Cloud goes over-the-top

The route to cloud-based broadcasting involves more than just working and storing content. What are the key considerations that broadcasters need to think through to unlock the future of multi-screen broadcasting? Lara Tan uncovers more …

From analogue to digital, on-premise to cloud, and single screen to multiple screens … the media industry is witnessing a transformation accelerated by today’s viewing habits in the connected world. Ascending to cloud broadcasting is not an over-the-top (OTT) hype, as the technology is an imperative if broadcasters are seeking ways to maximise productivity at minimum cost.

While media owners are charting their paths to the cloud, one cannot expect them to do away with their existing production and distribution systems. Kaltura, a video technology provider amalgamating pay-TV and over-the-top (OTT), is offering broadcasters a path to ‘Cloud TV’.

Kaltura aims to transform legacy TV distribution business to enable broadcasters to stay ahead of the competition.

The traditionally parallel technology converges the middleware in pay-TV and conditional access system (CAS) in OTT in a cloud-based video processing workflow, thus enabling multi-screen, big screen, secure and personalised content – and, as it is software-defined IP hybrid solution, it is scalable and flexible. Therefore, broadcasters can enter a new era of direct-to-consumer delivery via Cloud TV and this can save significant operational costs.

Hub’s Research has shown that each household in the US subscribes to an average of 4.6 video services. As increasingly more viewers are looking for content through an aggregated service, Cloud TV is ideal for facilitating discovery and personalisation of content, thereby reducing churn rates and increasing delivery capabilities to conduct content upsell.

“The implementation of novel technologies (such as AI and Cloud TV) to generate actionable insights for better understanding and prediction of user behaviour is essential to increasing engagement and monetisation,” according to a Kaltura press statement.

More importantly, Cloud TV offers operational agility as it is fast and easy to launch and can adapt to market dynamics swiftly, thus providing broadcasters the ability to respond to up-to-date market movements.

In September this year, Kaltura supported Vodafone TV’s expansion into new territories such as Greece, Romania and Portugal. Kaltura offered a multi-country telecom-grade TV service that relies on a single common cloud-based platform which allows Vodafone OpCos to launch its market-leading Vodafone TV service within the countries mentioned.

“Vodafone TV is proving that by combining the reliability, security and scalability of pay-TV with the agility, economics and functionality of OTT, telcos can launch competitive Cloud TV services at scale.

“We wanted to be first off the blocks with a new genre of cloud-based TV service that could be easily and cost-effectively replicated and launched in new Vodafone markets,” says Wolfgang Zeller, head of Video Centre of Excellence at Vodafone.

“With Kaltura, we were able to launch a next-generation Cloud TV solution that was fast to market, more cost-effective and, most importantly, increased our subscribers’ NPS (net promoter score). We are continuously impressed by how Kaltura’s technology, expertise and Cloud TV track record accelerate our joint vision for the future of TV.”

The service is said to set a new standard in the world of Cloud TV functionality, and Vodafone is advancing into one of the most advanced multi-tenant Cloud TV services in the world.

Multi-tenancy refers to the architecture of the cloud which allows the same application to be shared by multiple customers, yet achieving security, reliability and performance for each individual tenant. Contrary to popular beliefs, current enterprise security models are prone to inside-attacks as they are peri­meter-based. Multi-tenancy improves the security as there are added security over the sharing of assets.

Two years ago, a group of infamous online hacker, The Dark Overload, stole 10 episodes of yet-to-release Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black, and demanded ransom to be paid to prevent the release of the episodes online.

Although the Internet has revolutionised the world, broadcasters ought to put in place tight security measures.

Understanding the threat, Haivision, a video streaming solutions provider, is partnering other leading technology manufacturers to promote and establish a global Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) standard to deliver secure, low-latency video streams and files across the public Internet and within the public cloud.

SRT supports broadcasters with live and file-based routing workflow from the field to production to ensure content security and fast delivery. Leveraging Microsoft Azure’s global outreach, SRT can offer the shortest first-mile hop onto the cloud.

Award-winning Brightcove Live solution has also caught the eyes of broadcasters after it unveiled new features of Brightcove Live earlier this year. The solution is a broadcast-grade, cloud-based live-streaming solution with broad device reach and integrated monetisation capabilities using server-side ad insertion (SSAI), thereby enabling broadcasters to monetise live video and scale according to business needs.

During the delivery of live streams over the Internet, transport stream (TS) input interface allows broadcasters the flexibility to send a broadcast-native MPEG2-TS stream to Brightcove Live without having to convert to digital RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) format, simultaneously eliminating the need for costly on-site encoders.

By accepting MPEG2-TS, Brightcove Live can detect SCTE-35 ad markers, replacing the linear ads with digital ads across devices using SSAI.

Charles Chu, chief product officer at Brightcove, says: “Brightcove Live is backed by our best-of-breed support team, and has already streamed some of the largest global annual sporting events and conferences. We have improved the solution continually based on feedback from users, and look forward to helping them achieve their goals event after event.”

And with constant stream of innovations and enhancement upon enhancement of existing solutions, the path ahead is to determine what, why and how broadcasters can leverage emerging technologies to thrive in the world of instant gratification of news and entertainment. Whichever way one chooses to go, the enabling technologies are out there … when there’s a plan, there’s a way.

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