The Trends in Video on Demand and Live Streaming 2020

According to an article from HBR (Harvard Business Review), Netflix, the streaming giant, expanded from one to 50 countries in only five years, and 140 more in just two additional years. 

How did they accomplish this? 

Netflix tailored its content, language, and prices to suit different audiences in different countries. For example, they knew that most of the streaming consumers in India had different interests and resources than the US market. Indians liked to see more Bollywood instead of more Hollywood, they had decent broadband speeds, and most people knew English. But countries such as Spain or Korea were different, not many people know English, but they have exceptional broadband speeds. 

So they had to adjust and expand slowly. 

Netflix’s strategic move marked a new competitive level. Providers that can’t give tailored content at ultra-low latency speeds are left behind. Today, streaming tendencies are diverging, from Video On Demand, live streaming, personal streaming, social streaming, video game streaming, and the list goes on.

The Trends in Video on Demand and Live Streaming. 

To learn about the direction that streaming is going, let’s see its two main branches, Video on Demand and Live Streaming — two concepts within the streaming domain, but with different functionality and purpose.

There are two common types of streaming, Video on Demand (VOD) such as Netflix and live streaming, such as Twitch…

The most popular streaming method today is the VOD with a subscription business model. With help from the cloud and home high-speed broadband, many online services offer online multimedia content on a monthly fee for people to access their media libraries. The most common here are Netflix, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. 

A new streaming field is also growing in popularity within VOD, for user-generated streams and shared media, with streaming platforms like Plex and Kodi. 

Live streaming online is also growing, especially across the entertainment industry, such as video games, sports, and music. Twitch is an example here for live streaming video games. 

Below are the four tendencies in streaming for 2020 and 2021.

  1. Tailored Targeted Content
  2. Buffer-free 4K with Ultra-low Latency. 
  3. User-generated and Shared Media. 
  4. Live streaming is becoming social.

1. Tailored and Targeted Content. 

According to an article form Blommerang, India is undergoing a streaming war. The country has inexpensive broadband Internet access, the well-established Bollywood film culture, and English as the second most popular language. India is the perfect place for a new streaming market, especially if content and prices are well adjusted to the vast audience.

How to tailor and target content? 

Intelligent algorithms based on AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) are already running though most of our standard everyday tools. From Google to Amazon, they would take our data to run it through learning algorithms and then give us personalized and targeted content. You might have seen this in action when you come across suggested movies, TV shows, or music. 

These intelligent algorithms are also helping personalize advertisements. With your “permission,” when you accept the infamous, “browsing cookies,” your browsing trends, videos watched, etc., will be logged and the data will be processed to give you personalized ads. 

2. Buffer-free 4K with Ultra-low Latency.  

Buffering video and poor quality are killers of good streaming services. Providers know this, so they are starting to use technologies and services to solve these problems. They are starting initiatives to bring the challenging 4K buffer-free streams, even to remote places on earth.

There has been a lot of effort from various parties to reach ultra-low latency streaming communication, from edge computing, fog computing, 5G networks, the new CMAF (Common Media Application Format), compression H.256 (HEVC), CDNs, and the list goes on. 

5G and CDNs will be key to provide seamless streaming. 

The introduction of ultra-low latency 5G communications will allow the streaming of VOD Netflix, Hulu, or HBO at high quality. It is also believed that 5G will make streaming highly accessible for mobile consumers, and it will even make immersive streaming possible. Of course with the proper encoding/transcoding or a universal format, multimedia will stream faster.

(Content Delivery Networks) CDN’s are a type of content proxy networks where streaming service providers can store content closer to the end-users. CDNs reduce geographical communication latency so that media can be streamed faster. CDN providers such as Akami and Amazon AWS are leaders in this market. 

Using 5G, along with CDN and edge computing, will make 4K streaming a reality. And 8k is also not far away. 

3. User-generated and Shared Media. 

Consumers are the ones demanding streaming music, movies, and TV shows. Many people know VOD that streaming leaders such as Netflix, HBO, Youtube in the video, and Pandora or Spotify in the music, will give them tailored content that suits large audiences.

But what Netflix can’t give is a chance to craft their own media library. This is called user-generated and personal media collection. Big streaming platforms such as Plex and Kodi, fall into this category. They are not so common in the consumer market because they don’t offer good multimedia content, but they are trending on the social streaming movement. 

Plex and Kodi allow users to build their own streaming libraries with their movie collection, personal videos and share them with their friends. For example, a Plex server can be installed on a VPS Seedbox, an online server made for multimedia, and movies/music can be accessed anywhere with any device.

4. Live Streaming is becoming social. 

Live streams have always been the norm for broadcasting significant sports events, live concerts, scientific conferences, etc. But when ordinary people started to live stream from social media platforms, ie., Instagram, Facebook, to interact with friends and family, the stream became social. It became an interactive process. 

Live broadcasters using social platforms boomed within the COVID-19 quarantines. The streaming + messaging platform also opened new opportunities for webcasting. Nowadays, people don’t need fancy video conferencing infrastructure; instead, having access to a social network platform and a decent Internet connection can provide countless opportunities for a business to gain exposure and visibility through webcasting. 

What has exploded lately within this category is video game live stream, through platforms such as Twitch. With this social platform, gamers can broadcast, interact, and share creative content with millions. 

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