Going OTT: how US broadcaster NRB TV is monetizing and expanding the reach of its content in the OTT sphere.
Why go OTT? "We wanted to make our message available to as many viewers as possible," said Allen Beckner, Director of Channel Distribution, NRB TV. "Many of our viewers are moving to OTT streaming devices. It's a means of distribution you simply can't ignore."
Developing their online brand meant first addressing technical needs. NRB TV needed to plan for stream ingest, CDN services, live streaming, VOD content, cross-device applications, customer billing, CRM, and IP content delivery to affiliate TV stations.
"We were going through some issues with the provider that we had and felt it was time for us to explore other options," said Beckner. "We started looking around and did some research on Tulix and from what we saw in terms of their development and talking to other clients that they had, they seemed very knowledgeable."
NRB TV started out as a traditional broadcaster reaching half their audience via DirecTV and the other half via affiliate TV stations. They now have a 24/7 live linear stream of Christian TV programming. Content is available on computers, Roku, Fire TV, iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, with Apple TV in the works.
Tulix set up a turnkey system for NRB TV, so they could provide streamed video content in the locations their viewers turn to without requiring a large technical staff to support their online delivery. Tulix also provides backend processing, including PayPal and CRM management, so NRB TV, which is a non-profit broadcaster, can ensure they are efficiently handling their subscription services.
NRB TV developed a hybrid monetization strategy: "We do a live stream that's free and then we have a minimal charge for a 7-day archive, which helps us cover the costs of putting on a stream," continued Beckner. "The seven-day archive covers a wide range of VOD content for $4.99 and the newest service will be a 30-day archive priced at around $7.99." The archive is created by Tulix's network DVR, which records ingested content and makes it available on-demand to viewers based on scheduling information provided by NRB TV.
In addition to enabling NRB TV's OTT presence, Tulix also supports its traditional broadcasting by providing point-to-point distribution of their channel to affiliates. "A lot of the broadcasters are small low-powered television stations. They don't have a lot of equipment or manpower, the easiest way for them to bring in a signal is through an internet stream," said Beckner. "They don't have to go out and buy a big dish and a receiver to bring in a satellite signal. The result, we can bring on more affiliates and they have the option of picking up a very affordable internet stream."
Bridging online and broadcast can be challenging to plan, but after the initial work is completed, the amount of effort drops considerably. "The system that we built--we can maintain it and monitor it--but it is pretty much automated so we don't have to do anything," said Beckner.
"Having a relationship with a streaming provider that you're comfortable with is extremely important. They need to be someone who can really control your streaming and app development for you, so you don't have to spend a lot of time on it," continued Beckner.
Beckner also added that Tulix will make suggestions about new platforms or features. "They'll come back to us and say we just developed this for another client and we can do it for you guys. They tell us what's available and what we can do," said Beckner. "We are extremely happy with Tulix and we're happy we made the switch to them."
To learn more about Tulix's end-to-end streaming solutions, please visit tulix.com