A thought on the reality of Immersive Content*

Developing, delivering, and using a new technology like VR/AR isn’t easy; but boy oh boy, is it fun.

In a week in Amsterdam at IBC, those of us that are lucky enough to go will be seeing – and for that matter hearing — from people who are pressing the envelop to see how VR and AR almost feels. And lets not forget there will be a lot of naysayers too.

Those naysayers have forgotten that:
• Silent movies lasted from 1895 – 1936
• B&W TV started in 1928
• The first U.S. color transmission was in 1954 (Tournament of Roses) but B&W reigned for another dozen years

Not a lot of color TV sets sold back then.

Why? Lack of content. Production was high and there was a lack of viewing screens.

Sound familiar?

The M&E industry has a lot of challenges, issues and opportunities on its plate. But IBC is focused on figuring out how to advance new ideas in broadcasting, helping the industry be prepared to prosper in the next 5 to 50 years both from the business and technical side.

Then if that is not enough there’s SMPTEs’ (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) conference in October, a month later in Hollywood.

Very simply, the category players can deliver immersive experiences today through visionaries and early adopters interests. The new technologies – HW/SW – will continue to evolve and the early creators are shooting/producing content people want and look for, and then work to get it to them – distribution efficiency.

However, this will not happen overnight because just about everything needs to be changed. So, there is a bit of behavioral modification to take place in addition to codecs.

Today, we’re transitioning viewers from the flat screen where it is pretty easy to provide content for, deliver what the viewer is comfortable with, regardless of the size of the screen/TV, and they are also okay with someone dictating the content storyline too. With VR/AR it is a bit odd at the moment, having the experience more in almost real-time in first person, than a scripted story.

In fact, there is even one naysayer, an analyst, questioning how you monetize this new video approach; citing that presently, the audience is small, production costs are high, theatres are leery, there’s no “star power”/actor identification and maybe, just maybe, it’s a fad.

But is it?

The transition from B&W to color was important but it didn’t challenge the industry – nothing changed for shooter, producer, director, production, audio or viewer but … except that everything changed to color.

The challenge for VR today is that it is being compared to whatever is here to day via an immediate society that must achieve instant success, versus what it can be.

VR is just in its first consumer generation with the classic chicken and egg scenario; and it’s something that producers with enviable track records and independent filmmakers are investing in to change.

They – and early adopters – are just beginning to discover what works and what doesn’t.

It’s difficult to step out of the industry comfort zone where you have a proven set of steps to deliver a product the audience can judge based on the script, actors and production work.

The question really is to help the evolution so: Is this a product for a mass audience or select; a dedicated initial venue -sports or adventure? It is certainly not what the current business is comfortable with though.

Fortunately, an increasing number of filmmakers are willing to take chances to let people experience and help create a new art form that will find its first connection and bring a whole new world of interaction, ie. color to a black and white experience that helps through enjoyment and to participate in ways they never thought.

My hat is off to these new creators and explorers. We should all be so lucky to accept our fears and create a new way for society to engage.

* Blog entry motivated from a lunch with a friend (Daniel Kenyon) and a story from another (Andy Marken)

Local OTT – The Holy Grail of IP delivered TV

One of the areas where TV provides tremendous value is ironically right in their own back yard. Local TV is one of the highest reasons why viewers haven’t really moved beyond cable. Local new, sports interests are part of the fabric of any community. In fact every now and then seeing your neighbor on TV, hopefully as a benefactor of something versus the other option (crime) is what local celebrities are all about.

So, where the opportunity for the likes of Amazon, Netflix and actually the new OTT TV start up around the corner is providing local TV.

In fact, I was talking with a major tech industry executive the other day and was told that he had cut off his cable connection and now receives all of his local programming cia a digital antenna, all 100 channels for free. And his main entertainment programming via IP/OTT. Doesn’t miss the rest.

cNet recently did an article on this exact topic and asked “are your live local channels on a streaming TV service yet?”

Well, are they? The five big live TV streamers — DirecTV Now, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV — all offer some combination of ABC, CBS, Fox and/or NBC.

Yes, they are.

All five of those streaming services have continued to add local stations since they launched, but local TV streaming is still sparse in most of the country. That’s because the local stations that carry ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC are fundamentally different from nationwide channels like CNN, AMC and Nickelodeon.

In the biggest metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, all five streaming providers deliver all four of the big networks. The major exceptions are DirecTV Now and Sling TV, which don’t carry any CBS stations.

Most of the providers I’ve been told are going to continue adding local channels. I’ll start working on a chart to share as they do (check back).

So, as more and more TV viewing takes place over the Internet, live TV streaming of local channels will become increasingly important to people looking for an alternative to cable or satellite. If it hasn’t arrived in your town yet on the service of your choice, you might not have long to wait.

And with this a new, yes new, TV model will become real.

Streaming Will Be a Rough, Uncertain Ride for Many

Global Tech Insider – Furious at NAB – to be distributed to publications May 31, 2017, to over 60,000 dailey readers: Streaming Will Be a Rough, Uncertain Ride for Many

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this!” Miller, “The Fate of the Furious,” Universal Studios, 2017

The ATSC (Advanced Television Standards Committee) 3.0 had a lot of positive attention at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) this year, although it hasn’t been implemented globally quite yet.

Yes, it’s well established in Korea with preparation for the Olympics; and is slowly being rolled out in the Americas, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and the rest of the Asia-Pacific area.

While there have been minor upgrades over the past 50 years, ATSC 3.0 is a worldwide next-gen TV/broadcast content distribution standard.

The IP-centric standard has advantages for both broadcast and broadband firms to deliver “seamless convergence” of OTA (over-the-air) and OTT (over-the-top) content that consumers expect/demand.

Of course, the service providers (cable, broadband, wireless) will have to deliver universal, inexpensive service so folks won’t go elsewhere.

It’s hard for people to understand that when the device (flat screen, computer, tablet or phone) is buffering, it’s not Netflix’s, Amazon’s or Hulu’s fault; it’s your ISP (internet service provider) or telco that isn’t delivering the downstream or bandwidth speeds they advertised.

Media companies (Viacom, AMC, 21st Century Fox, Disney, Comcast; oh heck, everyone) have already seen ad sales drop.

In an attempt to offset these losses, some networks and studios have trimmed their ad loads. Other streaming services are implementing native videos, in-show sponsored content and interactive ads so ads look less and less like…ads.

Deal with It – With everyone trying to get their ads in front of consumers as quickly and effectively as possible, consumers have learned how to self-filter the content to meet their needs.

Since viewer research consistently shows that ad-supported, free content is preferred by viewers of all ages, the industry has to focus on providing better ad environments and more relevant ads.

When the ads are less disruptive, higher quality and more tailored to the viewer, they are more readily received. This is mainly because better IP-based content delivery and more meaningful data is available to the content developer, service provider and advertiser to satisfy individuals, whether they view the show immediately when it’s aired, four-five days later or even a month later.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Spotify, Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, TenCent, Alibaba and streaming organizations around the globe have convinced people to change their viewing habits; and traditional organizations are experimenting with new and added service offerings.

It’s clear that IP-based solutions are driving change at both ends of the entertainment chain.

Finally, content creators have distribution opportunities outside of the cable bundles and consumers are finding more options to locate and enjoy quality content.

While broadcasters like to flaunt the fact that they originate 90 of the top 100 most-watched TV shows each week, they realize the gross number of viewers is shrinking. Increasingly, viewers are using “non-traditional distribution” for on-demand, catch-up and unique viewing services.

