The monitoring landscape within broadcast and OTT has been redefined to not just manage compliance and technical monitoring anymore, but to also accommodate post-broadcast requirements in one platform, says Mark Barkey.
The landscape of compliance and monitoring solutions has evolved dramatically, and customers are now looking for a solution that takes a customer-centric approach rather than a product-centric one.
Traditionally, a compliance and monitoring solution has often been, and still often is, limited to complying with the media regulatory authorities’ requirements for recording, loudness, SCTE and closed caption/subtitles monitoring, as well as providing technical alerts on audio, video and metadata issues. A mandatory recording and monitoring solution can benefit customers by providing additional workflows and integrations. It should not only serve the engineering department but become a cross-organisation platform that for example helps the digital media team find an effective workflow for content re-purposing to social, or helps the ads sales teams to increase revenues, or helps track content piracy.
Your monitoring solution to strengthen your brand
How quickly your content is published to your social and OTT is key to strengthening your brand and increasing viewer engagement. Broadcasters prefer not to use legacy editing systems or different MAM systems, which are complex solutions because they are expensive and require professional video editors and powerful workstations.
Innovative monitoring solutions include an advanced editing workflow for creating and publishing clips to new media, providing a simple interface and making more high-rated clips quickly, anytime from anywhere, and cost-effectively. When talking about social media, one of the major factors is the speed with which content is posted, often measured in seconds. This benefits from the fact that the video is already being recorded. Another advantage of having this workflow integrated with the recording system is using compliance metadata like As Run, EPG and CC/subtitles for clip automation and advanced searching.
One example of an efficient use case that can be part of the compliance solution is a complete workflow for creating a VOD library automatically: ingesting video and audio, removing all ads and creating clean programmes exported directly to the VOD library.
OTT quality monitoring becomes top priority
More and more broadcasters are expanding their distribution into OTT. While traditional broadcasters require a compliance solution to comply with regulatory authorities’ requirements, OTT monitoring is a must regardless of any mandatory requirements. Content owners have no visibility on the quality of experience (QoE) they provide their viewers, who have minimum tolerance for audio and video issues and can easily find competitive services. The QoE is crucial for business success.
With OTT, one difference is that video is distributed through different CDNs in multiple renditions. OTT service providers need a control centre to monitor all renditions within variable bitrate streams that provide QoE and QoS assessment, transport stream statistics, current and historical evaluations, alarm status, SCTE event tracking (showing actual SCTE message detail) and a list of ad-insert opportunities with alert notifications.
One problem the industry indicates regarding OTT monitoring options is the overflow of information on their OTT streams rather than focusing only on the significant ones. Central monitoring should allow operators to monitor the performance and technical aspects of the HLS stream through a rich dashboard, evaluate quality at the HTTP, manifest and content levels, and provide alerts on issues that genuinely impact the viewer experience without overloading the engineers with details that do not impact quality.
Automatic metadata generation, AI and automation
Metadata is key to searching and reusing content. AI and ML technologies are constantly developing, and their integration allows automatic metadata generation and automation. By using AI, the audio and video can be analysed from both technical and content perspectives.
When the number of TV, radio and internet channels increases, more content must be analysed and searched. Until recently this was done manually, which was inefficient, time-consuming, inaccurate and slow. By using speech-to-text and translation AI, users can receive keyword alerts on relevant topics, allowing fast response and awareness, or handle content sharing and repurposing immediately. Moreover, integrating AI with the advanced clipping workflow allows the relevant content to be automatically distributed and shared. This is one example out of many of using AI for automation.
How can your monitoring solution increase revenues?
Advanced fingerprinting technology allows tracking of any content, like movies or aired ads. The implementation of this technology is endless. For example, while a broadcaster can track ads based on the playout As Run files, this is impossible for competitive channels. Automatic content detection can do this instead, showing whether competitive channels gain more ad airtime, meaning higher revenues. Moreover, it will detect ads aired only on competitive channels. This information is critical for analysing ad revenue and competitive analysis. Another example is using fingerprinting technology for anti-piracy purposes and detecting unauthorised aired content that will result in revenue loss.
Cloud versus on-premise and monitoring solutions – the trend is changing
Monitoring solutions, mainly for regulatory purposes and technical alerts, are mostly being used as an on-premise solution, though other solutions like MAM and playout are moving to the cloud. The reason is the unavailability of the feeds in the cloud, as well as the fact that processing power is still a costly cloud resource as we talk about 24×7 recording. With the transition to IP and having content available in different streaming formats like SRT and HLS, together with better pricing for cloud resources and implementation of cloud-based optimisation technologies, the number of VM and cloud-based installations is increasing. OTT monitoring is a classic cloud-based service.
Mark Barkey is Director of Sales, Middle East, Actus Digital.