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Andreas Jacobi, Make.TV

News: Business

Smarter Newsrooms For The Digital Age

In his mebucom commentary, Andreas Jacobi, co-founder and CEO of Make.TV, talks about the challenges of the fragmented media market, 5G for news reporting, cloud-based infrastructures and new opportunities to use citizen journalism profitably and efficiently.

Every news broadcaster wants to break the story first. As such, they are constantly looking for innovative ways to become consumers’ first choice as the go-to source for the latest updates. But the challenge for modern newsrooms is how to compete for consumers’ attention in this digital age, when access to a whole host of news services, across multiple platforms, has never been easier. And standing out from the crowd becomes even harder when journalistic organisations are increasingly forced to do more with less. 

Newsroom operators need to re-think their workflows and processes if they are to successfully adjust to the digital era. Several are already doing this by adopting cloud-based infrastructures, which provide a new way for reporters and production teams to enrich footage acquisition, speed up production and streamline the distribution process without compromising on quality.

The Rise of Citizen Journalism

Consumers are creating more content than ever before, by 2021 live video is expected to make up 13% of all video traffic on the internet according to research from Cisco. Smartphone cameras can produce high quality footage and enable anyone to contribute to the news. The rise of user generated content (UGC) and flexible mobile deployments give newsroom operators a broader range of angles and perspectives from the scene. It will also allow for cost-effective, timely and hyper-local news acquisition.

In order to harness the rise of citizen journalism, news broadcasters need to look towards applications with Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC). Such features allows media networks to invite external contributors from the field to provide remote interviews, call-ins or live footage of a major incident from either a mobile reporter or an eyewitness in the vicinity. Crucially, in time critical situations, WebRTC does not require contributors to download a dedicated app. 

Cloud based infrastructures can help news broadcasters enrich their content acquisition by allowing producers to acquire content from unlimited concurrent live feeds, including professional cameras, encoders, mobile phones and online sources. These infrastructures could drive a step change in not only how news is sourced but also the newsroom’s operational flow, from the creators to curators of news. 

Instant Mobile Deployment Enhanced by 5G

To secure a live feed from a remote location a media network would need to arrange a satellite news gathering car, book satellite feeds and schedule feed ingest. This tried and tested method does guarantee stable live feeds but it is also costly, labour intensive and anything but instantaneous. The lack of instant deployment puts news broadcasters at a disadvantage when trying to compete with their digital counterparts. 

While cloud infrastructure will allow production teams to tap into UGC mixed with professional content, 5G should increase both the quality and stability of those contributions. As 5G networks become more common place, it is possible that signals coming from news broadcasters could be prioritised. This would give media networks the confidence to report from even the busiest locations that can hit network capacity, such as sports stadiums, concerts or Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  

Platform Agnostic Content Delivery 

The battle for eyeballs has intensified with newer media outlets and online platforms entering the market, meaning audiences have become increasingly fragmented. Research by Pew and Nielsen has shown that millennials are abandoning traditional TV formats for digital platforms, spending just 12 minutes a day watching TV news, while those 38 or older average 54 minutes. This rise in platform-driven news consumption mean that newsrooms need to reconsider how they reach their audience.

Transitioning to cloud based video workflows will enable media broadcasters to simultaneously distribute content to unlimited outlets. This means that a programme can be delivered across more channels than ever before including, linear, OTT and social media. By taking advantage of the number of new channels available, broadcasters will have the ability to greatly increase their reach through a single broadcast. Andreas Jacobi (8/19)