Content distribution set to enter a golden age

SIS Head of Streaming, Dave Gill, recently spoke to G3 Magazine about the evolution of new distribution methods, such as Over The Top, and how a joined up approach by content aggregators is invaluable for both established operators and those looking to challenge the status quo.

Content is now king. Operators of all shapes and sizes, be they retail or online, recognise that having more content for customers to consume and bet on is the key to success. With new distribution methods like Over The Top (OTT) and other web-based systems coming to the fore, Dave Gill, Head of Streaming at SIS, examines why content aggregators are more important now than ever before.

From horse and greyhound racing to football, volleyball, eSports and everything else in-between, there is now more content available than ever before. What’s more, advances in technology mean that there are ever increasing ways to distribute and receive that content for suppliers, operators and consumers alike.

The availability of 4G mobile services and coverage continues unabated, giving consumers a device in their pockets that can often display better quality video content than their flat screen TVs at home.

Content owners are now in the envious position of being able to bypass traditional broadcasters to go direct to consumers with their content. The stratospheric rise of eSports in recent years is testament to the power of this model

Yet not every sport can nurture and build an audience of sufficient critical mass to make direct to consumer distribution methods financially viable. Taking the time, effort and financial hit to produce brilliant content that then fails to reach the desired audience can be devastating to rights holders.

Content aggregators like SIS remain essential to delivering value to both the content rights owners and end users.

Building upon decades of experience in content distribution and harnessing the power of strong relationships, consumers across the global marketplace can be reached, that content owners attempting the direct route simply wouldn’t be able to reach. Ensuring a global reach for content is vital for rights owners who wish to ensure that they are fully exploiting the value of their content rights.

Similarly, most rights owners simply lack the ability to develop the world-class distribution technology needed to push their content to the furthest corners of the globe and ensure it arrives in the highest quality with the lowest latency. Leading content distributors boast experienced internal teams continually working to improve their distribution methods and supplement the services they provide.

Rights owners also benefit significantly from working with content aggregators as their content can be bundled together with complementary content and packages, including video, data and pricing.

While new delivery methods like OTT and other web-based systems might be tempting for some, it’s easy to get it wrong. Apart from needing to have the scale and presence to deal with widely varying levels of demand in different territories, operators need to look very closely at latency.

By now, most of us have found ourselves in a situation where we learn about a horse winning a race, a goal being scored, or a wicket going down through social media only to see that the ‘live’ broadcast is over 30 seconds behind.

This live content latency issue that the wider broadcast market suffers between Twitter and the associated video, creates a very poor integrated experience, and is particularly challenging for the betting industry.

However, low-latency OTT streaming is now a reality and reconnects the data, whether in-play markets or social media, with the live video content, enriching the experience of both.

SIS is leading the way in low-latency delivery through both our web streaming and IPTV solutions with genuinely game-changing technology. We are truly entering a golden age of content delivery.

Content will be the undisputed king in the decades ahead, and those rights owners who choose the right partner to ensure their content will be received by the biggest possible audience, stand to benefit hugely.

Dave Gill started his career in broadcast engineering with the BBC over two decades ago, and is now Head of Streaming at SIS. He is responsible for all live, near-live and VoD streaming video products through web streaming, IPTV and OTT delivery.

To read the January issue of G3 Magazine, click here