The transition from broadcast to IP: four takeaways from OTT Question Time #39

July 19, 2021

by Editorial Staff

Is it more convenient to deliver video and audio content over Internet Protocol rather than broadcast? The question is arguably one of the ‘hot’ ones in the video and streaming industry today, and it comes as no surprise that – amid continuous technological advancement – the transition from broadcast to IP is gaining momentum. 

IP environments combine video, audio, and ancillary data (think of subtitles, captions, timecode) into a single ‘pipe’ or network data flow. This results in a simplified architecture, especially as network bandwidth increases.

VOD Professional’s Kauser Kanji hosted last week episode number #39 of his popular OTT Question Time panels. Our Chief Commercial Officer, Dan Finch, joined a prestigious lineup of speakers, sitting down with Bjarne Andre Myklebust of NRK, and Adam Davies of Synamedia.

Here are four key takeaways from the conversation around commercial, technical, and most importantly strategic aspects of the transition from broadcast to IP for video content. Read on.

#1. The shifting sands of content consumption

As audiences continuously evolve their consumption habits, technology has been providing operators with more effective ways to manage the distribution of their content. This has brought invaluable advantages to broadcasters, who now have more control on the entire value chain of their offering.

The broadcast age ended with the dawn of over-the-top technologies. Our Dan Finch said:

"The advent of OTT powered the beginning of the world of on-demand. Internet Protocol and OTT brought advantages in terms of consumer engagement on a one-to-one basis. The so-called disruptors – the likes of Netflix and Amazon – accelerated the adoption of new ways to watch content. Is IP better than broadcast? We should re-focus on its convenience, instead, as IP is probably cheaper. From the broadcasters' perspective, it's a matter of understanding who is watching what, and on which devices. This informs business strategies nearly in real time, as these operators can axe content that doesn't work by analysing the relevant data".

#2. The hybrid era

Broadcast and Internet Protocol should be considered as part of the same big picture and not as two fighting entities. Broadcast can work over IP, and that's what defines the 'hybrid era' we are living in. Technology is helping to build stronger foundations to a more varied end-user experience, yet, linear channels are not going away overnight.

On this subject, NKR's Bjarne Andre Myklebust stated:

"We are seeing interesting figures on our services. Younger generations, 30 to 40 years old, are mostly accessing content on non-linear services, while more senior users are mostly consuming content in more traditional ways. On the other hand, on our NRK TV services – equivalent to the UK's BBC iPlayer – nearly 75% of the content consumed is on-demand, while the remaining 25% is relevant to live transmission of linear channels, which are also available".

#3. Content aggregation: the password to future user experiences

A few streaming giants, such as Netflix, have recently been experimenting with linear, mostly to address the problem of 'decision fatigue'. Adam Davies of Synamedia said:

"As we see OTT services expanding into linear environments, we are understanding how, as consumers, we need better aggregation of content. This goes also back to what broadcasters do. And what they do best is curate content coming from different sources".

Let's expect more collaboration across content owners and operators, then. The main way to improve the user experience, after all, is to make it simple.

#4. Monetisation options in the IP ecosystem

When thinking of monetisation options when going IP, it's natural to refer immediately to customer acquisition. This naturally leads to better audience engagement and lives under the big roof of data.

Adam Davies stated:

"Bringing multiple data points together is now the foundation to a solid content stack. If content is king, data is its chessboard".

Needless to say, advertising is the main takeaway here. Supported – again – by data and analytics, targeted adverts can now land specific audience segments. The impact generated by increased reach is a huge opportunity for remarkably better conversion rates.

The full recording of the webinar is available here.

➡️ What are your thoughts about the transition from broadcast to IP? Join the conversation over on Twitter or on our LinkedIn page. Any questions? We'd love to hear from you.