Applied Technology: Crystal Connect
Roger Franklin | The Broadcast Bridge | September 13, 2017
Many broadcasters and television networks consider the provision of linear content Over The Top (OTT) for on-demand streaming a necessity. The process, however, is far more complex than preparing a file and sending it to an OTT provider. Several factors need to be considered, from advertising insertion to compliance with industry standards, not to mention the cost and time involved.
Earlier this year, Crystal completed the deployment of its Crystal Connect solution at one of America’s leading television networks and its affiliate stations. The network’s requirements and the resulting solution offer valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of OTT.One of the largest media groups that can gain from providing OTT services are broadcasters. OTT is a great opportunity to engage with consumers in a more compelling way. The question for traditional providers when it comes to OTT is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’.
At the same time, to maximize its potential and value, networks are turning to targeted content and advertising. Such a solution used to be difficult to implement because broadcasters lacked the essential tools to produce OTT content at scale.
The OTT challenges
Delivering an OTT feed to an entire network requires being able to replace national content with regional content and vice versa. Prior to introducing Crystal Connect, reformatting the network’s linear content for OTT was a labor-intensive task.
Rights management was this network’s top challenge. With O&O stations located across the U.S., managing rights specific to each piece of content was highly complex. The affiliate distribution system managed this well for linear TV but OTT is inherently global, and the risk of rights infringement was high.
A second-level challenge was speed. Nielsen’s rating system measures viewers for the first three days (C3) after a program is aired. This creates an incentive to move linear content into OTT as quickly as possible. The network’s previous workflow was a manual process taking hours. The network needed a faster solution.
Maximizing ad value was the third challenge. The ability to swap out ads after the C3 window expires, on day 4 or D4, and target them to specific viewer demographics creates new advertising potential. With a manual workflow, this option is all but impossible.