Published December 11th, 2017
At OTT TV World Summit in London, three panelists shared their opinion on what technique or approach they have seen that is helping to make the online video experience better, and what is not. Here’s what each had to say.
Gary Hammer, SVP Sales and Business Development at SmartLabs, focused on one of the fundamental buildings blocks of the OTT video revolution:
“Adaptive bitrates have revolutionized viewing on multiscreen devices. We’ve certainly seen greater customers satisfaction with the quality of the video. It’s much better than just high, medium, and low, and you’re stuck with whichever one you chose.”
Barney Withers Green, Sales Director, Media & Entertainment Solutions EMEA at Verizon Digital Media, zeroed in on the oldest form of video distribution, the linear channel. However, the way these channels are being put together online is undergoing a quiet revolution:
“The concept of virtual linear, or pop-up channels. Gone are days when you can just deliver a prescribed channel. Whatever your content, you can create an engaging, customized channel. Our customizers have seen a huge amount of success with this.”
Data is one area that is receiving a huge amount of focus in the media industry. Henrik Eklund, CEO at Newstag, is seeing a lot of user data since his news video service launched. Moreover, aspects of the aggregate data have surprised him:
“What surprised us the most is when we launched this concept of crowd curation and looked at the aggregate data, we assumed it would be really narrow and be about the Kardashians and Trump. But that’s not really the fact.”
One of the areas where user data is applied most frequently is in the area of content recommendations. Mr. Hammer does not believe recommendations are necessarily helpful to everyone, especially pay TV operators.
“I’m going to be controversial and say recommendations. In a service provider environment, the experience is disappointing. They are not typically drawing from an infinite source of content. They have different relationships with different content providers, and the quality of the metadata is often different. The quality of the recommendations is disappointing.”
Mr. Eklund also thinks recommendations have been a disappointment. However, he thinks his company, Newstag, may have the answer:
“We have a really fast-moving environment, and 50,000 stories with all of them being consumed all the time. We have data that would be interesting to translate into a long-form experience. If this data can be translated to my mood, I think they can be valid again.”
One way to fix latency, a measure of how far a live stream is behind the original event, is to reduce the amount of video that is buffered by the client device. However, a smaller client buffer means the video playback is more vulnerable to freezes. Mr. Withers thinks many haven’t got the balance right yet:
“Latency is the big thing we are seeing lately. People are trying to get the most out of HLS, trying to balance buffer ratio and latency. There’s a lot of people that are trying to get the balance between the two and some of them aren’t getting it quite right.”
Not every idea is a good one when trying to improve the streaming media experience.
Adaptive bitrate streaming, virtual channels, and lots of user data seem to be working.
Recommendations and latency reduction techniques are not.
Source: N Screen Media
Jan 22, 2019
There will be more than 777 million global SVOD subscriptions by 2023, more than double from 2017 according to Ooyala’s new State of the Broadcast Industry 2019 report, which also found that the momentum only stands to increase.
The report – which draws on Ooyala’s own data and analysis as well as research conducted by other organizations – also underscores that viewers of all ages are increasingly adopting streaming services as their primary source of TV content. While Boomers and the Silent Generation (those born before World War II) remain the lifeblood of traditional broadcasters, they too are increasingly adopting over-the-top (OTT) and video on demand (VOD) platforms.
2018 was a year of significant change in the broadcast industry. There was a surge in M&A activity, an increase in the amount of time consumers spent with SVOD and AVOD content and a significant decline in pay-TV subscribers in North America as viewers changed how they watch TV… OTT jumped into the mainstream. There’s even more change in the cards for 2019.
Among US adults 50-64, OTT viewing increased 45% between 2016 and 2017; among US adults 65+, viewing was up 36%.
The report also postulated that mobile platforms will be a significant factor in OTT consumption in the future, given that estimates say video could make up as much as 90% of all 5G traffic.
“For OTT, that means faster and smoother delivery of video, no buffering, higher resolution, and a better, more engaging experience for users; for AVOD companies specifically, it will foster the collection of better, deeper data that could be used to better personalize advertising,” said the report.
The lesson for traditional broadcasters, the report noted, is to adopt the mindset of a diversified media company – as more programmers and distributors are joining, rather than fighting, the push into OTT.
“Subscription and ad-supported OTT services are steadily replacing traditional content delivery, and there’s no end to the opportunity to create connections with a global audience,” said Ooyala principal analyst Jim O'Neill. “OTT is not traditional TV. It thrives upon consumer choice, often random interaction, and the convenience of viewing when, where and on what device a consumer chooses. It thrives upon its own ability to iterate in order to respond to the changing conditions of the new TV environment.”
Meanwhile, as mobile viewing soars, it turns out that screen size still matters to the majority of consumers. A full 40% of US consumers who replaced a TV between October 2016 and October 2018 said they wanted to purchase a bigger screen, per The NPD Group. And consumers are going all-in on 4K UHD, driven largely by SVOD services, like Netflix, and the promise of 4K and UHD content from major sporting events, like the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
“Content owners have seen a massive increase in the demand for their products,” continued O'Neill. “That will continue as OTT services push out across the globe and original content maintains — and grows — its value. It’s becoming increasingly important for media companies – both big and small – to closely monitor and control the content supply chain.”
New OTT Services Aren’t Saturating the Market, they ARE the Market
Is the influx of new OTT services creating saturation in the market? Not by a long shot. While there’s likely a limit as to how many SVOD services users really are ready to pay for, that upper limit hasn’t yet been reached. And, as we see more channels become available a la carte, that limit may continue to rise, especially as younger consumers — who see streaming as the norm — grow older.
Apr 04, 2017
Nov 14, 2017
It may be no surprise to see Netflix, Amazon and Hulu maintain their position as the top guns in the US over-the-top (OTT) market, but research from Parks Associates has revealed that bubbling under the crucial three are now a number of interesting players.
Based on subscriber numbers, the researcher found that the top ten comprised Netflix, Amazon Video (Amazon Prime), Hulu (SVOD), MLB.TV, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube Red, Showtime, CBS All Access and Sling TV. Of most note is the velocity that the skinny bundles have gained in a short space of time. In addition, the HBO Now service has made particular progress.
Source: Rapid TV News