Linear live streaming has taken off in the past couple of years. As an ever increasing number of vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor) options become available to viewers, more people continue to switch from traditional pay TV to linear live streaming services, such as PlutoTV and Sling TV. These services gain millions of subscribers each year and present a massive opportunity for brands to increase their video reach.
At Zype, we have a wealth of experience helping Enterprise video teams develop, distribute, and monetize IP-based linear channels, so we’ve compiled our top tips to help you be successful.
Key 1: Prioritize Content Quality Control
Content Quality Control is critical when it comes to stitching together VOD assets into a linear channel. The underlying assets need to be properly encoded, keyframe aligned, and use the same audio codecs & bitrate ladder to ensure that content transitions smoothly from one asset, slate, or ad insertion to another for the best possible viewing experience.
Key 2: Distribute to Multiple Syndication Partners
There’s a significant benefit to distributing to multiple vMVPD partners. Doing so allows you to capture a diversity of new audiences with a sizable built-in reach. Additionally, you can sell sponsorships and run targeted advertising campaigns on the different platforms such as SamsungTV Plus, Pluto TV or Sling TV. In addition to selling specific audiences, you can also put together packages at higher effective CPMs. For example, a brand advertiser can sponsor the “24 Hour Special Western Movie Marathon” on Samsung TVplus.
Key 3: Measure Engagement with Linear Playout Analytics
Determining which videos have the most engagement is key. Linear streams have engagement curves, much like traditional TV. Engagement is lower during the early morning hours and peaks during primetime. Analytics that can track individual assets on a linear stream can help inform content teams and producers of these trends. This leads to better decisions on content production, licensing, and programming. Without this level of engagement granularity, it’s difficult to really understand how well your content is performing or if you need to make changes.
Key 4: Partner with an Experienced and Scalable Linear Playout Platform
Distribution partners (Pluto TV, SamsungTV, Sling TV, etc) have unique stream and VOD acquisition requirements, much like Apple TV or Roku have in the application publishing world. Understanding these requirements and the internal QA processes of each respective syndication provider can prove a challenge. Working with a seasoned linear playout platform that understands these processes and can provide guidance will reduce time to market considerably. Scale is also important. Always prepare for success - the large built-in audiences that vMVPDs provide are an opportunity to scale reach - your linear playout platform should have the scale to maintain quality and high performance in stream start times, viewability, and latency.
All in All
The online linear space holds tons of potential for Enterprises to expand their distribution and increase their video engagement. It can also serve as a great discovery tool for brands as new viewers come across their linear channels via vMVPDS, they can act as a gateway--leading them to content on owned and operated websites and apps.
Focusing on content quality control, utilizing multiple vMVPD endpoints, prioritizing engagement analytics to make content decisions, and most importantly, choosing the right playout platform are key to scaling successful linear live channels.
Want to learn more about linear live distribution? Check out how Vevo is using Zype Playout to stream billions of hours of music videos to viewers everywhere here.