The global OTT devices and services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.6 percent between 2016 and 2020, according to the latest report from Research and Markets. In Western Europe, in particular, Parks Associates found that OTT video usage is expanding, with 55 percent of UK broadband households and 51 percent in France watching TV programming and movies online.
As OTT video consumption continues to rise, video quality is becoming increasingly important. One in five viewers will abandon poor experiences immediately, regardless of genre. Given the explosion in OTT viewing and significance of high video quality, 2017 could be the year that content providers stop depending on pay-TV operators in terms of whether or not they’re able to guarantee quality of service (QoS) for subscribers.
Traditionally content providers have relied upon a CDN as a service to make content available to viewers through the internet. However, everything does not always run smoothly once the video leaves the content provider’s premises.
The good news
So what’s the solution? The good news is that solutions do exist for content providers to take control, and they’re not only limited to big players. Content providers don’t need to follow in the footsteps of Google and Apple and build their own CDN to deliver a better quality of experience (QoE) to customers. Through a combination of CDN selection, local cache, and origin server technologies, they can effectively gain control over the delivery of their video content and optimize it.
The origin server is a key component in the OTT delivery chain, packaging content together in multiple adaptive bitrate formats. Having the capability to process content on-the-?y, upon user requests, content providers can significantly reduce their storage space requirements as well as support advanced recording capabilities for cloud-PVR, catch-up TV, and network time-shifting applications to increase monetization.
Hosting an origin server also gives content providers the freedom to choose any DRM for content protection – which is important in the OTT multiscreen world. In addition, they can work with several CDN as a service providers.
By now, most of us understand that when it comes to CDNs, one is not always the best choice for all content delivery scenarios. Using a CDN selection tool, content providers can dynamically gain insight into the instantaneous quality of several CDNs and make immediate, intelligent, and automated decisions depending on the context of various networks, subscribers, and their devices. Taking into account parameters such as geographical area, QoS, and price, content providers can successfully balance traffic between multiple CDNs to boost QoE and reduce video delivery expenses.
On top of this, content providers can combine several CDNs at the same time for video delivery, without introducing any overhead or requesting the same piece of content more than once. End-users experience better quality than what could be reached with a single CDN, even if it was the best one.
We anticipate that content providers will start deploying local caches directly into telecom or cable operators’ networks, where the most popular content is stored.Streaming content from a location closer to end-users dramatically reduces latency and network congestion, resulting in higher video bitrates, faster start times, and uninterrupted viewing sessions. Local caches can be used to deliver both live and on-demand content.
Considering that popular content can represent over 80 percent of the video traffic, caching at the ISP level substantially reduces CDN service costs.
To conclude, viewers have a lot of choices today. Delivering a superior QoE and QoS is a key way that content providers differentiate themselves in the marketplace, retain viewers’ attention, and generate revenue. Of course, this task isn’t necessarily easy.
Next year will be the year that content providers seize control of this situation to provide a better QoE to customers and control costs, especially those related to CDN services. It will be accomplished using a range of technologies, from CDN selector tools to local caches and origin servers.
Jacques Le Mancq is president and CEO of Broadpeak.