Broadcast Beat Magazine September, 2015 - Page 78

OPERATORS FIND NEW LEVEL OF SCALABILITY WITH LIVE-TO-VOD MEDIA PROCESSING AT THE EDGE by Steve Sklepowich

Managing churn by retaining subscriber engagement in an age of on-demand, anytime anywhere content is a key challenge for operators today. Service providers are in the midst of a steady evolution of content viewing preferences, which are moving away from traditional live linear models to video-on-demand models spanning time-shifted, multiscreen, network DVR (nDVR); catch-up TV; and start-over TV.

Consumer research by Viacom showed that “98% of TV Everywhere users say TVE adds value to their pay TV subscription, (…while) 93% say they are more likely to stay with their provider due to TV Everywhere.” Operators must provide good OTT services as a prerequisite to regaining control of the subscriber’s entertainment hub, and is the key to ensuring that operators can reclaim traffic that is currently being lost to online service providers or other entertainment destinations.

According to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan, operators should build out live-to-VOD media processing capabilities at the network edge in order to cope with the explosive growth in time-shifted and place-shifted consumption of live, linear content. Saying it is no longer an option, the report advises operators to plan new or expanded deployments of OTT content delivery infrastructure to minimize churn, maximize subscriber engagement, and meet projected demand volumes for time shifted content.

To date, the most popular approach for multiscreen content transcoding has been just-in-time-packaging (JITP), driven by relatively low-cost storage, manageable content volumes, and expensive live transcoders. However, soaring content volumes and growing profile complexities on the one hand, and increasing transcoder densities and falling transcoding costs on the other, are shifting economics in favor of just-in-time-transcoding (JITT). (JITT is actually “JITT-P”, where packaging immediately follows transcoding.) This is particularly relevant to network DVR deployments where operators are required to maintain one copy of recorded content per user.

The report, “The business case for shifting live-to-VOD video transcoding to the edge with just in time transcoding” by Frost & Sullivan, details the CAPEX and OPEX economics of JITT deployment as compared to JITP deployment. Financial models show that when considering a steady audience with consistent consumption of time-shifted linear content, the five-year total cost of ownership (TCO) of JITP infrastructure is nearly twice that of the JITT alternative since the CAPEX for JITT transcoders and the reduced storage that they enable is 30 percent lower than the JITP alternative. Similarly, the models estimate a 40 percent annual OPEX savings because volume consumption in this use case is predictable and capacity can be carefully planned to optimize utilization.

“To cope with projected volumes of sustained 24x7 live-to-VOD traffic, operators need to build out adequate transcoding capacity within their network,” said Avni Rambhia, Principal Analyst, Digital Media Group, Frost and Sullivan. “Our analysis shows that for continuous traffic patterns, the 5-year TCO of JIT transcoding at the edge is approximately half that of the

BROADCAST BEAT MAGAZINE

IBC Issue September 2015

78