Broadcasting transition to IP

No two letters have been talked about more in broadcast over the last decade, and even more so in the last two years. Broadcast entities that have traditionally relied on more monolithic, purpose-built systems continue their shift towards more IP-based solutions.

One of the main benefits of having an IP-based production infrastructure is that it comes with endless connectivity options. With public health and safety as top priority, the industry quickly tried to adapt to producing content while keeping employees as safe as possible. Broadcasters that had already made the transition to IP-based systems were able to produce content remotely from practically anywhere in the world. This is made possible by technologies like SMPTE ST 2110, RIST, SRT, and many others.

But it’s not just the move to IP that’s happening. It’s also the move to IT. Broadcasters are now moving their infrastructure to more software-centric workflows. This helps create a cloud-native environment for broadcast media.

With the move to IP and IT happening at the same time, broadcasters can enhance workflows and capabilities at a rate not previously achieved. Workflows are now treated almost like microservices, which can be re-spun in a variety of ways. This helps achieve maximum flexibility of the adopted technology stacks, as well as maximum ROI on infrastructure and resources.

Content consumption

There are now more ways to consume content than ever before. Maybe you take a traditional approach and watch Over-the-Air (OTA) TV or have a cable or satellite package. Or maybe you’ve cut the cord and gone entirely to streaming.

Let’s talk about “NextGen” TV, which is officially known as ASTC 3.0. This is the next-in-line standard for OTA television broadcasting. Unlike its predecessor, it’s capable of all the things that OTA TV is currently lacking. This includes UHD, HDR, and enhanced audio. The best part though is that OTA TV is free. It can also be used in tandem with traditional broadcast services to allow for things like targeted advertising or second screen experiences. ATSC 3.0 also supports “broadcast internet” which is a type of datacasting. This can be supplemented with other internet services to improve internet access in areas with traditionally low broadband.

Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD)

The last two years have shown us that some things are truly timeless. A quote from a 1996 essay by Bill Gates titled “Content is King” really might capture it best:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.”

With that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that 82%1 of internet traffic is video content. Moreover, to keep this momentum going, media companies spent $220 billion on content creation in 20212 and global SVOD revenue is expected to hit $100 billion by 2024.3

Media consumption platforms: tablets and computers

Live Streaming

As internet video content becomes even more ubiquitous and pressure on the available broadcast spectrum continues to increase, more companies are showing interest in live streaming. Live streaming allows us to send content beyond the capabilities of traditional broadcast. Couple that with the ability to have limitless content options and it makes sense to invest heavily in this market.

By comparison, traditional broadcast is tied to regions and can only have one concurrent event per channel. Live streaming has the ability to deliver targeted advertising through viewership analytics. The live streaming market is expected to grow to $223 billion4 with use cases that can vary from broadcast, vlogs, board meetings, events, or the most popular one, video games.


Playing games has been a part of the human experience for thousands of years and video games are no different. The video game industry is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. There were an estimated 3.1 billion gamers in 2020, and by 2024 there will be another 500 million.5 This is partly because innovations like AI and VR are making games more attractive to a broader audience.

Gaming is also going through a technology transformation that is removing barriers. Things like cloud, 5G, and edge computing are making “game streaming” or remote gaming possible. We can also leverage augmented reality or immersive technology to make games better. Put simply for anyone who is a fan of the Sci-fi novel “Ready Player One, it looks like we’re getting closer to an OASIS with the metaverse.

Whether you are a broadcaster who is making the conversion to IP with Cisco’s IP Fabric for Media, or you are a Video on Demand Provider who wants to monitor the digital experience of your platform with ThousandEyes, Cisco can help. Whatever the future looks like for video on the internet, it can only shape our industry for the better. Rest assured that Cisco will be right there making the impossible, possible.



1. Fierce Video:  Video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022, Cisco says

2. Ampere: Global Content Spend Topped $220 Billion in 2021, Driven by Streaming Video

3. New Streaming Projections: 1B Users Globally in 2021

4. Video Streaming Market Worth $223.98 Billion By 2028 | CAGR: 21.0%

5. Gaming Industry Trends 2022: Millions more players, billions more streams


Chris Lapp

Technical Solutions Architect

Media and Entertainment