Dr. Natasha Tamaskar Issue: EMEA 2015
Article no.: 4
Topic: Watch what happens next: Viewing, sharing, gaming and selling in real time, all the time: Is broadband taking over broadcast?
Author: Dr. Natasha Tamaskar
Title: VP, Real Time Communications Software
Organisation: Genband
PDF size: 233KB

About author

Dr. Natasha Tamaskar is Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy and Ecosystem, at GENBAND

Dr. Natasha Tamaskar brings over 20 years of telecom industry experience with particular expertise in cloud, mobile, WebRTC and security solutions. In Dr. Tamaskar’s current role at GENBAND as Vice President and Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy and Ecosystem, she is responsible for the strategic direction of GENBAND’s Cloud and Mobile solutions and ecosystem partnerships. Natasha is also responsible for evangelizing GENBAND’s solutions within the industry. Prior to her current position, Dr. Tamaskar was GENBAND’s VP of Strategic Solutions and Product Marketing.

Prior to GENBAND, Dr. Tamaskar held various senior leadership positions in Product Management, Product Development, Solutions Marketing and Technology for NextPoint Networks, Reef Point and Nortel.

Dr. Tamaskar holds a Ph.D. in Computational Physics from the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University.

Article abstract

Across the world, original programming is being created by and streamed on disruptors like Netflix and Hulu in the US, Dailymotion in France and Aparat’s Filimo in Iran. This content is winning major awards and drawing millions of viewers who are more socially engaged than the baby boomers watching traditional and cable TV. 

Full Article

Consider the following:
Content is now being consumed at the consumer’s convenience: on their schedule, on their device or devices, and shared with others through social platforms, and this integration is helping to drive the fast-growing popularity of streamed vs. broadcast content.

There is more access to broadband than ever, and capacity continues to grow exponentially in the developed and developing world. There are more devices than ever capable of connecting to the Internet for communications, content, and collaboration – at price points as low as US$20 for a basic smart phone in some parts of Asia.

Across the world, original programming is being created by and streamed on disruptors like Netflix and Hulu in the US, Dailymotion in France and Aparat’s Filimo in Iran. This content is winning major awards and drawing millions of viewers who are more socially engaged than the baby boomers watching traditional and cable TV.

Even real-time news and information is increasingly being consumed via the Internet, as people go online instead of to the TV to watch a soccer match, get instant information about a natural disaster, follow election results, watch epic concerts, and more.
Rather than watching alone, they’re abolishing distance and bringing friends into their experience via messaging or photos and even streaming their own concert footage out when in the audience. They’re no longer viewers, but rather active participants and even in some cases becoming platforms of their own.

While giants in the Over the Top (OTT) content space like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now have attracted huge amounts of media coverage and billions of investment dollars, upstarts like the infamous Meerkat have leveraged Twitter, attracting hundreds of thousands of subscribers seemingly out of the blue. Twitter itself has launched Periscope, turning the paradigm on its head – starting with social and moving into shared viewing and entertainment.

Broadband Replaces Broadcast with Personalized, Multicast Services
As the consumption of media and entertainment gets more personal, individual and customized, human contextual communications change too. This is where Communications Service Providers (CSPs, formerly known as operators, carriers or telecom companies,) have a huge opportunity. 2 www.genband.com

At the intersection of streaming and social, of on demand and always on lies an emerging phenomenon the world’s largest CSPs are pushing forward.
Real time human communications “in stream” are now becoming the norm. The distribution and monetization of video content mean that people can invite others, and that advertisers can realize transformational benefits from turning “trending” into “targeting” as word of mouth – proven to be the most effective means of advertising – emerges as social sharing.

What does this mean for the broadcast industry – and the media industry that feeds it with ad revenues?
Both industries must find their way into the hyper-targeted, hyper-personalized and hyper-interactive new world of content distribution and consumption. Partnering with CSPs is a good start. Building partnerships between CSPs, event producers, brands and their ambassadors, the industry formerly known as broadcasters can begin narrowcasting, particularly as the software inside networks and applications becomes more and more sophisticated, and cloud and big data platforms enable ever-more sensitive recommendation engines and social amplification.

What will this mean for Set Top Box makers who have been the traditional “head end” for cable companies?
“Get Smart” is good advice for those manufacturing the hardware that will ultimately replace our old set-top boxes. Who really wants more stuff to manage when services can be delivered directly through the cloud or through miniaturized peripherals like the Amazon Fire USB “TV Stick?” High power mini-antennas can turn a computer into a 3-D interface for everything from HD movies to hyper-realistic interactive games. Whether hardware or software-based, today’s solutions are both smaller and more powerful than anything we’ve seen previously.

