Ingest & Metadata Partitioning: Requirements For Television On Demand (2003)

By Robert G. Scheffler, Broadbus Technologies, Inc.

On demand video services, such as today’s Video on Demand (VOD), Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), and the fast-approaching Television on DemandTM (TOD®) are enhancing the consumer television experience and creating new, exciting revenue opportunities and increased cash flow for cable operators and content owners alike. However, the technical requirements to support these services are becoming more demanding and complex. In VOD, cable operators are seeing solid buy-in rates, repeat purchase patterns, and concurrency rates of 3%-10% with limited marketing and promotional support. With recent trials of SVOD and an increased number of popular titles, concurrency rates have ‘smoothed’ the peak usage rates throughout the week to numbers that often approach 10%-20%. However, with Television on Demand (TOD) services, consumers will have considerably more programming choices including movies, subscription-based content, and the most popular broadcast content. It is anticipated that concurrency rates of TOD may steadily climb to levels that approach 30%-65% -- rates that mirror the total concurrent U.S. television viewing audience as measured by rating services such as Nielson. Increased service usage, additional content, and new business models are challenging MSOs to conduct unprecedented network architecture preparation and planning. In addition, decisions related to asset distribution, content propagation, network loading, metadata and rules issues need to be addressed to make Television on Demand a commercial reality. This paper will address the issues and requirements associated with server ingest of broadcast content and content propagation. It will also discuss the architectural implications for the VOD server and propose a new class of server to support TOD requirements. The paper will also discuss how TOD content is managed through the creation and distribution of enhanced metadata formats in an environment that is controlled by studios, distributors, and cable operators. New video server architectures and rules-based content control and propagation systems become integral contributors to the success of future on-demand services.

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