Veset – How cloud playout is helping to ease the complexity of playout

Veset – How cloud playout is helping to ease the complexity of playout

IABM Journal

Veset – How cloud playout is helping to ease the complexity of playout

Fri 06, 10 2023

Veset – How cloud playout is helping to ease the complexity of playout

Gatis Gailis, CEO, Veset

 I think most people would agree that we have seen more change in the broadcast industry over the past couple of years than we have for a long time. The accelerated shift to the cloud, transition to more ad-funded services than ever before, coupled with an evolution in consumption trends, are all having an impact throughout the entire industry, changing the way content is produced, managed, and distributed.

This is also causing significant challenges and complexities specifically for playout for a number of reasons.

 Not all playout is cloud-native

It is perhaps because the transition to the cloud was drastically accelerated that many broadcasters have moved to a partial level of cloud playout. A quick fix approach made a lot of sense in the interim for getting cloud-based access and workflows in place fast to ensure broadcast could continue in uncertain times. However, many broadcasters are finding that their current hybrid cloud workflows are not yet meeting their needs.

Many of these instances are virtualized, allowing remote access to on-premise hardware. This has been valuable for broadcasters, enabling a gradual shift to the cloud. However, some broadcasters are finding they are restrictive. In some cases, this is because they haven’t been seamlessly integrated into existing parts of the workflow, leaving a clunky workflow.

Virtualization allows broadcasters to access on-premise hardware remotely, which can be a valuable way to transition to the cloud. However, some broadcasters are finding that virtualized solutions are restrictive. This is because they can be difficult to integrate with existing workflows, and they may not be able to fully maximize the potential of the cloud.

Cloud-native solutions, on the other hand, are designed to be scalable and flexible. They use microservices and deployment tools such as Amazon ECS, Istio, and Kubernetes to enable automatic scaling to meet demand and high availability. This makes them a better option for broadcasters who need to deliver high-quality content to a wide audience.

Lower spend is forcing more broadcasters to go ad-funded

 It is becoming harder for broadcasters to continue with just subscription models. As consumers continue to cut spending, shifting to an ad-funded approach has become a necessity for many to retain viewers. However, adding ads into your playout comes with a new layer of complexity for a number of reasons:

Allowing for regional and platform variations

One of the biggest reasons FAST adoption has been slower in Europe is the massive variations between regions makes it less cost-effective than regions where variations are fewer. This can come down to a variety of variations that need to be created based on language, compliance for different regulations, and even preferences for example for different actors, music tastes etc. Ensuring the ads are appropriate for each region requires a great deal of, often manual, effort to review each ad and make necessary adjustments.

In some cases, this can also change depending on the platform. For example, some ads may be ok to display in a traditional broadcast environment, but may not be cleared for OTT.

Managing these variations requires the processes, rigorous checks, and the presence of metadata and SCTE markers to make sure the right ads are always displayed for the right region and platform. Getting those in place properly should however make the process relatively smooth.

Personalization is key to boosting revenue

We all know that personalization is extremely beneficial in broadcast, helping consumers get quick and easy access to the content they are most likely to engage with. The same is of course true with ads, not only making consumers more likely to respond to ads they are served, but also greatly increasing value for advertisers. With so many ad-funded services launching, being able to attract advertisers is in itself challenging, meaning broadcasters can likely not afford to skip ad personalization.

However, in a playout environment, this is not always easy, especially for broadcasters battling with a hybrid cloud environment. Broadcasters are increasingly looking for ways to build channels and insert personalized ads, entirely in the cloud. They need to be able to create rules so that they can push personalized ads based on a number of viewer metrics.

Ensuring the right amount and precise timing can be a challenge

How many ads is too many? The answer depends on the type of ad, the type of channel content, and the intended audience. Some audiences are much more receptive to ads than others and consumers are generally more receptive if it gives them free access to premium content, such as live sporting action or blockbuster movies, for example.

At the same time, even the fundamentals of ensuring precise timing can be challenging for playout and getting it wrong leaves you with gaps or overlapping content, neither of which is optimal. Using SCTE markers and ensuring the right level of metadata is the key to resolving this.

Consumption habits change fast
With every new generation come new consumption habits, but they seem to be forever changing. It has been well documented that younger audiences are searching for shorter, more snackable content, but are consuming lots of it. How can broadcasters delivering linear channels keep up with those trends to ensure they are building channels of relevant and engaging content? Again, this comes down to knowing your audience first. Having that understanding of the user profile and the types of content most likely to appeal is the first step in being able to serve the right content choices to keep them engaged. It is also important to continually evaluate so that your channel offering can change as habits change.

Keeping channels fresh means you need maximum flexibility to amend programme schedules quickly and easily as those needs change. This is much easier to accomplish for those broadcasters already hosting their playout fully in the cloud.

Navigating playout complexities

As with many parts of the broadcast workflow, playout has become more complex over recent years. Broadcasters are navigating a number of challenges while working to retain viewers and add value to advertisers in an increasingly crowded marketplace. However, it doesn’t need to be that way. There is a plethora of tools out there designed specifically for making it much simpler to create and distribute linear channels, from managing the schedule, inserting, and targeting ads, to distributing them wherever they will be watched. At the same time, moving to a fully cloud-native workflow makes it even easier for broadcasters to scale quickly, adapt their channels, and serve varied content across multiple platforms and regions.

At the same time, moving to a fully cloud-native workflow makes it even easier for broadcasters not only to be more agile: scale quickly, adapt their channels, and serve varied content across multiple platforms and regions, but even more – to  become more profitable.



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