The Shift to Live Streaming – But Who is Monitoring It?

By Hiren Hindocha, President and CEO, Digital Nirvana

Today in the media industry, there is a lot of buzz surrounding 4K, the cloud, and streaming technologies. There’s a demand for “TV Anywhere and Content Everywhere.” Consumers want access to high-quality content on all of their devices, and content owners are scrambling to provide this for them.

While media consumption has changed rapidly over the past few years, streaming media has particularly accelerated thanks to broadband’s increased penetration and the faster bandwidth speeds it enables. Companies like Netflix, Google, Amazon, Redbox, Hulu have capitalized on the availability and speed of broadband delivery. And content owners (whether broadcast or print) are all video producers. Every major market TV station is live streaming or on the verge of live streaming its content. Some even stream live 24×7.

In addition to the traditional broadcasters, print publications such as the Wall Street Journal, have moved to video streaming – producing video and publishing it on the Web. The distinction between print and broadcast in the online space is quickly deteriorating.

What of the future for the much-discussed mobile TV? In my opinion, mobile TV is dead or at least terminal. By mobile TV, I refer to the ability to receive broadcast signals on a device like phone and tablets using a mobile DTV receiver that’s either plugged into the device or is embedded within the device. For the widespread adoption of mobile TV, the receiver needs to be embedded into phones and tablets. And the industry is just not there yet.

In the U.S., telecommunications’ technologies are dictated by the large carriers.  There is no advantage to the telcos to embed these chips. Instead they would rather promote streaming that consumes bandwidth, which they can monetize.

Streaming currently represents the brightest future for media delivery. Not only does it allow providers to reach their audience, it also presents a way for them to gather rich data about their audience and their content (viewership details, etc.) In this context, the monitoring of streamed programming becomes important in terms of complying with FCC regulations, advertising verification, and checking the streaming quality.

This past April, Digital Nirvana was first to introduce its new product, AnyStreamIQ, at the NAB convention.  AnyStreamIQ records live streams, extracts the closed captions, and provides alerts on the loss of captions, audio and video. As a cloud-based solution, there’s no need to install hardware or software. All that’s required is a web browser.

While we expected a strong reaction to AnyStreamIQ from local stations that stream live and need a service like AnyStreamIQ to log streams and ensure compliance with FCC regulations, we were more surprised by the response from content distributors that stream video online. Think of them as “cable providers” for the Internet or content aggregators for the Web.

Until now, there hasn’t been any product available that enables content distributors to monitor their “online channels.”  One NAB attendee mentioned a Network Operating Center where teams of operators with iPads monitor the streams manually and report on discrepancies.  AnyStreamIQ automates that process, removing the possibility of human error from something so critical to a station’s bottom-line.

This article appeared in the July issue of InBroadcast magazine. To view the article, please click here.