CDNs (content delivery networks) like Akamai, Level 3, China Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, SingTel and Limelight have become masters at moving content around for suppliers and consumers.

Then there are social-serving folks like Google, Facebook, Snap, TenCent, Weibo, Youko, Kosovarja, vk.com and a horde of others who serve up ads; or, increasingly, entice you with “a better offer.”

That doesn’t sound “too” bad; but when the eyeballs shift, so do the ad dollars!

As a CBS executive said, “It’s the wave of the future and you have to be everywhere.”
In addition to releasing their content on a managed service (paid or ad-supported); networks, stations, shows and studios increasingly have to carry out aggressive social media trailer and short-form campaigns that build a bridge with people for their long-form content.

When the short digital video goes viral, viewing ratings are stronger and for a longer period of time.

Universal – In increasing numbers, people of all sexes and ages have moved to OTT viewing so they can enjoy their entertainment/news/information when they want it. And the trend continues.

Time-shifting TV, the hallmark of OTT VOD (video-on-demand), has become a standard for most viewers. A recent NBCUniversal study reported that 67 percent of people don’t watch a show when it first airs.

SVOD (subscription VOD) is quickly surpassing DVR (digital video recorder) use in the U.S., distancing people even further from linear TV.

Since Netflix launched their SVOD service in 2010, more than 50 competitive services have been introduced; and in the Asia-Pacific arena, more than 150 OTT services are available.

The biggest question all of them have is how to package the service – fat bundle (lots of channels), skinny bundles and even a’ la carte. No one has an answer as to the best balance of content offerings and price yet.

All Packaged – To entice viewers to stay with their streaming service, firms are negotiating to develop bundles that are feature-rich for the consumer. Now, they’re playing a chess game to determine the magic price people are willing to pay.

What all of the broadcast services know is that consumers are demanding video the way they want on their time, their terms.

The industry seems to be responding by recreating the traditional TV experience on every screen.

Consumers are platform-agnostic–content selection, cost and convenience are their paramount concerns.

In other words, the news, education, information, entertainment experience is becoming more and more individualized.

In the U.S., 41 percent of adults said they plan to shave or cut the pay-TV cord in the next year. In Brazil, 16 percent said they are cutting their cord.

Beyond the cord cutters, cord shavers and cord nevers, there is a new (younger) group industry execs are trying to understand. Rather than weighing the pros/cons of small/large, thin/fat bundles; the new cord cobbler builds his/her customized content package across streaming services and platforms.

The consumers’ primary concern is value in the content they view.

That’s sorta, kinda the same concern every industry player wants — find a really complete, really innovative content distribution/management/monetization model they can use now! Viola!!!!

Despite missed sales targets and record losses, Ericsson launched their “extensive universe, best- in-class, cutting-edge, pre-integrated, semantic data” rich TV and movie ecosystem.

The power word-rich announcement left broadcasters, content owners and service providers with more questions than answers.

There’s too much black ice on the road to commit to a single solution.

TV Time – Different age groups view their TV content at different times and using different screens, which enables marketers to target messages more effectively, more efficiently.

Mobile is growing rapidly around the globe and is destined to become the screen of choice for casual and short-form consumption.

Younger generations expect premium content to be available through connected apps and Wi-Fi connections to their tablets and smartphones.

Millennials start with their connected TV at home and add 2nd/3rd screens for interactive activities.

Boomers focus on the large screen and glance at their other screen(s) for stuff.

A separate Ericsson report found that globally, 40 percent of consumers were very interested in unlimited streaming as a part of their mobile data plan. Australia’s telcos are offering unmetered plans to attract consumers, as is England’s Tesco Mobile.

Telcos will experiment with new solutions to attract subscribers so they have a broader potential audience to attract content service providers and advertisers. They know a silent dark pipe or unused airways don’t produce any return for investors.

At the same time, broadband speed and bandwidth capacity are expanding to deliver high-quality content.

Video consumers are sending the industry a clear message though – they want and expect to control their own viewing!

Welcome Assistance – Taking advantage of the data streaming services and personalized TV options, the smart ones are using augmented technology and providing smarter recommendations to viewers on content they should consider. And, it works.

OTT gives broadcasters an opportunity to evolve the entertainment from watching to engaging and sharing. Much like Netflix and Amazon, it will provide them with a chance to win over new audiences with high-quality content of their own making.

But no one said it would be a slam dunk, one solution fits everyone.
It’s clearly a time of trial-error; experimentation with different technologies, different approaches and thinking so far away from the box you forget there ever was a box.

For example, Finons Group brought Ireland’s RTE channel to NAB to show attendees what tomorrow’s broadcasting “might” look like. The online, Netflix-style, multi-screen platform will let users tap into large (and constantly growing) libraries of content and view them on any screen, any time.

Akamai, an experienced global player in the arena, showed off their multiple layers of media service redundancy that replicates content at multiple locations across the network and around the globe for immediate failover if performance degrades.

Increasingly, all of the OTT service/product providers are also using AI (augmented intelligence) to analyze content metadata on what an individual has viewed to recommend similar storylines to keep consumers from clicking away.

It can also enable advertisers to target ads to “friendly” environments or the content genre most likely viewed by specific individuals or groups so the ads are more in tune with the viewers’ wants/interests.

All of the participants want the same thing – match the audience’s demands, grow their video business and provide a welcome advertising message environment as rapidly and economically as possible.

Bypassing old-fashioned Nielsen ratings, content distribution/management people have learned a lot by observing and analyzing Netflix and Amazon as they focus on enhanced data collection and analysis of OTT viewing. They are finding new ways to reduce risk in content investments, as acquisition and commissions are more tightly aligned to consumers’ viewing preferences.

As Allan McLennan, president of PADEM Media Group, noted, “Multi-platform content delivery is placing tremendous pressure on organizations to be more ambitious and judicious in their early investments while seeking out alternative deployments and monetization strategies.

“It’s difficult but not impossible to be alert to everything 360 degrees around you and evaluate options openly and honestly so the firms can execute quickly,” he added. “Then, if something does fail; discard it just as quickly, learn from it and don’t look back. Flexibility at this stage is key.”

Today, content organizations are dealing with global audiences. As a result, broadcast/OTT providers have to remain nimble to maximize their resources and revenues.

Offering a breath of fresh air at NAB, several organizations announced plans to evaluate HEVC (high- efficiency video coding) as well as other software alternatives that can upgrade existing systems in order to deliver UHD/4K/HRD content across all screens– especially mobile devices- -quickly, efficiently and economically.

Involved Viewers – Because they control what they watch, when and on what device, consumers are also multitasking during the process, using all of their screens to interact with the show, advertisers and others in their community.

Unlike many who see streaming and digital multichannels as the precursors to the demise of traditional TV, McLennan said they’re proving to reinvigorate the audiences’ love of TV.

“Audiences are now able to discover/rediscover old favorites; binge on high-quality originals developed by fresh, new, exciting creative talents; and catch up on trending shows they might have otherwise missed,” he explained. “It’s a tremendous time for the video/TV industry – broadcaster and OTT alike. Certainly, mobile is important and getting more so; but the new connected TV set can still hold its own in being the home base for a great entertainment experience.

“A big viewing experience is still the best viewing experience,” he emphasized. “And people don’t care if it comes to them over cable, broadband or over the air.”

