Achieving your top business priorities with IP video distribution

March 28, 2024 by Nadia Khan, CMO

The media industry is at a pivotal crossroads. As audiences embrace digital platforms as primary content consumption sources, linear television incomes are in decline, with PwC forecasting pay TV subscription revenue to fall around $15 billion annually by 2027. While all leading media companies are building out digital strategies and new direct-to-consumer (D2C) service offerings, the much-anticipated advertising and subscription revenues from streaming are materializing slower than many would have hoped for.

Caught in a transitional phase while managing the convergence of traditional broadcast and newer digital-first realities, major media companies are placing cost management, audience growth, and profitability at the core of their business agenda. Meanwhile, dynamic players are realizing that securing new growth opportunities while future-proofing their operational model requires a new approach to media technology workflows. Pivoting to an IP-based technology roadmap is unlocking new levels of efficiency and multi-platform scale, increasing the value of live events and linear channel assets while seamlessly expanding distribution across OTT, digital, and FAST platforms.

Ahead of the industry’s return to Las Vegas for NAB Show 2024 (April 13-17), how is LTN helping meet the biggest business objectives for global media brands?

Growing digital audiences with trusted partnerships

Economic realities mean media businesses need more from their technology partners than ever before. Legacy satellite and fiber technologies and siloed, inflexible workflows are no longer adequate to meet the scale and operational efficiency required today. Content owners are increasingly partnering with LTN for a uniquely integrated, IP ecosystem approach that can combine ultra-reliable global video transport with powerful content creation, customization, and monetization capabilities for full-time channels and live events.

Media organizations need technology partners with deep experience across traditional linear environments and new digital frontiers to navigate the convergence of broadcasting and streaming. The biggest media players are adopting ‘yes, and’ strategies when it comes to broadcast and new digital offerings across SVOD, AVOD, and FAST. Taking a holistic approach via closely integrated, IP-first technologies and a trusted growth partner is the best way to make this strategy as seamless as it sounds.

Achieving success in the digital arena while managing financial pressures is a top priority for all aspirational media organizations. A lot of traditional media businesses no longer have the luxury of investing in new digital platforms and products just to experiment. The time is well past when JUST being online or OTT was good enough. Today, major players need to consider all platforms – traditional and digital – as revenue generating with the required margins to impress boards of directors and investors alike. For digital-native organizations, the business of streaming has been at their core since day one. However, online video platforms with newly secured live sports rights need robust technology foundations to support and deliver flawless live viewing experiences at a global scale.

Finding a home for live events across new digital platforms

Major live events are the most prized properties for streaming services and broadcasters, with the global value of sports rights soaring to over $60 billion this year, according to SportBusiness. Live sports creates stickier subscription packages and reduces churn. As digital platforms become core viewing options for sports fans, content owners need to cater to audiences across traditional linear TV and streaming. That means enabling maximum monetization across platforms while ensuring high-quality experiences and low delay for streaming audiences.

Take innovative Spanish-language media leader and LTN customer TelevisaUnivision, for example. Alongside bringing premium live events to core linear viewers, it customizes and delivers thousands of live soccer events from across the globe to a growing digital audience on its ViX streaming service. A digital-first live sports offering enables media companies like TelevisaUnivision to make a wider range of content available to its audiences, experimenting with niche sports coverage from across international leagues, while airing multiple games simultaneously — something a traditional linear distribution model wouldn’t allow for.

Meanwhile, at LTN we are working with other tier-one leagues and platforms. The NBA is building out their D2C offering, reporting an impressive 50% growth in subscribers and a 48% increase in viewing time on its NBA League Pass service last season. Sports leagues are exploring D2C, or said differently, direct-to-fan, as part of a hybrid distribution strategy across newer digital, OTT, and FAST platforms.

With a range of partnerships similar to MLB’s Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, leagues and streaming services are collaborating to power new monetization avenues while fostering subscriber loyalty. By capitalizing on fragmented rights landscapes and harnessing flexible IP video distribution, sports organizations are taking greater control over content monetization and delivering their best live action to digital platforms, wider geographies — and new audiences.

New IP video distribution methodologies to maximize digital reach

The BBC recently announced the launch of its flagship BBC News channel on a number of FAST platforms across North America, adding to its existing FAST channel portfolio. The introduction of round-the-clock, live news programming represents a fantastic example of taking a linear channel and monetizing it with advertising across FAST and other platforms like vMVPDs to reach untapped audiences while unlocking new revenue streams. Meanwhile, long-time LTN partner Disney/ABC, has pioneered digital linear channel creation to engage new streaming audiences with localized, tailored content experiences. These channels reach new platforms and are finding new audiences for their local and regional news content.

Underpinned by the LTN Network, fully managed IP video distribution is also helping high-value regional and national sports networks future-proof their business roadmap with solutions like LTN Wave — providing greater reliability and intelligence than less sophisticated options like IP protocol only or satellite delivery. MSG Networks, which services the biggest US market, transitioned to IP for greater flexibility and cost efficiency while increasing reach across digital platforms. A leading example of how regional sports networks (RSNs) can move away from legacy distribution methodologies to grow their audiences and secure new revenues. For other RSNs looking to follow suit, shifting to IP is only the tip of the iceberg. After adopting an IP-first distribution model, networks can easily manage blackout, rights management, SCTE management, and policy-based business rules directly within the transmission network.

Looking ahead to NAB Show 2024

Conversations around new methodologies for linear channel creation, intelligent video transport, and live event versioning will be high on the agenda at NAB Show 2024. Beyond discovering new ways to maximize reach and drive value through IP video distribution, we’re also expecting to hear a lot more about the changing nature of media technology partnerships.

Today, media organizations need more reliability, visibility, and transparency than ever before from their service providers. They need superior service levels for mission-critical workflows. That’s why we’ve spent time, resources, and energy in developing more powerful and intuitive monitoring, tooling, and dashboards to ensure proactive diagnosing and rapid resolution — fully managed, data driven, and backed by the always-on LTN technical operations center (TOC).

Click here to learn more about our featured solutions and stop by our booth #W1517 at NAB Show — we’re looking forward to seeing you there.