Traditional broadcasters are faced with a multitude of changes and transitions, at the forefront is how big data is driving transformational change.

Transitioning SDI hardware to cloud-based IP solutions enables broadcasters to develop insights into audience viewing habits and generate customer-specific metadata with an internet first approach.

Today, data is central to the media broadcasting industry to develop sophisticated audience engagement and drive content creation for broadcasters to remain leaders in a competitive landscape. 

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Data drives decisions 

IP solutions enable content to become more relevant and specific for the broadcasters targeted audiences.

Cloud solutions have developed into adoptable infrastructures for broadcasters explained Sony Professional Solutions Europe Strategic Marketing Manager Stuart Almond at an event organised by Sony. 

Stuart almond headshot

Stuart Almond 

Content becomes more relevant using IP solutions without breaking the bank, Almond said.

“It has become a different world, traditional broadcasters have had to catch-up. Big data is around, they’ve been farming it, but now broadcasters need to work out how to use the most relevant data.”

“It’s a consumer led world, broadcasters are not dominant, they need to create content relevant for their audiences” – Stuart Almond

Ericsson Chief Technology Officer Steve Plunkett said the introduction of automation for broadcasters is “critical to running a successful business and to become custodians of data.”

In an increasingly competitive market, linear TV broadcasters face pressures from the likes of Netflix and Amazon who use data to understand their audience.

“Broadcasters have to adopt their approach, utilising data science to learn about their audience,” Plunkett said.

Almond added the changes to data security and data protection laws will make individually acquired data even more important in the future because companies will not be able to buy or share data under new legislation in the UK.

Content is King

Plunkett said: “Public service broadcasters need to engage with popular content and data insights”.

He explained the two different types of data - “consumer data” which holds strict ethical and legal regulations yet provides insight into individuals viewing habits; and “system data” that provides information on how network devices operate.

“Broadcasters have no choice but to recognise and adopt IP and cloud” – Steve Plunkett

Almond explained how using data allows broadcasters to gain insights into audience viewing habits across devices.

He said: “Platform analytics drives content being produced today, for tomorrow,” he continued, “big data now drives business decisions”.

The question remains, how far this can go?

Almond explained, if audiences prefer close-ups or wide shots, advanced technology will be able to pre-edit clips to automate shot decisions in order to create content quicker.

Almond said: “We are already seeing IBM’s Watson develop movie trailers.”

Broadcasters must quickly adopt IP and cloud technologies because the technology is now ready, cloud-based operations are feasible. Almond said the delay in implementation is “partly because of the broadcasters legacy of infrastructure and satellites”.

“Cloud acceleration will rise quickly, otherwise broadcasters are dead,” – Stuart Almond

Plunkett added the delay in adoption can be attributed to a combination of payload in high bit rate and quality expectations from the broadcaster. Only recently has this technology been viable for the broadcast industry.

He said: “Cloud virtualisation is more leading edge, broadcasters’ appetite to embrace cloud is high”.

Artificial applications

Steve plunkett

Steve Plunkett

The broadcast industry is at the “infancy stage of using data,” Plunkett explained.

He said that data related to audience demands combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will allow broadcasters to efficiently learn audience habits, making their content delivery platforms more reliable and bring a profitable return on investment.

Plunkett explained there is a huge amount of potential for AI in broadcasting. “A machine can learn quickly the angles that work best in action, and produce in real time an algorithm to create viable and rapid clipping of content,” Plunkett said.

“If content is King, data is King Kong” – Steve Plunkett

Broadcasters need to use data from the experts to make informed decisions because audiences demand personalisation.

Plunkett likened the broadcast industry technology evolution to the Galapagos islands, he said: “The technology has evolved separately over time” and with the adoption of IP there are inherent security issues that arise, “we need to do this as a community,” Plunkett said.

Almond added: “The key is partnerships, working with vendors and telcos who rely on different levels of expertise and security.”