As one casts a look across the evolving multiscreen market, there can perhaps be no more significant reality than the one looming for Asia Pacific-based pay-TV operators and telcos preparing to deploy mobile, over-the-top (OTT) television services.
Whether or not OTT multiscreen efforts will generate significant revenues, they have become a necessary business strategy: multiscreen is here to stay and it’s clear that linear TV isn’t going away any time soon.
Yet, while the multiscreen service-offering path operators will travel is becoming more clear, the requisite business and technology infrastructure models are less so, with many grappling to find the best models to support their efforts and offers.
The Fundamentals are in Place
Fixed and wireless broadband infrastructure spectrum efficiency, speed and capacity are increasing in Asia Pacific, and in some cases, governments are helping to subsidise the planning and deployments of infrastructures to develop their countries as media hubs.
Moreover, with three of the world’s most densely populated countries located in this region (and the most number of eyeballs from content programmers’ and distributors’ perspectives), consumers in Asia Pacific are forming forces across the shifting digital media landscape.
According to Strategy Analytics, APAC will account for one quarter of the world’s 780+ million tablets in 2016. Meanwhile, internet users in the Asia Pacific region are leapfrogging PCs and going straight to smartphones for the Internet and other service connections. New Media Trend Watch predicts the number of mobile Internet users will reach 794.4 million by the end of this year, and jump to 1.29 billion by 2016.
These consumers are discerning, demanding more control over what they watch and how they package their subscriptions, more ways to access their TV content, and simply more content for their multiscreen TV, multi-room viewing, catch-up TV, video-on-demand, and social TV experiences.
Success Rests on Speed
The key—and actually most common—challenge for Asia Pacific pay-TV operators and telcos in meeting consumer demands is in rapidly deploying new, high-quality services that delight consumers while minimising expenses and protecting existing linear TV revenues. This kind of agility requires the ability to build new business models quickly and to reshape existing infrastructures with the confidence that the attendant investments will yield solid shortterm returns, sustainable revenue, and a future-proofed video delivery architecture that easily adapts to shifting consumer behaviour and new technology standards.
There are multiple real-time and VOD content distribution capabilities and considerations that operators must factor into their OTT service launch planning. Chief among these are:
• Formatting video for optimal display on multiple screens and an aligned user experience across all devices;
• Securing content in a manner enabling only authenticated user access;
• Creating a common, standards-based platform for existing TV and new OTT services designed to provide a consistent, high-quality-of-service experience;
• Determining whether playout, ingest and transcoding are more cost-effectively insourced or outsourced to the Cloud;
• Integrating seamless management and channel monitoring capabilities to meet complex scheduling requirements;
• Building to support new requirements and applications as consumer behaviour shifts.
Considerations in Building a Strategy for Success
Supporting pay-TV operators and online video services providers globally, including leading networks in the Asia- Pacific such as Channel 10 Australia, KBS, Media Prima, NHK, Sky Racing, and Viocorp, among others, Elemental provides cost-effective, highly efficient live-, file- and cloud-based video processing solutions for preparing and delivering video streams to any screen at any time in the right format.
What we have found in our work with top brands is a set of common, foundational approaches to ensure multiscreen service deployment success. We suggest to our customers that they seek the utmost in power and flexibility:
• Deploy quickly, invest confidently. Agility is key in this market, and having confidence in your technology provider is vital to that. GPU-based video processing is the single-most effective approach to uncorking bottlenecks resulting from simultaneous delivery of adaptive bitrate (ABR) video content to 20+ devices. Elemental innovated this approach, hewing to customers’ pain points and aspirations;
• Don’t rely upon the temporary fix of piling on more legacy systems to build infrastructure.
• Consider a ground-to-cloud hybrid approach to cope with varietal and overflow transcoding needs. Elemental, for instance, offers high-volume, enterprise-class video processing solutions in combination with multi-format video conversion in the cloud via Amazon Web services.
Elemental works with top pay-TV operators to convert broadcast content for on-demand viewing via subscribers’ PCs, tablets, and mobile devices. This requires transcoding thousands of hours of content into dozens of bit rate and format combinations. The company also works with these operators to deliver hundreds of live television channels to subscribers via set-top boxes and mobile devices. This requires 24/7 encoding of live outputs into dozens of bit rate and format combinations – a huge challenge, with adaptive outputs created in these applications ranging from mobile resolutions to high definition video streams.