TV Everywhere and online content services, collectively known as multi-screen strategies, have gained the attention of multiple system operators (those with fixed as well as mobile networks), particularly in Europe. The interest is largely due to the revenue generating units (RGUs) that the multi-screen strategies can produce. As mobile user numbers continue to increase and strain networks and current revenue models, new opportunities are being explored.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) white paper, Converging TV VOD Delivery and Distributed CDNs, more television viewers are going online and as more consumers snatch up the latest tablet computers, multiple system operators are looking for ways to give their networks a boost to keep up with the traffic. The multiple system operators also need a solution like the Alcatel-Lucent Velocix Digital Media Delivery Platform that allows them to manage their complex networks and at the same time support the explosion of new screens capable of viewing types of media including real-time and streamed video.
As the white paper details, the European market is seeing a productive period with the conversion to digital services for its customers while bringing in a new generation of customers, leading to near $20 billion in revenues. Services the multiple system operators are offering their customers include on-demand services to meet a growing trend. For example, iTV player viewings skyrocketed from 2010 to 2011 with an increase of nearly 45 percent in viewings, underscoring this key opportunity.
Another service multiple system operators in Europe are providing their customers is more premium television choices which include DVR and HDTV. While those are more traditional methods by which the public receives their entertainment, multiple system operators are also seeing an uptick in TV Everywhere and multi-screen offerings the public is accessing through their tablet computers, smartphones, game systems, online televisions, and personal computers. In fact, a global phenomena is people watching television while surfing the Internet on their personal devices at the same time.
Multiple system operators are able to provide users the services they desire as a result of reworking their IP infrastructures and TV VOD systems. This has enabled them to leverage the advanced content storage and distribution in their IP content delivery networks (CDNs). Combining that with the extension of their television VOD streaming servers, customers have access to TV Everywhere, a next-generation service.For multiple system operators to deliver these services, a few challenges have had to be overcome since IP CDN architectures are different from those needed for TV VOD service delivery. , highlighted the reality that a
As the white paper illustrates, TV VODs are normally associated with a central network control system that shoots out the bandwidth to managed RF networks and localized private networks. In a unified IP CDN and TV VOD setup, however, the origin of the signal flows through a concurrent ingest manager to a core distribution involving a CDN shield cache and a delivery appliance, which flows to the localized networks through another set of deliver appliances. While the system can be complex, multiple system operators are relying on this delivery format and the result has been the positive growth in new revenues as the market continues to expand rapidly.
Are customers looking for multi-screen services? The numbers say they are. And, the good news for multiple systems operators are that the re-architecting of their networks can put them in a competitive position that will enable them to capitalize in a truly differentiated and sustainable manner the profit potential of what is emerging as the model for meeting the next generation communications needs of mass markets not just in Europe but around the world.
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Edited by Peter Bernstein