How do you take user experiences beyond what’s possible with broadcast? How do you match audiences’ expectations in content consumption for unprecedented depth in today’s OTT and streaming ecosystem? The viewing experiences of the future are surrounded by a halo of excitement, in parallel with the challenges posed by the need for innovation.
The boundaries of modern broadcasting experiences have been pushed further and further away, reaching new heights, and setting the pace for what the future will look like. With some pillars in mind, when it comes to innovation, to be paired with common denominators such as flexibility of integration, and – most importantly – sustainability.
Tech integration and partnerships
Singular.live – the leading web-based live graphics platform – and Simplestream, a leader in out-of-the-box OTT solutions, joined forces to unlock richer experiences for end-users. A successful integration of the respective tech stacks led to the creation and deployment of data-driven, highly effective dynamic graphic overlays, which provide streaming-focused content owners and broadcasters with a whole new range of monetisation opportunities for ‘live’ linear virtual channels built on the back of VOD content.
Thanks to Channel Studio – Simplestream’s latest product addition to the suite of out-of-the-box products to power and distribute premium content – virtual, thematic channels can be created within minutes. All with the ease of a cloud-based infrastructure. “Think of a dashboard where operators can seamlessly create playlists of VOD assets, which can be combined together to create segments of variable length” – Simplestream’s Technical Director Ashley Horne highlights. “By using the planner in the backend, any operator can power ‘live’ linear channels and seamlessly distribute them to a variety of destinations: owned and operated platforms, Simplestream’s App Platform, or the most popular FAST platforms”, Horne adds.
That’s where Singular.live comes into play, with the enrichment of dynamic graphic overlays to appear on top of the clean stream source, for seamless presentation of any kind of information through eye-catching, interactive graphics. The flexibility of the solution integrated with the Simplestream’s tech stack – thanks to a number of different APIs along the workflow – proves to be integral to a successful deployment.
“What the team at Simplestream have created with their Channel Studio product is a really innovative solution that harnesses the full power of the Singular platform. This is definitely one of the most exciting integrations we have seen and truly leverages the best of both platforms” – states Singular.live’s CEO, Andrew Heimbold.
A use case found fertile land in the teleshopping space, as Simplestream worked with a commercial TV broadcaster in the APAC region and created the first virtual channels with graphic overlays for upsell and oversell opportunities. The operator can now monetise its content offering by serving data-driven overlays tailored per piece of content promoted on screen. Information – captured from the video metadata – includes pricing, stock levels, and other detail. Shopping basket buttons can direct viewers to an eCommerce website, reducing the risk of basket abandonment. Not to mention the prospective enhancement of QR codes to reduce friction for the end-user even further, and accelerating purchasing decision.
The use case is only an example of the potential that dynamic graphic overlays have in the streaming space when thinking of richer user experiences, as content unfolds. Think of news-focused operators, needing to highlight the latest headlines over older stories on virtual channels. Or of sports platforms where scores, athlete-related information, and stats unfold in real time. And again, the enhancement can apply to broadcasters looking to elevate their own audience’s experience via gamification, bringing interactivity to the forefront for their end-users.
Monetisation and sustainability
Beyond the monetary opportunity that cloud-based solutions offer, there are sustainable benefits too. Cloud-based solutions offer the ability to lessen the impact of content production and consumption, with natural, positive implications on energy efficiency. Reducing the amount of technical infrastructure required, by accessing it remotely through the cloud, decreases the environmental implications. Recent initiatives – such as the IBC Sustainable Live Production Accelerator – including Singular.live among a prestigious list of sports entities and operators in the broadcasting space, are testament to the direction live content production has taken. Net zero is the objective, and the OTT and streaming space cannot miss the boat.