Tuesday Webinar – Learn How To Deliver Video Globally & Manage Locally

Tomorrow (Dec. 2nd) at 9am ET, I’ll be moderating another StreamingMedia.com webinar, this time on the topic of, “Deliver Video Globally, Manage Locally.” As global video consumption brings us closer, content owners and distributors are aggressively attempting to reach more audiences in new geographies. However, these same content owners and distributors must grapple with the requirements to manage content at a local level due to content rights, device limitations, different network conditions and government regulations.

The technologies and solutions to manage these needs are complex and broad. Companies need to consider specific rights requirements, delivery methods and device playback as the major parts of a solution. Those parts then require tools that run the gamut of rules such as creative licenses, video expiration dates, video quality, release windows, security, DRM, geoblocking, advertising rights, IP address verification, multiple languages and user authentication.

Join Akamai and Kaltura as they present the integrated solution and examples that allow media companies and broadcasters to deliver content globally while creating personalised experiences for these audiences as well as maintaining controls adhering to local terms. You can sign up for the webinar for free and bring your questions for the Q&A portion of the event.

Streaming Media West Conference Presentations Now Online

IMG_3037Thanks to everyone who made it out to the Streaming Media West show in Huntington Beach last week. We had packed rooms, hands-on workshops, great how-to sessions and tons of data and information was shared by speakers. The beer garden and networking events were a bit hit and we’ll be back at the same venue for next year’s event. Most of the presentations from the event can now be found online, on the day 1 and day 2 program pages. We’re working on getting all of the videos online and expect them to be up around December 1st. If you need any post show help, please reach out to me at anytime.

Video Transcoding Market Growing 20%, SaaS & Cloud Based Offerings 3x That

Frost and Sullivan has just released its comprehensive analysis of the media and entertainment video transcoders market and not surprisingly, one of the key findings is that software and the cloud are quickly reshaping future design choices in this once hardware-centric industry. Cloud considerations are playing a strong role in influencing product roadmaps and investment decisions for vendors and customers alike.

This is a significant shift in an industry that was once very much hardware-centric, and where even software has only recently gained widespread market trust. While cloud-based transcoding has traditionally been the domain of smaller start-ups and focused on lower value media such as user generated content, the past two years have seen a surge of professional-grade, high-reliability applications. This has been driven by operator need to cope with exploding content volumes and growing QoE expectations on the one hand, and vendor ability to deliver falling costs coupled with improved automation and reliability on the other. (see our quantitative findings here)

The overall M&E video transcoding market is forecast to grow at a healthy 20% CAGR, but revenues derived from SaaS and cloud-based offerings are expected to grow at more than thrice this rate. Accordingly, transcoder vendors who have not done so already urgently need to build, buy or partner to add credible and competitive cloud-based aspects to their product lines.

Accordingly, we have seen a number of quiet deals made in recent months. Harmonic, a leading vendor in the space who won much of their early advantage on the strength of hardware appliances, was the lead investor in Encoding.com’s recently announced $3.5M Series B round. Other recent significant transactions include:

  • Haivision acquired Kulabyte, lending a much-needed cloud angle to their traditionally hardware-based business
  • Brightcove acquired Zencoder at an ambitious valuation, emphasizing the importance of the role cloud-based transcoding plays in OTT video
  • Wowza acquired Camfoo and leveraged this to release a cloud-based transcoder plug-in to an enthusiastic client base
  • Verizon acquired Uplynk who brought considerable experience and expertise in cloud-based workflows to the table
  • Microsoft is closely partnered with iStreamPlanet, who provides – among other components – high density cloud-based transcoding capability
  • Ericsson partnered with Elemental to offer a broader choice across software and cloud form factors to its customers

Many other key vendors have diversified organically into the cloud. Envivio has been a long-time provider of cloud-based live transcoding functionality which complements its encoding and transcoding appliances. Digital Rapids (acquired by Imagine Communications earlier this year) built their cloud-based automated workflow platform Kayak in anticipation of a shift away from hardware and fixed components towards reconfigurable and software-defined architectures. Imagine Communications, the re-imagined (no pun intended) Harris Broadcast, has been a highly vocal proponent of software and cloud-based workflows in the past year, aggressively moving away from a siloed hardware approach towards a far more open, and far more future-proof, architecture. Elemental announced a cloud-based product this year, and Telestream is facilitating hybrid and cloud-based deployments of its enterprise-grade workflow platform.

