How broadcasters are embracing cloud channel origination and distribution platforms

By Andy Warman, Harmonic

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The video streaming market is on fire. Every week a new pop-up channel or direct-to-consumer OTT service is launched. It’s easy to understand why. Global OTT video revenues will more than double by 2024, according to Digital TV Research.

As service providers compete for OTT video revenue, staying on top of the latest market trends is critical. Today’s viewers want to watch video anytime, anywhere, on any screen. They expect personalized content and exceptionally high quality of experience (QoE).

By embracing cloud-based channel origination and distribution solutions, service providers can achieve the agility, flexibility and scalability that the video streaming market demands. With this in mind, we will examine the key advantages of transitioning to the cloud for channel origination and distribution.

Lower Cost

Video streaming is complex, and technology is constantly evolving. Competition is fierce, and service providers need to work smarter if they want to attract more subscribers, monetize their OTT offerings and keep costs low.

Traditional video infrastructure requires making a significant upfront, long-term investment. For many OTT service providers, especially those that are new or small in size, cost is a challenge. Maybe you don’t have the funds to fully invest in a traditional infrastructure. Or you don’t want to take the risk. You simply want to test a new OTT channel and see how it performs. Whatever, the reason, you need a more cost-effective solution than traditional infrastructure. By migrating to the cloud, you can eliminate the need to install equipment and software on-premises for video ingest, storage, scheduling, playout and processing. Cloud-based channel origination and distribution platforms are hosted in the cloud, with little if any upfront costs, lowering the total cost of ownership for a video streaming service.

Rapid Time to Market

The video streaming market moves rapidly, and OTT service providers have to act fast if they want to be a key player. Deploying traditional infrastructure is a lengthy process that can take any number of months.

Using the cloud, you can dramatically speed up time to market for new offerings. Whether you’re looking to launch a theme-based channel, deliver live content, VOD, catch-up TV, personalized advertising, or skinny bundles, the cloud is your answer. Cloud-based channel origination and distribution platforms support a wide range of use cases, offering rapid scaling. This allows you to quickly create, test and launch new channels, with the ability to introduce new services in days, even in hours.

Unparalleled Flexibility

Flexibility is in integral capability of software and the cloud. Using a cloud-based channel origination platform gives you the freedom to work with any type of delivery network, format, codecs and viewing device that you want. Technologies and formats that haven’t even been invented yet can easily be supported in the future on cloud-based platforms without cumbersome hardware or software upgrades.

You’ll want to choose a platform that supports a vast array of sources. These can include live streams, video clips, graphics, audio and data sources that create dynamic, engaging channels. This will ensure that you can deliver the most compelling content in any resolution, from SD to UHD.

Increased Simplicity

The cloud brings a level of efficiency to channel contribution and distribution workflows that can’t be matched by traditional architectures. Today’s cloud-based platform support all stages of media processing and delivery, making it easy to take a channel from source to multiple screens. You can instantly create and adapt playlists for clips and graphics. You can personalize your channels with captions and subtitles. You can enable dynamic ad insertion and content replacement using embedded triggers. You can decide whether to use built-in scheduling or import from an external traffic system. The entire process is simple, and you have total creative control.

High Availability and Reliability

Security and reliability are crucial for video streaming services. A key advantage of using a fully managed cloud service for channel origination and distribution is that everything is managed by a dedicated DevOps team. You never have to worry about making upgrades or enhancements to your IT infrastructures, media processing and delivery applications. They’re running with maximum uptime, at all times.

All maintenance and software updates are performed in the cloud. With simpler streaming operations, you can focus on what matters most: your content, customer engagement and driving revenue.

The Ultimate Advantage: Monetization

Leveraging a modern cloud infrastructure, you can deliver channels faster, smarter and more cost-effectively than ever before. The opportunities for monetization are the ultimate benefit. From the efficiency you’ve gained in the cloud, you’ll find it easier to deliver linear channels, create skinny bundles, repackage live content with file-based media assets to create new thematic channels, and more.

You can also satiate the consumer demand for personalized content. For example, you can replace a live stream that is not meant for distribution to certain users with localized content. You can also deliver localized or targeted ads from the server-side, ensuring that ads can’t be blocked by the end-user through seamless stream stitching.

By embracing a faster and smarter approach to channel origination and distribution, you can take advantage of every opportunity to create value for your OTT service.

About Andy Warman, Harmonic

Andy Warman is the Director of playout solutions at Harmonic. He provides business development and strategic direction for Harmonic’s line of playout enabled solutions for cloud and appliances including Spectrum media server, the Polaris automation suite, MediaGrid shared storage solutions and VOS cloud-native media processing. Warman also serves on the board of directors of the Alliance for the IP Media Solutions (AIMS).