Cable ops have the opportunity to take video from the device to the cloud and remain strong in a rapidly converging world.

David KingTraditionally, that idiom has signified unrealistic or impractical ideas. However, in the case of the cable industry, it represents innovation and growth.

As new technologies close the gaps between video quality and services across the TV, PC and mobile device, consumers will soon have ubiquitous, uninterrupted access to the latest video content anytime, on any screen. Video truly is everywhere.

The race for success in the cable industry is on. Just as radio took a hit at the hands of iTunes and Pandora, cable operators face growing competition from non-traditional video providers like mobile operators and content developers. In its Q3 “A2/M2: Three Screen Report,” Nielsen noted that the average American consumed 0.3 percent fewer hours of TV, but online consumption grew by 34 percent, and mobile video viewing rose more than 50 percent. It is impossible to ignore the wildfire growth in viewers watching video online and on their mobile devices.

The new challenge is twofold: the ability to offer unique new video services (such as network-based DVR and live TV to mobile), and the capability to provide advertisers with the data and technology to target consumers with relevant, interactive ads. And to meet these challenges, cable operators must turn to the latest technology innovations: open cloud-based solutions, commercial-grade applications and access to data to connect all of the dots.

The first stop is the cloud. To remain competitive in the rapidly changing video world, service providers need to stay nimble. Adopting open solutions capable of delivering video across television, broadband and wireless networks enables cable operators to break out of the box. Software as a service (SaaS) models can help elevate the industry as one that provides not only content, but also a whole new consumer experience. The cloud-based delivery model allows for improved flexibility and independent scalability, providing modules for control, ingest, interconnectivity, delivery and storage. This open approach will enable service providers to attract consumers with content on multiple screens and to create new opportunities for revenue.

But the future of video delivery is not just delivery. It’s all about a viewer’s experience. From the device and applications that enable access to the video to the advertisements tied to the video, consumers want personalized experiences that reflect their lifestyles.

Cable operators have the opportunity to provide the killer applications that frame video delivery as an experience, not just a “speeds-and-feeds” service. Uniform applications capable of organizing, accessing, delivering and personalizing content consistently and in a user-friendly manner are mandatory in order for video to realize its full potential, and the video must be high quality. Providing a consistent and compelling user experience, cable operators will gain today’s fickle video consumer.

Success within the video delivery industry is reliant on a third fundamental: advertising. As operators open the door to multi-screen video delivery, so opens the door for integrated, multiplatform advertising opportunities. But the key to success in advertising is access to intelligent data that gives a holistic view of viewing behavior and experiences. Tapping into data that tells what consumers are watching – when, and on what device – while simultaneously reporting the experience those consumers had (lost streams, service delays, etc.), helps operators better understand their customers, and it allows advertisers to provide relevant advertisements to specific audiences and to measure the effectiveness of those ads. This requires a solution that offers timely, unbiased, cross-services data storage and correlation with a 360-degree view of linear, video-on-demand and interactive media consumption across all screens.

The reality of ubiquitous access to video content is just around the corner. Cable operators now have the opportunity to leverage their market leadership and adopt open, commercial and intelligent solutions that enable them to stay ahead of the competition. These solutions will take video from the device to the cloud and will help the cable industry remain strong in a rapidly converging world.


Next month, Trilithic product manager Steve Windle will write about upstream spectrum analysis and troubleshooting with field instruments.