Streaming video changes everyone's game

13 Apr 2015

You might have to ask your parents, but there was a time when home video didn’t exist. In those pre-Instagram days, the TV set was a bulky cathode-ray-tube monitor connected to an antenna that received broadcast television. If you wanted a richer experience, you went to the cinema and watched a motion picture.

VHS changed the dynamic, but once things went digital, the paradigm shifted. Nowadays you can fire up YouTube and find just about anything, including videos that feature VHS artifacts - twentieth century videotape glitches reproduced with 21st century tech.

But the rise and evolution of streaming video over the past few years has kickstarted a greater paradigm shift beyond YouTube’s original value proposition of snackable user-generated video. And there are more tectonic evolutions yet to come. Welcome to the world of next-generation television.

Give the audience what it wants

“The biggest trend behind the rise of streaming video is the shift in the expectations of the audience,” says Christopher Slaughter, CEO of CASBAA. “They want to watch the content that they want, now, and they don’t want limitations on what device they watch it on, or what day or date they get to watch it.”

There are many factors in that shift of expectations, but the biggest one is probably the global nature of the Internet and its ability to break down barriers, says Slaughter.

“Previously, viewers in Asia didn’t know about programs made in the US or Europe until they saw them on-air here in the region. Now, because of the ongoing borderless connectivity provided by the Internet, they’re part of a global conversation.”

A major contributor to this trend, says Nils Kleemann, head of mobile broadband, Asia Pacific, at Nokia Networks, is the mobility aspect.

“With the improved experiences provided by mobile connectivity, mobile technologies like LTE, consumers tend to use their smartphones or tablets as their primary screen - which makes the demand for streaming services even stronger as these devices typically do not access traditional broadcasting,” he says. “It’s almost a perfect storm: more flexibility and availability on the preferred devices are driving consumers towards video streaming and pushing the industry players to take action.”

And don’t forget set-top boxes, says Warren Chaisatien, networked society evangelist for Southeast Asia & Oceania, and head of marketing for Australia & New Zealand, at Ericsson. He cites the rising ubiquity of capable devices, including large screens like Internet TVs, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, and dedicated streaming devices such as Roku, AppleTV and Chromecast.

“[Customers want] improved quality of experience [as delivered by] new technologies: 4K, HTML5, HEVC (H.265) and MPEG-DASH,” he says. “[Also] personalization - consumers pick and choose what they want to see, when and how they want to see it. This includes social media interaction and personalized ads.”

Chaisatien also highlights “more affordable broadband connections, both fixed and mobile, making it possible for consumers to view long video sessions” and “cloud video infrastructure adoption, which allows content owners to offer video streaming in a cost-effective and scalable manner via third-party infrastructure-as-a-service providers.”

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