The Time For Digital Content Transmissions Via Satellite Is Now

By | April 4, 2005 | Editor's Note, Telecom

For the motion picture industry, much is on the horizon when it comes to content protection and dissemination, which may provide an even stronger business success model for satellite-enabled transmission companies.

The unprecedented explosion of the digital age and the popularity of consumer devices for playing, viewing and hearing digital content is creating new opportunities for content distributors. From television to digital cinema and VoD, emerging technologies are presenting a broad range of new revenue opportunities, and many of those leading companies are increasing their use of satellite technology in an effort to not only reap the rewards of the forecasted profits, but to capture competitive market share away from the terrestrial players.

Today’s viewer wants more digital, higher-quality content when it comes to programming. Likewise, the increase of entertainment piracy is turning the television and movie communities toward satellite more than ever before for secure dissemination of programming.

As Hollywood embraces the concept of a satellite-transferred, file-based future, real issues including digital asset management, digital rights management and secure file-based content delivery have become top-level industry agenda items. When billions of dollars are at stake, acquiring additional transponder space becomes a minimal capital investment, and the sound knowledge that programming can be encrypted is gaining popularity in the 35mm community.

It is estimated that Hollywood studios could eliminate the $2,000 to $3,000 that they pay for each film print–an expense that can represent 10 percent of a movie’s production budget. With the typical U.S. release opening on more than 3,000 screens, a per-print cost of $2,500 means that the distributor pays more than $7.5 million for film prints.

Likewise, distributors would no longer have to second-guess audience turnout for a new movie when they are deciding how many prints to make. If a movie becomes a blockbuster, digital copies can be quickly distributed via satellite to more theaters in the area where demand remains low, and the theaters that already have digital copies can show the movie on more screens. In addition, distributors would never over-create prints for a poorly received movie.

But delivery of films via satellite is not the only new wave to hit content distributors. Advertising and targeted content for point-of-sale is also on the rise. Technological innovation is driving down the cost of digital signage implementation as a marketing tool, spurring market adoption and further fuelling this growth. In fact, digital signage has been a success in Europe for a number of years now.

According to the International Communications Industries Association’s 2005 Market Forecast Survey, the audio-visual (AV) industry–which includes digital signage–produced revenues of almost $19 Billion in 2004 in North America. This number is expected to grow by an annual rate of 9.6 percent for the next five years.

With so much opportunity on the horizon, now is the time for satellite service providers to embrace these new venues, create sound business plans for implementation, and further expand into these programming market segments.

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