e r y Rémi Beaudouin, who serves as the vice president of marketing for Ateme, a Paris-
based provider of technology to both broad-
cast operators and OTT providers, put the shift
fairly succinctly, in terms of what this article
“With an increase in these linear and on-
demand OTT services from both new and tra-
ditional broadcasters, competition is fierce,”
Beaudouin writes in an article in The Broadcast
Bridge. “The biggest selling point for such op-
erators is primarily the content catalogue they
can offer to consumers, but they must also con-
sider quality of service as essential.”
Lest anyone think the content arms race will
somehow slow down in the next few years, it’s
worth noting that Netflix, at least, doesn’t plan
to decelerate its push toward original content.
As recently as April 2018, CEO Reed Hastings
declared that his announcement in 2017 that
Netflix planned to spend $8 billion on original
content was not enough.
“[The $8 billion is] spread globally so it’s not
as much as it sounds,” Hastings told an audience
in Vancouver at a mid-April 2018 TED Talk, noting that, when it comes to choices about where
to spend money on original content, Netflix
looks both at what other studios are creating
(Amazon Prime Video will spend about $4.5 billion in 2018 on original content) as well as its
own internal viewership data about what people already watch.
“We’re metacognitive about quality,” said
Hastings. “That’s sort of our aspirational self. It
works out much better, to please people, to look
at the actual choices that they make.”
KEEPING THE SHIFT
FROM HITTING THE FAN
With this very real shift under-way, what are some key components of media delivery to be aware of over the
next 18 months?
There are a number of buzzwords in the
media industry today, ranging across inter-connected topics—from formats, resolutions,
and standards-based names to basic delivery
protocols—and we’ve only got a few thousand
words in which to tackle the topic.
So let’s spend the rest of this article highlighting important next-generation delivery approaches that we’re going to cover in more detail in future articles.
Encoding to Decode
The current state of codec dominance
seems to be a perennial discussion. Almost
as sure as there will be snow in Wisconsin
each winter, annual advancements in encoding technologies will make for significant uncertainties for content creators and content
We’ll not dwell on this topic of which codec
to choose, since fellow Streaming Media writers such as Jan Ozer and Dom Robinson have
covered key components (no pun) of the codec debates. Ozer has done several articles (as
well as a few interviews at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas earlier
in 2018) that delve into details around the Alliance for Open Media AV1 codec as well as the
newest licensing issues around High Efficiency
Video Coding (HEVC or H.265).
Robinson and I, on the other hand, have written and spoken around the topic of moving past
single-codec dependence. I wrote a guest blog
post recently on the Wowza Media Systems blog
titled “Do Codecs Really Matter?” (the short
answer is no, if you have a robust media server solution), and I remain a firm believer in the
power of innovation around perceptual quality optimization, content-aware encoding, and
even the more recent context-aware encoding, which centers on dynamically encoding
streams for the given device-network combina-tion(s) that a particular on-demand video asset
or live video stream will be played back on (see
Given the lead time of a typical magazine article, one thing is for certain: Regardless of what
we write here, the fluidity of the new codec-of-the-month approach to the market will render
our pontifications about codecs at least partially obsolete by the time you read this, so be
certain to keep up with StreamingMedia.com
for the latest on licensing, codec optimization,
and even the ever-present specter of Advanced
Video Coding (AVC or H.264) continuing to improve its baseline optimization for high frame
rate (HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) delivery of 1080p60 10-bit streams as a way for AVC
to stay relevant in the marketplace.
Where Do I Look?
In the world of immersive video, whether VR
or 360° video, there are several next-generation
approaches that seem to be gaining traction.