Its the right time to tap into the multiscreen viewing opportunity in emerging markets as online viewing gains momentum, says Jennifer Baisch Markets such as the Middle East hold enormous potential for any media company, especially given the statistics for online portable device use in the region. For example, according to a March 2013 report […]
Its the right time to tap into the multiscreen viewing opportunity in emerging markets as online viewing gains momentum, says Jennifer Baisch
Markets such as the Middle East hold enormous potential for any media company, especially given the statistics for online portable device use in the region. For example, according to a March 2013 report by CyberMedia Research, a Southeast Asian market intelligence firm, tablet use in India is rising rapidly. India sold 3.11 million tablets in 2012, with 1.09 million shipped in the October-December quarter alone. The report also says that the market has changed rapidly since tablets were first launched in India in October 2010. In 2012, “phablets” (a class of smartphones with screen sizes ranging between five and eight inches) constituted about 16.5% of total sales, a trend that is expected to strengthen in the coming quarters. On top of that, deregulation has resulted in hundreds of new channels of programming in India, home to well over a billion people.
India is representative of a number of countries in emerging markets, where online video viewing is taking off. Clearly the market is ripe for streaming live programming online to audiences in these regions through their internet-connected devices. Creating an online streaming-video service provides a whole new way for emerging markets broadcasters and other content providers to capture viewers and build brand loyalty and build new revenue streams through subscriptions, pay per view, or advertising.
But building a successful streaming service in an emerging market can be challenging. Many broadcasters rely on a mix of older technologies and video workflows, working alongside state-of-the-art broadcast equipment, but none of it is ready for web delivery. Investing in new resources and infrastructure to deliver streaming content can be daunting, considering how quickly devices, formats, and standards are changing.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of service providers and technologies, offering turnkey solutions that allow emerging market broadcasters to take advantage of the opportunities that streaming live video presents. For some broadcasters, it could be as simple as tapping into established broadcast media transport infrastructure and workflows and connecting with streaming video workflow providers, who ready broadcast content for delivery over the web to millions of internet-connected devices anywhere in the world.
The typical process of delivering live video online follows four steps:
The first step in powering any live, online streaming broadcast, is acquiring content sources to be processed for delivery to a variety of connected devices. Acquiring content can be a challenge, especially in emerging markets: dedicated fibre networks to source locations arent ubiquitous in emerging markets, and satellite uplink and time can be expensive.
Connecting with a network provider that can get your data into a secure pipeline for publication such as the comprehensive global infrastructure offered by Indias Tata Communications, one of the largest communications providers in the world can greatly improve this process. For example, Tata Communications has 300 media hotspots across 125 cities globally, to enable source acquisition for many emerging market centres.
IP backhaul is also a good solution for content owners. This method of transmission uses a local exchange carrier to deliver the broadcast to an internet exchange, where it can then be pushed to a larger network provider. The larger carrier transports it securely to a facility for media processing and web delivery to connected devices. IP transport enables content owners to provide live, streaming broadcasts from nearly any location in the world and often at a lower cost than other transmission methods.
After picking up the video feed, the next step in the process is to encode and encrypt the content so that it can eventually be delivered over the internet in any format to any device. After the newly acquired video arrives at a media-processing facility, it enters an online video workflow for encoding and encryption. Encoding is a fairly straightforward step until you introduce variables such as multiple formats for multiple devices, multiple sources, security, and adaptive bit rates a complication that can be a barrier to entry for many broadcasters. Working with an established service provider for media processing eliminates many of the complexities of delivering broadcast content to a myriad devices.
After encoding comes encryption. Securing content is critical if emerging market content distributors want to be able to offer the most popular content from inside and outside their regions. In order to secure streams so that they cant be recorded and shared without permission, the streams must be encrypted as theyre being digitised or encoded. Again, working with experienced streaming providers will help ensure that content is secured and remains so all the way through to playback.
Publishing and delivery
Once the content is processed and packaged for multiscreen delivery, it is time to publish the video and deliver it to internet-connected viewers. Typically, the formatted and packaged content will travel via a secure private network from the media-processing facility to a content delivery network (CDN) for delivery. An ideal scenario is one in which the media processing and network provider are partnered or even located together. When the relationship between networking provider and media processing provider is strong, it improves the flow across the entire video pipeline.
For example, iStreamPlanet, which provides proven video workflows and services for multiplatform online-video delivery, has teamed up with Tata Communications to offer a joint solution that does just that.
The combined services of Tata Communications and iStreamPlanet offer an end-to-end solution with advanced media backhaul and processing capabilities. Tata Communications transports live broadcast video feeds from any of its 300 media hotspots to iStreamPlanet for media processing. By combining Tata Communications global infrastructure for moving media with iStreamPlanets purpose-built workflows for online live video, content providers of all sizes have a cost-effective and secure way to use their existing content and workflows to meet the growing demand for live streaming video on connected devices.
Once the content has been processed and optimised for each targeted device, its delivered via the CDN to the player. Whether its a PC, a Mac, a smartphone, or a tablet, the player needs to be optimised for each device to provide a seamless viewing experience. Video playback analytics are also typically collected by the client or player. Creating a robust player thats configured to properly handle high-quality video playback, digital rights management, and analytics is critical to delivering a high-quality streaming video experience. The video player is also a critical element for supporting streaming video business models that include advertising, subscription, and pay-per-view monetisation methods.
The bottom line: Emerging markets are on the edge of tremendous growth in connected media, and now is the time for broadcasters and other content owners to establish online video strategies and begin putting solutions in place. There is a growing ecosystem of networks and service providers with combined solutions that make it easier than ever before to expand broadcast content delivery, reach new audiences, and create new revenue opportunities.
Jennifer Baisch is a Senior Director for Product and Services Marketing at iStreamPlanet.