Video: How to succeed in OTT in 2020

With the streaming market maturing, keeping ahead of competitors requires a layered strategy, particularly for entrants to the market who don’t have Amazon levels of funding. There are success stories out there, so what are the ingredients for success? This recored webinar looks at these questions an shares advice on succeeding in today’s market.

Rahul Patel from Ampere Analysis is first giving an overview of the OTT/streaming market. Within the UK and the US, we now see, he explains, 35% of subscriptions belonging to those 45 and older thus the market is maturing and increasingly offering a wider choice of genres to a wider selection of people. In general, services stand out through their content which is often done through original productions with Netflix now investing almost the same in original programming as the BBC does across all its channels. Rahul shows statistics showing that the percentage of non-US productions is increasing with Netflix and Amazon prime both trying to create programming which is more appealing to their non-US viewers.

An alternative to original programming is to focus your offering. For example, services such as AcornTV focus on UK crime drama, Crunchyroll is focussed on Japanese-made programming and Mubi is 100% films. Though in one market, a very narrow niche may not provide the customers needed to make the service viable, but expanded across all markets, that can all change. Another way services are attracting subscribers, Rahul details, is through bundling either with multiple services being discounted when purchased together, free subscription with hardware purchase or partnerships between big players such as network operators.

As the stacking of services continues to increase, Rahul foresees a future role for aggregators and simplifying the subscription to one payment. Aggregation would involve a single search interface unifying disparate services and could be provided by giants such as Apple and Amazon.

US Industry Avg SCOD Uplifts. Source Reemah Sakaan, BritBox

Next up is Reemah Sakaan from BritBox, which launched in the US in 2017, now in the UK as of 2019 and soon Australia. She explains their journey to market discussing how it can take long time to get rights and forge a true identity, but once that is done, an easy to understand offering can be quickly taken up by viewers. Reemah notes that Covid-19 has pushed a hugh change in viewership both in terms of viewing hours but also subscribers and underlined the importance of their embedded live feed which allows them to go live with special events such as the Royal Wedding along side the traditional VoD offering. This helps them be a unique service and maintain differentiation from competitors.

The last of the presentations is from Simon James from Applicaster. Applicaster’s focus is on providing apps for streaming services. Major issues are in scaling your app on all platforms and trying to manage testing across different OS types and versions. Simon says that the effort needed to keep up with all of this can sap energy and innovation from the team. It also makes it hard to be agile and respond to the market and viewers within the pandemic being a fantastic example of why.

The video ends with a Q&A covering increasing subscriber churn which may lead to annual discounts rather than a monthly subscription. Reemah explains that the first 100 days is key in keeping subscribers. Other questions cover the need for consistent user experience across platforms, approach to expansion and the applicability of your content to your viewers.

Watch now!
Speakers

Reemah Sakaan Reemah Sakaan
Group Director, SVOD at ITV
Chief Brand and Creative Development Officer, BritBox Global
Rahul Patel Rahul Patel
Analyst,
Ampere Analysis
Simon James Simon James
Head of Sales Engineering,
Applicaster

Video: Where can SMPTE 2110 and NDI co-exist?

When are two video formats better than one? Broadcasters have long sought ‘best of breed’ systems matching equipment as close as possible to your ideal workflow. In this talk we look getting the best of both compressed, low-latency and uncompressed video. NDI, a lightly compressed, ultra low latency codec, allows full productions in visually lossless video with a field of latency. SMPTE’s ST-2110 allows full productions with uncompressed video and almost zero latency.

Bringing together the EBU’s Willem Vermost who paints a picture from the perspective of public broadcasters who are planning their moves into the IP realm, Marc Risby from UK distributor and integrator Boxer brings a more general view of the market’s interest and Will Waters who spent many years in Newtek, the company that invented NDI we hear the two approaches of compressed and uncompressed compliment each other.

This panel took place just after the announcement that Newtek had been bought by VizRT, the graphics vendor, who sees a lot of benefit in being able to work in both types of workflow, for clients large and small and who have made Newtek its own entity under the VizRT umbrella to ensure continued focus.

A key differentiator of NDI is it’s focus on 1 gigabit networking. Its aim has always to enable ‘normal’ companies to be able to deploy IP video easily so they can rapidly benefit from the benefits that IP workflows bring over SDI or other baseband video technologies. A keystone in this strategy is to enable everything to happen on normal, 1Gbit switches which are prevalent in most companies today. Other key elements to the codec are: free, software development kit, bi-directionality, resolution independent, audio sample-rate agnostic, tally support, auto discovery and more.

