New business opportunities for terrestrial broadcasting

New business opportunities for terrestrial broadcasting

In the era of streaming providers and mobile internet, “traditional” terrestrial broadcasting seems outdistanced and outdated. Consumers want to be able to watch their choice of content wherever they are. That is particularly true of the high-value, best-seen-live content. To meet this expectation, smartphones and tablets have developed into excellent viewing devices.

Future business opportunities for braodcasting

Obstacles for mobile media consumption are still limited connectivity in remote areas and limited capacity of mobile networks – specifically if unrestricted media consumption of mobile users is considered. That means linear television on mobile devices for anybody is not realistic today – but linear viewing still represents more than 50% of all video consumed, with a daily average of more than two hours.

That means terrestrial broadcasting offers assets for media consumption, which can currently not be provided by mobile networks. So, the missing link towards mobile devices remains.

But now 5G Broadcast is coming into play. It is a one-to-many communication technology that links terrestrial broadcast networks with mobile devices. And it does not even require a SIM.

First, silicon is available providing SIM-free reception of trial broadcasts - and prototypical devices are already available for proof-of-concept tests.

That changes the impression of terrestrial broadcasting towards still being an important part of our media landscape.

New Media Applications

More important for the future is to look beyond digital television channels, and consider what else can be carried over ubiquitous multicast delivery – meaning broadcasting to specifically targeted consumers.

If large numbers of people want to watch the same streaming content at the same time – a key popular sports match, for example – it leads to network congestion, resulting in low video quality, or even no service available for paying customers. The suitable technology specifically for peak load scenarios is multicasting. 5G Broadcast has the capabilities and the potential to create a win-win-situation for consumers as well as network operators. For consumers – because they will reliably experience high-quality services; and for network operators – because mobile networks do not need to provide the unicast capacity for peak loads; they can be dimensioned according to average load models.

As well as the wide-area broadcast of popular content, 5G Broadcast is ideally suited to localised transmission. Sports venue owners could go a long way to replicate the television experience for fans in the stadium by broadcasting replay channels and special features between the action; music festivals could add close-ups of the band to live performances and additional content between sets.

All these media applications are suitable for multicasting, and therefore perfect for terrestrial transmission. With the next generation of transmitters, adding 5G Broadcast outputs is a simple matter. High profile demonstration programming over 5G Broadcast has already been delivered.

Thomas Janner

Future applications

Rohde & Schwarz is ready to support broadcast transmission operators to achieve their potential in delivering innovative new services and securing new revenues.

Thomas Janner, Director R&D Broadcast Applications

Business opportunities beyond media

The next logical step is to use multicast delivery not only for video or audio content but for pure data, as part of the Internet of Things, across a wide range of industries. There are many cases where data needs to be distributed to multiple end points in a timely manner, which 5G Broadcast excellently addresses.

Utilizing the strong points of transmitter networks, 5G Broadcast is the perfect technology to disseminate public safety alerts and warnings, of for instance impending bad weather, or other hazardous events – adding highest availability and instant synchronized information delivery to everybody’s personal assistant, which our smartphones have developed to.

The increasing use of automation and intelligence in vehicles is another use case. Autonomous vehicles depend upon regular updates on traffic conditions, weather, road surfaces and more. Delivering these via multicast adds a level of reliability which mobile networks cannot provide and even saves considerable cellular network capacity.

In addition, connected vehicles can offer added value services through augmented reality. Head-up displays will add suggestions and directions for food, electric charging stations, parking and more, before long. The data required for these added value services is highly localized and equal for any vehicle around, which provides an excellent opportunity for localized broadcasting services and by that for new business models beyond media distribution.

With 5G Broadcast, terrestrial network operators now have the chance to become a vital member of the 5G ecosystem, delivering compelling and valuable content to consumers in fixed and mobile locations, as well as multicast distribution of data to IoT appliances in a whole range of applications. All that is needed is the right transmitter technology, which is designed to unlock new broadcast applications and therefore allows access to new industries and additional customer groups.

The business of terrestrial television transmission is in flux, but by seizing the opportunities offered by new digital services, including 5G Broadcast, it has the potential for continuing growth and a prosperous future beyond fixed television broadcasting. Rohde & Schwarz, widely recognised for its engineering excellence, understands these challenges and opportunities, and is ready to support broadcast transmission operators to achieve their potential in delivering innovative new services and securing new revenues.

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