Be taking advantage of today’s data analytics and algorithms, content generation can be guided and experiments with new technologies can be carried out that enrich the entertainment experience for the consumer.

Great Ride – With the wide range of content types available to today’s content viewers, they can ride the waves and find content they can enjoy to the optimum. And, they can switch waves just as easily.

Over the next few years, broadcasters and content producers will learn how to develop and deliver content in different, profitable ways for the creator, the deliverer, the advertiser and …the consumer.

It’s all going to be based on real-world usage, real-world data, real-world trends and with real- world uncertainty.

When it comes to enhancing content delivery and consumption, Cipher said, “One thing I can guarantee… no one’s ready for this.”
## #

Personalizing Relationships, Results in Digital OTT Ecosystem

Personalizing Relationships, Results in Digital OTT Ecosystem
As published in TheFuture.TV, SIAsia, BroadcastBeat, and seven more outlets.

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show is just around the corner (April 22-27) and the M&E (media & entertainment) industry is actively trying to figure out where to place their bets on the new digital ecosystem.

Linear TV folks know that fixed viewing schedules are fading and industry executives are struggling to stack the odds in their favor before the 2017 TV upfronts (show cancellations, renewals, introductions). It’s increasingly tougher to gather information on viewers shifting tastes … where content comes to life.

Netflix is often cited for braking day/time viewing ritual and Amazon was quick to jump on the bandwagon. Hastings and Bezos quickly spread their offerings across the U.S. and moved into countries around the globe.

But we probably give them more credit than they deserve for doing-in linear TV viewing.

Choice – In almost every corner of the globe, people can enjoy the video material they want, the way they want at the click of a button.

It was really a perfect storm of the Web, YouTube, Facebook, the smartphone and smart*** kids who figured they have the right to watch content on billions of screens when they want, where they want; and, in most cases, free.

Cable is Trying

It’s true, the cable industry around the globe was an easy target to take on. They had perfected a bad reputation for little things like cost to consumer, performance, billing, reliability and an almost market area monopoly.

In their defense, even though they were typically the only game in town, they attempted to adjust but were slow to recognize the shift.

Of course, you can also blame/thank folks like Cisco, Ericsson, Imagine Communications, Accenture, SeaChange, Huawei, RDK, Kaltura and others who built out the wired/wireless Internet infrastructure and services to give folks the connections they need for hiccup-free OTT (over the top) streaming.

As a result of the expansion of home and mobile internet usage, faster mobile Internet connections and increased data/Wi-Fi availability; more than 62 percent of worldwide users will view digital video this year, according to eMarketer.

Increasingly, people are watching entire TV programs online. The number of viewers is expected to increase to 63.4 percent by 2020. While this growth is small (from 62 to 63.4 percent), consumers who view video will spend much more time watching streaming content.

Robust Infrastructure – Around the globe, service providers are expanding their capabilities to reliably deliver streaming content to any device as people come to insist on having their video content available to their device(s).

Despite the discomfort the shift has caused to cable overlords, it’s safe to say that the kids’ bold move helped raise consumer expectations for content on demand in a very short period:

– Control – when I want, where I want, on the device I want

– Choice – 1000s of sources, mainstream and specialty

– Quality – exceptional viewing, personalized experience

It’s not that there isn’t enough good content around. Big and small video creators have been creating some excellent material as the cost of equipment/systems has dropped and the production tools are better with each passing day.

While the TV screen may be the best for viewing your entertainment, people have become accustomed to watching it whenever and wherever they are on the screen that is at hand.

On-the-Go – While the TV screen may be the best for viewing your entertainment, people have become accustomed to watching it whenever and wherever they are on the screen that is at hand.

Comedy, political, historical, superhero, crime drama, documentaries, dumb-dumber, action/adventure, SciFi, horror, thriller–you name it, it’s there.

Long Tail

The result is one of the best examples of Chris Anderson’s (Wired magazine) Long Tail distribution concept.

The challenge has been finding the right video material that interests the viewer when and how he/she wants to be informed or entertained.

Because of the Long Tail and expanded content options, The Diffusion Group (TDG) reported OTT viewing would rise 425 percent through 2020 from 3.6 hours to 18.9 hours.

The shift in viewer habits hasn’t gone unnoticed by cable or MVPD players.

As new service providers enter the market and networks offer content to consumers in both fixed schedule as well as whatever OTT flavors, cable companies have been working on improving viewer relations as well as expanding their offerings.

After all, they really do want to keep pace with consumer demands to keep customers.

Content providers are rushing to deliver a wide range of content to customers while trying to better understand what they want and need to retain their viewer bases. IP delivery also enables them to better understand their customers’ changing tastes.

Over the Top – Content providers are rushing to deliver a wide range of content to customers while trying to better understand what they want and need to retain their viewer bases. IP delivery also enables them to better understand their customers’ changing tastes.
Still, the shift-deniers have been kicked to the curb.

Broadcasters have accepted OTT as a fait accompli and are struggling with the repercussions to all areas of their business.

This is especially true as they experiment with big/small bundles as well as varying mixes of SVOD, TVOD, AVOD (subscription, transactional, advertising video on demand).

That’s not an easy task because even consumers are trying to decide how many of these offerings they’re willing to take on, manage and pay for.

The goal for the new content channel providers is to minimize churn (customer attrition, turnover).

The task though is made a little easier because digital content delivery also means there is more data that can be captured, reviewed and acted upon to meet the consumer’s ever-changing tastes.

One of the firms driven to meet their customers’ needs is SKY – often called the innovative pipeline – which has added voice control functionality as well as Dolby Atmos support to SKY Q.

In the customer-centric world, distribution – not content – is king.

Personalization

Increasingly, video distribution providers are turning to advanced technology that can quickly and reliably harness the deep trove of data that IP (Internet protocol) video delivery provides so they can meet their broad audience of specific individuals.

In other words, they’re turning to personalization (a channel of one) – content search, discovery, recommendations based on user experience and viewing habits. In addition, more metadata is at the provider’s disposal to intelligently offer relevant viewing options to the consumer.

Netflix Max was a noble first effort to “advise” viewers. However, just addressing his/her viewing mood/taste didn’t return the content recommendations people wanted (O.K., it sucked).

Organizations like Liberty Global, SKY, Rogers, Cox and other content service providers around the globe recognized that it was a move in the right direction. What it lacked was the ability to make accurate, thoughtful recommendations to more engage the viewer.

Ashley Grossman, Senior Manager Video Discovery & Personalization at Liberty Global, explained, “We use recommendations as one of many of feature that help viewers find and discover what to watch. For customers, this could be a new show; but it also means catching their established favorites. So, our mission is to blend the unique insight of a recommendation engine with an engaging and intuitive UI that ultimately means they enjoy watching TV.”

Improving on the Max idea, many are using more robust content recommendation engines like ThinkAnalytics, which offers the most established and deployed platform solutions worldwide. The solution intelligently evaluates the viewers’ habits to reduce churn, win new customers and increase viewing time.

Satisfaction – With enhanced analytics of service usage, content delivery services are better able to understand viewer activities, retain customers and increase the number of hours people spend with their services.

Unlike Max, the solutions don’t pinpoint just what the consumer has watched to make similar recommendations. Instead, their intelligent engine uses intuitive predictive analysis and advanced machine learning based on the individual’s viewing behavior, which can vary dramatically based not only on the subject matter but also on the day, time, device and trends.

