Shifting Market Dynamics Forces Content Providers to Explore New Revenue Streams
Content creators are shifting their thinking about delivering their products, no longer focused solely on the TV consumer and looking at users that seek entertainment via other devices. The challenge for manufacturers of delivery components is that the content creators and distributors still want the delivery of the content to be as simple as possible.
Numerous studies forecast massive growth in the consumption of video services via mobile devices, some predicting that mobile video will account for two-thirds of mobile handheld data use by 2015, and at the same time, over-the-top TV delivery services such as Hulu, Netflix and YouTube also are showing strong growth in subscribers. This growth in viewing options does not yet pose a major threat to traditional video consumption but is forcing content producers to make sure their products are more widely available.
Embracing All Platforms
Major broadcasters already making strides easily available on as many platforms as possible include MTV Networks International, says Bhavneet Singh, executive vice president and managing director of the broadcaster’s emerging markets group. “Our content and brands play very well across multiple platforms, whether in traditional or non-traditional media spaces,” he said in April. “… We are building critical mass with our brands in priority markets, extending them across different platforms so as to broaden our offerings both in terms of depth and width. We want to create 360-degree experiences so that our users can navigate and move across platforms and feel and touch our brands in a seamless manner, whether broadband, mobile VoD (video on demand) or IP downloads. … One of the issues for us is moving from a television organization to a content organization and linked to that is moving from treating our viewers as end users. The more we do that, the more we will be successful in what we are trying to achieve. As the landscape continues to fragment, our quality content will continue to be pushed across all platforms to service the needs of our users.”
The BBC also sees multi-platform availability as a key component of its future expansion, says Mark Whitehead, senior vice president and general manager of BBC Worldwide Channels Asia. “We distribute our channels via satellite, cable, SMATV, DTH, hotels and IPTV. We are working aggressively on growing our traditional linear channel business. We are also looking at VoD and other branded catch-up services.”
Broadcasters of live events, especially sports programming, also find themselves having to stay on the cutting-edge of content distribution trends. For the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada’s CTV Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. formed a joint operation, dubbed Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, to produce 2,300 hours of HD coverage of the event. Along with TV delivery, the consortium worked with Microsoft to stream all of the events live to the Internet and produced about a dozen simultaneous streams. “We are not a TV company anymore,” Keith Pelley, president of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, said prior to the event. “We are an integrated media company with non-traditional assets.” More recently, Asian sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports signed a contract with SpeedCast to help deliver content via ESPN Star Sports’ mobile. ESPN which will showcase live streaming content from its television networks, delivered via satellite to operators’ platforms throughout the region. SpeedCast will provide technical services using its MobiCast platform to stream live sports events, supporting encoding requirements and distribution of the channel in the Asia-Pacific region as well as provide the channel downlink, live encoding and delivery services as well as 24/7 monitoring and operations out of its network operations center and teleport facilities in Hong Kong.
The move toward a multi-level content approach also is growing strongly among smaller news outlets throughout the United States, according to the latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey. The survey found that at least twice as many news outlets putting content out on mobile devices than the previous survey. “Stations are increasingly providing content on multiple platforms, including radio, cable, other TV stations, multiple web sites, mobile and more,” says survey director, Bob Papper, professor and chair of journalism at Hofstra. According to the survey, conducted in the 2009 fourth quarter, large-market news outlets tend to have a three-screen — on-air, online, mobile — approach to news with 68.8 percent of total respondents using that approach. “The point is that the business has changed dramatically in just over the last few years,” Papper says. “The TV news business is not just a TV news business anymore. We’ve arrived at a point where literally the majority of the station production news for TV put content on other platforms. That is now the norm.”