Multi-device delivery allows content owners to build audiences, but how do you protect ownership? Audiences still watch television, but demand for second-screen experiences is sky-rocketing. An NBC Sports study on the London 2012 Olympics discovered that those watching the action on four devices (TV, PC, tablet and smartphone) viewed 42% more hours of content per day […]
Multi-device delivery allows content owners to build audiences, but how do you protect ownership?
Audiences still watch television, but demand for second-screen experiences is sky-rocketing. An NBC Sports study on the London 2012 Olympics discovered that those watching the action on four devices (TV, PC, tablet and smartphone) viewed 42% more hours of content per day than those watching on TV alone. Live events also boost engagement levels tenfold and capture a more diverse audience, which greatly expands advertising opportunities. It is easy to see how this would appeal to those tasked with monetising content, and why such executives would be actively exploring options for the building of a multi-channel delivery system.
Such trends were a hot topic at Microsofts recent Take your Media to the next level, take it to the Cloud event in Dubai. The Gulfs Internet and smartphone penetration rates are obvious opportunities for multiple-device content-delivery services and delegates proved eager to learn how the cloud could be used to capture wider audiences.
It is no mystery as to what is causing the shift in consumer appetites. The device revolution is no longer a revolution it is now the new paradigm. But industry sectors are still catching up, frantically innovating against current penetration figures and projected growth. There are many market reports that summarise the mind-bending scale of what is happening. There are 7.2bn devices in the world, one study might say; their numbers are growing five times faster than those of humans, claims another; at some point in the not-too-distant future there will be 20bn devices generating nearly 11 exabytes thats 11bn GB each month. In other words, growth, growth, growth.
IP protection and monetisation
How then do we take advantage of all this, and the more-screens-equals-more-viewership proposition? Wider distribution should not come at the expense of the proper licensing and protection of intellectual property, otherwise the end-game monetisation is forfeit. Any platform you build should integrate robust digital rights management and content encryption and allow you to effortlessly splice this together with your business rules for licensing, geo-blocking, ad pricing and more.
If you are looking for a way to distribute any technology-centric service globally today, then the cloud should be your first and last consideration. Multiple industries now rely on cloud services for everything from basic back-office ICT operations to core-business services to customers. The key proposition to organisations of all sizes is that the cloud shaves costs while delivering extraordinary flexibility of scale. It also shrinks the cost and logistic hassle of testing technology services. Try one architecture and if it does not meet specifications, change it or grow it instantly. The cloud does nothing less than to make possible projects that would have been unthinkable five or 10 years ago.
During the 2014 Soccer World Cup, Italian digital-media company deltatre delivered a platform that allowed FIFA licensees to offer audiences a sophisticated second-screen experience. The company faced not only having to deliver a high grade of interactivity including a choice of viewing angles, on-screen statistics and social media integration but also the cold hard fact that it could not predict with any certainty what peak capacity would look like. In the end, rather than spend the prohibitive hours and cash it would have taken to develop a bespoke in-house solution, deltatre opted for a cloud-based media platform that had the requisite tools already in place to deliver what they wanted and scale to whatever capacity was needed at peak streaming. deltatre used Microsofts Azure Media Services to deliver its World Cup 2014 solution and Azure Media Services Indexer allowed The Washington Post to fulfil its transcription requirements for delivery of its Truth Teller app.
The cloud helps. It can smooth the rough edges of delivery on large scale projects. Through the technology of virtualisation, real machinery, such as servers and routers, can be built in seconds, networks in minutes and complex software solutions including machine-learning intelligence can be licensed from any number of third-party providers.
In some cases, cloud platform companies can make the impossible possible simply because of their ability to scale effectively, or because of proprietary tools that can be easily integrated. The Washington Posts national politics editor Steven Ginsberg, having grown tired of politicians unchallenged ramblings, had the idea of building a resource that could verify the authenticity of verbal statements instantly. Unfortunately, this required the transcription of countless hours of legacy audio and video content to make it text-searchable. If not for a cloud providers software tool that was designed for just that purpose, The Posts Truth Teller app may never have become a reality.
Here in the GCC, where innovation is an everyday demand, stories such as these are bound to hit home. Most households in the region are multi-device domains, increasing consumption of content and, subsequently, marketing opportunities for content owners. There has never been a better time to consider what a cloud-based delivery platform can do for you.
Onur Ozdemir is Azure Media and Apps Lead for Microsoft Middle East & Africa.
MICROSOFT INTRODUCES AZURE TO MENA BROADCASTERS
Last month, Microsoft held its first large-scale event for broadcasters in the Middle East along with partners, Imagine Communications, Cedexis and Akamai. The event, which brought together around 100 industry professionals, gave the manufacturers and solution providers an opportunity to discuss their cloud-based solutions in greater detail with media professionals. Microsoft showcased Azure Media Services as a platform that enables on-demand and live-streaming video solutions for consumer and enterprise scenarios. They demonstrated how multiple scalable components are built into the solution to allow organisations to build custom media workflows in the cloud. These include cloud upload and storage; encoding and media intelligence; content protection measures; live and on-demand streaming with integrated content-delivery network capabilities; and a rich analytics suite. Imagine Communications demonstrated, together with Microsoft Cloud, its flexible and scalable playout solutions that enable customers to launch new channels, expand their audiences and deliver cross-platform services with much less startup and lower capital equipment costs. Microsoft demonstrated to the audience that one can transition to the cloud at their own pace, and maximise existing investments through a hybrid deployment approach, integrating new, virtualised infrastructure with their current on-site systems. Cedexis also showed the number of outages across the world at each point in time and explained how it optimises web performance across data centres, content delivery networks (CDNs) and clouds for companies that wanted to ensure 100% availability. It also spoke at length about the Buffer Killer for better internet video.