Posts Tagged ‘Broadcasting’

IBC 2016: Takeaways from the Year’s Biggest Broadcast Event

Tom "TV" Burns

CTO, Media & Entertainment at EMC

 

Ah, Amsterdam…famed for its tulip fields, wooden clogs, bicycle rides through the city, and an annual industry gathering that unites more than 55,000 media and entertainment professionals to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the world of broadcasting.

The International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) is always a great opportunity to connect with our global customers, partners and hear about the major developments taking place in media & entertainment today.

This was my 4th time attending IBC and, as at previous conferences, there was no shortage of exciting product announcements, customer and partnership wins, and spirited discussions about what’s ahead for us in the coming year(s). Here’s a high-level snapshot of the major trends I saw at IBC this year:

hanging-sign

Enterprise IT Shaping M&E’s Migration to IP

We continue to see progress in the migration to all IP workflows, and this evolution is taking shape with lessons from enterprise IT. In an industry where flexibility and agility are key, proprietary media hardware will quickly become a roadblock to the next generation of simplicity.

I had the opportunity to visit the IBC IP Interoperability Zone, which featured more than 30 diverse demos of verified technical interoperability over IP. The new initiative was developed by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) and the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM), with a shared vision (as expressed by Peter White, IABM CEO in an article from SVG) to “remove the roadblock that uncertainty over standards and interoperability has put in the way of end-users’ decisions to transition to the many potential operating and cost benefits of IP technology in the broadcast production chain.”

Potential, not pixels, is what matters

I think the next significant growth area in the M&E space will be around data analytics, particularly in light of how “TV” as we know it has evolved. Further, machine learning (AKA AI or deep learning), is becoming increasingly sophisticated particularly around the areas of video search.

Look at the ways that televisions themselves at been evolving. Even as recently as a few years ago, when it came to buying a TV (or any ”entertainment viewing device,” for that matter), what mattered most was the picture quality. Screens were still relatively large and bulky in size and resolution was often the primary consideration for consumers. Those buying factors have changed, to where we think of TV (again, “entertainment viewing devices”) more as a sophisticated media hub than just a humble television. Long gone are the days of “appointment viewing,” where viewers had a specific day and time to watch a program before it was gone forever. Today the conversation is around USB ports, storage, networking, wireless connectivity and on-demand viewing, just for starters.

In fact, I’d like to designate NHK for “T.V. Burns Top Pick for Best Demo at IBC” for their awe-inspiring 130″ 8K display screen f(made up of 4x4K OLED panels) that was just 2mm thick, including bezel! Talk about taking your next weekend movie night to the next level!

Virtual Reality (VR) Closer to Becoming Actual Reality

VR was everywhere at IBC, with myriad demos, launches and partnerships being announced that will ultimately bring us all one step closer to experiencing true VR. The fact is that the way that consumers experience programming is fast becoming richer and more lifelike than ever. It’s not far-off to say that soon we’ll no longer “watch” TV but rather “experience” it through full video and audio immersion with a 360 view of our content.

Notably at IBC, Kaltura launched the VR Alliance, in conjunction with founding partners Inception, 24i Media, Encompass and Harmonic. The “Future Zone” on the exhibit floor was incredibly popular, with attendees being able to interact with realistic avatars via LiveLike, and an interactive cooking show from BBC R&D (Cook-Along Kitchen Experience, or CAKE) that adjusts the content in real-time to align with the viewer’s cooking.

The World Gets Smaller

Consolidation and partnership were definitely in the air at IBC, with a slew of acquisition announcements coming out around the event. Rovi closed its $1.1B acquisition of TiVo; Blackmagic Design bought both Fairlight and Ultimatte; Ross Video announced the acquisition of Abekas, Inc.; and Telestream announced the acquisition of UK-based Quality Control (QC) technology specialist, Vidcheck. In partnership news, Ericsson and Google joined forces to combine Ericsson’s MediaFirst platform into Google’s Android TV ecosystem.

