The following opinion piece is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here.
So we’ve clearly established that the revolution will be televised – and streamed. There is no mistaking the explosion of content to screens of varying shape, size and connectivity.
As consumption skyrockets and choice expands, a few challenges are emerging. No matter what you call it – over the top (OTT), streaming, TV Everywhere – IP-cased video delivery is called to be “better than broadcast” and must harmonize a variety of requirements in order to facilitate this massive growth to incorporate killer experience with monetization and more.
Dynamic ad insertion (called DAI) is absolutely critical to nearly all TV Everywhere and/or OTT strategies and deployments today. Plain and simple, digital decision makers need to look at these opportunities and begin planning for these offerings to begin as a profit center rather than a cost center.
Today, many of these media managers (and perhaps their counterparts in advertising) don’t realize the hyper-targeting capabilities today’s streaming experiences can deliver on the devices they play out on. Given that each user maintains a unique connection with the cloud when they consume streams, we can deliver ads specific to them. This means that two viewers of the same stream on opposite sides of a market can and will receive discretely different ads based on those locations.
This is a big deal. Using this strategy, advertisers can reach viewers with hyper-local ads that are more relevant to the viewer. Taken one step further, an overlay ad displayed over the lower third of a video ad could offer a real time couponing opportunity, which could result in immediate opportunities for advertisers (think of a Starbucks coupon tapped and saved to Passbook on iOS where the user redeems it minutes later, in store). Even if the target audience is somewhat larger (think regional), some of today’s OTT video supply chains can serve to delineate between local, national and regional payloads within an ad pod so that any of those three can dynamically be replaced or allowed to play through from the broadcast where broadcast and digital ad reach have been sold together. Make no mistake – over the top and today’s video technology is creating a renaissance in the space.
The Promise of Live Streaming
Live streaming for events continues in its growth and popularity. From hockey to football, boxing to baseball – organizations like the PGA, NBA, NFL and MLB are expanding the number of live, linear events and content they offer. This NFL season will see the first-ever streaming-only consumption of a game in its history, a mid-season game between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. Internet pioneer Yahoo reportedly paid in the neighborhood of $20 million for the rights to stream the game. Existing broadcast rights with the big networks and bundling questions aside, this event likely represents an interesting start to a future model of direct to consumer OTT delivery of the NFL. Time will tell.
Expect every sports league and organization to continue to look to streaming to build their brand and reach, increase user engagement and potentially to explore ad-supported content to compliment subscriptions. Further, the rise of instant streaming applications like Meerkat, Periscope and the new Facebook Mentions have opened up new ways to consume live content from all over the world. The impact to live sporting events for these apps remains uncertain and unclear at this time, though. The NHL and the PGA have banned their usage, or at a minimum, barred journalists from using them from behind the ropes. This could be short sighted though, as subscription and ad placement revenue in and around this content could be real drivers for those companies, should they choose to explore rights entitlement and sponsorships.
A Tidal Wave
On both of these key fronts, expect to see more engagement, movement and advances in the next 18 months or less. Over the top delivery of video represents the largest tidal wave to impact media consumption in history and will likely outpace VHS, DVD, BluRay and HDTV in terms of how quickly viewers will adapt and adopt. Each of those technologies improved the viewing experience and outpaced their predecessors in time to market and mass adoption. Streaming delivery and the massive growth of device driven consumption is expanding and moving ahead at a pace that many industry experts and analysts struggle to define. For those who create and deliver content though, the question of going to market with their wares has moved from ‘should we’ to ‘how fast can we get there’ sprinkled in with a little ‘how can we monetize our content.’
This shift is imperative in the race to meet viewers on the screens of their choice. Viva la revolución.
Matt Smith is the Chief Evangelist for Anvato – the leading, turnkey platform solution that enables media companies, content providers and broadcasters with a robust, powerful and complete toolset to enable their content to reach any screen, anytime.