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Social Platforms – Changing the News Broadcast Industry

Social Platforms – Changing the News Broadcast Industry

With rapidly evolving content consumption pattern and hasty rise in online video viewing, traditional television viewing has suffered a setback. The very format of content delivery in nano-seconds has completely shaken up the existing ways of content delivery for news broadcasters.

According to the Digital News Report 2017 by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, almost 33% of millennial users (aged 18-24) consider social media to be their primary source of news and information. It’s said that the current situation of legacy broadcasters is quite similar to that faced by newspapers in the early 2000s. Gone are the days when families sat together for evening bulletins, now it’s time for news anytime, anywhere with around 46% of people consuming news in bed on their smartphones itself. 1

Rise and Live on Social

The rise of platforms have opened newer avenues of reaching wider and demographically diverse audience. Audiences have moved to digital representations of news with mediums such as Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram and Facebook Live becoming regular tools of what was once a single source of information dissemination platform. Besides, there’s also a significant rise in news consumption from messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, FB Messenger, Vibe, etc.

Facebook dominates its reach with wider acceptability as a social network for news with 47% of people logging in for their daily updates. Taking cue from this favourability broadcasters have evolved their content delivery for digital platforms. Live events, particularly sports and election results are now being reported using Facebook live and Periscope along with traditional broadcasts.

The Associated Press (AP) works in partnership with Livestream.com to bring major news events live to customers, which is formatted for TV, mobile, or online. Similarly, while experimenting early on with the format, National Public Radio (NPR), USA decided to go “all out” with Facebook Live. It created a Facebook page entirely for live video with dedicated journalists to ideate and produce content so they can broadcast as the news breaks and deliver stories in a new format. 2

Finding New Audiences among Distributed Platforms

While the multi-platform world also puts forth a challenge of what new content will be engaging for the audiences and how to bring more audiences. As per findings of the Reuters Institute, Digital News Report majority of access to websites and apps is now via side-door routes (65%) rather than direct (32%) such as search, social media, email, mobile alerts and aggregators. 3

While there’s also around 29% of people who completely avoid the news as it is said to have a negative impact on their mood. To reach new and younger audiences, broadcasters such as Australian Broadcasting Corporation, are investing in news apps and partnering with news aggregators (Flipboard, SmartNews, Apple News, Google News, Snapchat Discover, Kakao Channel, and Line News) pushing notifications directly to user’s mobile screen.

For Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s public broadcaster, Apple News has added up to more than 1.1 million subscribers who’ve enabled push alerts since September 2016. ABC’s audience on Apple News is younger and more female than its readers on other digital platforms, and 75% of the people it reaches there are new to the brand. 4

Citizen Journalists & Combating Fake News

The need to produce more content and be in active mode always has made broadcasters reliant to content offered by the public or ‘citizen journalists’ to some extent. User generated content on social platforms such as viewer reviews, polls, video stories of local happenings is driving audience engagement that becomes a backbone of content programming.

User submitted information has done wonders especially in times of crisis such as Arab Uprising or reportage about current conflict in Aleppo. Citizens armed with smartphones record and bring the stories from conflicted areas to center stage, putting their safety at stake. 5

While this has also given rise to the concept of fake news, around the world only 24% believe social media does a good job separating fact from fiction. Alone Facebook had 23 out 50 hoaxed news around US election in 2016 and it contributed to  10.6 million shares, reactions and comments 6. This incidence highlighted the power of social media platform and the viral algorithms that are encouraging low quality and ‘fake news’ to spread quickly. It is thus important to monitor the kind of news that is disseminated through social platforms to avoid any negative impact on society.

The Way Ahead

The best way to move ahead for broadcasters is by utilizing the data to understand viewer behavior and drawing analogies for the dissemination of relevant content. Fighting the algorithmic delivery of news, Broadcasters are also looking to break the echo chambers. This would not only help in building upon new audience but also retaining the existing ones.

Both television news and social media will coexist and broadcasters need a strategy to focus on both. The major impact, however, has been on print media where the time to report is much higher and they have to catch than wait for news to break in the morning.