If you were at IBC – or if you were monitoring developments from home – what were your favorite announcements and developments? Let us know what you think the next year will bring for the M&E space after this year’s event.

MLBAM Goes Over the Top: The Case for a DIY Approach to OTT

James Corrigan

Advisory Solutions Architect at EMC

Latest posts by James Corrigan (see all)

smart tvWhen looking at the current media landscape, the definition of what constitutes a “broadcaster” is undergoing a serious overhaul. Traditional linear TV might not be dead just yet, but it’s clearly having to reinvent itself in order to stay competitive amid rapidly evolving media business models and increasingly diverse content distribution platforms.

The concept of “binge watching” a TV show, for example, was non-existent only a few years ago. Media consumption towards digital and online viewership on a myriad of devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs is on the rise. Subscription on-demand services are becoming the consumption method of choice, while broadcast-yourself platforms like Twitch and YouTube are fast becoming a popular corner stone of millennial’s viewership habits. Horowitz Research found that over 70 percent of millennials have access to an OTT SVOD service, and they are three times as likely to have an OTT SVOD service without a pay TV subscription. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates that OTT video streaming will grow to be a $10.1 billion business by 2018, up from $3.3 billion in 2013.

As a result, broadcast operators are evolving into media aggregators, and content providers are transforming into “entertainment service providers,” expanding into platforms ranging from mobile to digital to even virtual theme parks.

Building Versus Buying:

This change in media consumption requires media organizations to consider a more efficient storage compute and network infrastructure. Media organizations need flexible and agile platforms to not only expand their content libraries but also to meet the dynamic growth in the number of subscribers and how they consume and experience media and entertainment.

To successfully compete in OTT market is dependent upon the “uniqueness” of your service to the consumer , This uniqueness comes from either having unique or exclusive content, or by having a platform which is able to adapt and offer the customer more than just watching content. For the latter how you deploy your solution whether it be (1) build your own (“DIY”), (2) buy a turn-key solution or (3) take a hybrid approach, is key to success.

MLBAM Hits a Home Run with a DIY Approach

A key advantage of the “DIY” approach is that it increases business agility, allowing media organizations to adapt and change, as consumers demand more from their services. For some media organizations this  allows them to leverage existing content assets, infrastructure and technology teams and keep deployment costs low. Further, layering OTT video delivery on top of regular playout enables organizations to incrementally add the new workflow to the existing content delivery ecosystem. For new entrants,  the DIY approach enables  new development methodologies, allowing these “new kids on the block” to develop micro-services unencumbered by legacy services.

One example of an organization taking the DIY approach is Isilon customer Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), which has created a streaming media empire. MLBAM’s success underscores the voracious and rapid growth in consumer demand for streaming video; it streams sporting events, and also supports the streaming service HBO GO, as well as mobile, web and TV offerings for the NHL.

“The reality is that now we’re in a situation where digital distribution isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ strategy, it’s an essential strategy for any content company,” said Joe Inzerillo, CTO for MLBAM. “When I think about…how we’re going to be able to innovate, I often tell people ‘I don’t manage technology, I actually manage velocity.’ The ability to adapt and innovate and move forward is absolutely essential.”

Alternatively, the turn-key approach, which either outsources your media platform or gives you a pre-built video delivery infrastructure, can offer benefits such as increased speed-to-market. However, selecting the right outsource partner for this approach is critical; you choose incorrectly and it can create vendor lock-in, loss of control and flexibility and larger operational costs.

Making it Personal: Analytics’ Role

3D smart tv with hand holding remote control isolatedBeing able to access content when and where consumer’s want – on the device they want – is one part of the challenge with the rise of digital and online content. Another key component is personalization of that content to viewers. Making content more relevant and tailored for subscribers is critical to the success of alternate broadcast business models – EMC and Pivotal are helping media companies extract insights on customers through the development and use of analytics should be key to any OTT strategy. Analyzing data on what consumers are watching should be used to help drive content acquisition and personalized recommendation engines. The added benefits of personalized advertisement of content through targeted ad insertion will help increase revenue through tailored advertisements.

