11 Audio/Video Streaming Trends for 2020

Audio and video streaming has surpassed all other forms of media in terms of online consumption. Its growth has been a result of the combination of many factors, including internet penetration, the growing number of smartphone users, and the development of new video and audio streaming platform technologies. 

According to the latest statistics, video streaming will contribute up to 82% of online traffic in 2022. Many contributing factors have led to an increase in the popularity of streaming. This includes:

  • Video accessibility
  • Increased video quality
  • Faster internet speeds

If you want to make the most of streaming technology, it is essential to know about the latest trends in this industry.

So what are some of the key audio/video streaming trends for 2020 that you should know about?

1. Mobile Becomes the Preferred Channel

Mobile has become an even bigger medium for video delivery compared to television. One of the reasons is the growth in the delivery of broadband/LTE services by mobile carriers. Besides, there is a growing number of partnerships between mobile networks and streaming services. Such video/audio streaming platform partnerships trigger increased content consumption because of the incentives offered to the consumer.

Cable TV subscription has shown a dramatic decline in recent years. This trend is expected to keep growing as mobile channels can benefit from content subsidies and bundling.

2. Live Streaming Grows on Social Media

In the beginning, live streaming could not build a strong foundation on social media. This was because it was as a non-interactive creation. But live streaming has changed in 2020:

  • Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks now provide 2-way live streaming interaction
  • Certain messaging apps allow people to interact with news broadcasters in real-time
  • This has led to significant increase in the popularity of live streaming, both among people and organizations
  • This provides an excellent advertising strategy, allowing you to send information to your targeted audience without having to rely on a third-party

The dramatic increase in the number of mobile device users is considered to be the main force driving the growing popularity of live streaming. This technology allows you to present your business and products in a better way. It also helps in improving the end-user experience.

You should consider the following statistics related to live streaming and social media platforms:

  • 81% of marketers used Facebook Live for marketing
  • 74% of marketers used Instagram
  • 70% used YouTube for marketing

3. Growth of OTT

Over the Top (OTT) media services have shown dramatic growth. There are many reasons behind this growth, but the most important one is that such services provide subscribers with instant access, without any limitations, to original and high-quality content. Some of the popular OTT platforms include:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • HBO

The first instance of original programming began with Netflix. This encouraged other services to develop their original content. This eventually led to a significant increase in the demand for original programing at the global scale. 

Today, the younger generation is the largest consumer group in this segment. And this segment is much more interested in selecting streaming platforms with an emphasis on original content. It was original programming that triggered the demand for subscriber interactions. This interaction now takes place more often in the form of debates around the most popular shows.

OTT platforms continue to evolve at a fast pace. Interestingly, the quality of the services keeps improving at a staggering rate. These platforms are now focused on providing original and high-quality content. And this strategy has worked for them as more and more users are moving to online video channels.

  • Many OTT services are entering into partnerships with mobile carriers to increase their market share
  • Some of the models used for monetizing content include subscription and ad-based video on demand
  • Netflix is at the top with the largest budget on content creation

4. Music Streaming takes the place of Radio

There is some misconception that it was video that reduced the popularity of Radio. However, the fact is that it was music streaming that did it. Music has been the biggest of streaming trends and it has especially caught up with the younger audiences.

The young enjoy streaming music more compared to the Radio. There are good reasons why this is so. 

  • Music streaming is just about music and nothing else. There are no ads and DJs.
  • Instead of requesting songs, you can have your preferred tracks streamed instantly.
  • You can choose from tens of millions of tracks and play music on any device

Studies show that among younger audiences, in the age group of 16 to 19, 39% like to listen to Radio for music. However, 56% prefer using YouTube to listen to their favorite music track. On the other hand, podcasts seem to be drawing the older audiences. What this means is that the younger generation is less likely to move to radio music. 

5. Internet of Things (IoT) & Wearables

Google Glass comes with streaming technology embedded into a pair of glasses. The new generation of video-enabled wearable technology is a big streaming trend. The technology is finding an increasing amount of application in sectors like manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics. 

Google Glass allows users to work and collaborate with other users remotely. It is a voice-based, video and audio streaming platform that makes use of augmented reality (AR) for showing modern data in the vision periphery. It also integrates with Google apps. 

Even Apple has been working on AR-based glasses. One such device from the brand is capable of showing nutritional information when the user visits a grocery store. It can display relevant information based on the where the user is located.

Streaming-based IoT continues to play an important role in the healthcare sector. This refers to both wearable and other systems. There are medical facilities where surgery rooms are equipped with integrated streaming systems. This helps in improving surgical processes and patient care. 

Doctors can use such technologies to conduct minimally invasive surgeries and reduce recovery times. Some of the examples of procedures where streaming is used include:

  • Robotic surgery
  • Endoscopy
  • Laparoscopy

The advent of 5G is expected to expand these capabilities further and take them beyond the surgery room. The healthcare sector can see increase in the number of users of wearable devices for various functions.

6. Artificial Intelligence

New developments in artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to help revolutionize live streaming. Interestingly, there are no limitations on how AI and streaming can work together. It has been established that AI can create more effective and efficient methods of encoding, organizing, and distributing streaming data.

Computer vision refers to machines being able to identify things and automating tasks. Previously, such tasks could be completed only with the help of human intervention. This technology has also proven to be helpful in dealing with potential issues in the live streaming space.

AI and machine learning (ML) will provide better results in areas of:

  • Streamlining encoding workflows
  • Personalized viewer experience
  • Management of content products & distribution

AI can detect cues in videos to automate live video production such as recording, graphic overlays, and more. Live video can get automatically streamed when a certain person or voice is detected in frame. Such technology can help in tracking indexed moving objects and focusing on them. Once streamed, the system can generate and upload highlights of the event, automatically, according to cues like lighting and applause. 

