The media and entertainment industry is exploring opportunities to take advantage of 5G networks as the deployments start rolling out in many markets.
Although most of the media and entertainment industry is focused on using the 5G network for content distribution and delivery, the superior capacity provided by 5G technology creates opportunities in content production.
ABI Research forecasts that 5G network coverage will be quite extensive supporting more than 35% of the worldwide mobile user base in 2024.
Video is a key 5G application that will drive mobile data consumption.
Various connectivities, from fibre-optic to satellite and radio links, are used for the transmission of live video from outdoor events to the production facility.
“Bonded cellular has been the technology of choice when content production occurs in a connectivity-challenged location. The advancements brought by 5G, such as high bandwidth and low latency, will improve the 3G/4G enabled cellular bonding technology, which is widely used for live production,” explained Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research.
Trials of video production over the 5G network have started in some markets in Asia, Europe, and North America. Most recently, the Seoul Broadcasting System deployed LiveU’s 5G integrated encoding and transmission solutions for live coverage of Korea’s election.
Chinese equipment vendors ZTE and Huawei have also tested live production of outdoor events via 5G networks. Broadcasters including BT Sports, NBC Sports, ITN TV are trialling video production over 5G networks as well.
While the 5G network can support the higher bandwidth and lower latency capability for video production, network performance can be challenging when it is shared by multiple users and applications.
Fluctuations in bandwidth, depending on local traffic conditions, can create a negative impact on video transmission.
In addition, sharing bandwidth over the public network may not be enough when transmitting lightly compressed video from the remote production site to the studio.
5G networking slicing is expected to play an important role in providing guaranteed QoS, critically important in terms of bandwidth and latency, which is required for high-value content production such as sports.
Network operators can take advantage of network slicing to offer differentiated network services for content production.
“Operators need to perform collaboration with different parties in the value chain to meet the requirement in the industry. Partnerships between network operators and broadcasters or third party players to provide dedicated access to locations such as stadiums can provide new business models and revenue-generating opportunities for different players,” concluded Lynn.