“If you go back five years, there were a few embryonic trends— things like the ubiquity of broadband — that seemed to signal a change in content delivery. But about a year ago we hit a tipping point, where it became technically and commercially viable to deliver film and TV over the Internet,” said Jon Folland, CEO of U.K.-based media management company Nativ.
“Big internet players —like Apple and Netflix — became a force to be reckoned with, offering personalization of content, access to content at any time and socialization. Content owners now need to get to where their audiences are and they can’t afford to miss a trick. They need to monetize content by making as many deals as possible on more platforms than ever before. Operationally, that’s difficult.”
That’s where Nativ’s MioEverywhere and other similar software delivery platforms come in. This type of software allows content owners to manage the whole content process — from creation to consumption in one place. “We’re asking content owners to take control of their content,” he said.
The MioEverywhere platform remotely ingests video and audio content (while validating that it’s in the right format), and ultimately repurposes and distributes content to all web channels, mobile devices, consoles, VoD platforms, in-store kiosks and more. “It’s completely end-to-end,” Folland said, and replaces the need for more traditional content service providers. Nativ’s clients include Nordic broadcaster TV2, EMI-Universal and companies like Formula 1 and Audi.
Nativ recently published an independent report, entitled “Delivery to the Internet: Reaching Audiences Any Time, Any Place,” that succinctly points out many of the shortcomings and challenges content providers are facing regarding internet delivery (of course their answer to the problems is the MioEverywhere system, but we think there’s value in just understanding the challenges).
The report narrows down the four key challenges content owners face today when delivering content to the internet — Delivery, Service, Packaging and Delivery Technologies and Standards.
When it comes to delivery, content owners have two choices, according to the report. They can go for a “push”-based approach, where content is bundled up and pushed to a remote internet TV service (with this model, the content owner and/or content services provider handle the metadata, subtitling and formatting on their own). The other option is “pull”-based, where a remote Internet TV service requests content from a content owner, this is still growing.
The next big challenge: Service types. “When delivering to the Internet, one must consider the type of platform service and there are several concepts to consider,” according to the report. Among them: Self-publishing (where content owners create their own direct-to-consumer TV service, like a YouTube channel; a more sophisticated service embedded within their own website, or even their own Internet TV service) and VoD delivery. The report continues: “In most cases, content owners will hedge their bets and use all of the above to ensure they are the most popular platforms whilst retaining a direct relationship with the viewers through their own service.”
The third biggest challenge, according to Nativ, revolves around packaging and delivery technologies, and how content providers handle file formats, metadata, subtitling (an often forgotten component of VoD delivery — there are a growing number of subtitle formats) as well as digital delivery (many areas of the TV film and supply chain are switching from tapes to file-based workflows).
The final challenge lies in inconsistent standards across platforms. Nativ reports that “the explosion of multi-platform TV has been brought about by a large number of technology innovators working in isolation to create new standards. So for every component of VoD Delivery (AV, metadata, subtitles, network delivery), there is a growing number of competing standards.”
“It’s still early days,” said Folland. “And there’s still a lot of work to be done on the delivery side to standardize how content is packaged before it’s delivered.”