From any direction, the requirement is for an enterprise view of SVOD, says Mark Evans, managing director, MSA Focus.

The big trend today is being driven by consumers, who want one thing above all others. They want to choose when, where and how they watch programmes.

Live events – particularly sport – apart, the idea of watching what a scheduler wants to give us at any time is dying fast.

Subscription video on demand – SVOD – is seen as the commercially viable way to meet this demand.

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Mark Evans, managing director, MSA Focus

Video on demand is a very different thing to broadcasting. It uses a completely different underlying delivery platform, and so it is immediately attractive to businesses keen to set up in competition with broadcasters.

Netflix and Apple iTunes are obvious examples of disruptive businesses who have come into the content delivery market and made a real impact.

Choose your scale

But video on demand services need not be dominated by global mega-companies. Others can enter the market, at a scale which suits them.

Production companies can monetise their output directly, rather than through broadcast middlemen. Sports federations can take back ownership of their media rights. Niche information companies can create content and distribute it online.

Although the delivery platform may be different, there are some underlying commercial drivers and constraints which remain the same. There will be rights windows, both for time and for geographies.

To build and retain a solid customer base there will need to be marketing incentives and tailored pricing plans.

Binge watching

VOD has popularised a new way to view: the binge watch.

Blockbuster series are no longer released at an episode a week: if commercial considerations say they should all be available at the same instant, the platform has to be able to do that.

In summary, then, we have content available either from traditional broadcasters, whose resources and skilled staff are already overstretched managing their core business, or from new entrants to the industry who have none of the resources and skilled staff, but do have the blank sheet of paper for a completely fresh approach.

From either direction, the requirement is for an enterprise view of SVOD.

A service-oriented architecture, in which the technical aspects of content are driven by metadata and the availability and publishing aspects are under the direct control of the marketers and controllers. Everything else should be automated, driven by intelligent logic.

This article was first published at IBC2016.

The views expressed are those of the author.