The advanced predictive analytics use both new and historical data to forecast future interests and trends. As a result, it is able to more precisely determine interest to a very high degree of reliability.

“The holy grail for everyone in the IP space is personalized media content, regardless of whether it’s the Web, mobile, tablet, set-top box, gaming system or smartTV,” Allan McLennan, PADEM Media Group, noted, “As the metadata grows, the viewer doesn’t even know or think about the program he/she is viewing. It’s just there.

“That kind of Lean Back approach keeps the viewer happily engaged and encourages him or her to recommend the platform to others,” he emphasized.

Ad Value

That’s great for the viewer, but I also know that stuff isn’t free (my kid thinks it is) and someone has to pay the bills. So, I’m sure of the importance the intuitive analysis solutions that Century Link, Cox and others use is a valuable resource for marketers and advertising agencies.

I know what you’re going to say, people don’t like ads with their content.

Wrong!

It’s Good – While it is easy to say that people don’t like advertising with their content, what they are really saying is that they don’t like too much, wrong or plain bad ads.

People don’t like the ad cramming (as many unassociated ads as possible in show) most cable viewers suffered through during the last quarter of last year.

The answer to that is easy … don’t be greedy!

In addition, people don’t like ads that aren’t targeted to their interests or product needs.

Consumers (O.K., some of us) are open to ads–especially if they are based on past activities and purchases.

In fact, they’re often a pleasant break in the show.

By reducing the ad loads and making certain they are relevant, ad-supported content viewing is more effective for advertisers and more enjoyable for the viewer.

Learning how households and individuals engage with their content personalizes the relationship.

The ultimate goal is to understand each customer as closely as possible as an individual–the goal of advertising from the beginning. Then, give him/her access to precisely the right content when, where and how she wants to view it along with complimentary ads.

That’s right, you could end up enjoying some great content that advertisers and others call “less valuable” (way out on Anderson’s Long Tail) that appeals to you and a million or so of your “close, personal” friend that are supported by ads you’re actually interested in seeing.

Now that’s neat!

Obviously, this offering would be cost prohibitive for Big Media but just imagine the deep and rich library you’d have to choose from supported by ads that are aligned with their brand and your areas of interest.

Great, right? Right!

But, as the infomercials say … “But wait, there’s more!”

Intelligent real-time monitoring, analysis, search and recommendation solutions like Think Analytics could also help content creators whether they’ve got a creative localized idea for Brazilian, American, Aussie or Indian viewers (localization is huge BTW) or are hoping for worldwide viewers.

New Value Chain

We all realize that the traditional entertainment value chain is also busted.

That’s why studios around the world are signaling they’re willing to be acquired by service providers like the pending AT&T/Times Warner deal. Others are talking to U.S., European and Asian infrastructure firms like Dalian Wanda Group, Alibaba and TenCent.

Traditional studio players are struggling to flex their cost structures, organizational models and incentives in the new personalized and curation era.

Direct Contact – The rigid studio structure of video development has changed dramatically in recent years as content developers are able to pitch storylines and completed content directly to OTT delivery services to reach their audiences.

Today’s content creators usually view the shrinking power of the studios with mixed emotions.

They used to be the first stop in pitching series and film ideas.

Today, Netflix, Amazon and increasingly YouTube and Facebook have become the power players by virtue of audience size, rather than personalization and reach.

Rather than knock on the front door, content creators scrape together the money to develop totally new and breakthrough content concepts to show – and hopefully leave with a contract — at the Venice, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Hong Kong and Raindance film festivals.

The objective is to leave with a good to great contract.

But if video storytellers had the content recommendation engine data and analytics information in hand, they could develop visual stories viewers actually want to see.

Or, the content service providers could attend the film festivals and have a very good idea of the storylines – documentary, comedy, Sci-Fi, drama, historical, whatever – that will be of interest to their subscribers or viewers

Choosing content they’re sure will satisfy their audiences will help keep people from moving to another VOD provider.

In other words, that type of intelligent viewer assistance/delivery produces result that everyone wants…improved content distribution opportunities, more accepted ad opportunities, more viewers, more hours watched, more channels watched, more programs watched, more satisfaction all around.

Looking at the new digital OTT viewing landscape, Tiffany ‘Pennsatucky’ Doggett said, “Never thought if it that way.”

NAB should be a great opportunity for everyone in the ecosystem to explore new options to reach and retain more individual viewers.

We’ll see…

The New Breed of Filmmaker/TV Creator, Content Consumer in 25 Years

As published on January 1, 2017 – www.thefuture.tv

“We need to make sure that they understand the difference between a weapon and a tool. Language is messy and sometimes one can be both.” — Dr. Louise Banks, “Arrival,” 20 Laps Entertainment, 2016

Arrival isn’t just a movie, it’s like art films I used to view during college with underlying thoughts, meaning and ideas you had to dig for and think about.

It made me think of the state of the M&E (media & entertainment) industry…” Even in our world of instant and ubiquitous communication, we have fear and distrust of newcomers and each other.”

Everything is changing at the speed of light … everything is in flux … everything is play when it comes to creation, delivery and consumption.

As long as you understand what the content industry will be like in 2041 – 25 years from now, tomorrow will take care of itself.

2041 Snapshot

Just Over the Horizon – To see where we’ll be in 25 years, just remember there were important firsts in 1991 — first web site, notebook computers, color scanner, stereo sound card, notebook computers, multimedia PC standard, anti-virus software and Linux. Your content will follow you everywhere, anywhere in 2041.

Overview of 2041:
- The world population will hit 9.2B (up from 7.4B in 2016).
- There will be about 6B Internet users with 1Gbps standard.
- 50 percent of the 4.5B population of current undeveloped countries will be connected with tremendous political and economic impact.
- Electric vehicle sales will hit about 20.5M.
- Driverless cars will be expansive in urban markets.
- Yottaflop supercomputers will be humming.
- India’s economy will rival China’s and the U.S.
- There will be fusion, orbital solar power.
- People will control/change memories and personality but men still won’t understand women and women will still be shaking their heads.
- Money, resources will be focused on education, healthcare, transport, environmental programs; improving living standards; economic opportunities.
- Power over wireless will begin replacing the aging power grid.
- Implantables, wearables will have virtually eliminated communications devices.
- Manned trips to Mars will begin to reach affordability.
- Male, female salaries will be approaching parity.
- Everything/everyone will be connected and personal data will still be personal but easily shared/used.
- To eliminate cybercrime, every person will have a personal digital identifier to ensure accurate, precise digital identity.
- It will be 50 years since 1st Mac was introduced.
- Content providers will deliver information/content you want, no matter where you are.
- We will produce, process, disseminate and consume as much as 4,0004 kilobytes, (two yottabytes) of data annually.
- Personalized AI-based data analysis/decision systems will help you do what you want in your professional and personal lives.

Creators
By 2041, not even your grandparents will be able to tell kids about the days that movies were sprocketed, 35mm moved up to 70mm and stereo sound was becoming popular with just an
analog trace on the edge of the film.

Today’s digital natives will be Millennials in 2041, carrying forward the habits they developed in their early years.

Population Mix – People will be healthy and active longer while the next-generation growth will be relatively static, putting working pressure on nearly everyone.

They will simultaneously create content, edit it, post it on social media and carry on conversations with a constantly changing pool of “friends”.

They will literally be documenting/uploading/sharing everything–instantly. And they will lose interest just as fast.

