by David Radoczy, General Manager of Deluxe MediaCloud
Livestreaming and sports broadcasting are a match made in heaven. Sports fans want immediate access to their teams’ games and they want to watch wherever they go. With 24/7 coverage, a global presence and an ultra-engaged fan base, sports broadcasting is the best test of the abilities of any livestreaming broadcast strategy.
How much of a demand is there for livestreamed sports? The 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament saw 393 million plays of matches successfully streamed during its first week alone, via 59 million unique video streaming apps. But the sheer amount of engagement can also create problems with the traditional broadcast workflow: according to Conviva, over 15% of attempts to stream the quarterfinal games failed. There’s a clear demand for livestreamed content, but all the gears have to be working perfectly to churn out successful delivery rates and optimal advertising revenues. As livestreaming expands beyond sports, broadcasters should start leveraging cloud technology to overcome this industry challenge. Cloud-based business models provide the best path to reduce costs, increase flexibility and make data-based changes to increase efficiencies with the end goal of targeting larger audiences and monetizing content.
The cloud reigns over broadcast
The solution to achieving scale and flexibility in a cost-effective manner is integrating a cloud-based delivery platform that is integrated from end to end. These open platforms help shrink workloads as the content is truly in the cloud, utilizing traditional technologies with no proprietary technology or complicated networking. The cloud provides flexibility for launching channels quickly, redirecting traffic to ensure the highest quality and lowest latency delivery, increased ROI and disaster recovery to ensure no channels fall offline. To get the most flexibility, security and ROI from the cloud, there’s no need to invest valuable development money into building such a platform in-house. The key is migrating existing infrastructure into a tested cloud solution built to standards across the industry that anticipate needs before they arise. So, choosing the right distribution partner with a solid understanding of the landscape and technology is paramount for success.
Team up for livestreaming success
By partnering with a distributor with an open platform, broadcasters can easily integrate into their partner’s system. Once integrated, broadcasters can reach any geographic location with an IP endpoint when distributing content, allowing broadcasters to distribute their content at a lower cost, while simultaneously reaching new markets and audiences. Previously niche markets and audiences that were not monetizable can now be targeted with content that is specifically tailored to them. A broadcast for an international contest between Russia and Spain needs to reach a Russian and Spanish audience, but with the right partner, fans in Hong Kong, Thailand, South Africa, Ecuador and other countries can get in on the action. Rather than creating separate files and containers for each region by hosting everything in the cloud, each region can access content with the click of a mouse.
The data you need to win
The greatest advantage to using a cloud-based platform, however, is the influx of data. By leveraging the audience and content performance data that the cloud provides, broadcasters know what types of content their audiences prefer, the best ways to target advertising, and the clearest paths to consistent high-quality delivery. The data can anticipate the peak times for audiences in New York City tuning into Wimbledon matches, giving broadcasters the knowledge of both their infrastructure needs and the best time to target the with ads from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods (as opposed to Sainsbury or Waitrose for the UK audiences).
The livestreaming landscape is still evolving, and now is the perfect time for broadcasters to begin migrating their existing infrastructure into a cloud-based platform to meet this increasing live OTT demand from consumers, whether they are tuning in for sports, esports, game shows or award ceremonies. Not only will this shift in technology increase efficiencies and be more cost-effective, it will help increase ad revenue through content delivery to more consumers around the world.
*originally published in the February 2019 adidtion of TM Broadcast International Magazine