Audiovisual media services comprise a broad range of content and business models and are often subject to content regulation. The users’ expectations are based on quality, choice, convenience, and costs.

Content and service providers use multiple means of distribution to reach their audiences. Different distribution options are assessed in terms of their technical capabilities and reach, the associated costs for the provider, and the ability to ensure prominence of the content and services.

Public Service Media (PSM) organisations have additional requirements consistent with their remit which apply to all distribution options.

The market for audiovisual services is evolving to embrace innovative business models, the expansion of the traditional players into other parts of the value chain, consolidation, and increasingly global competition.

Wireless delivery of audiovisual services will continue to be important. The EBU cooperates with the mobile industry to ensure that cellular mobile networks, in particular LTE eMBMS, become a viable distribution option for PSM content and services.


There has never been more content available and consumed then there is today. The huge popularity of media is not new.

Storytelling has always been essential to our social interaction and culture. As viewers and listeners we derive value from content and the way we experience it.

Technology is a key enabler but never a substitute for the narrative.

Media content is normally offered to the audience in a package. Examples of such package include a ‘TV channel’ - a stream of programmes that reach the viewer according to a pre-defined schedule - and a library of films available to users upon demand.

The business of packaging and delivering media content is called ‘media service’.

Audiovisual media services usually involve some degree of editorial responsibility of the service provider and are subject to content regulation. Other forms of audiovisual content such as the user-generated content or video-games that are not regulated.

Media service providers offer a wide range of services including not only the traditional linear radio and TV but also time-shifted, on-demand, hybrid, and data services.

Different services allow different level of user engagement and interaction, and may be tailored to different segments of the audience, user context, or a particular distribution platform.

At the same time, viewers and listeners have at their disposal an increasing range of devices, such as stationary and portable radio and TV sets but also personal computers, smartphones and tablets, and a host of streaming devices that can connect to a TV set.

The growing capabilities of user devices coupled with an increasing choice of high quality content and services continue to drive user expectations, in particular in terms of quality, choice, convenience, and costs.

Users expect the content to be available across different devices and access networks. They enjoy both the shared experience of the living room and the convenience of portable devices, whether in the home or on the move.


Content and service providers naturally seek to reach all interested users irrespective of where they are and which device they use. This can only be achieved by using multiple means of distribution, including both the traditional broadcasting platforms (terrestrial, cable and satellite) as well as fixed and mobile broadband IP networks (Figure 1).

Figure 1 distribution options for audiovisual services

Figure 1 distribution options for audiovisual services

All else being equal the user will always prefer higher quality, wider choice, lower costs, and a more convenient use, which together contribute to her experience of the content. Better user experience leads to higher engagement and loyalty to the provider or service.

This is why service providers seek to deliver the best possible user experience. The challenge is to do so in a sustainable way. They have at their disposal several different distribution options and the choice of a particular option largely depends on its technical capabilities, reach, costs, and the ability to ensure prominence of the content and services.