Making OTT monitoring and compliance manageable and economical


Gary Learner TV-Bay Magazine
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Consumers today regularly use their smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices to view Internet-delivered content. While their widespread embrace of over-the-top (OTT) services via an array of distribution outlets present today's video program owners and distributors with tremendous opportunity, it also presents new challenges in ensuring not only service quality, but also compliance with FCC regulatory requirements.

Given the wealth of OTT viewing options available to consumers, broadcasters must be able to monitor and differentiate their offerings by ensuring exceptional quality of service. Unlike traditional broadcast viewers, today's OTT media consumers are less inclined to complain about service quality and more likely to move on to another source of content. While addressing this competitive challenge, broadcasters also must address growing concern over the accessibility of video content on all variety of platforms.

The FCC has tackled the accessibility issue with ever more comprehensive and specific closed-captioning regulations not only for broadcast content, but also for previously broadcast long-form content and clips excerpted from it shown online. The FCC's most recently published rules governing closed captioning make it clear that broadcasters and video programming distributors must not only pursue best practices with their captioning providers, but also deploy their own monitoring and correction procedures to ensure caption quality and compliance. However, now in the position of generating, managing, and monitoring a massive number of media files created for "anywhere, anytime" consumption, many broadcasters can no longer address closed captioning compliance maintaining caption accuracy, synchronicity, and completeness using manual approaches.

The time and cost of human intervention rises linearly with the volume of content to be checked, and it then multiplies as content is packaged for different distribution platforms. As a result, the growing volume of content being created and delivered to a growing number of distribution outlets has rendered conventional quality assurance methods such as the manual "spot check" unsustainable.

Recognizing the pressing need for cost-effective OTT service-quality and compliance monitoring, Volicon has brought its expertise in developing advanced broadcast monitoring and logging systems to the creation of the company's Observer OTT solution. Engineered to enable efficient monitoring and troubleshooting of OTT services, this solution eliminates the need for manual checking of numerous viewing devices. With this technology, broadcast facilities can keep an eye on every output in every version, each with a different bit rate and format - distributed for viewing on computers, tablets, and smartphones. By automating this process and facilitating management through a browser-based interface, this proactive approach makes effective OTT A/V service-quality and compliance monitoring both viable and economical.

With an always-on solution for logging (recording) and monitoring the complete lineup of offerings, across all outlets and platforms, broadcasters can capture all renditions of content delivered over IP networks and then verify the streams' integrity and compliance with the FCC's closed-captioning and loudness regulations. This capability also helps broadcasters to monitor, identify, and address the limitations of the networks and devices that facilitate delivery and viewing.

In addition to providing a true recording of services along with associated metadata, Observer OTT facilitates remote streaming and review, with in-depth analysis of both unencrypted and encrypted content. Featuring a customizable multiview function within its complete interface, the solution allows users to monitor the entire OTT pipeline for any given service via just one visual display. Users thus can ensure that video-on-demand and linear services are available continuously at optimal quality, validate service level agreements with CDNs, confirm the presence of captioning, and determine that specialized apps are providing optimal quality of experience.

Observer OTT makes it possible for broadcasters to compare the streams sent by the operator with those received via the target device, as well as to confirm the integrity of content being consumed across geographically distributed locations, even without access to the direct feed from the content delivery network (CDN). The solution ingests content from all variety of target mobile devices not only to provide a valuable look at how consumers experience streamed content, but also to supply rich data that speeds isolation and resolution of any quality issues for content viewed on any device.

Further supporting troubleshooting related to quality of experience, this technology enables broadcasters to confirm that the apps used by consumers to access content are functioning properly. The OTT monitoring system empowers the user to interact with the actual devices and applications being examined. A series of scripts can be used to target and verify a variety of use cases.

Offering broadcasters an affordable yet complete solution for verifying FCC compliance and the quality of current and new OTT services and media applications, automated OTT-monitoring technology is playing a valuable role in easing the industry's migration toward Internet-based content delivery. In the case of technology such as Volicon's Observer system, monitoring for Internet-delivered content can be incorporated seamlessly into the larger monitoring workflow, including both linear and nonlinear distribution channels. As a result, broadcasters can smoothly and confidently extend their services into the OTT realm, leveraging and monetizing their high-value professionally produced content more broadly to reach a larger audience, increase brand awareness and loyalty, and add to the bottom line.


Tags: iss115 | volicon | ott | fcc | Gary Learner
Contributing Author Gary Learner

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