By Kim Ferar, Director of Product Marketing, Verizon Media
A new era emerges while another one comes to a close. Today, “streaming” is synonymous with watching TV or any long-form premium video content. Cable and satellite TV subscriptions continue to decline while cord-cutters, cord-shavers, cord-stackers and cord-nevers continue to rise. It’s now ordinary for children to be raised in a household with multiple streaming services. And many families stream content exclusively. According to a recent report, 71% of U.S. consumers are using a paid streaming service, while 58% are using a traditional pay-TV service.*
Despite all this change, one thing is certain; traditional TV is not going anywhere. Broadcast TV has a 65-year head start on internet streaming, and they will continue to do everything possible to reach as many people as they can. To succeed, they need to evolve with audience preferences and current technological capabilities. Broadcasters need to make smart choices to meet the demands of loyal customers while attracting and retaining new viewers. The easy solution is for broadcasters to offer an OTT service, commonly in the form of an app that runs across connected TVs, mobile apps and web browsers, which can create a 1 to 1 experience, regardless of the number of concurrent viewers.
The challenge as audience preferences and distribution outlets diversify is that broadcasters’ workflow complexities require increased investment. Their viewers expect a flawless and consistent experience across varying network conditions, devices and platforms. Broadcasters must transform operations to scale from a few broadcast signals to millions of personalized streams. At first glance, broadcasters may think providing the same or better quality and reliability, personalization and ad insertion across every device and platform is insurmountable, but it’s not.
OTT streamlines and optimizes workflows while mimicking all the bells and whistles that TV offers and that broadcasters are accustomed to, including linear channels, blackout restrictions and time-shifting content based on a viewer’s geography. An OTT distribution channel provides broadcasters the ability to deliver the same TV-like quality with the scale and footprint to personalize streams for massive global audiences. All that’s required of viewers is to have an internet connection.
Verizon Media works with the world’s largest broadcasters and content providers. These relationships push us to think outside the box to provide solutions that solve today’s problems so our customers can deliver tomorrow’s TV today. Broadcasters or content owners need partners who streamline their workflows, technology that empowers personalization and solutions that increase profitability. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search for an OTT partner.
Streamlining and extending into OTT
Broadcasters are familiar with delivering content under controlled circumstances like on-prem infrastructure. But this process has very complex and deep-rooted workflows that always involve expensive hardware from multiple vendors. Broadcasters entering the world of OTT who want to reduce their time to market and operational overhead need to do so with the fewest number of vendors possible. The good news is that OTT reduces the total amount of vendors required, with a streamlined workflow from ingest to delivery. A strong OTT partner will also provide integrated solutions from 1 to 1 personalization and session management to flexible business models and syndication capabilities. Managed OTT services is another way to expedite time-to-market and support one-off event spikes. They are a cost-effective tool that helps meet viewer demand and enables you to ladder up resources as needed.
Supporting evolving industry standards
Working with partners who provide solutions to support the evolving industry is a necessity to keep your OTT business profitable and on the edge of innovation. One new technology that disrupts the traditional buying and selling of OTT ads is Prebid. Prebid is an innovative programmatic technology that uses an open source framework to conduct simultaneous auctions in real-time to compete with other ad buys. It’s an easy, low-risk solution that integrates with your server-side ad insertion vendor and has huge potential to improve ad yield. Capturing viewer session data also provides valuable insights that can be parsed and used for measurement and validation across the entire streaming experience.
Illuminating and optimizing ad experiences
The Verizon Media Platform sits at the center of all things video from ingest through delivery, gathering data throughout that can be used to illuminate and optimize the entire end-to-end viewing experience. Monitoring video and ad content in real time is mandatory because it allows technical teams to quickly troubleshoot errors, timeouts and tracking issues, so viewers don’t abandon sessions over a preventable error. But until recently, there has been little to no visibility into the ad insertion process and the true end-user experience. Capturing this data and correlating it with session data can be an extremely powerful tool that helps inform monetization strategies and enables decision-makers to remain focused on business goals.