Nativ, one of the technology companies behind the BBC iPlayer, is launching a service that will enable broadcasters to automatically convert their raw television content into new media files and distribute them to many platforms at the same time.

Mio is a managed service with a yearly cost that provides both the technology and delivery mechanism to help broadcasters prepare video and audio for, and get content onto: computers, mobile phones, DVD players, handheld computers, games consoles and outdoor displays.

Rather than pay for separate distribution services or partner with a number of different platform operators, broadcasters upload their own content via FTP to Mio.

It is then automatically or manually transcoded and delivered to other channels.

Fragmented audience

Nativ co-founder Jonathan Folland believes that as audiences become increasingly fragmented, there is a market for a product that provides broadcasters with a way of preparing content for more than one platform at once.

“Linear broadcast is in the broadcaster's comfort zone,” said Folland ahead of Mio's launch this week. “But viewers are interacting with a myriad of playback devices and you have to consider all of them.

"ather than build a cottage industry, we provide broadcasters with the tools to automate the process in order to sweat more value from high-value content.”

Folland believes that the end is nigh for the linear TV distribution model as it is so expensive.

He said: “We think linear broadcast is going to become obsolete. Linear broadcast uses a lot of expensive kit with very high operational costs. Distribution to other IP-enabled platforms is based on commoditised IT and is a lot more cost effective.”

And this makes services like Mio a threat to traditional playout operators

“I don't see any of the play-out companies yet really appreciating the degree of threat that cross TV delivery will have on their business. It will probably be another year before they realise.”

Three years later

Mio was three years in the making. Nativ learnt lessons while helping to develop iPlayer and this helped to shape the creation of Mio.

“Partly thanks to that work we've developed Mio,” said Folland. “The pressure to re-engage with audiences is not a problem that only the BBC has to deal with on iPlayer.

"People are watching steaming iPlayer content in increasing volumes. Other broadcasters and brand owners have the same problems.”

An “enterprise” version of Mio - for broadcasters or brands with a lot of content - will cost from£130,000 per year. It will provide tools for ingesting, storing, archiving, repurposing, protecting and distributing content.

Nativ is a consulting, technology and outsourcing company specialising in digital video and TV distribution.