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What will 2018 hold for media broadcasters?

What will 2018 hold for media broadcasters?

2018 will see broadcasters streamline their content, technology, and operations for a new segment of customers who consume content on-demand. Driven by the changing content consumption, we foresee media organizations looking at following:

Dawn of the OTT Era

Industry reports reveal that an average Indian consumes 8.5 hours of video content every month on Facebook and YouTube, which accounts for 47 percent and 42 percent of market share. Add the popularity of Over the Top (OTT) platforms like Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Jio TV, and VOOT to that, and you’d realize that the way Indians consume digital content has changed over the years.

In India, the popularity can be attributed to access to faster and cheaper internet, affordable smartphones, and the wide range of content on offer. With over 460 million internet users, India is the second largest online market[1] whose smartphone penetration rate is expected to reach more than 28 percent by 2018.

While some broadcasters have already launched their platform like Ozee, others will pick this trend in 2018 and look at launching their platforms. Some may also look to optimize and produce their content on commercially successful OTT operators. Broadcasters will be seen investing in tools and technology to prepare their content and distribute it to CDNs.

Solving the Content Conundrum

OTT has changed the way content is created and consumed. As viewers consume content anytime, anywhere, and on any device, the demand for short-form, high quality ‘snackable’ content has been on the rise. Citizen journalism is gaining momentum, with viewers recording events and posting live on social media for the global audience.

Original, consistent, and addictive content is on demand. With players like Apple planning to invest over $1 billion in original content and Facebook spending a chunk of its marketing budget on content, fresh content production depending on current affairs, mood, and preference of the viewers is on the rise.

However, creating fresh consumable content is only one side of the story. To retain subscribers and provide a shared experience across devices, OTT providers also need to recreate the legacy content with proper archiving, metadata and tagging, and digitization. For this, broadcasters will need to dig into their archives to sort, organize, digitize, restore and optimize legacy content to enable easy search, access, and distribution of content across channels.

Embracing Virtualization

Newer digital broadcast avenues like OTT are creating pressure on traditional broadcasters to lower their Broadcast Operations and Engineering (BO&E) budgets. A survey by Devoncroft reveals that more than 40% M&E vendors have products that operate in a virtualized environment. While it is debatable if ‘virtualization’ refers to only IT infrastructure or the entire content supply chain, the fact is – new, small, and medium-sized broadcasters are gradually migrating their infrastructure to cloud-based solutions.

Moving to IP comes with the benefits of using a standardized connectivity and infrastructure to transport videos from locations to the central facilities and on to distribution. Therefore, broadcasters will continue digital transformation keeping content at the center of business to achieve faster time-to-market, scalability, and agility at a lower TCO.

Enhanced User Experience with 4K, HD Formats

A 2016-report by Chrome Data Analytics and Media[2] reveals that 8.34 million households in India have HD televisions, of which 89 percent have DTH HD connection and 11 percent have digital cable HD connection. However, only 9 percent or 91 channels out of 857 permitted private satellite television stations and more than 190 government channels in India are High Definitions (HD).

With the market share of OLEDs, 3D and 4K television increasing every day, viewers often forget to ask – does India have enough 4K and 3D channels? Wikipedia lists only five 4K channels and one 3D channel.

To address the change in viewership, media organizations will continue to upgrade their technical infrastructure to broadcast in HD or beyond (4K). With 2019 General Elections in sight, it is expected that news broadcasters will upgrade their technology, investing in workflows and solutions for presentation and analysis of election results in high definition.

To summarize, 2018 and 2019 will be the year of digital transformation and adoption of technology focusing on improving the viewer experience.

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.

Content at Risk: Heritage and Culture Lost in Natural Calamities

Content at Risk: Heritage and Culture Lost in Natural Calamities

“When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages – a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers.”

– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Smell of the past, the history that shapes mankind – our culture and existence. Libraries, over centuries, have been a storehouse of all these and more. As Doris Lessing rightly said, a public library is the most democratic thing in the world.

However, these storehouses of knowledge is not free from risk. Natural calamities, be it earthquakes, fires and power outages, floods, heavy rains, or hurricanes and tsunamis have destroyed libraries over the centuries, resulting in the loss of valuable content.

Looking back, we have witnessed libraries being subjected to fire outrages sporadically over the centuries – be it destruction of Library of Nalanda in India, the accidental burning of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, the Library of Alexandria, or the recent outrage at the Delhi Museum of Natural History. The loss from such natural disasters is immeasurable – because there are no absolute numbers of how it affects the readers.

How we can secure this valuable content – you may ask! The only viable solution is digitization. Digitization has many advantages. Not only does it speed up search methods and broaden access for academics and scholars, but it also makes it possible for content to be accessed anytime, anywhere. Sharing it online also gives it global access and helps in research.

Institutions like public and private museums, libraries, and historical society archives can benefit immensely from digitization. It lets them make their collection public and preserves their collections in a modern reusable format.

Digital asset managers are working overtime to digitize the content and manuscripts to save it from the wrath of nature. Not only are they digitizing the content, but new features are also being developed that allow researchers to view networks of relationships across collections, enabling researchers to track an individual name across multiple collections. As Ben Vershbow, Director of NYPL Labs foresees, such networks tying millions of documents together will allow curators and researchers to identify new relationships.

With digitization, the volume of archival collections available electronically have increased manifold. As libraries collaborate with each other to create comprehensive digital repositories, digitization reduces the risk of theft and wear and tear of the original copy. Therefore, in spite of the high cost involved, the preservation opportunities is worth the manpower and expenses involved.

Libraries like Vatican, New York Public Library, and some libraries in Japan have already started digitizing content to safe keep the archives. So in near future, if you are a researcher of history, it’s not difficult to access rare manuscripts and important resources from the comfort of your home. All you need is an online membership, which may be in another country or continent.