The drive to monetization

  • With Adrian Pennington

The drive to monetization

For video content service providers efficiency - from a cost, time, effort and sustainability standpoint - has never been so important. If you don’t have the basics of storage and asset management in place you won’t be able to drive towards monetization or new revenue in the form of FAST - by Adrian Pennington...

Oscar Gutierrez, VP Business Development, Switch Media identifies the biggest issue as monetization. It’s essential providers continue to develop and explore ways of better monetizing services, he says. FAST channels, local content and alternative AVOD business models provide more flexibility for consumers and increased revenue opportunities for content owners and streaming services. We’re seeing a wider growth in AVOD services as well as the introduction of hybrid SVOD/AVOD models. In the latter case, this means a reduced subscription fee and some advertising, though less than a pure AVOD model. Success here depends on how familiar a service provider is with advertising as a model across their overall business. 

The challenge for SVOD and AVOD service providers now is finding a balance between keeping charges low for the consumer in a cost-of-living-crisis and being able to create and deliver the highest-quality content. That’s why the relationship between technology and service provider is absolutely crucial in a market with so many variables.

A modular technological approach, which is the way we work at Switch Media, allows us and our customers to adapt their business model over time as it becomes clear what model(s) work in their market. 

For over a decade, Switch Media has successfully delivered complex, multi-award-winning online video solutions for major brands and global live streaming events. Our MediaHQ platform houses a flexible suite of modular components that easily integrate with existing systems. We provide tailormade solutions for our customers, including multiple modules, such as DRM, CDN, billing subscription systems etc. as part of MediaHQ overarching system. Unlike some of our competitors, who use multiple modules from a single vendor, our customers, with guidance from us, can select these modules from multiple vendors, as and when required. This gives our customers far greater flexibility and control over their streaming platform and their budgets. It also helps when their services grow as they can expand the use of our solutions or change or add new services.

Broadly speaking, monetization is also on the mind of Globecast clients, according to CMO Jean-Christophe Perier. Monetization is certainly not a new issue, but it is, once again, front and centre. Consumers are increasingly saturated with video and service provider choices and the competition for eyeballs is fierce and unrelenting. Globecast is helping customers understand how best to monetize their services and, at the same time, keep costs to a minimum. 

The nature of this challenge varies from country to country and service to service, be it because available consumer spend is low, in turn resulting in low ARPU and high churn rates, or in other markets where ARPU is high spend is being split between too many services. Consumers are consolidating their subscriptions. 

If we look at ad-driven models, there’s a lot of debate about how accurate advertising metrics can best be achieved. The industry has not risen properly yet to this challenge. Advertisers aren’t going to stop spending money but the amount they are spending has been reduced and the way it is split across services compounds this problem. Better metrics means more advertising. 

It’s clear the overall cost base has to be reduced, along with technology being able to provide far greater flexibility and scalability. This is where the cloud comes in, which is undoubtedly the future. While many customers are not yet ready to move to the cloud, it’s now absolutely on their radar and they are asking questions about it. At IBC this year, Globecast highlighted its consulting, integration and managed services value proposition.

By working with customers at the consulting stage, the company can understand their unique business objectives and how it can create, integrate, orchestrate, monitor - and, if desired - operate services for them. Globecast can leverage its CloudMediaHub global connectivity capabilities, integrated with strategic partners and four MCRs in Los Angeles, London, Paris and Singapore to monitor and operate - if desired - end-to-end services. This allows its customers to focus on their core business, saving considerable time and resources while fully benefitting from Globecast’s expertise, quality of service and latest innovations.

Monetization and cost efficiency are two sides of the same coin. For Ronen Artman, VP Marketing, LiveU, cost efficiency dovetails with overall technical efficiencies, along with balancing that with satisfying consumer demand for dynamic, all-encompassing coverage. 

Looking at the live sports market, which is central to what LiveU does, those technical efficiencies have now expanded the reach of live coverage, bringing it to tier two and three sports alongside the accepted tier 1s. Efficiency - from a cost, time, effort and sustainability standpoint - has never been so important.

This means two things. Lowering costs while maximising the dynamism and reach of coverage, driving monetization. Production processes need to be as streamlined as possible to shorten workflows and remove complexity, reducing the delay between capturing content and playing it out. This is behind the growing trend for lightweight productions, which utilise these efficiencies to create more dynamic and engaging content while minimising spend, allowing an ever-greater number of events and stories to reach viewers. By lowering the cost and reducing complexity - and especially combined with remote production or IP-based on-site production - content can be created faster and achieved more easily with smaller crews and greater agility across the process.

LiveU’s IP-video EcoSystem, with its open architecture over LRT™ (LiveU Reliable Transport), is designed to allow its customers to take full advantage of the cloud. This is central to achieving maximum production dynamism and efficiency, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s then a question of being quickly and easily able to maximise the use and reach of that content. 

