MAD Perspectives Blog

 IP is the Future for Broadcast

Peggy Dau - Monday, May 04, 2015

My blogs the past few weeks have been discussing why big data matters and IP in the broadcast industry. The connection between these topics may not be obvious, but the point is that all data is critical to the ongoing success of the broadcast business, at every step throughout the creative, management, distribution and consumptions processes. The adoption of IP in the broadcast workflow is critical to obtaining data that will influence business decisions. Internet Protocol based networks provide a volume of data that informs and complements data obtained from other sources.

The use of IP is about more than delivery of content to the consumer home, it's about migrating the operational infrastructure for broadcast. This migration will take years, and broadcasters will likely deploy IP alongside existing SDI components until this components no longer function. However, like the telecommunications industry before it, the broadcast industry will benefit from the flexibility and insight provided by IP networks. These networks have been utilized, for years, to enable creative collaboration amongst editing teams, to interconnect business solutions to manage resources, supply chain, and facilitate the management of rights, licenses and contracts. But, IP did not penetrate the broadcast control room. It was acceptable behind the scenes, but it was not deemed reliable enough for live broadcast. 

Like all technologies, IP has evolved. The pressure is on for broadcasters to create more with less. The TV industry at large is going through monumental changes as an increasing volume of content is consumed online. This does mean that TV dead, merely that the business model is changing. As a result, broadcasters must become more nimble. This means adopting technology that is more cost effective and allows greater flexibility. IP networking is one element. Network providers like Cisco, have been penetrating the media value chain for years. They have long had a presence in cable head-ends. Now their opportunity expands to broadcast operations. Cisco was omnipresent at the recent NAB show with demos and announcements with Grass Valley, EVS, MLBAM, Imagine Communications, Globo, Adobe, Elemental, Signiant, Interra and Snell - reinforcing the relevance of IP to the future of broadcasting.

And, what about data? Well, solutions have long existed to monitor, manage and analyze IP networks and whatever devices are resident within them or attached to them. The introduction of IP networks into control rooms opens the door wider for software based solutions running on industry standard hardware. IP networks contain volumes of data about the effectiveness and efficiency of operational environments. IP networks are already providing audience insight with data about consumer behavior. They are also at the heart of analytics solutions capturing data from traffic systems, advertising platforms or rights management solutions. IP is at the heart of monetization strategies from enablement of workflows to the delivery of content to the aggregation of data. 

The roadmap for broadcast must include IP if only for the flexibility and scalability that it enables. But equally importantly for the interoperability it enables between creative, operational and distribution platforms - providing a true end-to-end perspective through the data aggregated at every point of the media supply chain.

What's your perspective?