State of the Industry Report: Content Delivery Puts Development in the Fast Lane

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What does the future of content distribution look like? Is the industry shaping up to evolve with the fast-paced, competitive market? How can we build distribution models that are ahead of the game, innovative, and efficient?

We’ve seen these questions remain at the tip of the industry’s tongue for years. With an often hazy future due to its unpredictable nature, the content distribution industry is continuously evolving—testing companies to keep up with the latest trends and pressures. Without an appetite for change, organisations are in danger of being left behind by the industry’s biggest players, which continue to disrupt outdated content distribution models and processes. At Media + Networks, it’s our priority to put the latest trends in front of the industry to accelerate discussion and new ideas for both small and large media players.

Our State of the Industry survey tackles these trends head on. The survey’s full findings will be unveiled during Digital Week: our free-to-join, online event for those interested and working in video content delivery. In the survey, we asked the industry the questions we all want the answers to, and by doing so, gathered the insights and trends which are shaping today’s content ecosystem. Commissioned ahead of our flagship video distribution event, TV Connect 2018, the survey explores major themes in content distribution such as innovation, personalisation, monetisation, investment, and next-generation technology. It discovers the innovators that are leading the way and setting industry standards. Attracting 300 respondents from 78 companies working in mobile, cable, and satellite, device manufacturing, broadcast, OTT, marketing and advertising, and content creation sectors, the survey identified key motivators of change in content delivery to determine the challenges and opportunities present in 2018’s landscape.

The Current Climate

Year on year, audience demand, technical architecture, and distribution models transform to align with the latest trends. These changes have prompted organisations, ranging from OTT providers to advertisers, to adopt a more responsive, forward-thinking content delivery strategy. With greater agility, media organisations can focus more on the innovations that are influencing the way content is created, delivered, and received. Implementing the right solution with confidence enables organisations to future-proof content distribution processes with immediate effect. Utilising insight, such as the State of the Industry survey, encourages rapid business development—ensuring organisations remain aware of the industry’s developments.

New Opportunities

In 2018, we’re seeing the performance and development of content creation rocket. The survey’s findings illustrate how content creators are embracing traditional and emerging content platforms, driving opportunities for cord-cutting and next-generation programming. As a sector, content creation proves itself to be a major player in the latest distribution trends and models we know today. It could owe its development to the original content boom, which presents a wealth of new challenges and opportunities in terms of content creation, investment, and management. This is evident within the survey’s results, where a large percentage of content creators say they are benefiting from the rise in original content. We’ve seen Netflix successfully pioneer the movement—a view widely accepted by survey participants who named the SVoD platform the top innovator in content creation—and we’re beginning to see more and more media players get involved.

Also benefiting from new content creation processes are broadcasters who highlighted its important role in shaping the broadcast industry’s future. In the survey, broadcasters commented that a rise in SVoD, 4K/UHD content, and next-generation storytelling has meant linear, cable-dependent services are becoming old-fashioned and have been replaced by hybrid linear, on-demand models. This 360-degree approach is part of broadcasters’ efforts to grow audiences, improve viewership, and monetise programming. This same approach is thriving in the cable and satellite sector with operators moving toward consolidation as response to TV growth and disruption in multi-platform delivery. Pay TV bundling is also being challenged, so opportunities to expand into OTT and adjacent businesses are an increasingly inviting option.

Cloud-based technologies are also presenting new opportunities across the board. Thanks to the cloud, organisations can build an efficient distribution model where the service delivery cycle is faster, streamlined, and more scalable. Couple this with a rise in multi-screen viewing on mobile, and broadcasters can gain greater audience control by boosting their presence in the broader media space across several platforms.

Overcoming Challenges

Survey participants highlight the rapid inflation of content costs, processes such as digital rights management, and grappling with next-generation storytelling such as VR and AR as key challenges. However, the survey concludes general support for VR and AR companies, such as Magic Leap, which are responsible for its development in mainstream media. Encouragingly, from the survey, content creators’ top priorities for the future align with overcoming these challenges as they share their intentions to scale businesses for the future landscape.

2017’s report concluded that most companies embrace the current wave of technological disruption, as well as welcome the opportunity to get closer to audiences, while it also outlined industry-wide anticipation and unsettlement toward commercial challenges relating to content piracy and security. This challenge has been carried forward to 2018, with survey participants naming piracy and security as a recurring issue. Driven by professional pirates operating the most complex interfaces, content piracy and security challenges persist. New solutions tackling piracy and content delivery is something we, and the industry, expect to see grow.

Continuing Discussion

At Media + Network’s first-ever Digital Week, participants will discuss and uncover the survey’s full exclusive findings—driving debate during 2018 and beyond. Joining the discussion is Will Ennett, head of TV at TalkTalk and Simon Murray, principle analyst at Digital TV Research, who will look at the survey’s key findings including financial performance, challenges, and business focuses.

Featuring a rich programme of buzzworthy webinars, Digital Week’s trend-focused online sessions can be accessed for free during and after Digital Week. Bringing together market pioneers and leading influencers from media, technology, and telecommunications, Digital Week gives attendees the opportunity to engage with participants in Q&A style segments and view downloadable reports, whitepapers, and interviews.

Digital Week is perfectly placed to equip viewers with the right tools and information ahead of TV Connect on 9 and 10 May 2018. Returning to London’s Olympia exhibition centre, TV Connect puts attendees at the forefront of the industry to discover the latest trends and innovations that are set to switch-up content distribution.

Join the webinar here to get involved and find out more.

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