Wireless Media Distribution beyond 2020: ETSI, EBU and the way ahead

Sophia Antipolis, 13 May 2015

The world of broadcast and mobile industries came together on 6 May 2015 at ETSI to discuss the future: 5th Generation of mobile communications, enabling it to distribute broadcast media services to people on the move.

Delegates described 5G as a golden opportunity to bring together broadcasters and the mobile industry and to cover their needs for the next twenty years. This event was organized with ETSI’s long term partner EBU, the European Broadcasting Union, and gave broadcasters and the mobile industry the opportunity to discuss the specific needs of broadcasting and what features should be introduced into 5G to meet them.

Focusing initially on an analysis of the developing broadcast market and user trends, the workshop went on to discuss the market models of network distribution, before discussing technology advances.

While 80% of TV consumption is still linear today, the proliferation of affordable, large screen mobile devices with the capability to display compelling content is driving users to demand new complementary services. Broadcasters identified key requirements that would need to be built into a future 5G system to enable it to be used to meet this demand. These include supporting free to air distribution, with no gatekeepers, delivering broadcast quality of service throughout the service area, brand visibility, ease of use, robustness in emergencies, large geographic coverage and analytics to support targeted advertising. Currently data caps and tariffs are a limiting factor for outsourced distribution by a mobile network operator. Speakers also compared other models, including transaction-based, ad-funded and subscription, for monetizing TV content. Others identified the trend for network operators to acquire broadcast content providers.

Today’s broadcasting networks cannot deliver on-demand services, whilst current mobile networks cannot provide scalable delivery of high-quality video to large numbers of devices. To provide on-demand TV and reduce costs in the future, content providers and network operators need to work together to define cost‐effective and spectrum‐efficient delivery mechanisms that meet the needs of consumers, content providers and network operators. ETSI and EBU have successfully worked together on standards for broadcasting since 1990 and this experience will be the foundation for future dialogue also involving other parties such as DVB, 3GPP and the NGMN Alliance.