2023 will signal a big shift for broadcasters and media companies that depend on satellite distribution. The FCC is officially on track to take the 5G spectrum below Transponder 14 offline by December 2023. Major disruptions are predicted, as every MVPD headend is re-fitted and spectrum is repurposed for 5G. Additionally, sharing C-band with 5G will increase the risk of interference.
The good news? There’s never been a better time to transition to IP. But to fully leverage the opportunities of a more flexible, efficient, and reliable network, it will require more than a “lift and shift” mentality. It will require a shift in thinking.
Deals that were never before possible on satellite are now possible on IP. Transitioning to a more innovative network is an opportunity to be creative again — to think beyond satellite’s limitations and unlock global opportunities for your primary channel. The sky is no longer the limit.
Not all IP solutions are created equal
It’s important to keep in mind that some IP solutions — specifically, traditional unicast solutions — can pose their own challenges when tasked with reliably harnessing today’s digital opportunities.
Here’s why: When creating multiple channels in the cloud from a primary channel, you need a mechanism to get them back out of the cloud in a targeted fashion. Specifically, you need the ability to regionalize, customize, and direct each version to reach increasingly segmented audiences — whether they’re segmented by platform, a region of the country, or a region of the world.
With unsophisticated IP solutions, you’ll end up paying a lot for this amount of versioning. Each version drives up egress and processing fees — that quickly add up. If this sounds similar to satellite distribution cost structures, you’re correct — and many times customers won’t understand the impact of these costs until too late.
There is also the issue of unicast network reliability: some may have their own protocols to distribute a channel over IP, but lack the mechanism to re-route feeds across the vagaries and complexity of the Internet. Reliable IP needs to route across multiple carriers, data centers on a packet by packet basis — think about it as mapping software that automatically re-routes you to avoid traffic delays and get you to your destination faster. The potential risk of delays — increased, unpredictable latency — and dropped signals is simply not acceptable for mission-critical content.
IP unicast protocols also lack business intelligence. With digital workflows, everything is happening at the same time — distribution, customization, and regionalization. Point-to-point IP protocols lack the built-in capabilities to perform these tasks on their own, so they depend on additional user-installed hardware or technology at first- and last-mile endpoints. These third-party extras introduce workflow complexity, additional costs, and more points of potential failure.
Given today’s market pressures, it’s not feasible to create multiple channels at the same level of investment you used to create the primary channel. You need really affordable, reliable ways to distribute them. You need to do more, with less.
The advantages of multicast IP
IP transport technology may look the same at a distance, but we’ve found that an intelligent, multicast, fully managed network is the best solution for creating, customizing, and distributing multiple channels of primary, high-value content. The right multicast network doesn’t just replicate the traditional capabilities of satellite in a more cost-effective way. It’s designed to future proof an organization — with reliability, interoperability, and an ecosystem of end-to-end solutions that can accelerate a channel’s value in a rapidly evolving digital landscape:
- Reliability: With its highly reliable architecture that features multiple points of redundancy — and extremely high SLAs — the efficient, distributed infrastructure of the LTN Network allows it to route channels around any inherent problems on the public network. Every LTN solution also includes management at the hardware, ISP, and distribution levels — as well as full customer visibility and control. Other technology options don’t have that.
- Interoperability: LTN’s open and agnostic network strategy is designed to reduce complexity and increase efficiency in an increasingly hybrid network environment. Owners and platform operators can quickly and seamlessly integrate Wave with their own unique first- and last-mile protocols — whether it’s cable, broadcast station, or virtual MVPD.
- Access to an ecosystem: Once you’re connected to the LTN Network, you have access to a full suite of end-to-end solutions that can be built to your specific needs, including cloud-based production, customization, and ad enablement and signaling, in addition to distribution. The potential combinations for optimized reach and revenue are only limited by your imagination.
LTN Wave: A smart transition from satellite to IP
LTN Wave is designed to de-risk satellite migration with end-to-end management, and automatic, seamless changeover. Operating on the backbone of the LTN Network, Wave also enables hybrid distribution, giving you better flexibility and the same QoS as satellite. Wave is interoperable with public cloud environments, multiple first and last mile hardware and software options and technology protocols to ensure a stress-free transition.
Wave enables reliable, scalable, and efficient distribution for high-value content — and for considerably less CapEx. Content owners and channel creators are not only getting the 99.999% reliable transport of the LTN Network, they’re also benefiting from the built-in business intelligence, interoperability, and a direct connection to other integrated LTN solutions that facilitate regionalized versions and easier international distribution — without the need for extra devices at the edge of the network.
Expertise with every solution
Wherever you are on your digital journey, it’s a good idea to remember that it’s not just about connecting to industry leading IP solutions like Wave. It’s also about finding the right technological and industry partner who can help guide you with evolving solutions and proactive strategy — so you can focus more on creating content for your primary channel. LTN was founded on revolutionizing IP distribution for linear and digital customers, and we’re dedicated to keeping them ahead of the curve with a constantly evolving ecosystem of solutions and services.
Let’s get started
2023 will be about more than transitioning from satellite to IP. With access to more intelligent, scalable, and efficient cloud-based solutions, there will be even more opportunities for creativity when solving big challenges. We’re looking forward to seeing your ideas come to life in the coming year.