As the broadcast industry responds to new consumer expectations, and is disrupted by changes to both its operational and business models, one company successfully addressing the challenges and opportunities is global solutions provider for media, Globecast.
Briefing the UK trade press, Globecast CEO Philippe Bernard noted that the disruption faced by broadcasters includes more complex contribution (more feeds, remote production, ‘immersive’ experiences), the use of Cloud for media processing, new forms of distribution (such as 5G and fibre as alternatives to satellite), increasing risk of cyberattacks, rising costs, and new platforms for consumption (such as smartphones). Such factors have challenged Globecast to become far more flexible, while providing support for new platforms, adding more security features and helping its customers control their costs.
According to Samuel Lemercier, Globecast’s UK MD, to remain competitive, broadcasters must push further to reach regional audiences, connect more affiliates and attract new digital demographics,. The company is working in partnership with its customers to help address these type of opportunities, advised Lemercier – for example, supporting them to launch ‘pop-up’ channels and find new monetisation options.
One example is with longstanding customer Cartoon Network, which launched two new pop-up kids’ channels in Singapore and the Philippines earlier in 2019. In Singapore, the ‘Pop & Watch’ channel, launched in partnership with Singtel, and was available between June 2nd and June 21st as a free IPTV service, as well as being accessible via TV Go and CAST mobile app. Meanwhile, Cartoon Network Classics was launched as a pay-per-view channel on Cignal TV between May 3rd and June 2nd 2019.
These channels helped WarnerMedia showcase its Cartoon Network content in Asia, but their quick and time-limited nature made them technically challenging to launch. “We were really pleased with the results,” commented James Crossland, SVP of International Operations for Turner. “We’re always looking to offer our broadcast partners innovative new platforms to showcase our content and it’s important to everyone that the technical services are seamless and hitch-free.”
To facilitate the pop-up channels, WarnerMedia in London delivered content to Globecast’s ingest and playout system in Singapore. The content was then supplied as transmission-ready files which were automatically ingested. Much of the content was already held in archive by Globecast and restored to playout when required by the daily playlist. Any missing material was highlighted well in advance of playout. Distribution to affiliates was handled using existing WarnerMedia satellite capacity. Graphics were also added to the channels.
Comprehensive testing was required before the launches, including full trial runs, and Globecast also provided complete round-the-clock monitoring while the pop-up channels were on air.
Another way in which Globecast is helping its customers successfully navigate digital disruption is in the live sports market. Here, Globecast is working with Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to provide media management and clipped content sharing – supported by the company’s Digital Media Hub suite of services. ASO, which specialises in non-stadia events, organises 210 days of competition per year, with 90 events across 25 countries. It is involved in five major sports, including cycling (Tour de France), motor sports (Dakar Rally), sailing (Tour Voile), mass events (Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris) and golf (Lacoste Ladies Open de France).
Having successfully trialled Globecast’s Content Marketplace at last year’s Dakar Rally, ASO has now signed a multi-year agreement to use its service to support the company’s other events. The Globecast Digital Media Hub allows content to be transcoded into multiple formats and then clipped. File data such as scripts, cue sheets and press kits are then associated with the video. Access and rights management is handled via a simple user interface, with download and viewing statistics readily available.
These have been exciting projects to work on, according to Globecast’s Liz McParland, Commercial Director for Contribution and Global Co-ordination. “We’re very much looking forward to helping new broadcasters entering the industry, as well as supporting pre-existing broadcasters to keep up with the competition,” she added.