The media and broadcast TV landscape is not just changing; it’s undergoing a significant paradigm shift. As traditional cable TV makes room for streaming and Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, younger consumers are defining the path forward with their penchant for on-demand content. Advanced monitoring systems are the torchbearers in this journey, ensuring that as the industry pivots, the quality remains impeccable.
Monitoring Systems: More Than Just Oversight
At the heart of this digital transformation lies the overwhelming importance of software-based solutions, including deep-probing monitoring systems that run on-premises, in the cloud, or both. Gone are the days when you had rooms full of task-specific hardware and capitalised equipment to stand up a specific live broadcast, playout, or distribution capability. The digital ecosystem is growing and becoming more complex – requiring interoperability between numerous resources and vendors and an increased need for real-time monitoring tools to optimise operational efficiency.
To this day, monitoring and multiviewer solutions involve people sitting in a room, looking at screens, and waiting for disruptions to occur. This method of maintaining quality seems inefficient because quality is restored only after the issue is identified. However, with the introduction of tools that allow for quality measurement from multiple perspectives, including both service delivery and viewer experience, operational managers and customer experience managers can share information to improve the systems’ ability to measure and monitor quality. Notably, more sophisticated systems utilise AI and machine learning by proactively detecting glitches and anomalies; they enable quick intervention, minimising disruptions in many cases before they reach the viewer. This ensures the smooth flow of content and translates into substantial cost savings in terms of staffing and potential revenue losses.
In addition, the newer generation of monitoring solutions can probe more deeply, analysing vast swaths of data to discern patterns or go beyond the expected. By spotting systemic issues and repetitive errors, these solutions offer insights that lead to preventive strategies. Consequently, teams can address root causes rather than just symptoms, enhancing efficiency and reducing operational costs.
Deciphering KPIs: The Metrics that Matter
Digital media demands perfection, and nothing exemplifies this better than the “Five Nines.” Representing an uptime of 99.999%, it sets a gold standard for content distributors and broadcasters. Such high availability ensures that audiences receive uninterrupted content, which is paramount in an age where viewer expectations are at an all-time high and tolerance for disruptions is minimal.
Achieving high uptime and a short mean time to resolution (MTTR) is crucial for ensuring smooth and reliable broadcasts. To maintain viewer satisfaction and loyalty, it is critical to have a monitoring system in place that can detect errors in real time and enable quick and efficient error resolution.
Multiviewing capabilities are an excellent tool for monitoring multiple channels simultaneously and detecting errors quickly. However, alert fatigue can be a significant issue, so it is crucial to incorporate features such as “monitoring-by-exception” or a “penalty box” to reduce the need for constant monitoring or “eyes-on-glass.”
Another important KPI focuses on the trend in the number of incidents over time. By closely monitoring and working towards a reduction in these incidents, broadcasters can gauge their system’s effectiveness and efficiency. A decreasing trend in incidents suggests the development of the system, its adaptability, and its evolving accuracy in capturing and addressing potential workflow errors before they become perceptible disruptions.
Moreover, identifying errors early and pinpointing where they happen in the distribution workflow minimises disruptions, ensuring the seamless delivery of content. In the fast-paced world of broadcasting and content distribution, minor oversights can translate into major grievances from an ever-demanding subscriber audience.
Together, the high standard of availability, diligent tracking of incidents, proactive error detection and rapid error resolution establish the foundation of an efficient monitoring system. This interaction ensures that broadcasters and distributors not only meet but often exceed audience expectations, thereby consolidating their brand’s valued reputation in a hyper-competitive media ecosystem.
Efficiency, Cost, and the Art of Balance
In the media and entertainment industry, balancing efficiency and quality is crucial due to the rapid pace of change. As technology evolves and audience demands intensify, there’s an inherent pressure for organisations to consistently deliver superior content without increasing their operational costs. Navigating this landscape mandates a rethinking of conventional strategies and objectives.
Traditionally, industry executives have taken a balanced approach, finding a middle ground between content quality and the resources committed. For example, the manager of content and viewer experience could have different goals (increasing content and quality) from the manager of operations (reducing costs and headcount), whereby both report to the same executive. While such an approach offers a politically stable environment, it might unintentionally cap the potential cost savings attainable. Rather than merely achieving this balance, it’s time for a forward shift in perspective, emphasising the ambition to do more with less consistently.
This “more with less” philosophy can be broken down into three key tenets:
1. Monitor more content with fewer resources
2. Optimise resource utilisation for cost savings and agility
3. Uphold high-quality standards for all viewed content
To wrap up, this section calls for a fresh viewpoint on operational efficiency. The roadmap ahead isn’t about minor tweaks within existing models. It’s about re-envisioning the entire model, pushing boundaries, and establishing bold objectives seamlessly blending efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and unparalleled quality. In other words, it’s no longer about picking two of the three; operational efficiency is about monitoring more content with fewer people and at a higher quality.
Crafting Strategies for Optimal Monitoring
The efficiency of a monitoring system depends on specific capabilities. ‘Monitoring by Exception’ is a highly effective feature set offered by TAG Video Systems that focuses only on significant workflow errors, preventing NOC operators from experiencing ’alert fatigue’. It also reduces the need for additional monitoring staff, allowing those resources to be redirected to more valuable tasks, maximising opportunities to develop creative business strategies.
Another notable feature is the “Penalty Box” concept. Isolating significant errors simplifies a potentially complex process, identifying issues quickly and ensuring they receive immediate attention reducing the need for ‘eyes-on-glass’ and resulting in efficient resource allocation. The continuous fine-tuning of alert thresholds, balancing the depth and breadth of monitoring, is vital for optimal operational performance and potential cost-savings.
Balancing attention between numerous channels, sometimes 100s or 1,000s can be difficult, even impossible, for operators to manage. The risk is ever-present: while focusing on one channel, another could experience issues, disrupting viewers’ experience. Enter an “adaptive monitoring” feature that provides unprecedented levels of flexibility. Operators can categorise streams into full, light, and extra-light modes. This ensures that critical content remains under close observation while allowing operators the peace of mind that the rest of the channels are autonomously managed in the background. Should there be an error in channels set to light or extra-light modes, the system doesn’t just alert the operator; it will immediately project the full video on screen for live viewing, pinpointing the exact location where the error was identified. This intuitive feature could drastically reduce downtime, and conserve compute resources. Instead of the operator scrambling to locate and rectify the error, this feature facilitates a streamlined response and can significantly reduce operational costs.
The media industry is undergoing a transformation caused by an evolving consumer landscape and technological advancements. Amidst these changes, the importance of advanced monitoring systems, driven by insightful strategies and data-backed KPIs, cannot be overstated. If your business prioritises delivering exceptional viewer experiences, advanced monitoring systems and their pioneering providers are more than just tools to acquire. They are essential strategic partners that bring significant value to your operations.