Twenty-three years ago, in June 2000, the European Commission published proposals for their WEEE and RoHS Directives and three years later they were agreed and entered into force, having a major impact on all industries. The RoHS Directive originally restricted six substances and effectively banned the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and two types of flame retardants in most new electrical and electronic equipment sold after 1 July 2006. This had a major impact on our industry mainly due to the need to use lead-free solder in the manufacture of electronic equipment. The Directive has been amended several times since and, as of 2015, now there are ten substances that RoHS restricts along with the equivalent UK post-Brexit law that replaces it. Very similar laws and regulations now also exist for other countries and their markets, such as Japan, South Korea, China, and India.
The rise in importance of sustainability in the Broadcast industry has been one of the most significant meta trends in recent years. Driven onwards by both public and investor sentiment, and given further impetus by the increasingly observable effects of climate change, sustainability has become central to many industry roadmaps.
Sustainability has become a top priority for companies across all industries as the world becomes more aware of the disastrous effects of climate change. Video service providers are no exception; however, they need to identify ways to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, ensure regulatory compliance, and unlock new business opportunities. In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the environmental impact of video services. Companies are now seeking sustainable ways to deliver their services while reducing their carbon footprint, and this is where sustainability analytics comes in. By collecting and analysing data, video services providers can gain insights into their environmental impact and develop strategies to mitigate it.
To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the video industry needs to consider every aspect of its complex ecosystem, and that includes reducing the energy consumed by end user devices when streaming content. There’s been a lot of focus over the years on developing electronic devices to be as energy efficient as possible, as well as improving the energy efficiency of the overall media chain (servers, encoders, cloud storage, etc). What’s less well known is what impact changes made at application level can have on energy consumption when content is streamed. And crucially, what impact do changes made at application level for the purpose of reducing energy consumption, have on the User Experience (UX)? This is a critical factor to establish because UX is a central pillar of any successful video service. Because after all, if video providers have to make a choice between UX and sustainability, UX will win every time. But does UX have to be compromised in the quest for a more sustainable application? Or is it possible to reduce energy consumption on OTT devices by optimizing the application and using energy-efficient UI/UX strategies, all without sacrificing user experience?
Advertising is a crucial source of revenue for video service providers. In 2023, global ad spend on TV and digital video is projected to reach $210.2 billion. Just as video providers look to increase advertising revenue, there is a simultaneous drive to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. How does the TV and video industry’s drive for monetization, which so often includes advertising, square with the need to make video operations more sustainable? What responsibility do TV and video service providers have to reduce emissions from advertising that they show and how can positive change be achieved? Before answering these questions, we first need to better understand the relationship between advertising and emissions.
Despite the continuing growth in audiences for streaming content, the established broadcasters remain popular. Indeed, market predictions are that, while streaming services will gain viewers and revenue, traditional linear television will remain stable; Statista even suggests a slight rise in daily viewing hours.
In recent years, the choice of video services has multiplied, as large media organisations add a plus symbol to their established brands and roll out new platforms. In addition, many incumbents in the VOD space are now supplementing their main subscription models with AVOD options. In some cases, these ad-funded tiers will be differentiated with new content, but at the very least they will require new versions of the original media files with markers for ad insertion. Linear TV has not been left behind, evolving its offering with more content choice, and diversifying with themed FAST channels.
TH1 from Rohde & Schwarz takes a radical approach to high-power transmitters, reducing energy consumption, increasing resilience and unlocking new revenues.
The recent extreme weather has shown us that climate change appears to have arrived in force. The human cost is already extremely worrying – last year, for example, over 180 people perished in floods in Germany and Belgium, while over 500 people died in a heat wave in British Columbia, Canada alone. And this year, Europe has seen its worst drought in 500 years, with two-thirds of the continent “under distress”.
Today’s business leaders are coming to the conclusion that profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. In fact, creating strategies on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) programs has been gaining significant momentum for companies that are looking beyond the traditional bottom line to measure their impact. Yet, balancing thin profit margins with long-term sustainability goals and regulatory compliance requires sound principles, a well thought-out plan, and strong leadership to achieve optimal shareholder and stakeholder value.