S01E08: Game of Streams (A fragmented streaming world)
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.
No one could have missed the announcement that Disney withdraws its content from Netflix and will start their own streaming service. The streaming service will be built on the technology from BAMTech where they acquired a majority stake.
This was only the beginning of announcements during August. A couple of days later Facebook announced the launch of the “Watch” feature. Watch will contain short-form videos and include names as NASA, NBA, and National Geographic.
Just recently Viacom announced that they will launch Paramount+ in the Nordic region, planned for October 1. This will not, at least to begin with, be a new stand-alone streaming service, Viacom will make the service available via distribution partners.
We have also seen that Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are in negotiations regarding a deal that will allow Apple and Comcast to offer audiences digital versions of movies two weeks after their theatre releases.
And it’s not only movies and SVOD services that have seen movement. The fight for streaming rights to major sports events has seen some new players, more on this later.
The debate has started, will this make the streaming world fragmented with many individual services, all with its own subscription model? Much of the signs so far point in this direction, which will make the TV landing page with content discovery even more important. And Artificial Intelligence will play an important role in this.
Is online streaming ready for the fight?
AI media management
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gained ground in a lot of different areas, media is not an exception. With AI, it will be possible to make content discovery more intelligent and personalized. The TV landing page will learn your behavior and make suggestions based on that. Looking at the fragmented world of streaming services it could also help you keep track of subscriptions, stopping subscriptions not used and start new when needed.
But content discovery, with or without intelligence, needs detailed and correct metadata to work efficiently. Also in this area, we could get help from Artificial Intelligence. The use of AI could dramatically improve media-asset–management (MAM). Face recognition, the ability to identify objects, translation services, text-to-speech are only some examples that can be used when creating metadata.
We could have MAM systems that can automatically create metadata for live events, including the creation of highlights and clips. With this we could, similar to personalized advertising, have personalized replays and highlights during sports events.
The gloves are off when it comes to sports
As stated above, it’s not only for movies where we see announcements of new streaming services. As part of the Disney SVOD announcement, we also learned that they will start a new ESPN standalone streaming service. The service will be based on BAMTech technology and include Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports.
CBS has announced that it will launch a 24/7 live-streaming sports service and will also expand availability to Canada. Turner, that has acquired the rights to soccer’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, will offer this through a new stand-alone direct-to-consumer streaming platform as sports.
Streaming rights to major sports events have always been expensive and hard to get. But we have a new kid on the block, at least for Europe, that has started to gain ground. Amazon Prime has not only won the UK rights to the ATP World Tour from Sky, Amazon has also secured additional sports in Europe through a deal with Discovery Networks International. This will allow Amazon to stream Eurosport premium live HD sports in Germany and Austria.
I see this as the way to get Amazon Prime successful also in Europe
But will online streaming be ready for the fight
Scalability is still a big problem for the streaming technology. Just lately we’ve seen headlines that the streaming of the Mayweather-McGregor fight. The streaming infrastructure is just not there yet to be able to handle large scale events.
You could compare streaming technology with traditional pay-TV systems as we compared mobile telephony to the traditional fixed lines 20 years ago. You expect the same quality and reliability, but you normally don’t take into consideration the benefits that the new technology brings.
It will take a few years until we can trust the streaming technology to be as stable as linear TV today. We need to keep scalability and resilience as the top priority when building streaming solutions.
To watch out for the coming months…
IBC in Amsterdam will be held mid-September and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s new in the industry. The September issue of Game of Streams will include some of the news found at IBC.
Streaming Tech Sweden 2107 will be held 22nd of November. Hybrid CDN, Server-side Ad Insertion, Low-latency Streaming and AV1 vs HEVC are some of the topics that will be covered this year.
Secure your early bird ticket at: https://www.streamingtech.se
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Consultant and partner at Eyevinn Technology. A Swedish consultancy company specialized in streaming, VR, and gaming.
Follow me on Twitter (@svensson00) for regular updates and news.