FEED Spring 2022 Web

LINEAR AND DIGITAL IN PARTNERSHIP Linear TV providers need to be more flexible than ever. The answer is to embrace what digital tech has to offer

and multiscreen environments. But

f you had a time machine and could go back 30 years, you would find broadcast was, typically, highly regulated, with limited viewer choice. What you watched – and when you watched it – was dictated by broadcasters with access to a mass, ubiquitous audience. As a viewer, you would sit back and soak in whatever was aired at the time. Today, it’s the opposite. Linear isn’t dead, but the proliferation of VOD, OTT, DTC, FAST and numerous other game-changing approaches is tipping the balance of power and rewriting the rules of television. Viewers have almost unlimited access to content. The internet brings connectivity and interactivity. Broadcasters are increasingly becoming distributors and aggregators. This new age of television is an audience-first, data-centric viewing world. Overlay this with duelling consumption habits: the lean- back viewer who still simply wants to watch what’s on, and the lean-forward viewer actively seeking out specific content. Each of these two scenarios presents its own challenges for how broadcasters target consumers, as well as manage infrastructure and resourcing. In essence, this means high-quality, appointment-based viewing for live sports and premium events – ‘the playout piece’ – is augmented by streaming and VOD – ‘the digital piece.’ Historically, these have been siloed entities, existing out of necessity, but that no longer needs to be the case. STAY FLEXIBLE For playout, you cannot be constrained by inflexible infrastructure. Providers must have the ability to scale elastically, try new concepts and adjust capacity for peak times. They must also spin up channels through intuitive management UIs and APIs, and benefit from flexible payment terms based on usage. Use what you want, when you need it. This is the promise of cloud playout: the vehicle to offer viewers quantity, quality and choice. At Imagine, our customers are already delivering on that. The cloud can be leveraged to aggregate an increasingly fragmented audience, by delivering content across multiplatform


distributing content in various ways is futile if you can’t make money. How do you effectively plan, originate and monetise across linear and digital platforms? Monetisation across

OTT has commonly been in the hands of third-party providers. Your control over placement has been limited, which means viewers often end up with the same inventory playing over and over, or a friendly slate saying, “We’ll be right back,” in the absence of an ad. While it’s true that you get what you pay for, this ultimately reflects on your brand. Therefore, providers are looking to offer a better experience for viewers. IN HARMONY A far more effective route is to sell inventory across digital and linear, together, on a single platform – optimising and filling VOD and OTT with campaigns you have sold. This maintains business logic, such as competitive separation and frequency capping. Then, couple this with managing placement of your promotional inventory, so you can meticulously target viewers. The future of OTT and VOD will mean you have control of your inventory – across all screens – and quantity doesn’t come at the expense of quality. Linear is not going away. We’re entering an era where digital and linear will be harmonised, brought together operationally and commercially to make your business thrive. The key to navigating this changing landscape is having a clear vision of where your business needs to be. Then, you can better evaluate the short-term benefits of building one-off, siloed solutions – versus the longer-term approach of developing a unified platform for planning, origination and monetisation. For more information, please visit: imaginecommunications.com/cloud-playout


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