A review of the changing video streaming landscape in 2016.
In 2016 we saw Youtube, Twitter and Facebook jockeying for social media live streaming dominance. There was LIVE video adoption by consumers with technologies like Periscope. Live streaming was available for big events and branding. There was some big name acquisitions and partnerships made by Google, Disney, Microsoft and AT&T with the hope of laying a foundation to become the market leader in this vertical. Many broadcasters made the move to OTT platforms for distribution of their content. There were many trends that bolstered the continued rise in video streaming viewers. The adoption rate of new technologies for video streaming television skyrocketed. Last year there were some video streaming hits and misses but in 2017 we will see the disruptors float to the top. For example, 4k adoption is being pushed forward by operators who have no other choice but to use (HEVC) to efficiently encode their UHD video and manage bandwidth in their network.
LIVE STREAMING VIDEO
More technology, faster internet speeds and better compression led to more live streaming in 2016. Periscope and others made it possible for anyone to quickly create a channel to stream their content to the masses. Both Google/Youtube and Facebook users viewed big events live online and brands took the opportunity to place their products in the spotlight with partnerships. Even Hulu is launching its own live streaming offering. It puts them in a position to compete with the likes of Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV. The deal between Riot games and BAMTech further cemented eSports as a successful monetization category in the OTT market. Oh, and let’s not forget that at 7.5 terabits the presidential election was the largest live streaming event ever carried by a CDN. Better support, more technology, faster internet, and better compression are making events like this possible.
SYNERGY FROM M & E
In 2016 several mergers and acquisitions took place with the intent of improving the positions of folks streaming video content. NBC successfully partnered with Snapchat Inc. (now called Snap Inc.) for the Olympics. AT&T launched DirectTV Now, an internet product that includes over 100 channels for $35 a month. Partnerships similar to Disney’s BAMtech investment are cases where the best of breeds leverage their core competencies to increase the number of eyeballs on their content. Twitter also cemented a Partnership with the NFL and the growth of 2nd screen experiences. These deals show that popular brands and lesser known entities can achieve growth in their respective markets with strong OTT partners that understand the business and technology.
BROADCASTERS ENTER OTT
Last year we saw more broadcasters making OTT content available that traditionally was only available through cable subscription. Premium cable channels such as HBO are providing their content on apps specifically designed for mobile applications. The market had other choices available from the likes of Starz, BET and DirecTV. We saw many offerings that were cheaper than purchasing a bundled cable package. The downward trend in cable TV subscribers continued to decline and the expectation is that this trend will continue through 2017.
INCREASE IN TRAFFIC
The past year marked another period of mobile video streaming and traffic growth. Mobile phone viewing of streaming services continued to rise, especially among millennials. Viewers are viewing more content on their mobile devices rather than smartTV’s and tablets. There was a continued decline in pay-TV subscriber’s. The video streaming technology is maturing and live streaming is more readily accessible. With the increase in OTT, service viewers providers are creating more niche content to draw in new users and retain their existing base. To further differentiate themselves and increase quality, companies rolled out tech to improve user experience. Improved internet speeds from companies like AT&T and Sprint helped them compete with market leaders like Verizon and T-mobile and better support the growing mobile phone market.
ADOPTION OF DISRUPTIVE TECH
In 2017 we will see more disruptive technology from market leaders and new upstarts. New technologies are being discovered by folks across the video industry. Increased browsing speeds allow for an increase in user experience. Improved compression will be available by using HEVC, VP9 or proprietary technologies. Niche markets will be discovered as competition increases. Brands continue to develop and launch their own OTT VOD platforms. Netflix and Amazon each sought market domination. They are both building competitive advantages through scalability, technology development, market reach, and content libraries. The companies that can outpace their competition will more than likely survive and thrive well through 2017.
Bonjour 2016! I look forward to 2017 and the emergence of new tech in the industry. Partnerships will prove profitable for those seeking streaming video growth. The big brands will continue to jockey for position. Viewers will demand quality and speed from content providers.
The adoption rate of reliable new technologies will continue.
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