Exciting times: NativeWaves looks back on the year streaming became mainstream

News & Media

By SVG Contributor
Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Read the Original article on SVG Europe here

By Christof Haslauer, NativeWaves founder and CEO.

2023 will be defined as the year when the industry truly changed and moved ahead simultaneously in multiple areas.

While adoption of streaming services by viewers has been growing, broadcasters and content rights owners have been giving it the ‘cold shoulder’ treatment… until now. 2023 was the year when streaming truly come into its own and challenged the old narrative of linear TV first.

The entry of tech giants such as Apple TV+, Amazon Prime and YouTube into the Live sport streaming arena has meant that traditional broadcasters have had to reexamine the role of streaming in their offering and have been forced to provide streaming alternatives to their linear offerings. The fact that Sky in the UK has started to move away from content delivery through a STB towards content delivery through streaming is an example of this shift in priorities.

Content rights fragmentation, coupled with the cost of living crisis, has meant that viewers and fans have become a lot more selective on where and how they spend their money. Pay TV has seen a significant drop in subscriber numbers this year, and even streaming is seeing a shift from SVOD to FAST channels.

Changes in viewing habits have meant that there is a demand for personalisation of the viewing experience and the ‘one size fit all model’ of linear TV is no longer sustainable. Content right owners have also been forced to relook at the fan experiences they provide in-stadia, to ensure the fans keep coming through the turnstiles.

Innovation opportunities

Streaming offers content creators many opportunities to innovate and provide solutions that enable broadcasters, streaming services, and content creators to face these challenges. Viewers – especially the younger demographic – want to watch the action where they want, when they want, and from their own perspective. 2023 has seen a growth of solutions in the market that tried to meet this demand.

Solutions that allow viewers to choose from multiple cameras, see instant replays from the camera of their choice, and to access data and analytics on the game and more have come into play. Such solutions enable broadcasters and streaming solutions to not only differentiate their linear and streaming offerings, but to also differentiate their offering from their competitors. 2023 saw the needle shift from a focus on just delivering a variety of content to focusing on the viewing experience.

Content rights owners such as sports leagues also saw the opportunities that streaming offered to not only enhance the fan experience in the stadium, but also use the same production to launch new business opportunities such as D2C services catering to their fan base. 2023 has seen many big and small leagues launch their own D2C streaming services.

The shift of focus towards viewing and fan experiences and the need to lower costs has not just been a challenge for the commercial teams. Production teams have also been impacted by these changes. They now must deliver better viewing experiences at much lower costs. One of the major changes we saw in 2023 was the focus on lowering latency in streaming. Low latency streaming gathered pace in 2023 with an eye on delivering better and newer viewing experiences.

Remote production, which started becoming popular during the pandemic, became mainstream in 2023. Using it in combination with cloud-based production, content creators worked to deliver new experiences, efficiently, and in a cost effective way.

As multi view, multi camera and multi event broadcast became a norm, 2023 saw a rise in demand for automated content orchestration. 2023 also saw expansion of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in production. AI-based data and analytics for live sport and cameras using AI are only a couple of examples of how the broadcast industry adopted AI to deliver efficiencies. 2023 was also the year when sustainability became a buzzword in the industry. The industry acknowledged the impact the industry had on the environment and the first real discussions on problem have begun.

Exciting times

All these developments and changes in 2023 means that 2024 will be an exciting time for the industry. Many changes that started in 2023 will accelerate now.

There will be a consolidation of services available for viewers to select from. Giant tech companies such as Apple and Google will become more active in bidding for sports rights for key events. They will also pivot towards becoming sports and content aggregation platforms. As pay TV revenues will continue to decrease and streaming will see a growth of FAST channels, the industry will witness consolidation especially within the traditional broadcast space.

Fan experiences will become the major focus for broadcasters and streaming services. With streaming enabling collection of granular data on viewership, engagement rather than viewership will become the new currency for the industry.

In 2024, more leagues will launch D2C services. Fan experiences will be enhanced with to proliferation of 5G installations in stadiums. Multi view productions will become more common. Personalisation and immersive experience will become part of a standard experience rather than being a feature. Content rights owners, using a single production, will be able to deliver personalised viewing experiences to their D2C customers in the home and on-the-go and an enhanced fan experience in stadium.

From a production perspective, production combined with cloud-based production will become the norm. The relevance of AI will increase in production. Sustainability initiatives will drive a lot of decisions relating to production.

2024 will see the industry change for the better.

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