Over-The-Top Distribution of PSM Content and Services

Tech Report 062

This document is a contribution to an ongoing discussion about the future distribution of Public Service Media (PSM) content and services.

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The primary motivation of this report is to facilitate the discussion and identify relevant issues that PSMs need to be aware of and address, to achieve their distribution objectives. In this respect, the report is not meant to deal with distribution in a comprehensive way but rather to concentrate on the option of using exclusively OTT models when considering future distribution strategies for PSM content and services.

Among many important issues related to distribution, the rise of the Internet as a principal distribution infrastructure undoubtedly stands out as the most important development in recent years.

Different PSMs have, sometimes, quite different notions about the distribution of their content and services due to their individual remits or economic capabilities. Nevertheless, many challenges they are confronted with are similar as they arise from the changing audience behaviour as well as the technological and market developments.

Whilst currently, dedicated broadcast distribution networks are particularly important for the universal distribution of linear radio and TV services, these networks are no longer capable of meeting all PSM distribution requirements, especially as they cannot support on-demand services and do not reach personal devices such as smartphones and tablets.

This is where distribution over the Internet comes into play with different Over-the-Top (OTT) models being used. Some PSMs are contemplating moving all their distribution to OTT in the long run. Whether such an approach will be possible and sustainable on large scale is a vital question for PSMs to be addressed in due time.

To understand if OTT distribution models will be the basis for, or are to become a crucial element of, future PSM distribution strategies some questions deserve particular attention. This report elaborates on these questions and gives a set of conclusions, without aiming to give final answers.


Key Words: Public Service Media Organisation, PSM, Linear, Live, Nonlinear, On-demand, OTT, App, CDN, ISP, WiFi, DSL, FTTH, DOCSIS, LTE, Distribution, Broadband, Mobile, 5G, Online, Platforms.