Hot 100- System Integrators, MediaGuru

Hot 100- System Integrators, MediaGuru

We are pleased to share that MediaGuru got featured in Digital Studio Hot 100 Power list for the second time.The list was presented by leading broadcast media technology publication, Digital Studio under the aegis of ITP Publishing Group.

Sushil Khanna, Global COO, MediaGuru has been featured among most influential leaders in broadcast and media industry in the region. The nomination was analyzed by industry experts, followed by a detailed survey to select best in each category. The results were declared in July edition of Digital Studio magazine. Click here http://bit.ly/2vbHskt to know about the winners across categories such as film directors, cinematographers, film editors, broadcasters, technocrats, etc.

Are people still watching movies on cinema screens?

Are people still watching movies on cinema screens?

No matter how many screens we add up, the charm of the cinema screens is still not slowing down. Driven by the growing audience, increased number of screens, and disruptive technology film industry continues to expand the world over.

A recent research by Research and Markets 1 indicates that the global movie and entertainment industry is expected to reach an estimated US $139 billion in 2017 with a CAGR of 4.2% over the next five years.

While as per the estimates by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) total worldwide box office rose merely by 1% in 2016 valued at $38.6 billion in ticket sales. North America (USA & Canada) largely dominate box office accounting to $11.4 billion in ticket sales growing by 2% since 2015 as an individual territory. International markets made up 71% of the global box office in 2016 valuing $27.2 billion, compared with 63% a decade ago 2.

Though bets placed on China’s growth did not meet predictions, yet cinema market is still touted to grow at a staggering 11.6% CAGR from US$6.2 billion in 2016 to US$10.7 billion by 2021 3. Domestic films still command 58.33% of the total box office collection in the country where the release of foreign films meets a restricted number. 2016 saw over 92 foreign films released in China, the highest in country’s history. An average 26 new screens a day were added for the theatre-going audiences in 2016, making it a total of 41,179 movie screens, the most in the world 4.

Still holding the spot for top film producing country, India’s box office market valued at US$1.9 billion in 2016. Overall Indian film industry is projected to grow at CAGR of 7.7% over the next five years. The year 2017 would show higher growth results with the worldwide release of Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) and Dangal’s (2016) release in Asian markets. Dangal has become the highest grossing Indian film ever collecting over US$290 million worldwide. Overseas theatrical release from India witnessed 14% growth year-on-year a reflection of cinema produce and export is being appreciated in the global market. Collections from the theatrical release of Dangal in China alone is close to US$191.03 million 5.

Piracy is one of the biggest threat for filmmakers globally coupled with management of talent. Filmmakers are adopting innovative marketing by premiering of movies on OTT, Pay-TV platforms and incorporating digital storage for content security techniques. Technology along with stories will continue to be the key forces to drive the audience to watch films.

You might also be interested in “[Infographic] Filming For Entertainment: How Big Is The Screening?”

Blockchain And Its Impact On Media Industry

Blockchain And Its Impact On Media Industry

As we move towards digitalization, the world of media has also changed significantly. Different roles have been established along the media value chain. For example, artists and authors have become the primary creators of content, while platform providers and aggregators of content are donning the hats of royalty collecting body.

Blockchain technology can disrupt the industry structure further by bypassing content aggregators, platform providers, and royalty collection associations, thereby shifting the market power to copyright owners.

Derived from the Bitcoin, blockchain is ‘a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, secured from tampering and revision. Sealed in the chain, blocks can no longer be changed -preventing further deletion, edition, or replication, thus making it true digital assets.

This technology has the potential to resolve some of the current challenges prevalent in broadcast and media industry with ease. Listed below are some ways in which blockchain can benefit media.

Boost Revenue

Blockchain technology can generate revenues for fragmented content like news, blogs, and photos with micropayment-based pricing models. With targeted media usage that can be directly linked to respective content, budget allocation for advertising and marketing also becomes more targeted.

Centralized Payment

While the technology is still in its nascent stage, revenue distribution can be automated based on predefined smart contracts, thereby making payment transactions cheap and centralized. This can potentially reset pricing, advertising, revenue sharing, and royalty payment processes.

