Mobile TV needs to build robust content delivery workflow

SINGAPORE: Mobile TV may be the latest media buzzword doing the rounds at Broadcast Asia in Singapore, but there are some key things that operators have to keep in mind including putting in place a content delivery workflow.

The increase in devices and delivery networks also presents challenges. These points were made at the Mobile TV Forum by Tandberg Television CTO Group, VP of global business development Noel Matthews.

According to Matthews, a content delivery workflow will decrease costs by streamlining operational procedures. It will also reduce the risk of errors being made vis-a-vis content. It allows for more automation which will boost productivity. This will achieve the goal of delivering content on demand, on line and on the move.


The firm helped a cable television service provider who wanted to go into mobile TV while reducing its expenditure. So Tandberg put in a workflow and integrated it with the firm‘s already existing infrastructure. It did an automate conversion of thousands of hours of video and still assets into house format for playout on MPEG 4 set top boxes, MPEG
2 set top boxes and Web enabled PCs. The content source was VoD assets like movies, trailers from traditional distributors.

The result was that the broadcaster was able to increase the amount of on-demand content offered each month to 7000 hours from 2500 hours. The content was able to be delivered to multiple platforms. Only seven people were needed to work the system. The content distribution workflow co-ordinates all activities from contract signing to content delivery. The workflow also offers the flexibility to add new technologies going forward. It synchronises process tasks through simple integration with third party technologies.

In terms of the potential for mobile TV, he notes that it can beyond just having the TV experience on the mobile. In the future one will see mobisodes, narrowcast services, interactivity, PVR, regionalisation. This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for content providers. At the moment the problem being faced is that while technology implementation is in place business proceses are not completed. Also more complex services have to be delivered more quickly. There is also a ned for the business to have visibility of complete content processes.

Another challenge is that while technology choices have been made in different silos, no system is in place to enable business processes to be coordinated across them. There is also limited business intelligence available across content silos.

The factors that will be responsible for success are not clear to the senior management.

There was also a panel discussion at the forum. Sony Pictures Television International, executive VP, MD Todd Miller offered a broadcasters perspective on mobile TV. Sony is looking to have all its catalogue available for the platform. However it has gone beyond that. It has a mobile service for AXN and Animax. It is also producing content for the mobile. This has started in Korea and the US. He notes that operators are now starting to understand that quality content is a discipline and that they must invest in it.

The other speakers were International Mobile Broadcasting chairman, co-founder and CEO Tom Navasero, Speedcast CEO Pierre-Jean Beylier and Viaccess VP Asia Francois Galy. The point was made that while operators are caught up in discussion on technology, mobile TV is not about SDMB or DVB-H in the final analysis. It is about providing a simple user experience and a simple pricing model. Some operators offer an old fashioned Wap interface. For simplicity one does not have to look further than the iphone. The cost of media mobile phones must come down to $100.

A recent study done in Korea and the Philippines shows that many people are willing to switch operators in favour of those offering mobile TV. So while an operator might make good money through voice, taking a light approach to mobile TV might open the door for a competitor to offer differentiation. What is also interesting is that the number of broadcasters rolling out DVB-H like DD is more than the number of telecom operators doing it. One difficulty for mobile operators is that often TV channels do not own the right to sell content for that platform. Sony is an exception to this. As a result an operator has to start from scratch. Another challenge for operators is that Asia is a pre-paid market. So they do not own their subscribers. It is also easier for a broadcaster to get into mobile as you have one spectrum going out to everyone.


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