Live is the hottest thing in the industry today, and premium content like sports and TV channels are driving forces. Live events broadcasters are now struggling with three components, which we call the three Cs, to attract viewers. Getting these three Cs, i.e., capture, carriage and compliance, right is necessary, but no easy task. So, how can we solve this?
According to Freewheel, live video is a primary driver of online video consumption. Ad views in live content grew 43 percent year-over-year in Q1 2016, attesting to the overall growth of online video viewing. Long-form ad views increased 33 percent, and short form increased 14 percent. Live content also drives better engagement than on demand. Pre-roll ad completion rates for a 15-second ad are 90 percent in live content, and 84 percent in long-form on-demand video.
Clearly live delivery of premium content is booming online, but how to get live done right each and every time is the bigger concern.
In sports, this challenge is clear. Viewers expect you to minimize delivery delays, maximize picture quality and keep up with demand. Getting the video from the live production facility into the cloud for distribution is the first critical step in that journey. The video platform you choose needs to capture the video reliably, encode it quickly, and deliver it with fidelity.
However, live still has a life after the moment is passed. The exact time when a goal is scored, a tackle made or an injury occurs may be unpredictable, but viewer response is not. People will want to instantly re-watch, share and discuss what happened. That means the video platform used must allow providers to capture the moment. It requires video clips to be tagged, extracted and delivered in real time as the action continues.
Providing reliable carriage of the video is the next biggest challenge. Handling the unpredictability of scale is tricky. For example, HBO Now’s streaming service failed during the broadcast of its runaway hit “Game of Thrones”, and didn’t recover until after the episode was complete.
These challenges are just part of the problem faced by the emerging skinny-bundle providers, which are providing only the basic, most cared about, channels. Services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, and new entrants like Hulu and CenturyLink, face the same capture and carriage challenges of live sports. However, skinny-bundle providers also deliver traditional TV channels as part of their service. And they need to capture all the content in the live channel feeds so that it can be provided on demand, in network DVR and catch-up services.
Skinny bundles are beginning to attract larger audiences. And with the success of live online comes regulatory attention.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is beginning to subject online delivery of linear TV channels to the same rules as cable TV. For example, content broadcasted in linear channels online must provide closed captioning. It’s also likely that online skinny bundles will become subject to other pay-TV requirements, including emergency alert service (EAS) broadcasts and commercial advertisement loudness mitigation (CALM.)
However, live delivery online has additional compliance challenges. For example, ensuring that ads are counted by Nielsen in online TV channels is a critical requirement for broadcasters. And this extends beyond just live delivery. Nielsen is now counting ads in shows that are delivered on demand within three days of the original broadcast (C3), and may expand that to 7 days (C7). Any live-delivery video platform must be able to prove that the content it delivers is in compliance.
When it comes to providing live online, whether it be sports or TV channels, providers need to ensure that their technology platform can handle the three Cs of online video: capture, carriage and compliance. Verizon Digital Media Services’ Live Streaming Solution simplifies live streaming management for you. Now you can deliver live events with quality, simplicity and scale easily and with the help of just one partner.