There are quite a few major trends developing within the broadcast industry at the moment, with 4K, VR and the sudden rise of HDR both gaining a lot of column inches, but arguably the most significant of 2016 is the rise of Cloud OTT.
The reason for its significance is that this is a complete structural change for the industry. 4K HDR can be seen as a continuation of the evolution that has gone before, first from monochrome to colour, then in terms of resolution from SD to HD, and in terms of dynamic range from Rec.601 to Rec.2020. By instigating Cloud OTT services, however, the broadcast industry is moving from a capex to an opex model, and changing the way it operates entirely.
The Benefits of Cloud OTT
As many industries have discovered, there are a range of benefits involved with moving to the Cloud, but for Cloud OTT in particular they are headlined by lower costs and faster time to market for the operator and, and this is something too often overlooked, an improvement in services for the consumer.
By virtualising much of the operation of a TV channel using services such as VO’s Voyage – Television as a Service, operators have a much shorter, and indeed in some cases virtually non-existent, list of equipment they need to maintain and run on-premises, with all the staffing, space and cost implications that go along with that. They are also able to bring new services to market with far greater speed than ever before, literally in some instances at the click of a button. And in a competitive market where consumers are happier than ever to vote with their feet if they are unhappy with a service, that is vital.
The consumer meanwhile gets the full benefit of those services. Indeed in many cases it is starting to look like the only way operators can afford to launch all the services that the modern consumer demands — catch-up, VOD, TV Everywhere — is via Cloud OTT; installing and running the amount of servers alone required to power such services on-premises, or even in a hybrid cloud solution, is rapidly becoming prohibitive.
That is what makes Cloud OTT the most significant trend of 2016: it both changes the way the industry does business and provides viewers with the services they increasingly demand.