Philippe Gonon, Advanced R&D Manager at AVIWEST
Broadcasters face tough competition today. A variety of different news outlets are competing for the same story compounded by the fact that television viewers have a desire to be aware of news as it happens. If a broadcaster doesn’t tell a news story first and offer a unique perspective, viewers will find coverage elsewhere. This could result in viewer satisfaction, ratings, and ad revenue taking a dive.
One of the main challenges of reporting on a breaking news story in a timely fashion is the cost of deploying additional video delivery equipment. If it is a large event, broadcasters may not be able to afford the extra equipment required in the field. Furthermore, it takes time to purchase digital mobile newsgathering equipment. If an event is happening spur of the moment, acquiring additional equipment could slow down a broadcaster’s ability to provide coverage.
Broadcasters need a more affordable, scalable, and flexible approach to video production and delivery compared with traditional models. This article explores the main benefits of using cloud-based video distribution systems for breaking news and events coverage, taking a look at the key capabilities broadcasters should look for in a digital mobile newsgathering system hosted in the cloud.
Advantages of Cloud-Based Video Delivery
The main advantage of transitioning to cloud-based video delivery is cost savings. When video is transmitted via a cloud-based platform, there are no capital expenses. The only costs incurred are operational, on a pay-as-you-need basis. Operational savings are also realized, since there are no physical racks in the headend to maintain.
Another benefit of cloud distribution is flexibility. Nowadays, broadcasters need to react quickly when news happens, and a video distribution platform that can be operated in virtualized mode will enable instant streaming. For example, during the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, broadcasters were scrambling to report on the latest developments. Some news organizations turned to a cloud-based video distribution system to speed up operations.
With cloud technology, equipment upgrades are also simpler. A video distribution system that is software-based can be upgraded in five minutes or less, enabling broadcasters to support new features, video formats, streaming protocols, and more, with ease.
In addition, cloud-based video distribution systems significantly enhance the scalability of a broadcaster’s digital mobile newsgathering operation. Broadcasters can start by receiving video streams from a small number of video encoders or transmitters in the field, and easily and affordably add more units based on their needs.
Key Requirements for a Cloud-based Video Delivery System
There are a few key features broadcasters should look for in a cloud-based video delivery system. Interoperability with other systems is critical. Broadcasters need a studio application that can receive streams from a wide range of encoders and transmitters out in the field, including third-party platforms.
It’s also important to choose a system that supports a wide range of industry streaming protocols such as HLS, TS/IP, RTSP/RTP, RTMP, etc. This will ensure a smooth streaming performance for viewers on a wide range of devices.
Reliability is another crucial requirement. During a major news event cellular wireless networks can become congested. Using a video distribution system that is capable of detecting and aggregating multiple IP-based networks (e.g., 3G, 4G, WiFi, Ethernet, and satellite) will ensure superior connectivity.
Broadcasters will also want to choose a system that is easy to use. Selecting a video distribution system with an intuitive web user interface, such as AVIWEST’s DMNG StreamHub, will allow broadcasters to monitor operations remotely. Broadcasters can easily control and manage a fleet of remote transmitters, optimize, and monitor the video transmissions utilizing advanced features such as video thumbnails and statistics.
Finally, broadcasters will want to ensure they can easily communicate with the news crew in the field. Finding a video distribution system with an IFB application enables broadcasters to communicate with remote transmitter operators over two-way audio channels.
Future Outlook for the Cloud
According to the market research firm Devoncroft Partners, the 2015 BBS Broadcast Industry Global Trend Index ranked “cloud computing/virtualization” as the No. 5 trend. Using a cloud-based solution like AVIWEST’s DMNG StreamHub system for breaking news and events coverage, broadcasters and other video professionals can dramatically increase operational efficiency, lower costs, and improve flexibility and scalability while delivering high-quality video, including live and on-demand content.
As of yet, the rate of adoption for cloud-based technologies has been relatively slow in the broadcast industry, but as broadcasters continue to look for new ways to reduce CAPEX and OPEX, many will be migrating toward video distribution in the cloud in the near future.