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Extending a Bridge Across Platforms

Global linear and over-the-top (OTT) video revenue will climb to nearly $65 billion by 2021, with U.S. revenue alone projected to swell from $8.2 billion to $22.8 billion in 2021, according to Digital TV Research Ltd. Keen to capitalize on these opportunities, content providers have already seen the value of bridging workflows to deliver seamless experiences for consumers across all devices.

Innovative business strategies are emerging that leverage new technologies and drive customized and creative experiences for customers. Here are three ways content providers can facilitate better efficiencies, expedite go-to-market initiatives and maximize monetization opportunities.

• Deploying Multiplatform Solutions: PwC has reported that 78% of U.S. consumers now subscribe to at least one OTT service. Thus, content providers are looking for effective, creative and flexible platforms to deliver content across all devices to stay competitive, monetize quality content and build deeper levels of engagement between their audiences and brands.

These efforts can oftentimes be thwarted by complexity, cost and performance issues — natural byproducts of stitching together disparate partners, technology stacks and content across an ecosystem of mobile screens and live multichannel broadcasts. To alleviate these potential headaches, content providers should consider solutions that enable them to streamline processes for all media, TV metadata, transcoding, digital rights management (DRM) and merchandising across platforms.

• Finding the Right Partners: Another option for content providers is to tap into a robust ecosystem of partners to innovate new capabilities, services and offerings. Whether the goal is to design a more flexible front-end solution or enable personalized content discovery, workflows may be more effectively enhanced and expanded by leveraging a partner’s strengths in concert with their in-house systems.

For example, a content provider who needs high-volume, rapid-turn video-on-demand (VOD) content aggregation, processing and delivery to both linear and digital destinations could work with partners that can handle hybrid delivery to a wide variety of set-top boxes and the most popular online services. Additionally, a content provider can tap into multiple content delivery network (CDN) partners to easily switch providers based on traffic and alignment with specific objectives and geographical needs.

• Evaluating Monetization Options: Content providers and advertisers will continue to come up with new ways to monetize their content with the constant in the equation being the need to continue to move their service and their audience towards an optimal dialogue with each other. Everything hinges on staying relevant and engaging to consumers. The constant push to compress time to market and maximize return on investment means that monetization strategies need to demonstrate a keen awareness of where the service sits on each viewer’s priority list — and respond accordingly.

One of the first ways to grow digital revenue was a simple transaction-based (TVOD) model: I see a piece of content I want to buy, I pay for it and download it. Today, subscription-based (SVOD) models, where a fixed fee gives viewers unlimited access to content, are particularly attractive.

In an ad-supported (AVOD) model, content is free and sponsored by advertisers. This can be compelling, especially for content strong enough to attract a loyal fan base.

There’s no single strategy when it comes to monetizing your content. But the “big three” xVOD monetization models give content providers options to expand their revenue potential across multiple devices. Sometimes, a hybrid approach may even be best.

Ultimately, it still comes down to the quality of content, and of the experience itself. Great content and playback wins hearts, and leads to “repeatable mindshare.” By thinking through the above options proactively and leveraging respective strengths while collaboratively tapping into long-term goals, content providers can create solutions to build the most seamless, optimal — and profitable — multiscreen video experiences.

Barry Tishgart is vice president of Comcast Technology Solutions.