The streaming video era is upon us. The advent of streaming video technology is not only changing how traditional TV delivery is accomplished, it also is transforming business models, subscriber experience and content availability. It is creating a “video renaissance” for the broadcasting industry.
Why is streaming video technology transformative? What challenges does it solve? What problems may it create? What can I do about it? There are many questions, but one thing is for certain: We must find ways of enabling content to be consumed on not just the TV, but other devices and locations. Streaming video technologies make that possible and cost-effective.
Streaming video technology has not only enabled almost anyone to provide any type of content directly to the subscriber, it has given the ability to change how we view the subscriber.
Historically, the video industry developed business models around a “television household.” This lumped all individuals in the home into a single group, even though each had distinct viewing preferences, habits and purchasing power. Also, it was hard to break down the TV household because individuals shared televisions. Similarly, early in the streaming video era, content was primarily delivered to a PC. It, too, was a shared device, although typically used by one individual at a time.
As broadband speeds increased, new streaming technologies were invented. Quality increased, and new devices like tablets and smartphones became commonplace in the home. The TV household was finally broken down to represent individuals, all having their own device. At this point, this evolution enabled the industry to provide specific content to each individual in the home, parallel to communal viewing on the TV and PC. Furthermore, advancements with game consoles, new set-top boxes and Smart TVs have enabled streaming video content on the television. As an industry, we can now technically provide content to any device in most homes. Moreover, we can provide content to individuals or the household.
With these new capabilities, broadcasters, video service providers and content owners can tailor content and business models to each individual next to traditional video business models. As we build these new individualistic models, it assumes that we can gather information about how video is being consumed, the quality of the viewing experience and how it impacts subscriber behavior.
Intentional quality reduction
One of the biggest challenges streaming video solves is the ability to provide content to any device over nearly any network. One of the biggest problems created when streaming video is the intentional and unintentional reduction of quality due to limited network or device capabilities. In many cases, the cause and effect on the subscriber is unknown. This unknown must be measured in order to better understand what drives user behavior and how service can improve.
Not only do we need to measure and understand streaming service quality provided to the end user, we also need to ensure sourced video is high quality. If the source’s quality isn’t measured, then it is junk in and junk out, no matter how the video is encoded and sent over the streaming video network.