobi.
Andreas Jacobi is co-founder and CEO of Make.TV
With every broadcaster wanting to be the first to break a story, news production teams struggle to acquire, produce and broadcast content in a timely manner. Enter the cloud-based infrastructures helping newsrooms create agile workflows and establish collaborative production processes.
Today, anyone can be a content creator, with consumers now empowered to create more content than ever before. Cisco forecasts that by 2022, live video will make up 17% of all video traffic on the internet – and the Middle East and Africa will experience the highest mobile data traffic growth of any region, increasing by 56% by 2022.
With the proliferation of high-quality cameras on smartphones and social media platforms, broadcasters need not rely on professional cameras and OB vans to capture and produce content for live on-air distribution. Assets from professional cameras are being complemented by drones and connected devices, resulting in impactful, attention-grabbing stories.
Harnessing the rise of citizen journalists and enriching content acquisition
With the advent of new technologies and social media, IHS Markit estimates that the number of citizen journalists will increase by 145% a year from now until 2025, and this rapid growth is reshaping how newsrooms operate. The rise of user-generated content (UGC) opens up new opportunities to enrich broadcasts by providing first-hand accounts, new angles and broader perspectives from the scene.
However, contributing video to a media network is still challenging if uploading footage even on the fastest networks can take a significant amount of time.
To harness this, broadcasters need to look at applications with Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). This enables videos to be streamed to the production studio for direct live broadcast, or recorded in the cloud.
Such features allow media networks to invite external contributors from the field to provide remote interviews, call-ins or live footage of a major incident from either a mobile reporter or an eyewitness in the vicinity. Crucially, in time-critical situations, WebRTC does not require contributors to download a dedicated app.
Cloud supports content acquisition from unlimited concurrent live feeds, including professional cameras, encoders, smartphones and online sources (RTMP, RTSP, MPEG-TS, WebRTC, SRT, HLS, MPEG-Dash) anywhere in the world. Therefore, to acquire content from citizen journalists and enable seamless live reporting from any device, newsrooms are now making the transition to cloud-based infrastructures.
Optimised production through cloud-enabled curation and syndication
Cloud helps newsrooms speed up broadcast production drastically while reducing the costs associated with satellite syndication. As streams from multiple inputs are ingested, they are collated in the MCR with a continuous playback multiview.
The use of metadata simplifies content creation for editorial teams, as they can filter contributors and explore sources through configured inputs such as professional cameras, mobile contributions and geolocations.
Platform-agnostic content distribution
Once the content is collated and curated, the cloud enables newsrooms to distribute live signals simultaneously to unlimited destinations in terms of online and traditional broadcast infrastructure (newsrooms, mixers and switchers), or directly to social media for fresh, multifaceted news reporting. Unlimited output distribution means broadcasters will have the ability to significantly increase audience reach through a single broadcast.
As news broadcasters start to move towards cloud-enabled IP-based workflows and distribution models, they need to consider the transport solutions available. It is unacceptable for any media organisation to have a stream go down during a live broadcast. Therefore, broadcasters must leverage robust IP networks for more cost-effective and reliable delivery of low-latency, broadcast-quality live video.
As live video traffic and mobile usage continue to grow, news broadcasters need to evolve their workflows and processes to harness the rise of UGC. Cloud technologies will help newsrooms enrich content acquisition by tapping into citizen journalists to source hyper-local content and enable instant live deployment without the need for complicated and timely set-ups. Cloud also offers the flexibility and cost-efficiency that newsrooms need in order to continue to produce and break news stories across multiple platforms at the same time.