Ahead of NAB 2016, Broadcasters Contend with a Digital Deluge



13 April 2016

By: Bryan Hill

Over the past year, the broadcast landscape has changed drastically. The proliferation of digital content has shaken the attitudes and habits of advertisers, broadcasters and viewers alike. With one of the most visible changes being the arrival of digital video, the broadcast industry is clearly transitioning toward a progressively digital future.

For operators and broadcasters who need to support this growing demand, this shift is expected to cause significant changes in content production, management and distribution technology, as well as processes.

Broadcast’s biggest test yet? Live streaming Super Bowl 50

This past February, CBS broadcast the Super Bowl online for the first time, via Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast to a record audience of almost 4 million unique viewers.

This is important because the live streaming of events is a relatively untested practice on such a massive scale; not to mention, sporting events are one of the last remaining sources of commercial revenue for traditional televised broadcast.

However, although the number of viewers for the live stream were impressive, it was only a fraction of the nearly 112 million viewers that watched the televised event, and fans watching the live stream still suffered from widespread problems like buffering and feed delays. This demonstrates how difficult the exercise is, and that the bandwidth for live streaming is not quite able to handle the traffic loads necessary to oust television just yet.

Looking towards digital adoption

Still, it’s clear that more and more TV viewers are relying on the Internet to access live content streams. As this trend continues, cable companies can learn from the many global B2C companies already embarking on this path to help make this transition happen smoothly.

For instance, Facebook, the gold standard of content distribution, recently announced a milestone of 100 million hours of daily video viewing. The world’s biggest social network has been aggressively campaigning to boost its users’ video consumption, directly competing with Google’s YouTube for eyeballs, advertisers and content. Through adjustments like including more videos on users’ news feeds and having them play automatically, the company has been able to quickly ramp up how much content people watch on its platform.

Broadcasters can also look at Verizon’s recent purchase of AwesomenessTV. The two are joining forces to create a premium short-form mobile video service. It will feature premium transactional content for a variety of audiences, which the companies claimed will rival the quality of high-end TV shows.

Additionally, Twitter recently just signed its first broadcast deal to stream 10 Thursday night National Football League games during the 2016 season. If this partnership is successful, it could pave the way for more video deals, including other professional sports, political content and, eventually, even entertainment.

Interxion delivers on digital video

To support this digital adoption and deliver optimum user experiences, broadcasters need a highly interconnected data centre that can cost-effectively power massive data exchanges without being overwhelmed. With the right infrastructure and interconnectivity in place, the possibilities could be endless.

We will be attending NAB 2016 to discuss these challenges and how we provide solutions for advertisers, broadcasters and viewers to all benefit.