Social media video services such as Facebook Live, YouTube Red, SnapChat, Instagram, Tencent, Alibaba, TaTa Sky, HDTV India and other online services will serve as repositories and distributors of 10s of thousands of hours of content shot by Millennials (used to be Gen Z but they got old) and Gen Alphas) and presented every hour using 8K camera screens.

The 1-5-minute life/impulse moments will be delivered to people based on their interests, mood, needs and curiosities supported by very appropriate/personal ads.

Or, individuals will avoid ads by paying a reasonable (modest) streaming fee

Either way, all of their personal data will be tracked, compiled and used but that will be of little concern 25 years from now.

Visual World – In less than 25 years, video content will account for 70 percent of Internet traffic–including social media, online video and digital TV.

The rapid-fire, short attention span viewing may appear to be the death-knell of professional filmmakers but it will actually open new opportunities for visual storytellers and creatives as they shift their focus, attention and work.

There will still be a few studios around producing horrendously expensive (hence fewer) 32K, 120fps, even higher dynamic range zombie, horror (Friday the 13th 10) films and sci-fi (Star Wars 18) as well as sagas that enable you to imagine/experience life in the 22nd century on other planets.

Communal venues such as theaters will have all but disappeared because like-thinking people anywhere will be connected and will share the most minute details/excitement of the film.

Skilled, fire-in-the-gut storytellers (about 20,000 Indies worldwide today) will be using 16K UltraHDR VR cameras to create 10-30-minute serialized content – documentaries, informational/educational material and pure entertainment.

The good news is filmmakers will have more outlet options to monetize their activities:
- Sale or shared revenue with social media streamers like YouTube Red, Facebook, TaTa Sky, others
- S/AVOD (syndicated/advertising video on demand) services – Amazon, LeEco, Netflix, Disney with customized – content/price – viewing bundles

Steady Video Work – While everyone will be creating video and visual content to be posted and shared, professional filmmakers (even with self-employed filmmakers not being counted) will still be the foundation for interesting, exciting, immersive storytelling. It takes a special talent to tell a story well.

In addition to the conventional 16K ultra high dynamic range 22-channel surround sound fare, there will also be a refined immersive VR/AR (MR – mixed reality) films established and shot by filmmakers. Viewers will then play an active role in determining the flow and direction of the content, drawing in and dispensing them with real and animated characters.

While the ability to stream the content would be impossible over today’s broadband and Wi-Fi new codec solutions, 5G wireless and the widespread availability of reliable 500+ Mbps network connectivity; video material will be enjoyed beautifully.

Thanks to the rapid development and introduction of AI-based content and DAM (digital asset management) solutions, content will be personalized and managed.

For professional filmmakers, AI-based solutions running on IBM Watson-type platforms will be closely tied to content metadata throughout the production process.

Piracy will no longer be a were concern because content will be tied back to the specific storyteller.

As a result, individual “creators/modifiers” will be able to be compensated electronically and automatically for their efforts.

You won’t have to choose whether you’re watching on your 16K/HDR TV in your living, family, media or bed room; on your communications device(s) or in your mode of transportation.

A fixed screen will be something you only see at your grandpa’s house who stubbornly resists moving to a newer, better environment.

Personal Screen – Your video viewing screen will be wherever you’re at. The use of personal identifiers and AI will keep track of what you like and where you’re at.

Screens (with cameras) will be everywhere – office/home surfaces, modes of transportation, everywhere as in Minority Report. They may not be glass as in Corning’s YouTube videos – A Day Made of Glass – but the AI-based content delivery system will be tracking you, gathering information on what you want and need at any given time. New services to negate your presence will be available, but tracked.

TV channels will take their place in the evolutionary history of content (along with set-top boxes and apps) with personal channels built around individuals (and their constantly changing communities) likes, needs, interests.

Want some real alone time?

Tell Me a Story – VR/MR film adventures, holographic entertainment will enable you to actively put yourself in the center of the action and will deliver content to keep you occupied no matter where you are.

“Tune in,” your always available and your personal screen to enjoy a holographic story, challenge yourself with an immersive MR adventure or experience new places, new activities.

Want some content for a few minutes or an hour? Just say the word and the content system will deliver your channel instantly through intelligent meta-data resourcing.

Content management firms including studios, OTT delivery services (AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Turner, Viacom, AMC, NBC, Univision, MediaCorp, CCTV, Colors Odia, China Telecom, Telstra, AWS, AZURE, Tata and other local, national, international carriers) will store, stage and distribute content no matter where you’re at from your interest bundle (subscription or ad supported)

All of the providers will use AI-based DAM (digital asset management) and analytical/accounting solutions that intelligently learn your entertainment tastes to refine offerings when you want to take a mental break.

It’s not everywhere, anywhere, everyone streaming entertainment, it’s individual content that ensures everyone is happy with the results – content owner, content distributor, advertiser and viewer.

The Big Hurdle
The constant production of 10s of thousands of hours of 8K, 16K and VR/MR content will require a tremendous amount of storage when you consider that some of the 16K, VR/MR 30-minute films could require petabytes of storage.

It means there will be a robust demand for storage as filmmakers, content managers and file distributors produce, gather and archive content as well as the data on the content and viewer from the four corners of the globe.

“Tomorrow’s content production will produce digital assets that are both deep and wide, said Allan McLennan of the PADEM Media Group. “The emerging AI solutions will track all of the content and predict the viewer’s desires based on prior behavior and comparing it with video assets that are available down to the frame level.

“The assets will be stored in almost any cloud service but will then be staged closer to the viewer in a personalized, private, detailed manner,” he continued. “When the individual is ready, the content will be accurately, transparently and instantly served up because of the learned ability of the AI solution.”

The software, hosting and storage will move from single servers and monoliths towards distributed systems with fog-hosting (decentralized networking) that provides greater efficiency, reduced pressure on the networks and an improved user experience/enjoyment.

Intelligent Storage – While intelligent systems will keep track of who produced what, where it is and who has viewed it with ease, the challenge will be to ensure content is reliably stored. This will give stimulus to new storage technologies.

To meet the demand, cloud service organizations – Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Apple, TaTa and others have added data centers capacity while refining advanced storage management software and working on next-generation storage devices.

By 2041, tape and HD technology will have reached end-of-life as engineers refine holographic and DNA storage technologies to provide the best balance of capacity/performance/cost for the service provider.

Holographic uses laser beams to store computer-generated data in three dimensions. Data is recorded throughout the medium and multiple images can be stored in the same area (light at different angles) and provides high content density in small devices.

One gram of DNA has the potential of storing 1ZB of data that could be stored, saved and used for up to 1,000 years.

Taking advantage of the speed, Moore’s Law and capacity growth, flash-based memory will be used to store the content in decentralized fog or cloudlette centers.

This will provide the optimum balance of near-instant content delivery (folks will have zero wait tolerance and minimal attention span by then) as well as high-capacity, low-cost content preservation.

Thanks to the refinement of personal identity tracking and AI-based content management/delivery, channel surfing and buffering will be things your grandparents talk about in 2041.

It all sounds like a lotta’ work to kids just starting out in their filmmaking career, but it will provide an amazing level of cultural engagement once they embrace it.

And why would anyone want to sit for an hour to watch something when you could busy yourself doing multiple things and your content would just be with you.

Way back then, it was probably why Dr. Louise Banks said in 2016, “This is just a way to force us to work together for once.”

