Advanced Television

Arqiva: 2023 broadcast predictions

December 13, 2022

Greg Burns, Head of Media products at Arqiva, has shared his broadcast predictions:

1. Battling the buffering dilemma

  • In 2023, viewers expectations around seamless watching experiences will continue to heighten.
  • Already we’re seeing audiences become increasingly frustrated with issues related to buffering.
  • This is already costing streaming platforms eyeballs – almost two-fifths of steaming consumers have reportedly unsubscribed from a service due to buffering problems.
  • The world cup has also brought to light concerns over the sub-optimal streaming quality of big broadcast events – analysis from SSIMWave found that three streaming providers scored below the SSIMPLUS viewer score when delivering the opening game. Out-of-focus camera angles and issues around encoding quality damaged the viewing experience.
  • Against this backdrop, it’s more important than ever for OTT players to work with providers that can deliver monitoring and end-to-end technical expertise.
  • For emerging players looking to break in to the streaming space, they should look towards managed cloud solutions – taking away the complexities, cost and technical expertise needed to create their own virtual infrastructures

2. Acceleration of addressable advertising

  • Broadcasters and content developers will need to analyse how they optimise, operate and reach broadcast platforms, so that they can maximize the value of these platforms to get a return on advertising value.
  • Maximising opportunities around platforms such as Sky Ad Smart, and leveraging targeted advertising around Freeview will be key.
  • Customers must look to make targeted advertising bets on free-to-air TV, which is becoming increasingly possible without holding much data on viewers.

3. Moving global media broadcast to the cloud

  • Gone are the days when the only options of delivering live sports content were through fibre in the ground or satellites in the sky. The public cloud has changed all that.
  • Rights holders and broadcasters can now take advantage of the capabilities of cloud to radically simplify partner distribution, streamline and automate production operations and transform the cost base by moving from traditional CAPEX approaches to OPEX-based models.
  • instead of having to invest in physical fibre or satellite infrastructure (or interchanges) for content contribution and distribution, rights holders can send their live event footage via the internet to public cloud. Broadcasters can pick it up in the same place; process it, then distribute it via the internet to platforms and channel partners all over the world. Suddenly, the world of live sports becomes available all over the world. And all you pay for is the bandwidth and services you use, when you use it.
  • This allows broadcasters and rights holders to be much more agile. They can test new markets through macro and micro-regionalisation, experiment with new fan experiences and take advantage of a growing cloud-based ecosystem of partners and technology providers to do things differently, more quickly and with considerably less risk than ever before. In short, everyone gets to innovate and learn without the fear (or financial costs) of failure.

4. FAST (Free Ad-Supported Steaming TV) Services will go full steam ahead

  • Fast services will continue to grow significantly outside of the U.S., driven by device-specific fast platforms. FAST is described in two words – Free and Ad Supported. These channels provide both linear and on-demand streaming to the audience.
  • There has been huge growth in FAST streaming because viewers are enticed by watching diversified free content without any prior commitment. It doesn’t require a dedicated set-up like cable or Pay TV, and provides a vast array of linear and on-demand content to viewers.
  • The global economic conditions mean that consumers are more willing to compromise on premium in order to get access to content – this provides a strong backdrop for advertisers.
  • TV manufacturers will continue to refresh their estate with more apps and consequently more fast channels will be launched on these apps.
  • There are lots of FAST platforms, and they’re already backed by big players. Paramount has Pluto, Comcast has Xumo, and Fox has Tubi. Peacock includes a FAST service in its offerings as well. Amazon has IMDBTV. Even Roku and Samsung have their own. And most of them host multiple channels from outside content providers.
  • Over the next 12-24 months broadcast and media sector really clawing back advertising revenue from online media sector.

5. Market consolidation

  • In the broadcasting sector we will continue to see the growing trend towards consolidation.
  • From Warner Bros and Discovery’s merger, to Viaplay’s acquisition of Premier Sports, to Thomson Broadcast buying GatesAir, M&A activity has defined the past few years.
  • Stakeholders will make use of strategic mergers, acquisitions, and alliances to strengthen their content quality and distribution capability.
  • Moreover, numerous market players will shift along the value chain by expanding their businesses. Broadcasters will focus on their core competencies but also occupy some other positions in the value chain

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