Protecting IP Rights

While digitization has altered content production and distribution, protecting the intellectual property of the content remains a major concern of the industry. Though several brands are charging to access digital content, consumers are looking for similar content elsewhere for free. Blockchain technology connects these brands directly to consumers who compensate them accordingly (and securely) for access to digital content

Ensure Authenticity

Blockchain records the history of every transaction. Therefore, it can be used as a potential application to ensure authenticity and transparency. Social media influencers, authors, videographers, and photographers can use blockchains for provenance and attribution.

News in the Digital Era: Tips for Broadcasters

News in the Digital Era: Tips for Broadcasters

Do you prefer reading news on social media? If your answer is yes, you belong among 51%[1]  of the population who prefer so. Research by Reuters Institute reveals that 64% of the population between the age group of 18-24 rely on online media for information.

Which makes us wonder – is digitization transforming the way viewers consume content? As the F.O.M.O. and the favor of personalization over objectivity give rise to social media and aggregators like ‘In Shorts,’ ‘Feedly,’ and ‘Digg Reader,’ do traditional media need to change their broadcast/distribution strategy to retain the audience?

In an age where what goes ‘viral’ sells, here are some tips to utilize the power of digital media to capture the audience.

Intriguing Storytelling: While the information remains the same, how the broadcaster presents it is what pulls and retains the audience in the ‘mobile first’ world. With the same story available across multiple platforms, readers look for a unique perspective, and perhaps, an intriguing way to share the same news. To retain the audience, storytelling has to change – it has to be short, visual, timely, and hyper-relevant.

‘Snackable’ Content: According to Forbes[2], adding infographic is a sure shot way to boost news traffic, as 90 percent of what we remember is based on visual impact. Short-form videos play a vital role in capturing the viewer’s attention for a longer time, thereby driving user engagement and revenue.

Explainer Videos: With the information overload that comes with the Internet, an average person is attacked by the equivalent of 174 newspapers of data a day. Explainer videos are a great way to cut through the information overload. Focusing on the facts, explainer videos often have only subtitles without any sound highlighting the crux, which usually works well for breaking news.

Focus on Soft News: Humans are primarily driven by emotions. Therefore, viewers tend to connect more with the soft news that has a strong emotional element. A simple story presented objectively with an emotional perspective works better for news broadcasters.

Choosing the Right Distribution Platform: With offsite news video consumption growing fast, broadcasters need to focus on the distribution channel to ensure maximum reach. For example, videos uploaded to Facebook or shared on Twitter get more views than those uploaded on the website. Therefore, sharing the breaking news on social media, and do a follow-up story with detailed analysis and context for the website will have more viewers than uploading a detailed video on the website.

Going Live: Thanks to the video appeal, user engagement, ‘in the moment’ value, and instant feedback, live video has become an interesting trend in the broadcast industry. With Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube, and Periscope allowing wider reach, media houses are competing to bring interesting and valuable live videos to their customers.

Having Defined Goals: Not all content is created with the same purpose. While the cyberspace is flooded with news and videos, each trying to carve a niche and attract the audience, a broadcaster needs to have defined goals like monetization, engagement, or brand extension before generating the content. It is important to have a strategy in place, which the broadcasters should review and refer to at regular intervals.

Creating Video Community: Media houses are increasingly turning to platforms like Talenthouse, Tongal, and Zooppa to have new video content that explains key issues simplifying business/hard language. Creating video community is a great way to crowdsource ideas in thousands, connect with the audience and empower them, and create a loyal viewers’ community.

Having Ready-made Templates: News, if not communicated as soon as it breaks, become stale. Therefore, it is important not to waste time in deciding the ideal content format or creating videos from scratch. Having templates for various kind of news across different platforms enable quick packaging and sharing of videos and news, thereby helping broadcasters share information as soon as it happens.

As broadcasters embrace the new digital world and make their presence more prominent across online platforms, it is important to have a right strategy to ensure increased engagement with the audience.

