Over just a few years, the world of television production, distribution, and consumption has changed dramatically. In the past, with only a few channels to choose from, viewers watched news and entertainment television at specific times of the day or night. They were also limited by where and how to watch. Options included staying home, going to a friend’s house, or perhaps going to a restaurant or bar to watch a special game, show, news story, or event. When we are talking about the TV industry has now been completing and moving to the high definition from the standard definition, now the discussion is about 4K and 8K video standard. But before all these things happen, analog based broadcasting needs to transform digitally. That means TV industry is unavoidable needing a disruptive transformation in their ICT platform to cope with the new processes of acquisition, production, distribution and consumption.
Fast-forward to today, and you have a very different scenario. Thanks to the rise of the Internet – and, in particular, mobile technology – people have nearly limitless options for their news and entertainment sources. Not only that, but they can choose to get their news and other media on TV or on a variety of smart devices, including phones, tablets, smart watches, and more.
Improved Business Value From New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
The world has changed, and continues to change, at a rapid pace. This change has introduced a number of challenges to businesses in the television industry. Making the digital media transformation can do a number of things to resolve these challenges and improve your business and viewership.
With leading new ICT, you can see significant business value and improved marketing and production strategies. For example, making this transformation can vastly improve your television station’s information production and service capabilities. It can also smooth the processes involved with improving broadcasting coverage and performance as well.
With these improvements, your station will have faster response times when handling time-sensitive broadcasts. This delivers to your audience the up-to-the-minute coverage and updates they want across different TV and media devices and platforms.
Improved Social Value with New ICT
A television station that refuses to change and evolve with viewers’ continuously evolving needs and wants will find themselves falling behind competitors. However, a TV station that understands the necessity to make the digital media transformation will have significantly improved social value with their audiences.
Television stations that embrace new technology, digital media, storage, cloud computing and sharing will see massive improvements in social value. Consider that this transformation enables your station to produce timely and accurate reports faster, giving your audience the freshest information and entertainment.
By bringing news and entertainment media to your audience when, where and how they want and need it, you can enrich their lives and promote a culture of information sharing that will also serve to improve your ratings and business. With technologies like cloud-based high-definition video production and cloud-based storage and sharing architectures, you can eliminate many of the challenges and pain points associated with reporting news and bringing TV entertainment to a large audience.
Why Do Television, Media, and Entertainment Companies Need a Digital Transformation?
Consider the basic steps that a TV news station must take to get the news to their audience:
For television stations that have not yet embraced a digital media transformation, these steps do not just represent the process of delivering news media to the public. They also represent a series of pain points that can halt progress and delay deadlines. These include:
- Traditional AV matrices use numerous cables, are limited by short transmission distance for HD signals and require complicated maintenance, slowing down 4K video evolution.
- Delays when attempting to transmit large video files from remote locations back to the television station.
- Delays when reporters edit videos because office and production networks in TV stations are separated from each other, requiring them to move back and forth between the production zone and the office zone in their building to do research
- Delays due to the time it takes to transmit a finished program (between six and twenty-four minutes, depending on the length and whether or not it is a high-definition video) to the audience.
- 4K video production has much higher requirements on bandwidth and frame rates.
These challenges all occur in traditional structures and architectures for media handling, but they quickly dissolve when a TV station makes the digital transformation and begin using a cloud-based architecture with new ICT.
Keeping Up With Viewer Demand via Ultra High Definition (UHD) Omnimedia
Increasingly, viewers demand more and more individualized experiences. These include interactive programming, rich media, UHD video, and they want it across all applicable devices. Delivering UHD omnimedia is only possible through new ICT, as older IT infrastructures simply cannot scale to the levels necessary to keep up with viewer demands.
Fortunately, through cloud-based architectures and faster sharing, networks and stations may not only keep up with consumer demand but actually surpass it. For example, when using 4K formatting, your station can provide viewers with the highest resolution possible (4096 x 2160 pixels), and your video formatting will be easily scalable for different platforms for the most convenient viewing possible.
Furthermore, by becoming an omnimedia center, your station can enjoy the benefits of converged communications. Essentially, this means that you will be creating information and/or entertainment that can be used in multiple different ways for television, social media, news sites, etc., giving you more coverage and exposure than ever before.
What Is Required to Make the Transformation to Digital Media?
Cloud computing and embracing 4K for video formatting are both essential to digital media transformation, but they are not all that is necessary. Aside from these two elements, television stations can take advantage of advances in technology in a number of ways to improve their marketing and production strategies through the use of new ICTs.
For example, thin clients and cloud computing could enable video editing anywhere and anytime, increasing efficiency. In order to improve the latency between the thin clients and the cloud, with the help of enhanced display protocol, virtual machine and GPU virtualization technology, the new ICT architectures today can enable a smooth editing of 8-track HD video in audio / video synchronization, or even support 6-track 4K video editing on clients via the industry’s only IP storage system.
As mentioned earlier, through cloud computing, it is no longer necessary to physically transport video from a news site to the station. Likewise, it is no longer necessary to do all production work and research in separate areas. Thanks to cloud storage and sharing, these pain points can easily be eliminated, as sharing and sending information becomes much simpler and faster.
An all-IP based video injection process is a must if TV stations want to lower network complexity and simplify system maintenance. There are two ways to approach this:
- For example, IP cables can replace traditional SDI signals. Each cable transmits 1 channel of 4K video signal. (SDI requires 4 cables to transmit the same video.) Thus, using IP cables can reduce the number of necessary cables by up to 92%, improving O&M efficiency by 60%, and bringing convenience to system interworking and interaction.
- With the help of mobile broadband, WAN accelerated networks, smart phones or tablets, journalists in the field can now shorten the video submission process by 90%. Most importantly, cloud computing allows journalists to edit video anywhere and anytime. With the help of fast trans-coding resources in the cloud, real time video reporting is now possible.
Another major factor in any digital media transformation is big data and data analytics. By collecting and analyzing information on your station’s viewers, you can better create more personalized viewing experiences. Netflix has, perhaps, one of the best and most widely known examples of this, as they have created specific algorithms based on previous customer behavior to predict whether or not a viewer will enjoy a certain film or show, and which media to recommend for any viewer.
Through these and other information and communication technologies, such as the Internet of Things(IoT), SDN (software-defined networking), improved mobile broadband, etc., television stations can bring faster, more accurate, and more convenient news and entertainment to their customers and viewers.
Who Is Leading the Way in the Transformation?
In my opinion, the company who has complete agile innovations across cloud-pipe-device collaboration will lead the way to transformation. One of companies in China called Huawei is now trying to create an ecosystem for the global channel partners and solution partners across the news and media entertainment industry, and it provides an open ICT platform that encourages media industry developers to continue to innovate their products. With strong development in cloud-based architectures, SDN, mobile broadband, and IoT, developers and partners are able to create the most comprehensive solutions that best empower media stations of all kinds to move into the future.
What do you think of the digital media transformation in the Television Industry?
(Originally published September 7th, 2016)
By Ronald van Loon