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The Future of Media: Four Key Drivers Altering an Industry

Until recently, the global media industry had been relatively stable, with a robust value chain and well-defined business models.

Today, multiple factors are tearing at the fabric of those finely tuned business models: new players such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple offer consumers new ways of accessing professional video content; technology standards are in flux; and regulatory and macroeconomic factors undermine consumer and investor confidence.

Last week, more than 90,000 media and entertainment officials from 150 countries descended on Las Vegas for NAB Show, the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference. I attended to share some of predictions for the industry that we have developed in the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). In particular, I spoke at a breakfast briefing for CxO-level executives about the impactful yet uncertain effects of four key drivers—consumer behavior, regulatory changes, technology, and macroeconomics—in an effort to better define their media-industry disruptions: Read More »

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My $0.02 on This Year’s NAB Show in Vegas

We’ve all now returned from the stardust of the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas last week, which seems a useful time to reflect briefly on the major threads of the show. It was a great one for us, and I’m pleased and grateful to report the following, in no particular order:

1.     Broadcasters and program networks are getting fired up about the IP transition, like the rest of us, and not a moment too soon. We fielded tons of questions about the cost savings associated with CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), IP distribution over terrestrial fiber networks--the proliferation of IP-based, video-capable screens, and cloud--how to get new services to market more quickly and how to streamline workflows. Transcoding engines, contribution networks, and all of the tacit and explicit benefits of the overall IP migration were all hot topics.

Of course, we, as Cisco people, can talk about IP all day long. And so we did: One of the Cisco booth demos highlighted Read More »

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The Evolving Video Landscape

As we approach the start of NAB 2012, I am struck by how much has changed in a year. What was vision 12 months ago is reality today. TV Everywhere is reaching the mainstream and consumer demand on continues to grow at a breathtaking place.  Media companies and service providers who are enabling this transition are wrestling with questions about how to manage, monetize, secure, process, and deliver quality experiences.

Amidst the growth some underlying trends reveal current consumer preferences -  compiling information from more than 10 billion video views shows that 60 percent of mobile videos consumed are done using an iPhone and iPod, while the iPad alone accounted for 20 percent of video consumption.  Add it all together and 80 percent of all mobile video is viewed using an iOS device. Keep in mind the iPad was first released in 2010!  We believe the multiple device phenomenon will diversify -- the number tells the tale.

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NAB 2011 in Review

If I had to sum up how the 2011 NAB Show will be remembered in years hence, I’d say this: Proliferation pandemonium. The year of the explosion of video content types, formats, and profiles -- most of which require processing, storage, and distribution.

It’s a matrix of complexity that’s expanding at a pace both exhilarating and exhausting.

It was also the year of an unusual level of consensus amongst the various constituents of the video eco-system, many of them competitors. From content owners to technology providers to service providers, there’s one general acknowledgement about managing and scaling all these different platforms for content delivery: This is hard!

The TweetChat we hosted about hot topics at NAB showed that people are focused on streaming TV-like experiences to multiple screens. That, and transcoding, preparing video files in different formats, and adaptive bit rate techniques, to manage the consumer experience when network conditions aren’t ideal. (See “proliferation pandemonium”)

My crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s, but it was gratifying to see such a high level of interest in Cisco’s offerings for content distribution focused on secondary distribution, which we call Videoscape, and in our IP video contribution solutions. Likewise for booth activity and interest around the virtualization of video and IT functions, onto a common compute and storage architecture.

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NAB 2011: An End-to-End Look at File-based Video Workflows

One thing is increasingly clear at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters convention, this week in Las Vegas: Content providers and service providers are quickening their pace in the transition from video signal-based routing to a more data-centric, file-based environment. Why? Because it’s faster, more efficient, and more scalable - all important considerations in today’s world of burgeoning-everything, from content types to distribution paths to video-capable screens.

At the Cisco booth (SU2617), we’re showing how that all comes together -- from video ingest, to file-based workflows to storage, virtualized apps, watermarking and transcoding. And, from there, we’re showing how those file-based video components are readied for content cataloging and publishing.

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