Video Storage Formats: Then & Now

Video Storage Formats: Then & Now

The Motion Picture Industry had begun to develop in early 1900s. Celluloid Nitrate films were the industry norm till the magnetic tape came into play. With technology, the video storage carriers have also evolved. From carrying bulky video cameras for shoot and storing cans of videos archives to live streaming of video using a mobile, video has come a long way.  Let us look at some key formats through the history of video.

1956 saw the coming of Quadruplex videotapes which were most commonly used commercial distribution medium at that time. Developed and released by Ampex, 2” Quad was the first successful videotape format. The name comes from its four-head wheel which rotated 240 times a second. VR 1500/600 (by Ampex) was the first consumer VTR.

From Videotape we graduated to video cassettes. In 1969, Sony introduced a prototype for the first widespread video cassette, the 3/4″ (1.905 cm) Composite U-matic system. ¾” U-Matic, Sony, 1970 was one of the most successful formats of all time. Until its release, news acquisition had primarily been gathered on 16mm film.

In 1976, Sony introduced Betamax which was the first successful consumer video cassette. It failed in the marketplace against VHS due to its maximum record time despite initial success. Introduced as a competitor to Betamax, VHS, JVC, 1976 was the most successful among all home video formats.

Sony introduced Betacam in 1982, which eventually turned out as the most widely used analog tape based format, later Digital Betacam was introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the analog Betacam SP format. Sony’s D-1, the first digital VTR, featured uncompressed digital component recording and was mainly used in high-end post-production facilities with special effects and multiple layering of video signal.

In 1985, Handycam introduced by Sony was the first portable Video8 Camera with commercial success. The 8mm video format refers to 3 video cassette formats namely, Video 8 (analog), Hi8 (combination of analog and digital) & Digital 8 (digital). And a decade later in 1995, the next generation of digital disc storage was introduced, the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD). The world’s first DVD player was the Toshiba SD-3000 launched in November 1996 and was made available in Japan, US, Europe and Australia.

Blu-Ray is the next generation of optical disc format aimed to store high definition video (HD). Named after Blue Laser, it stores more data than a standard DVD.  DigiBeta is the highest quality standard definition format in common use. It’s 10 bit 4.2.2 with a low compression of 2.3 and a common SD delivery format with many broadcasters. Launched in 1995, DV is a format for storing digital video. DVCPRO, also known as DVCPRO25, is a variation of DV developed by Panasonic and introduced in 1995 for use in electronic news gathering (ENG) equipment. In 1996 Sony responded with its own professional version of DV called DVCAM.

Its competitor is High-Density Digital Versatile Disc (HD-DVD). Promoted by Toshiba, NEC & Sanyo, it is a digital optical media format applying the same disc size as Blu-Ray.  As far as quality of Video is concerned the future belongs to Ultra HD or UHD. The UHD Alliance comprising of 35 companies have laid down UHD Premium Specification in 2016. The specification comprises a list of features that should be included in products like TVs and Blu-ray players to ensure maximum compatibility with other content and hardware produced.

Though availability and quality of recording devices is a huge edge, it comes with disadvantages. Modern recording devices produce 720p, 1080p and 4K video resolutions eating up hard drive space thereby slowing it down. It faces lack of adequate backup feature as well. These inabilities make Cloud Storage Solutions the future of video storage.  Cloud provides excellent features like anywhere access, easy sharing and retrieval and also ensures longevity of the content.

Video content consumption has revolutionized our lifestyle in massive proportions. Surprisingly, the developing economies consume video content in startling way. Africa often referred to as “The Mobile Continent” witness 77% viewers consuming content on smart phones and 53% are interested in mobile video on-demand. UNESCO has highlighted, “much of our audio visual heritage has already been irrevocably lost and much more will be lost if no action is taken.” Broadcasters and content owners must now focus on migrating their valuable media assets to latest video storage formats and ensure its availability for generations to come. The future clearly belongs to the media organizations that adopt digital and offer choice of platforms (any device, any time) and variety of content to their viewers.