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Fast, Quality, Consistent Performance Set the Pace at IBC

Content Insider #491 – IBC Wrap

“It’s not how you stand by your car; it’s how you race your car.” – “The Fast and the Furious,” Universal, 2001

Taking on more of the flavor of an IT (information technology) show than a broadcast show, IBC network and studio attendees spent more time this year focused on rapidly moving their operations to IP (internet protocol) delivery and doing a better job of leveraging all the cloud’s services.

The investment and transition to OTT (over the top) content delivery has been going on for a few years now; but there was a new sense of urgency by attendees to move more quickly from linear TV viewing to anytime, anywhere viewing.

Of course, that meant that organizations like Harmonic and others focused on meeting the content production and management requirements–especially if they announced a new set of linear and IP-ready solutions in Amsterdam.

Harmonic announced a new real-time video compression optimization solution to streamline content delivery to viewers’ devices with a goal of reducing OTT bitrates for better streaming. Their new cloud delivery and VR services also captured a lot of studio and network interest.

The introductions were of interest to television executives because even though linear TV was offering more viewing options, Nielsen reported that the average number viewed had fallen to less than 10 percent of the channels folks had available … barely in the double digits.

In the U.S., TV households had an average of 2065.9 channels but eyeballs spent their time on an average of 19.8. Allan McLennan, president of PADEM Media Group, said that the Nielsen report only validated what their firms’ customers around the globe were experiencing. “Viewers are making new entertainment choices and they’re not always on a TV set,” he said. “New generational viewing habits are starting to have an impact with cord-shaving and cord-nevers increasing in certain parts of the world.”

PADEM Media’s McLennan noted that the trend is evident among millennials and younger age groups and the firm’s broadcast customers are aggressively addressing the changing demands. “Viewers are relying more and more on the screens they always have with them,” he explained, “and it’s especially true of Gen Z post-millennials, even when they are at home and a TV set is available.”

Angelic – Studios and broadcasters all see cloud services as the way of the future for entertainment production and profits. Virtualized systems, limitless storage and global reach will enable them to create and deliver content to viewers almost effortlessly. Of course, there are some concerns about piracy and privacy but that’s the cloud service providers’ problem.

Broadcasters and studios see the cloud not just to meet the changing entertainment demand but also to reduce one of their major expenses – data center operations.

Using general services offered by the major cloud service providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Alibaba, HP and others; and combining with them M&E-focused cloudlet services from firms like Quantum and Harmonic, they can upgrade and update their data center resources and add new workloads at a scalable, manageable cost.

While it’s not without its issues and concerns (security and privacy for example), McLennan, said cloud-first is taking content providers beyond just a place to store and archive content. It also gives them the rapid response flexibility they need to meet the growing range of entertainment options consumers expect.

McLennan acknowledged, “It’s true that the Internet-born video services like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and transitioned entertainment providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu have somewhat forced the industry’s hand towards an IP revolution; but it has also opened new doors for them to optimize their costs, move from capital to operating expenses and has made them much more agile.

He continued, adding, “One of the points they also don’t figure into the equation is that they don’t have to struggle with old-fashioned compliance issues like legacy platforms and out-of-date, but evolving governmental and organizational policies and regulations. It’s difficult to put a hard cost on these issues but the new agility gives new IP/OTT offerings the freedom to proactively act, not react or shift overnight.”

Production Cloud – Content producers took advantage of robust, high-capacity internet connectivity early on to speed movie and series productions, initially by sending low-resolution proxy files to audio/video production specialists to use in enhancing, improving content. As Internet pipes became larger and more reliable, the work could be moved around the production process quickly, regardless of where the work was being done.

Studios and production operations have been among the first areas where the industry moved to the cloud to take advantage of the best and fastest specialized production services for FX, editing, audio production, coloration, localization – no matter where they are located or where the audience is served.

By taking advantage of more robust and secure Internet connectivity, producers and directors can work with teams in Germany, New Zealand, Hollywood, New York City, Singapore or virtually anywhere to complete projects faster and more economically than ever before.

The M&E cloudlet services offered by firms like Quantum and Harmonic provide the networks and studios some of the tools they need to accelerate the setup of new servers, run updates and handle a broader range of tasks.

Storage for backup, recovery and archiving have been mainstay applications for the industry’s leading players for a long time and firms are now adding specialized services like block storage where data is stored in volumes and more quickly available in multiple locations, often simultaneously.

Whether they’re watching a sporting event, news show, documentary or movie, a TV remains the preferred home screen at this time—according to a recent Nielsen global survey.

Preferences Vary – Depending on their age, people have different preferences for how and where they watch their entertainment. But even today, the first choice is the TV set at home and the smartphone when they are away.

The only exception is short-form video (less than 10 minutes) which they will view on computers, tablets, phones. Regardless of the genre, the computer was the second viewing device at home and out-of-the-home.

Nearly two-thirds of the global respondents (65 percent) watch some form of VOD (video-on-demand) long- and short-form programming; and more than half (59 percent) don’t mind getting ads if they can view the content free. The most common reason for watching VOD programming is because they can view it at a time, place that is convenient for them.

Thanks to the rapid build-out of CDN (content delivery network) services from Akamai, Level 3, and others; Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Alibaba have been able to increase demand for 4K (bandwidth-heavy) content viewing on the consumers’ various devices.

Content Dispersal – CDNs make fast, smooth viewing possible for folks by locating servers around the globe so content doesn’t have to travel long distances to reach the viewer’s screen. The approach has enabled Netflix to rapidly expand in nearly 200 (and counting) countries.

The CDNs have invested heavily in moving servers to major locations around the globe to provide secure, direct connection– smart OTT TV and smartphone– entertainment.

To capture an increasing share of the Internet TV market from cable providers as well as telcos such as Verizon and AT&T, CDNs are beefing up their streaming service offerings with “skinny” bundles of live channels as well as national and local specialized services (along with contests).

At the same time, they’re offering on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu so viewers can customize their viewing choices to their interests.

To highlight its streaming technology – and nudge consumers toward preferring their video service around the globe, Netflix unveiled Meridian at IBC and made it available at no cost. It’s true, Meridian won’t be a “gotta watch” piece of footage like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, but it will show the true potential of 60fps, 4K, HDR footage.

“Meridian is available under a Creative Commons license,” PADEM Media’s McLennan noted, “so service providers – and consumers – will be able to see if their network is up to the task of dealing with the worst-case scenario. An open-source solution isn’t common in Hollywood; but by making their IP (intellectual property) openly available, I’m certain they want to accelerate the development of richer, standard-fare viewing.

“It’s a bold move by Hastings and his team,” he added, “and could be the foundation for the new standards such as IMF (interoperable master format) which would make it easier for them to simplify the job of having multiple copies of content for use in different countries. It’s a slight gamble but could pay off for them in a big way in the years ahead on your screen of choice.”

Because of the growing number of viewing options, content producers and distributors have also had to address an issue that didn’t even occur to them a few years ago – the UI (user interface).

Viewing Varies – For full-length shows and TV shows, the TV set still garners more of the eyes whether through traditional or OTT viewing. For short segments (span is growing), the smartphone screen is more than sufficient.

The user experience was one of the most highly “contested” areas at this year’s IBC because consumers have become increasingly frustrated not only with finding specific content but also getting assistance from the delivery source to make added suggestions for other similar entertainment options.

