Publication Name: Via Satellite
[Via Satellite 12-06-13] As connectivity over multiple devices continues to accelerate, Over-the-Top (OTT) content is playing an even more integral role in redefining the broadcast landscape. Tata Elxsi, a design company focusing on a mix of engineering, creativity and technology based in India, has seen impressive growth this year and is looking to continue expanding by gaining a stronger presence in broadcasting. M. Thangarajan, VP and head of Tata Elxsi’s broadcast business unit spoke with Via Satellite about pivotal changes in this sector.
“An informal survey (of 90 broadcasters), conducted by Irdeto during IBC 2013, revealed that broadcasters see OTT as bigger threat than piracy by a ratio of 2:1,” said Thangarajan. “However, in the past decade or so, the emergence of second-screen devices, smart TVs and connected TVs along with OTT services has blurred the boundaries for defining the ways to consume broadcast and broadband content.”
The dichotomy between traditional broadcast entertainment and broadband uses is disintegrating. Because so many devices have multiple applications, figuring out how to make the best use of them without cannibalizing profitable ventures becomes tricky. “Since eyeballs are now getting diverted toward the OTT platforms, there is a resulting significant loss of advertising dollars for Pay-TV operators,” explained Thangarajan. “[But] the same broadcasters perceive smart TV and connected TV as important devices. This is interesting as smart and connected TVs are new found gateways to OTT services. Amidst all these we as technology service providers are witnessing some interesting engagements across the value chain. And ground reality tells us that blurring of boundaries will continue. The right bundling of services will be the way forward.”
However, bundling these services together must be done in an appealing way to customers. Consoles, for example, have been moving steadily toward serving as multi-purpose entertainment devices rather than just gaming instruments. With the recent release of major two next-generation consoles, namely the Xbox One and PS4, striking the right balance between providing applicable services and meeting customer desires is essential.
“The developments in the gaming console industry in last few years remind me of the very popular ‘Marketing Myopia’ theory of Theodore Levitt,” said Thangarajan. “The battle, for many years, was all about computing power and fast and furious chipsets. But now it has gradually turned out to be wars of relevant entertainment services. Taking a leaf out of that, the gaming industry is shedding its myopia and inching towards becoming an entertainment industry! [But] consoles in themselves are not a one-stop shop for all your living room entertainment. They only provide the underlying framework to access your subscribed cord services through HDMI. This rules out your over-the air antenna bound services like Freeview.
While Sony and Microsoft battle it out in the console arena, Tata Elxis sees opportunity through OTT services for academia. Educational facilities rely on an amalgam of digital and physical resources to complete their jobs. “All this and more translates education institutes into a repository of digital assets,” said Thangarajan. “Across different departments, there is now need to produce, re-purpose, format and create a finished digital training product. This in background requires workflow, approval and rights management. Hence, [the] education and training sector is a newfound application area for digital asset management or media asset management tools and systems.”
“Lines have been blurred between traditional and over the top delivery of content,” added Thangarajan. “The OTT video market, which surpassed $8 billion in 2012, is expected to cross the $20 billion mark by 2015. The rapid growth of Internet video and video on demand, growth in broadband adoption, and large increases in connected devices has made integrated content delivery over multiple channels a must have for any major broadcaster.”