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Early 2018 is a particularly dynamic time for codec development and deployment, and many streaming publishers are wondering whether to stand pat with H.264 or to start to experiment with VP9, HEVC, or even AV1. When Apple added HEVC to HLS in mid-2017, HEVC seemed like the frontrunner. Then, in January 2018, Apple joined the Alliance for Open Media, seemingly backing the AV1 codec, which is scheduled to be released in early 2018.

Which codecs will advance in 2018 and beyond, and which will fall by the wayside? To a great degree, this depends upon which codecs are deployed by streaming producers and when. A new report from Unisphere Research and Streaming Media magazine, and sponsored by Harmonic, reveals these intentions.

The new report, entitled The Impact of Apple’s HEVC Adoption: A Survey-Based Report, asks how quickly the over 600 respondents anticipate supporting HEVC in HLS, as well as their plans for VP9 and AV1. It also delves into the concerns each publisher has about each format, such as unknown royalty costs (HEVC) or uncertain performance parameters (AV1). Anyone seeking a snapshot of how codec deployments will play out over the next 12-18 months should download this free report.

The OTT Video Services is hot.  Right now, Hulu is nearing 12 million paid subscribers; Netflix has in excess of 75 million subscribers, and is available in almost 200 countries worldwide; and Amazon has almost 50 million Prime members, all of which have access to original and licensed video on-demand (VOD) OTT content as part of  their memberships.

And, beyond the “big 3” of OTT, there are hundreds of OTT providers, catering to various niches. Whether building a base of OTT subscribers around user-generated content (UGC), linear channel OTT as part of the “TV Everywhere” initiatives, or even live event OTT pay-per-view or event models, OTT providers serve the needs of viewers across the content spectrum.

Understanding that the agility of OTT providers to simultaneously look backward to gather best practices while also looking toward the future is what will enable their accelerated market growth, Unisphere Research and Streaming Media magazine have published a new survey report, titled “The OTT-Video Services Market—Today’s Trends and What is Next for 4K, HDR, HFR & VR.” Helping to assess the potential of OTT, the research, which was sponsored by Level 3 Communications, and crafted by Transitions, Inc., represents the views of 628 respondents who either consume or create OTT content and services.

Streaming Media magazine and Unisphere Research, along with Onstream Media Corp., and Transitions, Inc., set out to gauge trends in Large-Scale Webcasting (Large-Scale Webcast) and the impact of pricing on recurring webcasting usage.

Approximately 700 respondents completed this 34-question survey, with approximately 84% of respondents hailing from North America. Over half (56%) of survey respondents identified themselves as working for a company that produces live webcasts.

Respondents who work for companies that produce Large-Scale Webcasts were aware of the need to support smartphones and tablets. However, many of these same respondents noted that live webcasts are often viewed on a bigger screen than a smartphone or tablet: typical webcast viewing still including laptops, desktops, external monitors connected to a laptop, or even a set-top box or streaming dongle on a television.

This use of a bigger screen to view live webcasts was one of several surprise findings, perhaps due to the value placed on live webcast content. Pricing was also an area that attracted significant interest.

These details and more can be found in the free Large-Scale Webcasting Services report, available for download.

Streaming Media magazine and Unisphere Research, along with along with key sponsor and research partner Brightcove, surveyed a wide cross-section of media professionals on the challenges and benefits of using a hosted video service (HVS).

Titled "Hosted Video Services Survey and Analysis," the report is sponsored by Brightcove, produced by Unisphere Research, and crafted by Transitions Inc. The report analyzes responses from 992 Streaming Media magazine and readers on their use of HVS.

Key findings include continued growth in mobile consumption, especially from Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. This move to mobile has presented challenges for some respondents.

“Mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) require different video formats than PCs, so that creates more complexity in both encoding and delivery and storage,” one respondent stated.

