Live events streaming is the digital future of TV, says Interxion

10 Feb 201683 Shares

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CBS’s live stream of Super Bowl 50 broke all prior streaming records for the big game with 3.96m unique viewers

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CBS’s Super Bowl coverage shows that broadcasters need to invest in streaming infrastructure, according to data centre giant Interxion’s Bryan Hill.

Traditional TV broadcasters have a fighting chance of avoiding the disruption that saw digital eat into the traditional print media and cable TV sectors by embracing live-streaming of events, says Hill.

On Sunday, CBS’s livestream of Super Bowl 50 broke all prior streaming records for the big game with 3.96m unique viewers.

According to Hill, the director of marketing and business development (digital media) at Interxion, 2016 will see more avenues of disruption and innovation through digital media, and cable TV risks going the way of print media.

“There will be continued evolution of digital video. The writing has been on the wall for years: viewers rely on an internet connection and a mobile device – no longer a cable box and television– to deliver the video content they consume.

‘If a company is able to lay down their own infrastructure for content delivery, they will see fewer conflicts regarding territory rights for services offered’
– BRYAN HILL, INTERXION

“Traditional network television isn’t sitting idly by. This is perhaps most evidenced by the fact that CBS live-streamed this year’s Super Bowl across the globe for the first time in the game’s 50-year history.

“What’s so significant about this step is that sporting events are currently one of the last frontiers for ad revenues – and there is no bigger ad space than the Super Bowl.

“By streaming the event online, CBS brought the big game along with the highly-lucrative ads to viewers who don’t even own televisions, let alone cable boxes or antennas.

“The success of this campaign will also have hinged on how well the infrastructure carrying the Super Bowl was able to handle such high volumes of streaming traffic, making this a major test for the broadcast network as it adapts its services,” Hill added.

According to Hill, if broadcasters begin to host sporting events live on their sites this will give audiences the option to de-bundle from cable packages entirely.

He said this could even trickle down to once-venerable areas of broadcast such as live news, with Apple facilitating local TV affiliates to host their broadcasts on Apple’s increasingly popular –recently overhauled and soon to be relaunched– Apple TV service.

The revolution will be televised

Even more worrying for cable providers is the breaking down of borders for content delivery, which will also expand on an international level if subscriptions become portable across the EU.

The European Digital Single Market has guidelines that make it possible that geo-blocking will no longer be an issue on the continent.

Pan-European digital rights for content will replace nation-specific operations.

“This makes things more complex and less lucrative for providers and content owners like Sky and Netflix, who have rights to content in some EU nations but not others,” said Hill.

“This may, however, play into the hands of the global large media players (Amazon, Netflix, Google, Facebook) who can afford to facilitate pan-European coverage and, crucially, have the cash on hand to make very expensive sports rights seem insignificant.

“Essentially, if a company is able to lay down their own infrastructure for content delivery, they will see fewer conflicts regarding territory rights for services offered.”

Super Bowl 50 image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com