The Dream Medium
The digital world and the advertising universe have played fairly complimentary roles, as far as history relates. Of course – in the early eighties, the idea of computing as a comprehensive solution was sold to consumers via standardized forms of mass communication – Print Ads, Televised Content, Radio and everything else which fit under the descriptive umbrella. This was before the eruption of the internet into an all-consuming ocean of advertorial droplets.
Cut to 2015, and it’s quid-pro-quo time.
The internet, without a doubt, has facilitated the monetization of personalized experiences in terms of targeted advertisements, viewer analysis and much more. It allows publicists and marketers around the world to study different types of demographic behavior and design campaigns accordingly, to suit a wide palate of receptiveness. It lets us choose our preferred content to associate our advertisements with. More than anything else, it provides an ever-expanding, never-ending stream of information which is almost perpetually useful – thereby eliminating the need for content prioritization. It makes the choice to advertise on the internet simpler, more affordable and less time consuming. Which, by far are the three decisive factors for any advertiser to adopt it as the medium of choice.
A question arises at this point – have we, as innovators, fully utilized the power of the internet to enable direct conversations between buyers & sellers? And in a marketing context, such conversations exist as personalized ads. So, have we done it yet? Just like the early eighties and late nineties, when the boom of Internet Companies started shaking up the business world, or during the emergence of e-Commerce, when online retail outlets started gaining market share, are we ready to start looking for the next big thing in digital advertising spaces?
We thought on those lines, until a few years back – trying to find the missing link. We looked for an answer that we could accept ourselves, when faced with a computer screen and the knowledge of a thousand digital universes. And sitting on our comfortable recliners, with our perfectly designed living spaces, it was staring at us right in our faces all along – Television.
Television is an invasive medium to say the least, and incomparably so. And its penetration into consumer behavior is supported by the fact that it has been around much longer. And unlike the internet which is a continuous information stream, Television follows an unpredictable entertainment quotient. An integration of the entertainment factor with the convenience of digitization was seen a decade back, with the introduction of Online Video Distribution services like YouTube & DailyMotion. However, a reverse transaction never really happened on a mass scale.
The Reverse Transaction
We managed to get content which was previously televised, on the internet and we managed to enable widespread content distribution over the cloud, in various forms. We fought the bandwidth and resolution challenges, and as an advanced species which won’t settle for anything less than perfection, we went ahead and ruled the online video experience. But did we really stop and consider the idea that the reverse of this exact concept is possible?
We cannot move forward with a sustainable broadcast & advertorial plan if we believe that an increasingly digital alignment in home entertainment will render legacy devices useless. People are concerned about what they see on TV as news, people marvel at the opulence of celebrity lifestyle & reality shows. In fact, as we gear up to shift deeper into the 21st century, we know that television will get smarter, more relevant to end users and more invasive. How do we link this ocean of demographics with a sea of digital resources without trying to shift the focus in terms of end-user hardware?
In even simpler terms, how do we utilize the vast potential of the internet to deliver content to end-user television sets?
Satellites in orbit have since long created a gap between televised broadcasts and online content. The huge lease costs are a major deterrent to mainstream broadcast aspirations for many potentially lucrative enterprises. And our belief in the power of applied technology told us that there was always room to innovate in this space.
The Ocean Link
The genesis of Amagi’s CLOUDPORT platform is generally attributed to the way we approached the concept of broadcast norms – especially the fact that TV relies on its ability to be repetitive.
Be it News Channels or Entertainment Aficionados, everyone in the business goes through the need to replicate content within very short time-frames. A typical movie-oriented channel ends up playing the same movie about 3-4 times within a span of 30 calendar days. And this always ends up as a redundant cost. In a traditional channel setup, which follows a Satellite up-link path – every time a certain amount of content programming needs to be repeated on TV, it needs to follow a linear broadcast path every time. It needs to be up-linked to the Satellite, utilizing expensive bandwidth, and pushed to Operator Ends again & again.
This is where we decided to intervene and figure out if an alternate solution was available. And luckily, there is. With our expertise in Cloud-based ad targeting, we were able to develop a Cloud-based content-switching mechanism, which opened up new horizons in the broadcasting game.
Using Amagi’s IRD & EDGE Playout Devices, content can be streamed over the cloud, and as far as repetitive content is concerned, we no longer need to facilitate continuous up-links. In the cloud playout scenario, data is transferred as dynamic content and received at the head end by our EDGE devices, which converts this stream into linear information and enables broadcast. Whenever this data needs to be played back or repeated, instead of uploading once again – we simply let the EDGE devices play them once again. This allows us to cut costs in terms of expensive up-link bandwidth.
You now have the power of launching an entire TV channel with us, catering to MSO/LCO Operators, DTH service providers and End Users of your choice, without ever investing in satellite space. This channel will be completely hosted on the cloud, monitored by us in our control rooms, and will run just like any other TV Channel at the viewer’s end. We even provide an easy-to-navigate User Interface for you to choose & upload the content that you wish to stream on your channel. Our flagship product in this area – CLOUDPORT, allows you to make last-minute changes to the playlist, or even choose different content streams for different regions that you’re broadcasting to.
Advertising on your channel is much simpler, thanks to the availability of regulated, dynamic and customized graphic elements, all of which can be operated in the convenience of your own working spaces, through Amagi’s indigenous UI.
H&C (Horse and Country) TV is a live example of applied innovation in this field. Based out of the United Kingdom, H&C TV runs completely on Amagi’s cloud broadcast structure, and has been able to produce targeted content for its varied audiences which are spread out across the European landscape in Britain, Sweden, Netherlands & Australia.
By allowing the cloud to host a TV Channel, we are, in-effect, connecting the future of communication with an entire legacy of entertainment. And while the linking of these two oceans lets us play in level waters, we believe that this unique alliance will push us towards a fast curve of possibilities.