Streaming Opportunities in ‘Event-Based’ Programming
The ongoing rollout of streaming services represents one of the fiercest races for market share among any industry in decades. Ground-breaking mergers and acquisitions between media franchises of all sizes are redefining the media landscape as broadcasters and operators look to develop unrivalled digital services. Just this year, we’ve seen AT&T merge WarnerMedia with Discovery and Amazon acquire MGM Studios in a bid to bolster their streaming portfolios. When you combine the revenue potential of these consolidated content juggernauts to the existing group of over-the-top (OTT) services, including Netflix, Apple, Disney, and Hulu, it’s clear the market is becoming congested.
As mainstream media brands tee up their streaming strategies, content owners are also looking for new ways to push their own content, platforms, and brands directly towards their subscriber base. So, while on-demand content, re-runs of classic shows, and endless binge-watching continue to grow in popularity, significant market fragmentation is simultaneously taking place. This fragmentation presents numerous exciting opportunities for channel originators and broadcasters to build impactful and popular services around linear scheduled viewing. Beyond just sports and news, this type of programming also includes the weekly release of cliff-hanger dramas or reality TV shows. Linear scheduled viewing continues to attract large-scale audiences, often in the millions, with the most exciting opportunities revolving around ‘event-based’ television.
Harnessing live and semi-live programming
Live and semi-live programming continue to draw some of the highest audience figures on TV. Analysis from the PA news agency found four of the top 10 biggest TV audiences in the UK since March 2020 were episodic reality and entertainment shows. Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent, and The Great British Bake Off recorded viewing figures of over 10 million. By releasing single episodes every week, channel originators can drive an immense following and a feeling of exclusivity around the program. The continued popularity of scheduled content opens a whole range of new opportunities for broadcasters and channel originators to boost audience share, keep their most loyal fans engaged, and deliver more compelling and monetizable viewing experiences. These opportunities include curating additional content, developing new streaming channels, and creating new shared viewing experiences to enable deeper fan engagement. Use cases such as linking main screen and second-screen experiences using Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HBBTV) or rapidly deploying content through social media are also new areas they can explore. Monetization options range from micro-payments for additional content or merchandise to personalized advertising.
Diversifying content strategies
Broadcasters and content owners can tap into this opportunity by creating supplementary, dynamic channels featuring either live or packaged pre-recorded content, such as highlights, analysis, or behind-the-scenes insights. This type of ‘bonus’ content has proven hugely popular for reality shows such as the global franchise, Love Island. The content is delivered in real-time during the main broadcast and allows viewers to interact on social media ‘in the moment’ and share the experience alongside other viewers. Channel originators can also create new tailored experiences for fans, tapping into synchronized metadata for a truly personalized and engaging content offering. These tailored experiences could include incorporating gamification elements within the content, providing predictions, competitions, or even betting.
Keeping fans and viewers engaged with personalized and interactive content simultaneously increases the amount of time they spend on the broadcaster’s platform, opening new monetization opportunities. For example, micro-payments can be added to the service to gain access to bonus content and features. What’s more, advertisers are increasingly shifting their spending from linear to OTT and connected TV video. A recent survey conducted by the IAB forecasts OTT spending among advertisers to jump 14% in 2021, with linear TV spending dropping 5%. This shift means they can gain further insights into consumer behaviors through their activity on social media platforms, including relevant details of their media usage, habits, and opinions.
Re-addressing the end-to-end media workflow
Implementing these models requires comprehensive new media workflows that can be easily deployed through an end-to-end ecosystem. Through the evolution of cloud-based services, software-defined tools, and applications, channel originators and broadcasters can now deploy new services that appeal to streaming audiences. They can build robust broadcast workflows that address the many phases of the content ecosystem – from acquisition, playout, and graphics to streaming and end-user experience.
The cloud removes many of the up-front costs and deployment effort involved when provisioning this infrastructure and adapting to the rapid increase in set-up speed for an event. Cloud-first start-ups are changing how broadcast architectures can be built, ranging from large monolithic single-vendor solutions to multi-vendor ecosystems. The latter option provides small and adaptable components that allow channel originators and content owners to react quickly to changes in needs and requirements.
Looking to as-a-Service models
The cyclic nature of scheduled, event-based programming also needs to be reflected in the services’ commercial model. By utilizing pay-as-you-use consumption-based licensing, content operators can link the costs and benefits of additional services to the events. This means they don’t need to pay for the infrastructure or license fees when events are not taking place.
This makes event-based programming the perfect use case for ‘as-a-Service’ propositions, as it enables channel originators, broadcasters, and content owners to create new experiences without an ongoing contractual commitment. In this instance, the vendor takes responsibility for the service’s infrastructure, life cycle, and management. The content owner can then concentrate on the most important element – delivering great content.
Creating additional content offerings, shared experiences, and building strong links to social media platforms means that channel originators, broadcasters, and content owners can deliver events that boost fan loyalty while expanding revenue potential. With these services in place, it becomes possible to offer new ways of providing event-based programming that audiences know and love.
Embracing the cloud and as-a-Service models allows them to exploit these new opportunities without large up-front costs and complex integrations. With feature-rich content services readily available that include event production, playout, converged streaming, and broadcast headend and monitoring, broadcasters, channel originators, and content owners have a unique ability to provide engaging events and 24/7 content to audiences worldwide.
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