Nothing turns a viewer off – especially a Gen Zer – than having to hunt to find a show or segment they want. Thus, several firms including TiVo, SeaChange and others introduced revamped UIs with better images, easier navigation and AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities to minimize/eliminate the OTT viewing frustration.

Whether it is used as a smartphone app or embedded into IP-capable STBs (set-top boxes) by MVPDs (Multichannel video programming distributors), the UI alternatives eliminate the consumer’s biggest complaint with OTT TV … finding the **** show.

The new interface’s, combined with programming, flow will provide the ability to make suggestions to viewers will certainly help set winning MVPDs apart from the also-rans. At least it will ease the tension in our household when the wife decides she wants to watch a specific show or maybe one of a similar genre.

Making intelligent, easy-to-use UIs just might be the biggest, smartest introduction to be made at this year’s IBC in McLennan’s opinion.

“We’re past the point of just getting a decent line-up of content available for viewers,” he commented. “And increasingly, that content will be in 4K. Now’s the time to engage with the consumer and connect them to a carrier’s/operator’s specific service as opposed to the competition’s offering.’

An intelligent, feature-rich UI will make a huge difference in how well you initially capture the — and retain – the viewer.

In today’s new always-on, always-available entertainment industry, it’s important to remember what Dom said, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time.”
# # #

IBC 2016…Everything’s rich IP, VR/360, Intelligent and flexible data?

While attending the 2016 IBC show, I noticed some interesting trends, cool demos and new offerings. For example, while flying drones were missing, VR goggles were everywhere; 360 was paramount versus first-person story telling with AI; IBM was showing 8K video editing using flash memory and magnetic tape; the IBC itself featured a fully IP-based video studio showing the path to future media production using lower-cost commodity hardware with software management; and, it became clear and there was no question that digital technology is driving new entertainment experiences and will dictate the next generation of content creation, viewer identification, distribution and consumption including the growing drive to OTT channels.

In general, IBC 2016 featured the move to higher resolution and more immersive content. As mentioned on display throughout the show was 360-degree video for virtual reality, as well as 4K and 8K workflows. Virtual reality and 8K are driving new levels of performance and storage demand, and these are just some of the ways that media and entertainment pros are increasing the size of video files. Nokia’s Ozo was just one of several multi-camera content capture devices on display for 360-degree video.

Besides multi-camera capture technology and VR editing, IBC’s the “Future Tech Zone” included even larger 360-degree video display spheres than at the 2015 event.

IBM had a demonstration of a 4K/8K video editing workflow using the IBM FlashSystem and IBM Enterprise tape storage technology, which was a collaboration between the IBM Tokyo Laboratory and IBM’s Storage Systems division. This work was done to support the move to 4K/8K broadcasts in Japan by 2018, with a broadcast satellite and delivery of 8K video streams of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The combination of flash memory storage for working content and tape for inactive content is referred to as FLAPE (flash and tAPE).

The argument for FLAPE appears to be that flash performance is needed for editing 8K content and the magnetic tape provides low-cost storage the 8K content, which may require greater than 18TB for an hour of raw content (depending upon the sampling and frame rate). Note that magnetic tape is often used for archiving of video content, so this is a rather unusual application. The IBM demonstration, plus discussions with media and entertainment professionals at IBC indicate that with the declining costs of flash memory and the performance demands of 8K, 8K workflows may finally drive increased demand for flash memory for post production.

Probably one of the coolest was Imagine Communications integrated storage technology IOX Storage, a very clever all-purpose “shared” storage approach for access, via OTT, cloud DVR solutions enabling media companies to provide better performance, scale, flexibility, stability and collaboration on the fly.

Summing Up

Well, this years IBC was unlike any of the past as the industry has REALLY shifted and is now ready for full IP engagement…or at least on a road map towards it. 2016 showed some clear trends to more immersive, richer content across all pipes with clear direction towards 360-degree, VR content and 4K workflows. Clearly, the trend is for higher-capacity, higher-performance workflows and storage systems that support this workflow. This will lead to a gradual move to easy use of flash memory to support these workflows as the costs for flash go down. At the same time, the move to IP-based equipment will lead to lower-cost commodity hardware with software control.

Are CCN’s the new direction for video distribution?

This past week as a chairman of this years 2016 SMPTE IP Entertainment Summit in the Silicon Valley, we had a lengthy discussion around a science project that started at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) a few years ago in managing intelligently the delivery of media content, after all SMPTE stands for Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers.

The discussion was centered around trying to make sense of the incredibly positive, but huge shift from linear to IP delivered TV – OTT, SVOD etc. In fact, it has become very difficult to fathom due to ALL of the demand now on the networks in the routing and delivery of IP entertainment, media, TV, Video, with new offerings, models and interest.

There was/is CDN’s, SDN’s. There’s even what is probably one of the smartest shifts that took place almost a year ago, UEN’s (unified edge networks). The UEN is designed to take advantage of getting the ‘calls’ closer to the content. Attempting to accelerate access to the repositories/libraries. A whole, critical category of the industry is required to serve all of this. However, it is dated in its thinking so the efficiency of the rest of the ecosystem becomes critical.

That’s why we have high-speed backhauls/transports, broadband, fiber networks and the routing of the request becomes paramount especially in providing what everyone’s become used to in the delivery of television and channel change.

So, as all of our information, banking and entertainment becomes digital – from video and audio to print and money – hundreds of millions of new devices and people are coming online almost every day, certainly every year.

Yet the Internet was designed as a communications network, not a media distribution network. These limitations impact every part of the ecosystem – from carriers to publishers, across wired and wireless communications with a need to find economical ways to solve these problems beyond basic evolutionary improvements on existing solutions and tools.

This is where the Content Centric Networking comes in from PARC.
A CCN emphasizes content by making it directly addressable and routable.
Endpoints actually communicate on named data instead of IP addresses.

That in its own right is a major shift.

A CCN is a basic exchange of content request messages (called “Interests”) with return messages (called “Content Objects”). It is considered an information centric network architecture.

The goals of CCN is to provide a more secure, flexible, fast and scalable network that will make it simpler and potentially improving the IP network current requirements for secure content distribution on a massive scale across an almost liquefies to a broad range of devices.

CCN embodies a security model that secures individual pieces of content rather than securing the connection or “pipe”.

It provides ease of use by actually using names instead of IP addresses.
Additionally, the named and secured content then resides in distributed caches n the edge network ready to automatically populate on demand requests.

When requested by name, a CCN delivers named content to the user from the nearest cache, traversing fewer network hops, eliminating redundant requests, and consuming less management resources overall

A CCN combined with a UEN really positions the global delivery of media/entertainment content in a whole new light.

With new OTT networks, new VaaS (Video as a Service) offerings popping up, the need for a fast, efficient means of identification playing off of IPv6 is paramount.

CCN’s could be the next milestone for our industry to provide some sanity in receiving quickly and easily what we ask for.

It’s here…TV has embraced IP Delivery

Rarely has there been two weeks that can be viewed as “epic,” but this year’s NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show, along with TV Connect in London, is by virtue coinciding with what is arguably the biggest shift in broadcasting since the introduction of cable TV.

Following court decisions and then FCC rules that freed cable in the late ’70s, the broadcast business was forever changed with an outpouring of new cable channels and broadcast superstations all over all-IP operations from camera, production then to post production and distribution, is bound to be every bit as disruptive to today’s television business models as anything in the past.