Scaling for the future

Infrastructure platforms that scale is the final consideration for the new age media platforms. Being able to scale “apps” based on containers or virtual instances is key. To do that you need a platform that scales compute, network and storage independently or together, just like EMC’s scale out NAS with Isilon or scale out compute with VCE or VXRail/Rack. MLBAM’s Inzerillo explains. “The ability to have a technology like Isilon that’s flexible, so that the size of the data lake can grow as we on board clients, is increasingly important to us. That kind of flexibility allows you to really focus on total cost of ownership of the custodianship of the data.”

Inzerillo continues, “If you’re always worried about the sand that you’re standing on, because it’s shifting, you’re never going to be able to jump, and  what we need to be able to do is sprint.”

It’s an exciting time to be in the ever-evolving media and entertainment space – the breadth of offerings that broadcasters and media companies are developing today, and the range of devices and distribution models to reach subscribers will only continue to grow.

Check out how MLBAM improves customer experience through OTT.

In China, it is different…

Charles Sevior

Chief Technology Officer at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

So is the often repeated phrase, when those of us outside of Qr code 1China ask our colleagues about business, technology and consumer activities within the World’s most populated country – which is still on a very substantial economic growth curve and taking big steps on the global stage. Just think about the devices that you use every day – it is hard to find one that is not made in China.

I have just returned from Beijing, where EMC joined the 24th annual China Content Broadcasting Network Conference and Exhibition – CCBN 2016.  CCBN boasts 100,000 attendees from 30 countries to meet with over 1,000 exhibitors across a 60,000 sqm exhibition campus in 8 halls.

CCBN exhibition campus

The weather was spectacular!  Cool, clear and sunny, perfect for walks around the campus.  Chinese M&E industry professionals are just like you and I – focused on practical outcomes that deliver the best quality and new innovations at an affordable price.  They are optimistic and enthusiastic for the future – and much younger and fitter than the “industry veterans” that I expect to be rubbing shoulders with during the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas (no offence intended).QR code 2

EMC was at CCBN in Hall 3, and we also held an in-depth customer workshop where we presented our technology updates and vision for the media industry, and then listened to some of the most advanced media customers in China tell us of their plans, challenges and requirements for the future.  If you want to get some takeaways, take a look here or scan this QR code (it is the Chinese way).

4K? Cloud? OTT? All-IP? Social Media integration?  You bet!  These are all hot topics, and many vendors were presenting solutions addressing all of these rapidly developing requirements.  But this is where we start to see some significant variations between China and the rest of the world.

Vendors are different…

Forget your well-known major brands. In China the biggest players are the local vendors and solution providers.  International vendors are usually represented through partnerships and JV agreements.  Software-based solutions that are localised to support Chinese language and integrations are the most successful, because they can be married with local-brand IT hardware thus giving the local system integrators some opportunity for a share of profit margins and local support contracts.  So the model that most M&E vendors are finally adopting – getting away from hardware sales and providing fully-virtualised software options – ensures access to huge markets like China.  The two biggest by far are Dayang and Sobey – and I’m pleased to say they are both very good partners of EMC, having sold many solutions integrating Isilon storage into major media companies in China.

Dayang Sobey

This snapshot on Day 1 of the show gives you an idea of the crowd and the popularity of Dayang and Sobey for the media industry in China.  Each vendor was showing innovations and solutions addressing the hot topics for 2016 – 4K, Cloud, Asset Management, Archiving, All-IP, File-Based Workflows. Located directly opposite each other, Hall 4 was definitely the hot spot! You will find these two companies exhibiting at NAB, but they won’t be quite so busy…

Clouds are different…

When you think Cloud, names that leap to mind are Amazon, Microsoft and Google.  Not here.  The big players are Alibaba and Tencent, and the biggest public cloud in China is Aliyun (yun=cloud, so we usually call it AliCloud).  Just as we see interest in running M&E workflows on AWS and Azure, so in China there was a major partnership being demonstrated between Sobey and Aliyun.  This follows a similar model to elsewhere, where the solutions are being developed on layered SaaS / PaaS / IaaS models. You will recognise a few logos in the snapshot below.

