End to End Workflows Are Need of the Hour for Content Companies

Aug 17, 2015

Online streaming is complex, and its parameters can change at a faster pace than companies can roll out platform support. As one example, the relative volume of video consumed on portable devices such as smart phones and tablets has more than quadrupled over the last two years. However, much of this is consumed over Wi-Fi - not true mobile networks, as was once expected. In terms of streaming formats, Flash once dominated the scene but today is a nearly archaic format - presently HLS and HDS playing key roles. Silverlight is nearing end of life, DASH is the format of choice moving forward, and HTML5 right around the corner. Uncertainties with HEVC persist, HDR is the new buzzword for 4K and HD content alike, and VP9/VP10 continue to tease from the sidelines.

This constant disruption of technical workflows creates difficult challenges for content companies to grapple with. Soaring volumes, fluctuating requirements and elusive monetization are a tough combination to handle in a financially sustainable manner. It is hard enough for tier-1 companies who have significant internal expertise and sizeable technology budgets. It is impossible for smaller or less sophisticated content companies.

It is thus imperative for technology vendors to step up to the challenge of solving the hard problems of integration, technology evolution, secure cross-platform delivery and online video monetization on behalf of content companies. As we talked about extensively in our recent Streaming Media East presentation (http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/218/2015SMEast-C201.pdf), the future is bright for those who are able to deliver business-enabling, monetization-focused, solutions. For the rest, ASPs will continue to erode and profits will continue to diminish, unless they are one of the very select few who can continuously push the bar on R&D.

As we crossed the U.S. on our 2015 strategy tour last week, we continued to emphasize this strategic imperative to our clients. A real danger facing traditional vendors in this market is that their customers will figure out the end to end solution before the vendors do, and in doing so will become market-leading vendors themselves. A shining example of this trend is MLBAM, who now counts not only leading sports franchises but also HBO among its clientele. Smaller telcos like Frontier are reselling U-Verse, and several MSOs are throwing in the towel on proprietary solution to license Comcast's XFinity platform instead. Even as we were talking to this trend, iStreamPlanet announced its acquisition by Turner Broadcasting. Many traditional vendors have questioned our enthusiastic forecasts for the M&E Video Transcoder Market (http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=NDE4-01-00-00-00). Our explanation that growth comes not only from traditional sales but also from cloud-based deployments and growing sales to OVPs (http://www.frost.com/sublib/display-report.do?id=ND40-01-00-00-00) and broadcasters often catches them by surprise. Changes underway in the video landscape today are poised to dramatically change the way business will be conducted, and vendors will need to adapt their strategies in tandem (build, buy or partner) to continue to thrive.

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Avni Rambhia


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