Taking control of your content distribution strategy

January 31, 2024 by Rick Young, SVP, Head of Global Products

The industry must be ready to adapt and innovate to navigate any challenges and stay ahead of the curve, with media companies needing to ensure their content distribution strategy is up to par. With ever growing audiences wanting more content across multiple platforms, organizations must keep their finger on the pulse or risk falling behind.

There are many factors that media companies need to consider, especially as competition will only intensify. Success will depend on the industry putting the right infrastructure and flexible technology solutions in place to reflect today’s content-hungry viewer. As we embark on another exciting chapter for our industry there is no greater time for media organizations of all sizes to capitalize on the pace of change which will help them hold the key to a more successful future.

How can FAST change the live content landscape?

The streaming industry has continued to evolve over a short period of time. Compared with a primarily subscription-focused model not all that long ago, ad-supported services grew more prevalent in 2023. According to Omdia, free ad-supported television (FAST) channels will generate revenues of $12 billion by 2027. The growth of FAST services bodes well for audiences, as they deliver very familiar user experiences and often feature shows acquired from traditional broadcast and cable programming.

Live news and sports content have become a critical part of FAST platforms. By integrating FAST as part of their business strategies, news and sports organizations are on the path to the next generation of broadcasting. As audiences become more fragmented, these organizations must ensure that their content distribution strategy is ready to reach more viewers on these platforms.

The digital nature of FAST channels allows for programmatic ads and gives advertisers more control over their strategies through access to rich and real-time data. While rights holders are pioneering creative ways to engage large audience groups with tailored live event experiences, it empowers hyper-localized storytelling on an unprecedented scale. As the United States enters another election year, FAST channels will have a significant role in local news, and with younger viewers increasingly finding regional and local content on FAST platforms, it will only explode the total viewership hours (and associated ad revenue) in 2024.

Investing in efficiency for more business success

It takes new and innovative strategies to reach today’s diverse and fragmented audiences. This requires a bit of rethinking a content distribution strategy to not only include the delivery of full time channels and events but also value added content creation, customization and versioning services married perfectly to and integrated tightly with a distribution network. Workflow and customization intelligence and business rules are no longer controlled only at the edge(s) but are driven from WITHIN the network. This is a new paradigm in transport.

The roadmap for 2024 will continue to see LTN build more unique value into its network. Media organizations need to maximize their resources. This has impacted their content distribution strategies, especially as they are trying to reach more viewers while reducing technology and operational costs. With often limited in-house expertise, and reduced time and budgets, this is the right time to consider a managed service provider that can tie everything together. LTN can solve the integration complexity by providing a single, compatible, and flexible solution that media companies desperately seek.

LTN ensures that operators benefit from technology that can slot in seamlessly to existing workflows and integrate with other protocols and standards, eliminating the age-old complexity headache. Unifying workflows and driving efficiencies are critical to giving media leaders greater control over their destiny, as they can focus on what they do best: provide high-quality content to their audiences.

Navigating complexity and adding value

From a technology perspective, we need greater visibility over the content distribution journey. This means that transparency, tooling, and monitoring are critical capabilities that media companies require. Gone are the days when media companies needed to only monitor a limited number of channels. Today, organizations have to control traditional distribution methods, satellite, fiber, IP methodology, and last-mile connectivity to the consumer. The landscape has changed, and media leaders must juggle multiple layers to get that visibility.

As the market gets more competitive and complex, there needs to be more visibility about when and where content is going. LTN has the experience and foresight to ensure media leaders can maximize the value of their content distribution across linear and digital. We recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all equation and identifying those pain points that work best for your organization amid today’s complexities can be difficult. Having a clear vision for securing ROI is a top priority. Harnessing the right technology will make any businesses’ vision a reality and this can be achieved by working closely with an established technology partner like LTN.

The vision for 2024

There is a lot for media organizations across the value chain to ponder over these next 12 months. While we expect to see more evolution than revolution, the industry will not stand still, and acting now provides that springboard that media companies need to get ahead of the game. IP will be at the heart of industry developments in 2024 and organizations will need to adopt a proven IP-powered solution that delivers broadcast-quality transmission - with the most critical enhancement and customization features - for full-time channels. Our LTN Wave platform is critical to success, as it provides a flexible, highly reliable IP distribution solution that delivers unlimited scalability and monetization for multicast transmission. With LTN Wave, media companies are in the best possible position to level up their channel distribution and get content to their audiences regardless of their location.

Greater investments in AI and automation will also be part of many business strategies next year. We have seen tech companies experiment with it more, and now it's time for media companies to harness it for their live content. AI can help them connect with new audiences faster and easier in today's multi-platform era, and its potential has no end. It will play a significant role in enriching content to create language-tailored, platform-specific versions of live sports events to boost fan engagement while driving efficient regionalization at scale. It's an exciting time for our industry, and media leaders can now see what AI and automation can do for them.

By embracing change and all the challenges that come with it, media companies can set up for success. But there’s no reason to do it alone. The right media technology services provider can help them take content distribution to a new level.

If you’d like to learn more about how LTN Wave can deliver the scalability and monetization potential for business success, schedule a demo with us today.