With growing appetite among consumers for connected TVs, direct online publishing that is connected to the cloud makes IPTV feasible and profitable. Leveraging cloud technology with its scalable resources minimises capital costs and streamlines workflows, says Rino Petricola Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is becoming increasingly prevalent, thanks to rapidly advancing technology and the increasing availability […]
With growing appetite among consumers for connected TVs, direct online publishing that is connected to the cloud makes IPTV feasible and profitable. Leveraging cloud technology with its scalable resources minimises capital costs and streamlines workflows, says Rino Petricola
Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is becoming increasingly prevalent, thanks to rapidly advancing technology and the increasing availability of high-bandwidth networks. Consumers can now watch live, time-shifted, and on-demand television on just about any connected device wherever there is a sufficient internet connection. At the same time, consumers are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to these types of services, and consequently have more expectations of IPTV providers.
IPTV: an opportunity in the face of great challenge
IPTV, also known as over-the-top or OTT television, presents a new and potentially lucrative opportunity for content owners and distributors to repurpose their archives and generate more advertising revenue. Consumers are not only replacing their traditional televisions with larger and more connected ones, but advances in the cellular and tablet markets are making connected mobility more prevalent than ever, hence the demand for TV anywhere. Whether a consumer gets content at home or on the go, improvements in encoding technology and bandwidth infrastructure mean content owners can deliver what is often better quality content by IP than by traditional linear terrestrial and satellite methods.
At the same time, IPTV is not without its challenges. Content owners face technological challenges, high labour costs, shrinking budgets, and, in some cases, lack of a clear implementation strategy.
To make matters worse, many content owners rely on homegrown and unnecessarily complex content management and distribution solutions to push content directly or indirectly to the end viewer. Such homegrown systems usually require excessive manual manipulation (and often capital investment), which reduces efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Specialised services often were created in a vacuum on an as-needed basis, and as a result, their associated online publishing workflows amount to an assortment of disjointed solutions from multiple vendors, held together with homemade technical glue. Workflow steps such as metadata entry, encapsulation, multiformat transcoding, review, packaging, delivery, and scheduling are manual, inefficient, and costly, and the workflows are rarely integrated with their associated file-based infrastructures. Even when owners do leverage file-based content, the publishing process is often still a manual one.
On top of that, ever-changing online essence and metadata requirements exponentially increase cost and complexity for each additional distribution target. With each potential revenue stream, organisations must invest in more staff members and equipment in order to feed it. Indeed, the financial barriers, coupled with the fact that perceived content value, viewer affinity and uptake, and acceptable user/advertiser pricing models remain difficult to quantify, make it difficult to define the revenue opportunity in the first place.
Such challenges threaten to undermine the moneymaking potential of IPTV and keep content owners from making the most of their assets. To overcome these challenges, they must revamp their operations and implement technologies that streamline management and distribution of IPTV content.
The connected approach
One approach is to employ a fully automated, highly efficient, rules-based online publishing solution that targets the most popular consumer technologies in other words, direct online publishing that is connected to the cloud. Such solutions make IPTV feasible and profitable. Leveraging cloud technology, with its elastically scalable resources, makes it possible to minimise capital costs and streamline workflows.
Content storage management: the key to efficient online publishing
The new cloud-based IPTV publishing solutions are based on the concept of content storage management (CSM), a storage and archiving solution that allows you to interconnect any number of independent, file-based workflows such as for news, production, post, and transmission with complete transparency to a central, unified storage repository comprised of cost-effective, commodity, IT-based storage devices.
Advanced CSM solutions are better than traditional archive solutions because they are built specifically for the unique demands of video. Video-aware features such as file-based quality assurance, timecode-based partial restore, and in-path content transcoding make it possible to store unlimited amounts of high-resolution assets and share them as files, seamlessly throughout an organisation through fully automated workflows. As the unifying layer for the media enterprise, CSM automatically eliminates difficulties arising from file compatibilities, essence types, wrappers, and so on.
One of the most valuable features of advanced CSM solutions is their ability to tap into the CSM storage repository, automatically, regardless of content format, and publish assets directly to any type and any number of online media platforms, including websites, mobile devices, gaming consoles, and aggregation/syndication sites. Once the file-based content has been created, theres no need for human involvement. The CSM solution integrates directly with the online publishing platform to manage the content from storage to online publication. It handles all aspects of the workflow automatically, including multiformat target-dependent transcoding, wrapping, metadata extraction, mapping, and encapsulation, as well as all of the necessary integration with the downstream CDN to reach end users directly on their preferred website, platform, or device.
The cloud: CSMs secret weapon
Content owners who adopt an advanced CSM solution are adopting all the scalability and efficiency of the cloud, because cloud-based services are at the core of CSM-based online video publishing. In fact, the cloud-based nature of the solution is the key to its value.
Cloud-based services perform all of the necessary and complex transcoding, metadata, packaging, scheduling, and delivery tasks in a CSM-based IPTV publishing workflow.
Unlike traditional homegrown solutions, a cloud-based online publishing solution scales on the fly to ensure the best possible turnaround times for key content, regardless of system loading. Mezzanine files are maintained in the cloud only for as long as is necessary to satisfy defined distribution policies. Maintaining these higher-quality instances of the content in the cloud during their active life makes it possible to enable additional distribution targets simply by adding them to the configured distribution policies; the publishing engine takes care of the rest.
Another advantage of the cloud is that it keeps up with ever-changing formats, requirements, and industrys best practices as online services evolve, which means content owners can leverage all of the latest technology through the cloud rather than investing the time and money to develop and maintain it themselves. Companies that take the cloud-based approach get near-immediate technology enhancements and upgrades, thereby ensuring content delivery is always compliant, and keeping up-front capital or staffing costs to a minimum. Lower up-front investment leaves them free to try as many potential revenue streams as they like because it wont cost any more to do so.
Cloud-based implementations also provide the detailed viewer analytics required to help ensure optimal return on investment. An advanced online publishing platform automatically collects information regarding viewing patterns, geography, viewer retention, and loyalty data that helps fine-tune the online publishing strategy to ensure resources and content are properly allocated.
Finally, recent advancements in the area of CSM as a service leverage hybrid cloud technologies to help make CSM more scalable, cost-effective, and accessible, even to smaller organisations.