Women Who Changed the Face of Broadcast Industry

Women Who Changed the Face of Broadcast Industry

Women across the world are breaking glass ceilings. This Women’s Day, we bring you five such women of India and the Middle East who have made contribution in changing the face of broadcast industry.

1. Homai Vyarawalla – India’s First Woman Photojournalist

Born in Gujarat, India in 1913, Homai Vyarawalla (popularly known as ‘Dalda 13’) was India’s first female photojournalist. She started her career in the 1930s and was noticed nationally when she moved to Mumbai in 1942. Over the next 30 years, Vyarawalla worked as a press photographer, capturing the last days of the British Empire and many national leaders, including Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, and Indira Gandhi.

Vyarawalla was one of the key visual chroniclers of the post-independence era, tracing the euphoria and disillusionments of a new nation. During World War II, she worked with The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine, which published many of her iconic black and white images. Vyarawalla was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2011, which is the second highest civilian award of the Republic of India.

2. R. Vijayalakshmi – Asia’s First Woman Cinematographer

Daughter of the legendary actor, director, and producer B.R. Panthulu. B.R. Vijayalakshmi, who started her career as an assistant to cinematographer Ashok Kumar, is Asia’s first woman cinematographer. She made her feature film debut with the Tamil film ‘Chinna Veeduin’ in 1985.

After working in over 22 films, Vijayalakshmi took a break from the cinema after the birth of her son, only to return as a known face in television. “Paatu Padavaa” – the last film scripted, directed and cinematographed by Vijayalakshmi in 1995 made it to the International Film Festival of India 1996.

3. Hessa Al Ossaily – Mother of UAE Media

Hessa Al Ossaily, born in Sharjah in 1950, is the first TV announcer of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has donned many hats as a female pioneer in the broadcasting industry. She was Director of the Ministry of Information and Culture’s Exhibition Department for more than 30 years and is now one of the UAE’s most successful businesswomen.

In 1965, at the age of 15, Al Ossaily became the first Emirati woman to become a presenter at Sawt Al Sahil Radio, which was launched in Sharjah by the British. In 1969, after graduating from Ain Shams University in Egypt, she joined Kuwaiti TV as a presenter.

Known as the Mother of UAE Media, Al Ossaily was assigned general commissioner for the UAE’s involvement in expos in 1992. In 2000, she became the first Arab female member of the country’s steering committee for that year’s expo in Hanover, Germany.

4. Nayla Al Khaja – UAE’s First Woman Filmmaker

Dubbed UAE’s first female filmmaker, Nayla Al Khaja graduated from Dubai Women’s College with a degree in Mass Communication in 1999 and hosted her travel show with Arabian Radio Network. In 2005, she graduated in Image Studies – Film from Ryerson University in Canada, a college well-known for its film-making programs.

Soon after graduation, Nayla founded a full-service production company ‘D-SEVEN Motion Pictures,’ which specialized in the production corporate videos, documentaries, short films, and TV commercials. The production house had an impressive list of clientele, which includes industry giants like Vogue, BMW, Gucci, Mercedes, Nike, Cannon, Nivea, LG, and Discovery Studios to name a few.

In 2006, Nayla made her first short film “Arabana”- which dealt with the subject of child abuse. The film premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007 where she won the title for ‘Best Emirati Filmmaker.’

5. Alia Al Shamsi – UAE’s First Professional Female Photographer

Born and raised in Dubai from an Italian mother and a UAE father, Alia Al Shamshi studied photography, and photojournalism in Australia and is a full-time photojournalist for El Emarat El Youm and Emirates – two newspapers of Dubai. She is also working as curator, photographer, and archivist on many independent projects and has been involved with food and fashion photography. Her photographs featured in international magazines like National Geographic and are exhibited in many countries, including USA, Australia, Germany, Italy, and UAE.

We wish more power to women of today! Happy International Women’s Day!

OTT: The Way Ahead

OTT: The Way Ahead

Over-the-top content (OTT) service providers like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon are showing massive uptake by consumers who want to view content as per their choice of time and platform. According to Juniper Research titled Mobile & Online TV & Video: OTT, IPTV & Connected Markets 2015-2019[1], OTT subscription is forecasted to generate $31.6 billion in revenue by 2019.