While the M&E community has been more aggressively growing on the cloud front, the enterprise community is slowly but surely catching up as well. Longtime market leader VBrick has made several forays into the cloud this year, and Haivision is aggressively embracing cloud as part of its global growth strategy. Preliminary results from our upcoming analysis of the Enterprise Video Encoders and Transcoders Market are currently available to subscribers; the full study is scheduled for publication in December. The rate of adoption of the cloud (whether in private data centers, via Infrastructure as a Service or through Software as a Service) is lower on the enterprise side than on the media and entertainment side, but is is poised to grow steadily nonetheless.

For additional details on Frost & Sullivan’s multiple reports on the video transcoding market, you can contact Avni Rambhia, the lead analyst on the reports.

Content Owners, ISPs & Vendors Form New Streaming Video Alliance

SVA2While some companies compete with one another in the online video market, there is also a desire amongst many of them to work together to create best practices, architecture guidelines and standards across the entire online video ecosystem. With that goal in mind, a new alliance has been formed amongst content owners, distributors, vendors and ISPs called the Streaming Video Alliance. As one of the founding members, I join an amazing group of companies that share the same goal of wanting to see streaming flourish including: Alcatel-Lucent, Charter Communications, Cisco, Comcast, EPIX, Fox Networks Group, Korea Telecom, Level 3 Communications, Liberty Global, Limelight Networks, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Qwilt, Telecom Italia, Telstra, Ustream, Wowza Media Systems and Yahoo.

Our mission statement is to develop, publish and promote open standards, policies and best practices that allow the video streaming ecosystem to grow. We’re not a standards or policy body and our goal isn’t to influence regulators but rather to foster collaboration and promote operational and technical best practices throughout the streaming video ecosystem. In the New Year the Streaming Video Alliance will publish specific topics we plan to address, but some of our goals include:

  • Establish and promote an open architecture standard for streaming content delivery to allow economic and architectural scaling
  • Foster collaboration and promote operational and technical best practices throughout the streaming video ecosystem
  • Define a standard practice for quality measurement, optimization and reporting for the consumer experience
  • Maintain an open stance with the industry – publish and promote deliverables quickly and broadly

The Streaming Video Alliance is still in the process of electing officers but many founding members of the alliance have already been meeting and discussing our goals over the last year. Membership in the SVA is open to companies, organizations and individuals who share our vision for stronger collaboration across the ecosystem. The SVA has some work to do before we’ll be ready to accept general membership applications, but we already have a long list of some really smart people who want to help contribute to the SVA’s work. If you’re interested in getting more details on joining, contact me or fill out the form on the website and one of the founding members will be in touch.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we look forward to working with others on collaborating, accelerating innovation and redefining the way online video is streamed across mobile and fixed networks to consumers worldwide.

Pay TV Sports Unbundling Goes Mainstream: Verizon Now Offering, Internet, HBO, Showtime, Netflix For $60 Month

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 7.50.42 PMVerizon has just announced a new Internet and Pay TV package that they are advertising as “The Package Built for Streaming” and for those who don’t need sports, it will be a great deal. New customers can get 50/50 Internet, FiOS TV Local package, HBO, Showtime, Netflix and pay $59.99 a month (tax and fees not included). The Netflix subscription is only for one year, but the rest of the Verizon package is locked in for two years at that price. Included with the local TV package is CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, WGN, WWOR, WLNY, WPIX, Telemundo, PBS and some other local channels based on where you live. Verizon says 61 channels in total are included, 14 of them in HD. The Netflix portion of the offer expires 1/19/15 and it takes 45 days after you are a Verizon customer to get your Netflix code.

For some who complain they don’t need so many channels, and don’t care about live sports programming, it’s hard to beat this deal. Verizon isn’t the only one to offer non-sports packages, my Mom recently removed all sports channels from her Cablevision package and saved $15 a month, but it wasn’t advertised to her and I had to tell her to ask. With Verizon’s new offering now being mainstream, it’s a clear sign that cable TV providers are now willing to unbundle certain types of content from their packages to try to have an offering suited for anyone thinking about getting rid of pay TV. This is the most change we have seen from the cable TV providers in a long time and it’s clear they are realizing they need to adapt and be flexible in today’s market where consumers have lots of other content options besides just cable TV.