Small Office Home Office (SOHO) Wi-Fi routers that enable the blazingly fast speeds and increased security consumers demand will continue to become more prevalent, which will further pressure CSPs to upgrade their networks. How quickly they’ll need to upgrade to 4G and 5G will largely depend on the success of Small Cell roll-outs.
Without a doubt, however, transforming networks from “twisted pair” and copper to Wi-Fi, from interconnected to cellular networks with the latest security software for offload will help create the greatest possible experience for consumers.
The data proves that people around the globe are demanding more: more news, more entertainment, more information, more content and real time communications with their friends, all accessed easily without switching between sessions or devices.
So will broadcast succumb even more to broadband with the increased availability of spectrum, and the related net neutrality debates? Without getting political, it’s clear that there must be a “supply chain” and economic logic to ensure that CSPs who are investing billions in building new networks and hundreds of millions maintaining aging networks are rewarded by the companies leveraging this critical infrastructure for their bandwidth-rich applications. 3 www.genband.com

With more sophisticated technologies, network interconnections and payments between the application and content providers and the CSPs will start to even out. Until this economic balance is sorted out, innovation will likely stall. But we are seeing major progress in this arena, both in the US and around the world, through a combination of regulatory and commercial discussions and agreements.

Threats and opportunities

If I haven’t been clear enough this far let me state unequivocally that the threats to the traditional broadcast business model are serious and in every market around the world. Today, consumers are driving business trends, not the other way around. Broadcasters must morph along with the challengers and co-create a new ecosystem centered around streaming, sharing and

The opportunities available to CSPs who embrace this new way of delivering movies, games, news, events, and more, becoming the “go to” provider for consumers who crave simplicity, are massive and about to explode, depending on which strategies they deploy.
Particularly when it comes to human contextual communications – messaging, voice and video conversations – CSPs are in uniquely positioned to leverage their massive assets, but they cannot wait much longer to act and to address head on the competition from the independent OTT challengers.

What advantages do the CSPs have? They have embedded customer bases, well-known brands and their deep experience in real time communications, which give them a significant advantage over the challengers. CSPs enable us to message each other, talk to each other, and open up multiple video windows for viewing parties and more. Along with their software ecosystem partners, they know better than any competitor how to enable a voice call through a screen pop.

Follow the Money
In order to understand any paradigm shift in the business world, it’s critical to understand who will pay, for what, and how much. With more and more increasingly sophisticated free and freemium services available to consumers, the promised land of ad-sponsored or media-subsidized services is closer than ever. Why haven’t these models taken off sooner? It’s really about the software. You cannot build or manage anything without it.
Think about YouTube or Dailymotion. Ten years ago, we didn’t see ads before watching that cute kitten video. Today, the most popular content (most of it still user-generated and therefore free to the platform) requires viewers to sit through a partial or whole ad.
Media and advertising companies are getting a lot better at “opt-in” models, while thousands of companies are now following the success of Amazon.com, a personal favorite go-to ecommerce site of mine, because it remembers my purchases and preferences, and recommends truly interesting books, music, movies and products to me that I can purchase securely with one click.

Broadcasters, while they are making progress, for example with hyper-local advertising on cable television, cannot deliver the same results as social media, which helps explain the massive growth of 4 www.genband.com

Google, Facebook and other social platform campaigns are rendering. Broadcasters simply cannot get personal – or human- enough to compete. And so in order for them to compete, they must start acting more like CSPs – or partner with them.
By exploding the old industry silos, CSPs and broadcasters can engage with the new generation of social viewer-contributor-sharers who are pushing everyone’s experience forward and changing the experience of content and entertainment as we know it. The capabilities, the knowledge and the opportunity are all in place – it’s time to seize the moment.

Sidebar: While I’m based in the US, with most of my team located in Silicon Valley, I’m always fascinated to see what real-time communications innovation is taking place around the world. It’s a fast-changing landscape but here are a few I’ve currently got my eye on:
www.dailymotion.com: “France’s answer to YouTube” includes original and uploaded programming.
www.aparat.com: Based in Iran, offers streaming content of all sorts and is now expanding into providing access to series and movies through Filimo.
www.souq.com: Dubai-based e-commerce which caters to the entire Middle East with a large range of products.
And while it’s not happening in EMEA, Alibaba’s forthcoming Tmall Box Office, which is admittedly modeled on Netflix and Hulu, only further demonstrates streaming’s global appeal.