Eric Armstrong

By: Eric Armstrong on November 28th, 2017

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OTT Innovation Is Heating Up

OTT is one of the biggest technology trends in the pay-TV environment right now. Global OTT revenues will more than double between 2016 and 2022, driven by the success of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), according to a new study from Digital TV Research. The study claims that online TV episode and movie rentals will grow from $37 billion in 2016 to $83 billion in 2022, with $9 billion added in 2017 alone.

The consumer demand for OTT is blazing hot, but there are a few questions on the mind of every operator. A few of the concerns we commonly hear from customers are:

“How do I monetize value-added services?”
“What’s the best way to deliver a superior quality of experience (QoE)?”
“How do I scale OTT?”

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

Show me the money

In the OTT world, monetizing new capabilities is critical. Service providers want to increase revenue, and we are starting to see that happen through advanced features like network PVR, targeted ad insertion and UHD-HDR. For video content and service providers looking to make the transition to UHD-HDR, it’s best to choose an end-to-end workflow solution. This will help to streamline operations and cut down on costs.

Live time-shift TV and VOD are other avenues that OTT service providers can explore for additional revenue. By implementing on-the-fly packaging capabilities and broad support for streaming formats (i.e., HLS, DASH, MSS, RTMP) from the cloud, service providers can package together video content with ads and ensure they’re future-proof.

Quality matters!

Today’s viewers expect the same level of quality for OTT as traditional broadcast services. One way that service providers have tried boosting QoE for OTT services is by lowering the profile (i.e. lower resolution and bitrate). However, this approach can decrease video quality, especially if it requires using very low resolution profiles. How do we resolve this issue? New content-aware compression solutions have been demonstrated that reduce bandwidth by a significant amount (50 percent!) for live streaming while improving QoE. We think that advancements in video compression, cloud and analytics technology will be key in helping operators to deliver a better QoE than what exists today, with lower latency, which is a requirement today for live events.

Scale up and down easy with the cloud

Service providers, especially in the OTT space, have matured their knowledge and comfort level regarding cloud and SaaS technologies during the last year, with most starting to make investments in these areas.

Traditional hardware-defined video architectures are costly to deploy and maintain, exceedingly complex and don’t scale easily. Cloud-native solutions have emerged as a way for operators to launch broadcast and OTT services in a matter of hours, not months. Media processing can be scaled up or down as needed.

Harmonic recently demonstrated its end-to-end UHD-HDR workflow, EyeQ™ video compression, and VOS™ Cloud and VOS 360 SaaS solutions at IBC2017, addressing these three important needs for service providers in the OTT environment.

For more insight into how Harmonic is leading OTT innovation, visit our OTT Solutions page.

– Eric Armstrong, Vice President of SaaS Solutions at Harmonic