Cloud solution china

Just as we find in the professional media industry outside of China, there are concerns expressed by our customers about being too dependent on 3rd party providers, vendor lock-in and content security. And just as we find outside of China, the cloud is not cheaper than a well-run private / hybrid cloud solution built on a foundation of open source software and managed infrastructure.

Internet TV is different…

Netflix?  As the leading global provider of subscription Video On Demand, Netflix is well-known as the disruptive innovator that has started to reshape media consumption.  Just like Uber for the taxi industry and Airbnb for the hotel industry, Netflix has triggered the launch of a myriad of OTT content providers across Asia – competing to stay abreast of this wave of rapidly changing consumer demand.  Watch anything, anytime on any device.  Binge-viewing of whole seasons at less than $10 / month. In early 2016, Netflix pressed a button to roll out services across the rest of the globe – with one very big exception…

netflix globe

Yes, that big hole is China, 1.3 Billion people.  Netflix may yet start up here via a JV, but in China, it is different… The companies defining and dominating the OTT and Internet video space in China are predominantly local or acting as JV partners.

China OTT Video Giants

In China there is no Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google. Instead there is WeChat, YuoKu, QQ, Wasu, DisneyLife – and plenty of others.  These media ventures are dominated by the big guys, like Alibaba, Tencent, CCTV and SMG.

However from a technical perspective, the pressures and issues are the same.  The need for high-quality transcoding, origin servers and CDNs that can scale to handle the massive traffic demands, a range of different consumer devices to be supported, and of course doing all of this at a low incremental cost.

What’s Next?

Well, most people I spoke to were already well down the track of 4K video production, and looking to be able to offer those channels in the near future.  Vendors at the show were promoting their support for 4K video, and HDR.  With Beijing officially winning the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, that caps off a North Asian clean sweep for the six years following the Rio 2016 Olympics that will certainly drive broadcasters and vendors to bring advanced television production and distribution such as 4K, 8K and individual event streaming to the market and into the hands of demanding consumers.

Olympic Cities

See you at NAB 2016!

And so as we rapidly approach the major annual broadcasting & media show in Las Vegas, if you are travelling from Asia or if you are interested in providing services into Asia, come and have a chat with me on the EMC stand #SL9605 in the South Lower Hall. Or if you want to find out more about the world’s most trusted media storage and converged infrastructure solutions – adopted by more than 1,500 media & entertainment companies worldwide (including China), come and meet with our experts on the stand.  We will show you the result of 15 years of developing and selling Isilon, now in its 8th generation of software innovation. We live and breathe the “All-IP” media world, and with EMC’s market-leading converged infrastructure solutions we can take you into the cloud-connected, virtualised, “always-on” future that your business and your customers are already demanding.

Closing the Gap between the 4K Dream & Reality

Charles Sevior

Chief Technology Officer at EMC Emerging Technologies Division

Television has come a long way since video formats such as NTSC, PAL, VHS and Betamax – the transition of digital video from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD), and now most recently Ultra HD or 4K.

What is 4K and what does it mean for professional broadcasters?

With quadruple the 4K Broadcastingresolution of HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), the first noticeable benefit of 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) is the improved picture sharpness. However, this brings new challenges to the broadcast workflow such as increased storage capacity, processing power, delivery bandwidth, and rendering time. Broadcast and production companies are on the hunt for solutions to seamlessly transition from HD to 4K. For the 4K dream to become a reality, an industry-wide shift in consumer, manufacturer, and content creator habits has to happen. (more…)

Categories

Archives

Connect with us on Twitter