When it comes to the future of streaming video, it never hurts to think big.
So it follows that a collection of big distributors, vendors and content providers that supply key components of the streaming video ecosystem are putting their collective weight behind the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), a group that will strive to create an open architecture for online video, establish benchmarks for video quality, and make a push toward product interoperability. It's stated mission is to "develop, publish and promote open standards, policies and best practices that allow the video streaming ecosystem to flourish."
The initial group of 17 companies that's backing the SVA includes several recognizable names from the pay-TV industry, including Comcast, Viacom, Charter Communications, EPIX and Liberty Global (see below for the SVA’s full list of founding members), though there are a couple major players from the online video world — Netflix and Google — that are noticeably absent.
While the SVA will focus architecture creation, best practices and make recommendations to standards organizations designed to facilitate the scaling of online video, the organization is “not looking to be a standards body,” Dan Rayburn, a founding member of the SVA and an executive at StreamingMedia.com, said. Rayburn said the SVA is starting to pore over pieces of the video ecosystem and expects to make some decisions by the early part of 2015 regarding which elements the organization will focus on first. Some potential candidates include best practices around metadata and 4K streaming.
Rayburn also expects that the SVA to announce additional members, including more content owners, in January.
SVA membership won’t be free. The organization also intends to publish its fee schedule early next year. And what of Netflix and Google and YouTube, which tend to do their own thing? Will they eventually join the SVA crew?
“We’ve had discussion with them,” said Rayburn, a recognized streaming video industry expert who is on board to help promote the organization and communicate its aims. “We’ve had conversations with pretty much all of the largest content owners you can think of.”
Rayburn said the SVA hopes to be successful because it’s not another organization made up of vendors talking to other vendors. “We have a fuller ecosystem,” he said, pointing to its collection of last mile operators, content delivery network providers, and content owners.
Here’s the initial membership slate of the Streaming Video Alliance, representing various parts of the ecosystem, including content distributors, last mile service providers, programmers and content players, Internet companies and video technology vendors:
-Fox Networks Group
-Level 3 Communications
-MLB Advanced Media
-Wowza Media Systems