The following is a guest post by Chris Knowlton, VP and Streaming Industry Evangelist at Wowza Media Systems, a Microsoft Azure partner.
When I first started working on streaming media products in 1999, my co-workers and I were convinced that online video was going to be big someday. Fueled in large part by mainstream successes within the last decade by pioneers such as YouTube and Netflix, few would argue that online video ubiquity is spreading across the globe and that "someday" has arrived.
What are the big trends we see as we go into 2015? There will be many advances with specific new technologies, such as HTML5 streaming, HEVC (H.265), 4K, and MPEG-DASH. In general, those technologies will help fuel some broader changes already ramping up in the market. Here are five such market trends to watch in 2015:
- Increasing adoption of cloud video infrastructures. Many businesses now stream video from Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, and cloud deployments are only accelerating. When building a cloud-based video workflow, more companies can quickly launch their video streaming using third-party servers, scale up and down as needs change, and only pay for what they use. New cloud marketplaces and video platform-as-a-service offerings will be doing more of the heavy lifting, making it even easier to get started with cost-effective and flexible cloud-based video delivery in 2015.
- Content owners bypassing the distributors. Young adults are increasingly likely to either stop paying for TV services or to have never had them in the first place. To ensure they reach this growing audience, HBO and CBS have already announced plans to make streaming content available directly to viewers, and other broadcasters have announced they may follow suit. For content owners like these, there are clear benefits to a direct customer relationship, including recurring subscription fees and highly targeted advertising. Look for more content owners to go direct to viewers, bypassing the slower-paced telcos and cable companies and their expensive subscription bundles.
- Live streaming growing fast. If you thought live content was dead in the age of the DVR, think again. Events such as the 2014 Olympic Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup demonstrated that there is huge demand for watching compelling live content, anywhere and on any device. It's not just about sports, though; audiences are flocking to live online events for the immediacy, interactivity, and social aspects they provide. Examples include online video gaming (Twitch.tv), live concert events (TourGigs), and shared experiences with casts of favorite TV shows (Showcaster). As costs fall, reach extends to larger audiences, and ease of deployment increases, more and more live broadcasters and viewers will be tuning into the power of "now."
- Mobile video consumption multiplying. Online video delivery to mobile devices will show big gains in 2015. We see more companies deploying mobile video streaming solutions for their employees and customers every day, mirroring recent industry reports. With HD-capable mobile device proliferation, connectivity, and streaming quality increasing all the time, this trend shows no signs of slowing.
- The flipped classroom becomes real. Online video has been growing as a primary tool for distance learning, and now it's picking up more speed within education for a second reason. Flipped classroom experiences allow teachers to assign lecture videos to be watched outside the classroom, allowing them to spend more quality group and individual time with students in the classroom and resulting in positive learning results. There's a long-term multiplier effect here, too: As these students enter the workforce, they'll be taking expectations for these new modes of video learning and consumption with them to their employers.
To learn more about how to stream video using Wowza Streaming Engine media server software and Microsoft Azure together, click here.