LiveU Studio is a fully cloud-native IP video live production solution, allowing the creation of additional content across a myriad of media channels. We all know consumers of online content have a veracious appetite, with time-to-air crucial, and that requires agility with producers needing to be able to respond quickly to current events.

LiveU Studio can sit alongside existing primary content workflows and leverage deployed assets for extra production. From any web browser, journalists/content producers can create and control shows, applying flexible, easy-to-use features for video switching, graphics and audio, and managing remote guests, before distributing the content to up to 30 different publishing destinations. 

Tod Musgrave, Sr. Broadcast BDM, Netgear AV highlights efficiency of acquisition as the biggest challenge facing video service providers in 2024. Producing quality content faster, easier, and more cost effective. Building workflows around virtual or augmented reality, remote or REMI production, cloud production, remote contribution, and other strategies require companies to address efficiency. Many of these solutions are moving to an IP network, too, which historically caused broadcast engineers to cringe.

Transition from traditional broadcast workflows with SDI to IP-based solutions have been in motion for some time, however recent acceleration is undeniable and overcomes these challenges while helping improve efficiency at the same time.

Simplifying and reducing cabling and equipment with one cable to the IP switch and then out over the network where anyone can access it anywhere, anytime is probably the most obvious advantage. Teams in multiple locations all over the world can access same project simultaneously increasing efficiency and lowering cost.

Over the past decade Netgear AV has been developing, producing, and enhancing a line of managed network switches for AV that address these challenges in the workflow. Focused on simplifying the complexity with easy setup profiles through the AV GUI and Engage Controller Software. Certified profiles for broadcast applications using NDI, IPMX, Dante, AES, AVB and soon to be added SMPTE ST 2110 with PTP time synchronization save time and engineering resources.

The new Netgear M4350 series of managed switches deliver higher bandwidth from 1G~100G ports, ultra-quiet fans, higher power budgets, power redundancy, and new ST 2110 capability on 2 models coming out in early 2024. All of these switches, and the other switch lines for AV, contain the Netgear IGMP Plus, Auto-Trunk, and Auto-LAG across multiple switches. Many of the M4350 models are also available in TAA compliant versions.

Netgear AV is focused on broadcast applications and continues to push the boundaries of faster, easier and more cost-effective workflow solutions. It’s our goal to lower the comparative cost of SMPTE ST 2110, therefore democratizing it’s use to more content contributors worldwide.

Gil Rudge, SVP Video Products, Harmonic points to video content service providers ability to drive new revenue with one primary means of addressing this by repurposing their content into FAST channels. FAST channels are on the rise, delivering targeted ads via server-side ad insertion solutions. Harmonic expects to see an increase in targeted advertising for live, linear TV and VOD content. By personalising advertising to the individual viewer level, video content service providers can substantially boost viewer engagement and increase monetization.

To this end, Harmonic’s VOS360 Ad SaaS is empowering video content service providers to boost their monetization, enabling targeted ad delivery to millions of concurrent viewers for live, linear TV and VOD streaming. Using the industry-first stand-alone SSAI solution, video service providers can deliver personalised ads, including virtual product placements, squeeze back and double box ads, in the same stream. The fully cloud-native solution includes ad ingest and processing, ad serving, frame-accurate server-side ad insertion, ad decision server and supply-side server capabilities. With VOS360 Ad SaaS, advertisements can be personalised down to the user level, increasing viewer engagement and improving CPMs for video service providers. 

To simplify FAST channel scheduling and customization, we’ve integrated our VOS360 Media SaaS with Spideo’s recommendation engine, enabling video service providers to create playlists automatically based on content themes, targeted demographics, and optimal ad inventory per hour.

Using an AI recommendation engine, video service providers can automatically create playlists based on content themes, targeted demographics, and optimal ad inventory per hour. AI enables video service providers to swiftly and effectively identify and schedule pertinent assets for a FAST channel. Integrating AI into the scheduling aspect of the video streaming workflow is precisely what the FAST market requires to enhance operational efficiencies and maximise monetization opportunities.

All of this front end monetization means nothing if the back end can’t be managed efficiently. As Kira Baca, CRO at Ateliere puts it, a company’s content catalogue is their revenue stream and much of it isn’t being monetized. However, it is costing them money in terms of storage and in terms of people and technology to manage that dormant content. Most commonly, this happens when there are multiple content versions spread across the organisation’s on-premises and cloud storage. In an ideal scenario, a company’s entire catalogue is actively generating revenue with new licensing and advertising supported deals.

Ateliere’s Connect platform supports the ability to automate the process of identifying duplicate assets and create a streamlined, fully monetized library that can be transacted on quickly and efficiently by using our proprietary FrameDNA technology. This process not only has the potential to save millions on storage costs, but also organises content and automates the creation of distributable content packages. The result is reduced time to market, eliminated redundant versions, and enablement of the content sales and operations teams to transact quickly with new licensing models.