Viewers are asking for more live streaming video, and surprisingly, broadcasters are willing to give it to them. Gone are the days where live events need to be watched on the TV, because I mean, who watches TV anymore? When I watch the game, I’m gonna do so on a seven-inch tablet in the privacy of my bathroom, because there’s nowhere else I can concentrate when the kids are watching Dora the Explorer on Netflix in the living room — or whatever it is the kids are watching these days.
Anyway, keenly aware of this trend, thePlatform — which already helps a number of broadcast and cable networks manage their on-demand libraries — is taking steps to make live event streaming easier for their customers. The company, which is a subsidiary of Comcast, is launching a new, SaaS-based platform which will allow networks to schedule and manage live events, with everything they need, like signal acquisition and encoding, dynamic ad insertion and metadata creation, and automatic archiving of programs when they’re done.
The new live video offering will integrate seamlessly both with thePlatform’s existing on-demand video management system, as well as with the encoders that broadcasters use to take analog signals and make them digital. To start, that integration will include Elemental encoders, although thePlatform’s VP of marketing, Marty Roberts, promises that other encoders will be added soon. But anyway, once your encoder is hooked up to thePlatform, you’re good to go!
After you’ve taken care of that, there’s all sorts of stuff you can do with it. Wanna hit each and every device your device-specific rights contract allows you to stream to? NO PROBLEM.
Let’s say that you can stream to the desktop and laptop, but not mobile phones because you’ve got some exclusive legacy contract with a mobile phone provider where only their subscribers get the game. thePlatform has you covered. It even gets extra bonus points for streaming to the iPad, which no one could have imagined when that contract was put in place and isn’t considered a mobile device. (Yeh, I don’t understand it either.)
How about making money? After all, you’re not gonna stream that football game for free now, are you? NO WORRIES! thePlatform has live ad insertion. You just tell those ads when to run and you’re golden. Cha-Ching!
Wanna add funny graphics or live info while viewers are watching? NOT A BIGGIE. In the same way you just ran an ad, you can also dynamically queue up pretty much any type of media, just like it’s an ad!
And once your live show is over, don’t you worry your little head about re-encoding it and putting it into some on-demand library for all the lamers who didn’t watch it live to come look at it later. thePlatform will auto-archive that shiz for you and feed it right into your on-demand library, with whatever rights management and ad rules and whatever else you want to apply to it.
That way, it doesn’t have to be lost to the ether when all the action is over — the content will have all the same ad cues, chapter breaks, and metadata that was associated with it while it was streaming live. But now viewers will be able to search for it, and find just the moments they want to watch.
So thePlatform has been working with a few different networks — like some of Fox’s regional sports nets and NBC Sports — and things have been all good on their live events. So now the live streaming offering will be generally available to other folks who want to try it. Got a network and wanna do it live! Call thePlatform!