As traditional broadcasters face increased competition from OTT service providers, let us take a look at the future of OTT.

New providers in the market

While countries like the United States have already adopted OTT and are on the verge of saturation, developing countries with high mobile penetration and adoption rates of pay-TV and broadband are witnessing increasing popularity of OTT services. A  Digital TV Europe Research[2] estimates that developing countries like Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa will see greater growth in revenues and that of Latin America will nearly triple from 2015.

Driven by rising mobile data usage, mobile is becoming an important medium to deliver OTT service in East European countries, Middle East & Africa. Pay-TV providers, mobile operators, broadcasters and media companies are expanding their OTT services in these regions either by launching their OTT services or partnering with regional OTT players. For example, UAE-based mobile operator Etlisat has introduced eLife ON, Saudi Arabian Mobily has mView, Times Media Group has an OTT service called VIDI in South Africa, and Pay-TV operator OSN has launched GO across MENA.

SVOD is catching up

Viewers are increasingly opting for OTT services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video, which gives them the freedom to choose the content they want to consume across different platforms. Millennials are adopting subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services faster than their older counterparts. A report from BI Intelligence highlights younger viewers watch four times as much video content online than aged viewers. The popularity of SVOD services like YouTube, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue further underlines this fact.

For SVOD services, usability is the key. Companies need to innovate to leverage OTT and SVOD services to reach out to more viewers. For example, YouTube has launched offline viewing for consumers to download videos and watch it at their convenience – even when there is no mobile connectivity.

With the first screen of the millennials being the mobile screen, digitization provides a huge opportunity for SVOD providers to grow their business. Content creators and marketers can reap the benefits from SVOD adoption. Content creators can profit from the surge in the short-form video, while marketers can capitalize on advanced product placements.

More connected TVs

Thanks to connected TVs, which include streaming devices like Apple TV, gaming consoles, Web-enabled TV sets, and TVs connected to the Internet by laptops in the group, monetization is also growing. According to FreeWheel, an ad-serving company whose clients include major video providers such as AOL, Crackle, Fox, NBCUniversal, Viacom, and Vevo, more than one-third of monetization was led by OTT devices. An eMarketer report[3] estimates that by 2018, 191.4 million or 58.2 percent of the U.S. population will use a connected TV device to access the Internet.

Changing fundamentals of content creation

OTT has unlocked transformational changes in how the content is created and consumed. The availability of unlimited content space has given more freedom to experiment and has provided audiences for all kinds of content. Although most are amateurs, some are earning millions of dollars, while contributing to the depth and breadth of content available to consumers.

Further, the increase of mobile and streaming access has enhanced consumers’ ability to choose what they watch and where and when they watch it. With the rise in mobile use, the demand for short-form, high-quality content, also called ‘snackable content’ has also witnessed a massive growth. Consumers are turning to live, user-generated video and “citizen journalists” for news related to developing events or stories. For example, The Young Turks, which offers short-form news videos on relevant topics around the world every day has become a key news destination for millennials.

The launch of Facebook Live in April 2016, which makes it easier “to create, share, and discover live videos” further highlights the changing fundamentals of content creation. Content creators are also focusing on introducing contextual parameters for content discovery. Factors like mood and current affairs are being taken into account apart from their viewing preference while making a content recommendation to the viewers.

To ensure successful adoption of OTT, service providers must address three critical challenges – aggregation, subscription churn, and transparency. As consumers look to fulfill the 3Ws – watch what they want, when they want to, and where they want – OTT providers not only need to manage content but also create new content and recreate legacy content to retain subscribers. Proper archiving, digitization and tagging of content will help in aggregation while generating content across various formats will provide shared experience across devices and help in customer retention.

[1] https://www.juniperresearch.com/press/press-releases/ott-tv-market-to-increase-fourfold-reaching-32bn

[2] https://www.digitaltvresearch.com/ugc/Global%20OTT%202016%20TOC_toc_149.pdf

[3] http://digiday.com/platforms/ott-video-going-5-charts/