Streaming Focus: Less Latency, Larger Audience, Higher Ad Revenue
The video streaming market is projected to grow to $932.29 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 12.1%. As the industry grows, the provider and service provider, operators, enterprises, consumers and the entire video streaming ecosystem are becoming increasingly dependent on technological advances. What video innovations, trends and technologies are becoming the most important for video streaming?
Video streaming is becoming more scalable: Video service providers are using DASH and HLS as the primary formats for streaming video to Internet-connected consumer devices using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) delivery method.
Low latency transmission of DASH and HLS (eg LL-DASH and LL-HLS) has been around for several years and effectively reduces latency to less than 5 seconds. Prior to modern versions of DASH and HLS, delays ranged from 30 to 60 seconds, which can feel like an eternity, especially during interactive events or live streams.
Both methods transmit video data, dividing it into small independent fragments without overlap, this allows to play video in real time. As soon as the first pieces of the video are ready, they are sent to the players and devices. As more fragments become available, they are requested and played quickly, resulting in reduced latency.
One of the biggest barriers to implementing LL-DASH and LL-HLS is scalability, as more exchanges with edge caches are required. Successful LL-HLS requires four times as many request messages and an optimized content delivery network (CDN) infrastructure. Several major sporting events have already been broadcast to global audiences this year, including the Beijing Winter Games. During these events, the industry can test LL-DASH and LL-HLS on a large scale to see if these formats can improve the quality of streaming to a massive concurrent audience. The solution is to use a CDN to optimize LL-DASH and LL-HLS streaming. CDN segments can be cached at the edge to make it easier to scale the delivery network to a large number of viewers.
While other delivery protocols can be used along with HLS and DASH, interoperability between the protocols is critical to ensure reliability. The Common Media Application Format (CMAF) is designed to help video service providers maintain low latency.
Every aspect of the video streaming ecosystem, including CDNs, players, and encoders, must support CMAF. Moreover, the wide range of available devices - phones, tablets, STBs, smart TVs, game consoles and standards (native applications, HTML5, open source and proprietary) must ensure interoperability.
The 2022 Super Bowl was the most broadcast NFL game of all time, with a record 11.2 million viewers, according to NBCUniversal. This year's Winter Games in Beijing also set streaming records. NBCUniversal announced that 4.3 billion minutes were streamed on digital and social media.
Live broadcasts are popular among streaming audiences; however, spikes in views tend to put pressure on the video streaming ecosystem, especially when exclusive rights are reserved for one video streaming platform.
Multi-CDN is said to be used more frequently to improve the quality of service for live broadcasts. In addition, caching within ISP networks is expected to be used to eliminate bottlenecks. The Open Caching Specification, created by the Video Streaming Alliance, addresses this issue by streaming from local caches. To take advantage of local caching and scale traffic, video service providers need a robust cloud infrastructure. The deployment of 5G MEC (Mobile Edge Computing) is already happening today, but the CDN function requires multi-access edge computing residing on the fixed network.
Over the past few years, there has been a marked increase in views of ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) videos worldwide. The top four AVOD platforms in the US generated $3.5 billion in ad revenue in the 12 months leading up to September 2021.
As AVOD and FAST viewership grows, such platforms are expected to offer more and more original SVOD-like content, especially in international markets. They will also provide more premium live content, including professional sports. Moreover, consumer demand for personalization will force FAST services to tailor their lineups to viewer preferences.
Streaming video is evolving in leaps and bounds. We are seeing not only growing consumer demand for streaming, but also the emergence of premium and personalized content on AVOD and FAST channels, which is increasing and diversifying streaming service providers' revenue streams.
Consumers today expect exceptional QoE on every screen, and the industry is working to achieve this by improving ecosystem interoperability and using low-latency delivery formats and scalable edge caching.