Embracing the broadcast revolution

Catching the season finale of your favourite television series, in today’s connected world, is no longer a race against time.

TV is no longer the main output for broadcast content as people are viewing their programmes on PCs, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and games consoles. From anytime, anywhere content to multiple screens and sizes, content delivery and consumption have evolved to place the consumer at the epicentre of the ecosystem.

A report by Nielsen found that 80% of the digital consumers in Southeast Asia own a smartphone while 50% of the region’s digitally-engaged households own a tablet. Additionally, nine out of 10 Internet users in Southeast Asia engage with two screens simultaneously, and eight out of 10 engage with three screens simultaneously. These observations underscore the massive shift of content consumption beyond traditional formats such as broadcast and cable TV among today’s digitally-connected consumers.

For the industry, the roles of media companies such as content producers, distributors, broadcasters and technology companies are blurring – and increasingly getting competitive.

With the emergence of online content streaming services such as YouTube and iFlix, media companies are now looking towards flexible and scalable technology solutions that enable them to deliver content to today’s consumers with speed, quality and consistency; as well as a reliable network to meet the demands from increasing number of users.

In the instance of Netflix that has just announced its entry into 130 new markets worldwide, the capabilities of technology partners to be able to deliver the right infrastructure that enables viewers to receive timely, quality content – and also be able to support the surge in its number of subscribers from 130 new markets – are critical to ensure media companies such as Netflix are able to take off and expand to newer markets successfully.

This is even more pertinent in emerging markets where consumers are leapfrogging into smartphones and social media, and may not have the necessary network infrastructure for them to truly harness the benefits of 21st century technology.

In fact, the same Nielsen report also found that 91% of digitally active consumers in Vietnam view online video content weekly, making it the highest in Southeast Asia; while Singapore recorded the least amount at 56% of its digital consumers – and even so, is by no means insignificant. From a regional perspective, more than six in ten digitally active consumers watch TV content and movies via online platforms such as video-on-demand, with the penetration of Internet TV being the highest in Thailand at 76% and 71% in the Philippines.

In this technology-driven world, we are witnessing only the beginning of a series of rapid changes to come in content consumption and delivery. The elements that will persist, and can only improve thereafter, are content and user experiences – enabled by continuous innovation and pervasive connectivity.

The writer is Brian Morris, VP and general manager of Global Media & Entertainment Services, Tata Communications.

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