AI is now also capable of regulation of unauthorized content. It can do this by detecting copyrighted content. It can also be used for encoding streaming media with more efficiency. Both machine learning and AI are going to play an important role in applications such as per-title encoding.

7. The Advent of 5G

Many of the trends mentioned above, especially AR, AI, and wearable technologies depend on very fast internet connectivity. This is where 5G and edge computing is going to play a big role. According to reports, more than 1.4 billion mobile devices will connect through 5G in the next 3 years. So 5G is going to be the next big trend that is going to take these technologies and video and audio streaming platform to the next level.

There is more to 5G than increasing the speed and reliability of connectivity.

  • 5G is expected to bring about significant changes in how devices get connected to each other and the internet
  • As the network rolls out, it is going to impact all technologies that rely on wireless connectivity
  • It is going to lower latency and improve energy efficiency (battery) for streaming systems
  • It can help expand use cases through the removal of barriers to deployment of streaming technologies
  • When combined with edge computing, it can make reliable self-driving cars a reality

Both edge computing and 5G are closely connected. Edge computing enhances data storage and computation capabilities to match the high speed of 5G. Streaming technologies can benefit from faster response times and saved bandwidth.

5G has the potential to transmit data at almost 10 times the speed of 4G. So its benefits are also expected to be seen in music streaming. Amazon’s Music HD audio streaming platform was a major release. It brought lossless audio streaming and downloads to users in a few countries. It is expected that this service would take this niche technology to the mainstream. 5G will make it possible to easily consume high-fidelity music streams. 

It is also expected that 5G will make it easier to live stream concerts and music videos. AR, VR, and hologram shows are expected to grow in their reach to the audiences with faster connectivity. 5G is also expected to enable new innovations in the areas of live concerts and advanced personal devices.

8. Higher-Resolution Streaming

Advanced data compression is another new trend in video and audio streaming platform. It is expected to improve quality. The improvements in compression technology have made it possible to create video streaming from 480p a decade ago to 1080p today. 4K broadcasts are next and it is expected that 8K will be the next horizon.

  • 4K refers to the resolution or the pixels on a screen
  • 4,000 pixels will be spread across the width of the screen when 4K video is streamed
  • It is equivalent to 4 times the resolution of a 1080p video
  • 8K resolution will be twice the resolution of 4K videos

4K streaming is already here, but 8K-capable cameras and screens will take some time to reach the market at a large scale. 8K live streaming can create a lot of lag. However, it is expected that this year 8K streaming is going to enter the early phase.

The transition from 4K to 8K streaming is important. The modern viewer expects streamed content to be of the highest quality. Studies show that the quality of the video is the most important factor in the list of user experience priorities. 8K is going to address this growing demand. It is also expected that higher frame rates will appear this year.

9. Smart Speakers

Smart speakers are going to revolutionize audio streaming platform. The new generation is going to have audio integrated into their life. They are going to voice their queries and needs and will expect quick responses from a wide range of voice-enabled devices. 

New smart speakers will no longer be restricted to basic tasks like setting reminders, alarms, or checking weather. They will be used for streaming music and interaction. For example, such audio streaming platform can find its application in the news media domain. Users will be able to ask questions and they will be provided with information and links.

It is expected that advertisers are also going to move to these streaming devices. For example, more than 63% of marketers are going to increase their budget for podcast advertising. 

Podcasts have a highly intimate and personal touch to them. This means that the audience they will be targeting is going to be highly receptive. This channel is nowhere near as cluttered as other mediums and offers a high level of engagement.

It is worth knowing that there are now easy ways to avoid audio ads. This can mean that digital audio may work as a solution for marketers to overcome the ad-blocking challenge.

Another new trend will be Radio following podcasting. Digital technology has allowed the development of niche-focused radio stations. This year, you can see many newer audio channels propping up. And smart speaker makers will have to focus on improving their products’ functionality.

10. Remote Live Video Production

Remote production will be increasingly used in producing live video content. This will involve the transmission of both live video and audio signals over IP. This can help organizations in reducing costs in producing live events. Audio and video will be transmitted and produced over a network. The type of organizations that can benefit from such video and audio streaming platform include:

  • Media
  • Corporations
  • Event producers
  • Educational institutes

Remote video production is valued for being secure, scalable, and cost-effective. It is expected that more live broadcasting firms will switch to the remote video production model. This can help in optimizing and streamlining live production workflows. This will allow firms to get the desired results with the help of a small team instead of a large production crew. The signals can be transmitted through an IP infrastructure. Live production could be managed remotely from a fully-equipped production facility.

11. Artist Promotions

Both audio streaming platform and labels are focused on providing a wider range of services to music artists. For example, a recent artist analytics app provides both artists and managers access to information. This app is known as Universal Music Artists and it allows users to access data from popular streaming services and social media. It shows YouTube views and other demographics-based data. Spotify began with the trend of providing artists with information on their audiences, UMG and Apple Music are taking this to the next level.

It is expected that streaming is going to become the most widely used technologies in 2020 and beyond. It may have begun as a medium for entertainment, but today it has expanded into key business areas. Currently, video and audio streaming platform rule this space. live video streaming services are evolving at a fast pace. 

Live streaming has become a valuable technology for many businesses. These companies are using it successfully to promote their products, services, and brand. Social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram have significantly improved their live streaming capabilities. This has made it easier for buyers and sellers to interact with each other.  Similarly, messaging apps have also made it easier for businesses and their audiences to communicate with each other in real-time. However, streaming is not just limited to video. It has also benefited the music industry in a big way. Many audio streaming platform have reduced the influence of Radio, especially among the younger audiences. This is because such platforms offer all the positives of Radio without its negatives.


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