It has been often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, then accordingly a moving picture is definitely worth a million words. This worth has made live video streaming a quintessential part of the internet for over two decades. The live streaming platform, as well as the services, have gained substantial attention and user base from across the globe for all industries. Now that the system is in place ongoing researches and developments are now focusing on creating more scalable, practical and zero coding platforms that can offer bespoke monetization options and state-of-the-art security for the content.
Streaming Vs. Downloading
Streaming is basically the technique of making multimedia content available to the user via the internet across demographics. It requires an insatiable appetite for internet bandwidth, ever-increasing user demand and media compression. Streaming enables easy and seamless access to multimedia content anywhere, anytime. During the streaming process, small data packets are buffered and there is no need to save the file on the local drive. This is highly dependent on internet bandwidth because low bandwidth can cause jerks in the streaming process.
Downloading is simply copying the entire data file (audio, video, text or image) into the local hard drive of the system, so the file can be executed at a later time without an internet connection. Although downloading a data file does require internet bandwidth.
Live video streaming has covered several milestones in recent years. The basic streaming categories are broadly divided into two subcategories – Live & On-demand. Live video streaming is simply an event delivered in real-time via the internet for e.g. a cricket match. On-demand video streaming pertains to digitally recorded content on server and streamed when requested by the user for e.g movies. Let’s analyze the streaming classifications in chronological order.
Client-server video streaming
The era of mid 90’s witnessed the intervention of client-server video streaming which largely focussed on design and implementation of fresh streaming protocols such as Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP). There were special media players that used the RTP to receive video streams via the internet from the servers.
P2P Video Streaming
Peer-to-Peer video streaming came into existence to cater to the accelerating user base. The streaming technique has effectively found usage in live video streaming as well as in on-demand video streaming. P2P was designed on the principle of, the hosts (peers) acting as a communication bridge between the servers as well as the clients. This was contrary to the traditional streaming form which had only the users who were consuming data from the streaming server. P2P streaming systems have successfully been in place and has served numerous video streams to users across the globe and with modest bandwidth consumption.
Cloud-based HTTP video streaming
P2P streaming protocols had one limitation, its users were required to download and install an application that supported these protocols. It was then decided that it would be a lot easier if the content could be streamed over the world wide web without using any third-party application, thus cloud-based video streaming was introduced.
HTTP based streaming divided the content into little data chunks that were downloaded using the protocol. Due to the ease of operation and convenience HTTP was widely accepted by the users and streaming servers hosted on cloud platforms. The present scenario only depicts the world wide acceptance and the complete migration to new age cloud computing. The rise of social media has also contributed extensively in popularising the cloud-based HTTP video streaming as the preferred medium to share and host video streams.
Values delivered by the OTT Live Streaming Platforms
Certain over-the-top live streaming platform have created an amalgam with finest technology combined with best video streaming services. These platforms have effectively addressed some of the major pain points in the industry, that are:
Increased reach – OTT platforms have disrupted the traditional TV viewing experience and has made the shift towards anytime, anywhere. This has exponentially maximized the reach of the advertisers to an unbelievable count. Prime time TV hours, which were once considered as an exclusive spot has been gradually losing its value. The advertisers who primarily targeted the limited user base during prime time have now shifted towards OTT.
Comprehensive video protection – Pirates in movies were always fun, however, piracy in content is NO fun. Several live streaming platforms have taken the security of the video to the next level with integrated blockchain technology. Blockchain technology has enabled digital watermarking which is a mark of trust and ensures complete video security. Blockchain utilizes smart contract technology which offers a host of other benefits to the OTT industry.
Revenue transformation – OTT live streaming platforms has greatly affected the revenues of the internet service providers in both developing as well as developed economies. One of the biggest reasons behind the emerging video streaming platforms such as Phando, is the improvement of network quality. This gives the user a lower latency and a seamless video streaming experience.
Leveraging data for maximum value – OTT video streaming has given birth to several opportunities and utilizing the data for value addition is one of them. Video streaming has expanded the reach of advertisers and has penetrated beyond a specified age and gender. Thus, the advertisers have created their personalized target list for curated promotions and on-demand content. The premium inventory has made it easier for the advertisers to segregate their user base and have custom monetization.
The rise of video streaming platforms was majorly ignited by the increasing user demand and subsequent availability of internet bandwidth in content distribution Networks (CDNs).
Although the video streaming industry is still nascent but it certainly has the largest potential when it comes to the distribution of media over the globe. This is the right time to leverage the potential and switch to the modern broadcasting technique and use it as a viable option for content marketing and promotion. OTT video streaming technologies have shown the power of agility and scalability of the internet.
Video streaming platforms have touched the entertainment industry as well as the education industry to broadcast a digital pool of talent. It has successfully enabled new business propositions for regional newsrooms, digital content creators, radio broadcasters and cinema premiers. The reach has been extended from traditional groups to new audience bases with deepened engagement and experience.
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