Video in 2014: going live and over the top

1Executive Summary

It has long been possible to stream live video over the internet, but limitations imposed by bandwidth constraints and the architecture of digital networks made it unfeasible at the scale needed for commercial broadcasting. New technical standards and other technologies are now being deployed, however, that can overcome many of those limitations. At the same time, new tools for monetizing live-streamed video are also becoming available, even as the imperative for broadcasters to exploit all available platforms grows. The convergence of those trends is setting the stage for rapid growth in large-scale live streaming over the next five years.

Among the developments highlighted in this report:

  • Rapid growth in the use of mobile devices for watching video, especially live sports,  promises significant upside for broadcasters and rights owners who can figure out how to stream their content to those devices;
  • New technical standards such as MPEG-DASH for streaming, H.265 for compression and LTE Mulitcast for broadcasting over wireless networks offering an opportunity to overcome many of the constraints on live streaming;
  • Middle-mile streaming service providers are harnessing the new standards, along with their proprietary technology stacks, to create end-to-end steaming platforms optimized for live events;
  • Dynamic ad insertion and new techniques for inserting ad cues in live streams are creating new monetization options for internet broadcasting just as broadcasters are facing new pressure from rising content costs to monetize all available platforms;
  • Expanding capacity for live streaming is creating opportunities for new types of live-event programming to find an audience, such as competitive video gaming, while older forms, such as professional wrestling and live music, are finding ways to expand their reach.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Gianluca Rasile/Thinkstock.

Relevant Analyst
Sweeting

Paul Sweeting

Principal Concurrent Media Strategies

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