At this year’s NAB marked a moment of recognition that almost every entity engaged in the business of broadcasting TV content, including big national networks, local station groups even niche cable channels, has embraced the IP transition mandate. Of course this won’t happen overnight, but, as broadcast executives participating in the NAB panel addressing Source Code made clear, the move to IP is already having a profound impact on how they conduct their businesses with prospects for much greater change in the years ahead.

At TV Connect in London, there was much the same with all activity with actually already embracing IP and moving aggressively to MCN’s as a primary distribution model with many of the major networks currently participating.

Several shoes dropped at NAB representing new vehicles that are falling into place to enable new IP-based business models to flourish. With the prove-in phase for orchestrated cloud-based technology, IP-based workflows and video processing platforms well underway, two outstanding issues had to do with whether the industry would come together on interoperability standards and if broadcasters would be able to replicate the performance capabilities of traditional over-the-air, satellite and cable distribution to achieve the
monetization envisioned for direct-to-consumer initiatives.

What was key was CDN strategies implemented by Ericsson, and a few others are good beginnings. Being able to watch live sports and their favorite TV programs in UHD on Internet-connected displays when you’d like to especially with consistency of an experience comparable to watching HD on a cable pay TV service.

In light of all that happened at NAB and then again in London at TV Connect, there’s no argument that we’ll never be going back to the “old” television from last month. Between now and then the industry will have gone a long way toward defining what the business models will be that move us into the post-cable age of video entertainment.

Is it D2C, DTC, OTT, MCN or MVPP – Why is this important to “New TV”

There are predictions occurring in the media technology industry on what TV is and what it will be.

Well, here’s a news flash…it will be the same that it is to you right now, only there will be more of it and easier to obtain.

TV will be based around the ease of access on whatever devise you’d like to watch on, along with whatever the programming that you will want to watch: live sports, past sporting events, movies, television programming your country, you friends countries.

In fact, it will be a lot like your going to your local super market.

Keeping that metaphor in mind, TV’s distribution model of the future will be a lot like the supply chain that’s bring food to your local market – what’s being delivered, when and for how much is critical.
Just like your store, each market category will have different customers, but in this case ‘audiences” and all of them in different socio-economic environments.

There you have it, the new TV.

Now taking this into consideration there will become even more reason for fair management.

This is where the government comes in. Each country around the world has different cultural rules which will drive new regulations, especially in light of the dynamic nature and rapid chance of the TV industry. In fact, these new regulations could restrict or redirect future growth in the industry.
In other industry silos – financial, education, health etc, when the government gets involved, it signals that real change is starting to take place. This is now the case in new Television.

How this is starting to play out: A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the Chairman of the OTT TV World Summit in London. During this Summit many smart executives contributed, but many were there to search for insight on how they and their companies could participate. There were operators, there were ‘skinny bundlers,’ turnkey service providers, all of which were ready to pull the trigger. However, there was a large cloud (no pun intended).

There was the usual suspects that all where interested in hearing what they were doing; MSFT/Azure, Viacom etal.

But really what was creating more than a little bit of chaos was D2C – Direct to consumer television programming – live and on-demand over an MCN (multi-channel networks).

This is an escalating trend, with fairly straight forward executions by content holders of the libraries segmented into categories, packaged and presented under a cool name; for example ‘WatchTV’ (Disney), AMC’s ‘Shudder,’ and Bell Media’s (Canada) ‘CraveTV.’

So, with the growth of what is called “over-the-top” (OTT) new video programming options away from Cable such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Roku and if it ever comes, Apple TV, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) here in the US is going to take a revised look at how this is perceived, with the potential to create a new definition of a multi-channel video programming distributor (MI

In the past it was easy to identify an MVPD. An MVPD, with limited exceptions, was either a cable or satellite service provider.

However, with the wide-scale accessibility of broadband IP networks, video capable-devices, video programming distributors and facility-based IP networks, there are now many options for “broadcasting” video programming. The FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeks comment on whether any “new or emerging video programming providers should be defined as an MVPD” and, if so, what rights and obligations currently imposed on MVPDs should be extended to these new services and their providers.

Mmmm. This is a big task.

The first task for the FCC is to determine which services fit within the statutory definition of an MVPD.

The FCC has proposed two alternative ways of defining these “new” MVPDs:
1) those that provide multiple linear programming streams; or
2) those that provide multiple linear programming channels and also own the transmission paths.

Up until now, the FCC has defined an MVPD as a video programming distributor that also owns the transmission path on which it provides service. Nothing new, these were the carriers – Cable, Telco’s and Satellite.

Under the “linear programming” approach, any video programming service provider that provides multiple streams of pre-scheduled programming potentially could be defined as an MVPD. If they were then, they would then be exempt from this definition as they would be “on-demand” video programming available ie. Netflix or Hulu.

The FCC also is also going to be seeking comment on possible limitations to these new definitions, which would exclude providers that only provide content they own (for example, MLB.TV).

Alternatively, if the additional requirement of ownership of the transmission paths is adopted, most OTT service providers would now not be defined as an MVPD, since their services run on broadband networks owned by other providers. For this reason, the FCC has tentatively concluded that the more-inclusive “linear programming” definition is the appropriate approach.

In addition, the US FCC will be seeking comment on how the newly-acquired status of being an MVPD would affect all of the video programming services and has both obligations and rights when it comes to providing video programming.

For example, an MVPD is entitled to enter into good faith negotiations to negotiate retransmission consent agreements with broadcast stations (a big-deal). Further, the FCC’s program access rules require MVPD-affiliated programmers to make their programming available to other MVPDs on a non-discriminatory basis (non-exclusive).

There also are a host of obligations that are imposed on MVPDs, including Equal Employment Opportunity requirements, closed captioning and video description requirements, Emergency Alert System obligations, and rules dealing with the competitive availability of navigation devices. The NPRM requests comments on whether, if IP-based video programmers are redefined as MVPDs, certain current rules should not be applicable.

In addition, the FCC will be seeking comment on whether a new category of MVPDs that could be created would cause uncertainty for existing MVPDs which have entered into programming contracts and whose value may be reduced if the program access rules apply to the expanded universe.

Other issues may arise with respect to expansion of the MVPD definition. For example,
- current copyright statutory license permits
- retransmit broadcast performances
- payments of a statutory use fee.

And if all of this took place it would create of expanded universe of MVPDs would create conflicts with the existing copyright law.

Concern that content owners have typically withheld the right to distribute their content on the Internet when licensing it to cable networks or broadcast stations.
If the FCC actually expands the MVPD definition, current video programming networks carried on new MVPD systems may be constrained in their legal ability to distribute their programming over the Internet/IP if they are reclassified as MVPD’s too.

So, now we’re getting complicated…in another observation…the market is getting really very real.

Finally, there’s now interest in addressing the transition to IP-based distribution networks and how to regulate separate OTT services – which is the true holy grail. With that it is tentatively concluded that a cable system migrating to an IP-based distribution method would still be treated as a cable operator under the proposed rules. On the other hand, if the operator begins to offer separate OTT services (which they have in their plans) except selectively over an IP network ie. the Internet, then that class of service would be classified as a non-cable MVPD under the proposed new linear programming approach which would give the cable company a major advantage especially on any linear programming provided to the MVPDs.

These moves, while industry shaping and accelerating will likely cause a major disruption in the video programming industry as up until now, the governmental rules clearly defined the industry, with cable and satellite on one side and everyone else on the other side.

There is much more and there’s a lot about to change….bottom line – the TV market is about to explode – get ready!