S03E09: Game of Streams (Recommended for you)
Our Media Solution Consultant, Magnus Svensson, is sharing his reflections from the online streaming industry in this post. This is part of a monthly series so make sure to follow us here if you don’t want to miss an episode.
Yet another IBC is over that brought more than 56 thousand attendees together, a slight increase from last year. As the last years, it passed without any big surprises. But as I usually say, if you get surprised at IBC you don’t keep up with the industry trends the rest of the year.
The IBC floor is full of vendors that on a slogan level offer very similar products and solutions. Even if the devil is in the details, I still believe that there are too many vendors in the streaming area fighting for the same customers. For every year, hall 14 is growing in size and it feels like it’s the hall “where it happens”. I’ve even seen discussions where the IBC organizers would like to spread the current hall 14 companies to other halls to avoid the concentration, which is by its own a clear sign where the industry is moving.
One big difference that I noticed this year was the willingness to align the streaming stack with standards and cooperation. More and more vendors are either open up their proprietary solutions or open up for standardization. This is really good as building a streaming solution today is way too complicated.
So, what was discussed on the floor then?
Low latency streaming is becoming a commodity and the trend moves towards standard solutions. My advice for the proprietary solutions for ultra-low latency would be to open their technology for more vendors.
Server-Side Ad Insertion is growing but is not coming without problems. Things that server-side stitching was supposed to solve has, in reality, provided other problems. Getting dynamic advertising to work on all devices is still a challenge that needs to be sorted.
High-Quality Video and Next Generation Audio will become more important as the competition increase. Before we even see 4K video in a large scale, we hear more and more around 8K. I’m not sure that we need that many more pixels, but the trend is clear: If you want to compete for the eyeballs, you need to come with high quality.
Maybe the hottest topics at this year’s show, remote production, and contribution techniques. The amount of content that is being produced push the vendors to make remote production possible and more stable ways to get content distributed. I heard comments on the floor that the current bottlenecks for creating more originals are human skills and hardware such as cameras.
How do I find what I didn’t know I wanted to watch?
Someone once said, “Before acting on any recommendation, know the rationale”. This statement is true also for television and video. The huge amount of content that is available, and about to come, will not make it easier to find what to watch. And honestly, I still haven’t seen a recommendation engine or service that can help me.
Netflix and others brought us on-demand content and a new behavior when it comes to television. The broadcasters and traditional TV channels try to fight this with OTT services that more or less mimic the linear broadcast channels. I believe that the future is somewhere in between, a curated but still personal content flow. A lean-back TV experience without fixed channel schedules or spending hours to search for content.
Use the advantages that come with the streaming technology to create playlists, either personal based on previously watched content or curated by people that you trust. Spotify’s personalized playlists are one of its most used features and maybe the main reason why users choose Spotify and don’t change to a Spotify competitor.
Please give me playlists also for television!
To watch out for the coming months…
Not that far away, the 7th of November, we have Streaming Tech Sweden coming up for the fourth year. The agenda this year will cover an educational session around contribution formats over the Internet, serverless media processing, the new VVC codec, next generation audio, video player optimizations and much more. This is an event that you don’t want to miss, and tickets are now for sale.
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Consultant and partner at Eyevinn Technology. Eyevinn Technology is the leading independent consultant firm specializing in video technology and media distribution.