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Broadcasters can no longer ignore online delivery

Participants at last week’s EBU annual Broadthinking Seminar were told that the use of broadband networks to reach audiences, whether over the open internet or via dedicated Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), is an increasingly important element of a broadcaster’s distribution strategy.

The growing importance of online channels was demonstrated via presentations from IHS and Netherlands Public Broadcasting Organisation (NPO) during the opening session. But they also highlighted the fact that linear TV over broadcast still dominates and that online consumption represents a very small percentage of overall viewing. This provided something of a reality check, particularly given the considerably higher costs – and environmental footprint – that come with broadband delivery.

Broadcasters, who made up more than a third of the 90 plus delegates at the event, heard about some of the technologies that will dominate in the years ahead. A combination of HEVC video coding plus MPEG DASH adaptive streaming is likely to be the standard for online distribution, over fixed and mobile broadband networks. Work on these standards is progressing well – and the DASH Industry Forum held meetings in Geneva earlier in the week.