In the talk, we discuss the pros and cons of this approach where interoperability is assured as everyone has to use the same receive and transmit code, against having an standard such as SMPTE ST-2110. SMPTE ST-2110 has the benefit of being uncompressed, assuring the broadcaster that they have captured the best possible quality of video, promises better management at scale, tighter integration into complex workflows, lower latency and the ability to treat the many different essences separately. Whilst we discuss many of the benefits of SMPTE ST-2110, you can get a more detailed overview from this presentation from the IP Showcase.

Watch now!

This panel was produced by IET Media, a technical network within the IET which runs events, talks and webinars for networking and education within the broadcast industry. More information

Speakers

Willem Vermost Willem Vermost
Senior IP Media Technology Architect,
EBU
Marc Risby Marc Risby
CTO,
Boxer Group
Will Walters Will Waters
Vice President Of Worldwide Customer Success,
VizRT
Russell Trafford-Jones Moderator: Russell Trafford-Jones
Exec Member, IET Media
Manager, Support & Services, Techex
Editor, The Broadcast Knowledge

Video: 2019 What did I miss? – Introducing Reliable Internet Streaming Transport

By far the most visited video of 2019 was the Merrick Ackermans’ review of RIST first release. RIST, the Reliable Internet Stream Transport protocol, aims to be an interoperable protocol allowing even lossy networks to be used for mission-critical broadcast contribution. Using RIST can change a bade internet link into a reliable circuit for live programme material, so it’s quite a game changer in terms of cost for links.

An increasing amount of broadcast video is travelling over the public internet which is currently enabled by SRT, Zixi and other protocols. Here, Merrick Ackermans explains the new RIST specification which aims to allow interoperable internet-based video contribution. RIST, which stands for Reliable Internet Stream Transport, ensures reliable transmission of video and other data over lossy networks. This enables broadcast-grade contribution at a much lower cost as well as a number of other benefits.

Many of the protocols which do similar are based on ARQ (Automatic Repeat-reQuest) which, as you can read on wikipedia, allows for recovery of lost data. This is the core functionality needed to bring unreliable or lossy connections into the realm of usable for broadcast contribution. Indeed, RIST is an interesting merging of technologies from around the industry. Many people use Zixi, SRT, and VideoFlow all of which can allow safe contribution of media. Safe meaning it gets to the other end intact and un-corrupted. However, if your encoder only supports Zixi and you use it to deliver to a decoder which only supports SRT, it’s not going to work out. The industry as accepted that these formats should be reconciled into a shared standard. This is RIST.

File-based workflows are mainly based on TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) although, notably, some file transfer service just as Aspera are based on UDP where packet recovery, not unlike RIST, is managed as part of the the protocol. This is unlike web sites where all data is transferred using TCP which sends an acknowledgement for each packet which arrives. Whilst this is great for ensuring files are uncorrupted, it can impact arrival times which can lead to live media being corrupted.

RIST is being created by the VSF – the Video Standards Forum – who were key in introducing VS-03 and VS-04 into the AIMS group on which SMPTE ST 2022-6 was then based. So their move now into a specification for reliable transmission of media over the internet has many anticipating great things. At the point that this talk was given the simple profile has been formed. Whist Merrick gives the details, it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t include intrinsic encryption. It can, of course, be delivered over a separately encrypted tunnel, but an intrinsic part of SRT is the security that is provided from within the protocol.

Despite Zixi, a proprietary solution, and Haivision’s open source SRT being in competition, they are both part of the VSF working group creating RIST along with VideoFlow. This is because they see the benefit of having a widely accepted, interoperable method of exchanging media data. This can’t be achieved by any single company alone but can benefit all players in the market.

This talk remains true for the simple profile which just aims to recover packets. The main protocol, as opposed to ‘simple’, has since been released and you can hear about it in a separate video here. This protocol adds FEC, encryption and other aspects. Those who are familiar with the basics may whoosh to start there.

Speaker

Merrick Ackermans Merrick Ackermans
Chair,
VSF RIST Activity Group

Video: 2019 What did I miss? – SRT

We’re looking at the most popular posts of 2019 now as The Broadcast Knowledge takes a break over the holiday season. Twitch’s Alex Converse had one of the most visited posts of the year in his video detailing how SRT works. It’s a great technical resource for developers and engineers wanting to understand more than just the highlights of SRT. Did it do well because it was Alex? Because the San Francisco’s Video Tech meet up is a well known part of Demuxed’s community for ‘engineers working with video’ or because its title? Any or all of these could be true and it wouldn’t invalidate it’s usefulness or its popularity. So if you haven’t already, read more about it here, or click play below.

Another SRT talk of interest this year you may want to catch up on was the IBC SRT Open Source Technical panel which looked at the general SRT features and looked at the pros and cons against SRT. The panel looked at a case study with Red Bee Media and South American broadcaster Globo and the use of RTP and SRT together. Read more detail here or click here to watch for free

Speaker

Alex Converse Alex Converse
Streaming Video Software Engineer,
Twitch