Cloud technology to bring millennials back to broadcasters with VR says Sony
Cloud technology is an enabler for engaging viewers and creating subscriber loyalty, Sony Professional Solutions Europe has stated. At its Breakfast Club Roundtable last week on cloud-based media operations and security, the company spoke about how the cloud was aiding the use of new technologies such as virtual reality (VR), which is key to attracting fickle millennials.
Stuart Almond, head of marketing and communications for media solutions at Sony Professional Solutions Europe, commented: “Great content is no longer enough; audience engagement is what is needed. Teens and younger millennials aged 18 to 27 years old are watching 40% less traditional TV than five years ago, and that figure is 28% less for older millennials [Neilson]. There is a change to the demand for and streaming of content. Accenture said 87% of viewers now use a second screen device when watching TV. The upshot is broadcasters need to work harder to just maintain their audiences, and build them.”
Almond stated the factor that will enable that maintenance and growth in the face of the millennial generation is cloud technology, as a driver for greater audience engagement with dynamic and efficient media operations.
Sony Professional Solutions Europe partnered with BT Sport to help the broadcaster deliver a 4K HDR end to end production of the June UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff to provide viewers with a first class viewing experience. As part of Sony’s commitment to enhance technology innovation in live sports broadcasting, Sony Professional Solutions Europe also partnered with Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe and Sky Deutschland to offer a beta trial for the live match to be enjoyed on PlayStation VR for a select number of users.
Sony PlayStation VR, which is build using Amazon Web Services, worked with Sky Deutschland and Sky UK on a Beta test to create a VR experience for viewers. The match was streamed to the cloud and bespoke tools for the event, created by Sony, were used to get content to end users VR headsets, with controls for what was needed for the specific countries.
“This showcased audience engagement,” said Almond. “What we built was our own tools to be able to process, edit and distribute VR content using cloud tools, using a single stream, with different security levels for different markets.”
Daniel Fenton, sales director EMEA at Sony DADC New Media Solutions, added that the project unveiled some interesting viewing habits: “We were able to report on consumption. Sky Deutschland viewers watched the match in its entirety, using Twitter feeds while on their VR headsets.”
Commented Almond: “Once you start to use cloud, you’re in a sweetshop as a content provider. You can integrate content and tools and Big Data parts, artificial intelligence (AI) learning; you can start to plug more into it.”
Sony Professional Solutions Europe also worked with Switzerland’s largest ICT provider Swisscom to present an industry first, truly cloud-native live and post production platform for multi-channel delivery at the Locarno International Film Festival this year. They combined Sony’s media backbone HIVE, live streaming technology and Sony’s virtual switcher, with Swisscom’s 4G mobile network, secure data centres and cloud, to deliver live and video on demand content in the first virtualised production workflow of its kind. This cloud native set up enables effective content creation to producers and broadcasters of any size, stated Sony.