S02E02: Game of Streams (Streaming made simple)
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.
The Olympics is over in PyeongChang and the early reports show that viewing in total is down compared to previous years. In Sweden, the time difference has, of course, played a big factor, but I believe that the main reason is the huge amount of other options that exist, and that competes with the viewers time. As a consumer, you are overwhelmed with options and new streaming solutions.
The options with 4K and HDR have however so far been limited. Last year, I had my hopes that the Olympics would have been the trigger for wider 4K and HDR TV adoption. But it seems that I need to wait some more, as at least in Sweden we didn’t have any 4K options for the Olympics, and in other countries only provided limited 4K support.
I still believe that sports will be the Trojan horse for 4K HDR, but I’m afraid that I need to wait beyond this summer’s soccer world championship as well before we see a wider adoption of 4K and HDR. Recently, I and my company arranged a 4K/HDR meetup and it’s clear that the industry is interested, but waiting, as the standards and market are still very confusing. The investments still don’t justify the quality gains.
Mergers, consolidation and Directly to consumer
The Danish telecom operator TDC first reported that a merge was agreed with Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) including the television station Viasat and other entertainment assets from MTG. But a couple of days later TDC was approached by a group of Danish pension funds and Macquarie Group and it dropped its bid. What will happen now is still held in the dark.
The trend continues where content owners go direct to consumers. As communicated earlier, Formula 1 will launch their own streaming service, and more details have now been communicated. It, for example, stated that this will be their biggest investment in its digital transformation to date.
The F1 fans will get commercial-free live streams of each race with multi-language commentary as well as exclusive access to driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. The service will have unique feeds not available on any other platform with the capability of multi-level personalization.
Content is more king than ever, and content owners will increasingly try to monetize their content going direct to consumer.
As I have written a couple of times before, online streaming could be more than “just” SVOD services and simulcast streams of linear channels. At Eyevinn we have been working on a concept that we internally have called M(AI)TV, or server-less OTT only TV Channel Playout. This is basically a service that creates a personal linear channel with content that you like. Based on pre-ingested videos, or live events, we create packaging of content designed for the laid-back viewer.
In order to make this cost efficient we have done this completely server-less. This makes the solution scalable based on number of users, and the only if no-one is watching is storage. This could be very valuable for content owners to further monetize their content and attract new subscribers, subscribers that sometimes would like to be entertained without active selections.
Today the order of videos is selected randomly, but the next step would be to add an AI engine to make more intelligent selection. The implementation also includes basic ad-insertion.
Our proof-of-concept proves that it doesn’t need to be expensive and complicated to create a server-less TV channel with distribution over the internet.
If you are interested and would like to know more, just let me know, me and my colleagues are happy to share our experience around this. You can see the result of our prototype at https://tv.eyevinn.technology/
To watch out for the coming months…
I expect that we will see an AV1 bit stream freeze during March. This would form an important statement just before the big media and technology exhibition in Las Vegas beginning of April. We might also see the first commercial products with support for AV1, though with limited support. I realize that we’re quite far away for a commercial usage of AV1, but I believe that AV1 will be one of the future codecs.
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.
Follow me on Twitter (@svensson00) and LinkedIn for regular updates and news.