What is Digital Broadcasting and VOD
ITV was a traditional broadcaster with 8 digital TV channels and using video-tapes for editing and distribution.
New entrants such as UKTV, Paramount and Disney were taking viewing share from ITV and therefore revenue was being lost. The TV channel format and tape-based distribution is limited in how often content can generate revenue and ITV could see that on-demand streaming could be a new market. ITV started to explore ways to make revenue from their large back-catalogue of programmes by developing a Video-on-demand (VOD) service. VOD is dependent on content being available in a digital format.
The project brief
The aim was to transform the traditional TV broadcast process (define channel schedule, create TV programmes, broadcast programs) into one where ITV was a supplier to any content steaming service anywhere in the world. This involved:
- Converting 100,000s hours of programming from tape format into digital format and performing automated quality processes.
- Editing into multiple international versions. Creating meta-data to help customers search and filter the digital content
- Create a customer-facing application to allow international customer to select custom sets of content for their VOD platforms
- Stream content to any international VOD platform
There was significant resistance within the company to move to digital work practices and fears of job security. The transformation was however a response to falling revenues and a way to create an additional revenue stream with new job opportunities.
There were very few software suppliers who could help build parts of the solution. The project team had to co-ordinate large suppliers such as BT and also suppliers with as few as two employees and minimal processes.
The solution was being created before most of the end-customers existed and prior to their requirements being known. The solution had to predict the market-place in a few years' time and be flexible enough to meet new requirements.
The new solution generates an additional £150m per year in digital sales (2015) to ITV.
The digital broadcasting processes create cost savings of £7m a year. The solution is flexible enough to meet the very different requirements of VOD suppliers across the world. A workflow tool was added to the system in later years without significant re-work.