In addition, Transitions noted that respondents tend to work for companies that either deliver less than 100,000 or more than 1 million unique streams of online content per month, meaning a wide gap exists in the use of HVS solutions, although those above 1 million streams tend to use multiple HVS partners to cover redundancy and scalability.

Finally, respondents rated multi-device delivery capability as their top need when it comes to using HVS, followed by a “need for speed” when it came to player load times, as well as a need for detailed analytics. The report is available at no charge.

Streaming Media magazine and Unisphere Research, along with key sponsor and research partner Level 3 Communications, set about to gauge the state of over-the top video delivery and the challenges and opportunities for global OTT service providers. Survey respondents weighed in on OTT growth, both today and in the near future.

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Nearly three-fourths of respondents see OTT as a viable revenue opportunity today. Even for those survey takers who indicated they’ve not yet moved to offer OTT services, there was a strong understanding that it’s no longer just a video-on-demand (VOD) play.
  • Additional responses indicate that offering both video-on-demand (VOD) and live-linear channels will be critical for OTT providers to entice new prospects and gain market share. This trend is a critical one. For existing OTT providers, offering a VOD service may not be enough to maintain, much less grow, market share.
  • Survey respondents highlighted the delivery protocols they currently support, and Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) was the clear winner at double the support of any other protocol.

Titled, “Over-the-Top Video Delivery—Challenges and Opportunities for Global OTT Service Providers,” the report is sponsored by Level 3 Communications, produced by Unisphere Research, and crafted by Transitions Inc. The report analyzes responses from 809 Streaming Media Magazine and readers on OTT trends and opportunities. The survey asked respondents to examine OTT from a variety of angles, ranging from business and technology challenges to the competitive challenges and revenue viability of offering OTT services.

There is no charge to download the full report. Simply register and download the report here.

Streaming Media magazine and Unisphere Research, along with key sponsor and research partner Akamai, set about to gauge the State of CDN Services. We asked survey respondents to provide details of both their viewing habits as well as their assessment of CDN services, both in terms of expected terabytes served and CDN features. 

Our research centered on industry experts, media engineers and executive management, so we asked questions that provided insight into both the actual and intended uses of CDN services.  We found three primary results: Our survey takers tend to be fragmented when it comes to primary media consumption devices, tend to work for companies that either deliver less than 1TB or more than 100TB of online content per month, and are almost equally concerned with pricing in CDN service models as with the need to maintain multi-screen delivery to existing and emerging media consumption devices.

Some key results of the study include:

  • Laptops are still the most dominant form-factor for primary online media consumption, and the combination of desktops and laptops still make up 46% of primary media consumption for our survey takers. Tablets (19%) barely eke out third place against the oldest media consumption device on the list: television ($18%).
  • A full 92% of respondents said that content quality is important or very important to their overall online viewing experience.
  • Multi-screen/multi-device delivery is far and away the number-one functionality that survey respondents look to their CDN provider to deliver on. 

Streaming Media magazine and Unisphere Research, along with Piksel, set about to gauge the State of the Second Screen. We asked survey respondents to provide us with details of both their viewing habits as well as their assessment of second-screen users, both in terms of expected viewing habits and key features for second-screen applications.

Most research into second-screen trends only accounts for the consumer’s point of view, but our research centered on industry experts, media engineers and executive management, providing insight into both the actual and intended uses of second-screen applications.

What we found was an industry that is a bit at odds with itself...

Download the full research report and analysis today

Click to view complete infographicOTT video is maturing towards a pay environment, with sustainable business models. Premium content delivery is becoming a more significant component of the overall online video business, thereby transitioning OTT delivery towards a pay-TV model. Obtaining broad content rights to stream video to multiple screens is felt to be a significant business growth obstacle.

These are some of the findings of a new survey of media industry executives, which sought to uncover their views on the current and future state of OTT video from inside the trenches.

Download the complete report to get more insights and analysis on this growing business segment, plus the Executive Summary by Dan Rayburn of