By Chris Lee
Digital marketing is all about content, much of which – such as video and audio – is extremely bandwidth-hungry. This presents a challenge to organisations, particularly media firms, who are under pressure to provide content to consumers – such as downloads or streamed video content across multiple platforms, such as Web or mobile.
To get to grips with the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of delivering digital content, NMK caught up with Sion Wynn-Jones, Product Manager of Web hosting provider NTT Europe Online.
With such a rapidly growing number of different channels being used by companies to push multi-media content through to consumers, Wynn-Jones believes that the sharing of content via companies’ own websites will increasingly become the norm. For example, UK TV channel Five recently announced plans to boost its online presence, and an aim to make its content available through more services, a strategy which appears to be paying off with its highest ever traffic last month – some seven million unique streams.
The emergence of mobile Internet has also provided a challenge to content providers, Wynn-Jones believes.
“Recent research has shown that smart phones are quickly becoming the most popular way to access the Internet and multi-media content,” he told NMK. “Consumers will therefore be using their phones to stream content from the Internet, meaning that those brands who successfully format their online multi-media for mobile phone use are tapping into this channel.”
Web-enabled TVs are also set for massive growth, as are tablet computers, Wynn-Jones added.
The Web continues to be the most popular channel for businesses targeting consumers with multi-media content. But with new services arriving all the time it is becoming easier for businesses to format and manage content for streaming via other channels, Wynn-Jones said.
But businesses looking to provide multi-media content through multiple channels face two main challenges, he believes: formatting the media for use and providing a consistent service.
“Traditionally streaming to multiple channels requires a separate provider and system for each channel. This is often a complicated, time consuming and costly process; particularly if the reputation of the service is riding on the success of a live broadcast,” Wynn-Jones said. “It is essential for businesses to provide a consistent, high quality service. There have been several high profile instances of multi-media content streaming going wrong recently, the most prominent being the crash of the ITV web site as millions went online to watch Mexico play South Africa in the first World Cup match of the 2010 tournament. This highlights both the appetite for online video and the challenge for companies to invest more in the back-end infrastructure to support it properly.”
Top tips for content success
Wynn-Jones concluded that there were five key steps to successful multimedia streaming over multiple channels:
• Find a reliable service provider who will partner with you to implement the right technologies to allow your business to take advantage of multi-media streaming
• Consider investing in Smart Media Delivery services, as they can be used to format and manage all of your multi-media streaming content through one supplier, rather than several, saving both time and money
• WebTV content management systems can be used to give businesses the control to bed video based advertising into media streams, which will allow them to take full advantage of the advertising revenue that comes with streaming multi-media content online
• Choose a supplier who can offer you a variety of flexible service options, so that your multi-media streaming activity can grow with your business
• Find a solution capable to cover the entire value chain of streaming (signal acquisition, encoding, multi-format transcoding, streaming content and management) as well as providing advanced support of advertising solutions and Web interface design