Cloud-delivered solutions are attracting all types of operators, says Simplestream CCO Dan Finch.
IBC 2019 will confirm that cloud TV has left the lab bench far behind, is beyond the early adopter stage and is fast moving towards maturity as a proven way to deliver video at scale. Next generation TV services are here and here to stay.
We’re finding that the enormous advantages in cost, flexibility and functionality are making the cloud TV approach unbeatable for broadcasters, operators, telcos and content owners launching OTT, DVR, TV everywhere and VoD services. We know that our cloud-based solutions for content acquisition, encoding, packaging, distribution and management make our customers more efficient, cost-effective and profitable.
Businesses in every sector have got used to the savings generated by ‘spinning-up’ on-line based computation and storage. The media and entertainment sector is no different. The move to IP made broadcasters and legacy video operators look at the equipment they use and how they use it. It became increasingly clear that off-the-shelf IT solutions provide cost and flexibility advantages. It’s just an extension of this process to look at how the cloud can take these advantages and amplify them using off-premise computation and storage capabilities, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, combining next generation video platforms and the enhanced video capabilities of today’s CDNs.
As broadcasters and operators look to the cloud to either complement or replace satellite delivery, cloud-delivered solutions are now attracting the backing of all types of operators. Existing broadcasters are using cloud services for VOD, OTT and TV everywhere services. Telcos are launching 100% cloud-based services that take on their broadcast competitors, while content owners and infrastructure providers are looking to cloud TV to provide a new route to market and to do it on a global basis.
It is still an evolving market, but the large PSBs (for example the BBC with iPlayer) and Netflix and Amazon have really turbo-powered OTT services, leading to rapid consumer adoption, and have driven viewers away from linear to a more curated experience on their own terms. Traditionally, it was tricky for smaller operators and individual channels to successfully launch and manage their own BBC iPlayer equivalents. However, companies such as Simplestream are making it easier and more cost-effective to launch global streaming services through the cloud thanks to technical advances such as fatter pipes and more efficient compression that work in their favour.
There is even more good news on the way because the combination of Smart TVs pre-shipped with Android TV – or, as recently speculated, TVOS operating systems built within Smart TVs, as well as the arrival of 5G – potentially heralds the death of the traditional STB. This will mean a large saving in CAPEX and OPEX costs for telcos looking to deploy next generation TV services.
The true sign of the maturity of the cloud is the sheer breadth and depth of its functionality. For instance, the customers of Simplestream’s Cloud TV platform benefit from a fully managed, cloud-based streaming workflow including live streaming, frame accurate Live-2-VOD, on-demand that caters for both B2B and B2C strategies, and an app framework to make the content ubiquitous across any device.
Redundancy, auto-failover and multi-DRM is included as standard, while optionally we also support low-latency live streaming, CDN switching and server-side ad replacement. This means that for our customers the functions that the large broadcasters have traditionally enjoyed are all now available for everyone.
I think the inevitable consequence of all these developments is that the future will see fewer broadcasters, but there will be a 100 times more niche-streaming SVOD services. I look forward to watching this disruption to business models and the continuing rise of cloud TV services play out over future visits to IBC.
Dan Finch is Chief Commercial Officer at Simplestream