The number of OTT video subscribers are expected to surpass 650 million by 2021. Easy access to high-speed internet and affordable mobile devices are leading the exponential growth of the OTT industry. According to a report, millennials are watching more videos on smartphones than on television.
To tap into the booming OTT industry with high growth potential, several OTT service providers have entered with their unique offerings. Some of the big names including Disney, Apple, and AT&T are betting big on OTT video streaming services. As the industry matures, 2020 is going to be the game-changer for OTT services. While new technologies and services will continue to delight the consumer, businesses will leverage OTT in bigger applications to cater to a larger set audience.
Let us dive in and take a look at the top 10 leading OTT video streaming trends that are poised to transform the industry in 2020.
1. Enhanced Applications in Business
Businesses all over the world are now leveraging online video streaming to implement better and more effective marketing strategies for their brands. Webinars, explainer videos, demos, and product videos have become some of the efficient means to reach target customers easily.
However, now businesses are also leveraging OTT video platforms for different applications to boost their bottom lines by generating newer revenue streams. Virtual doctors, drive-through banking and online teachers on demand are some of the popular applications that are driving the latest trends in the OTT market.
One of the best implementations of OTT is in live customer support. Global businesses are now leveraging online video streaming services to assist their customers to troubleshoot services and product issues efficiently. The interactive nature of online video streaming is helping in delivering personalized customer experience.
It is also helping businesses reduce the cost of support as technicians are no longer required to stay present physically, at the client’s location.
2. Data Analytics to Promote Efficiencies
Businesses are creating gigantic volumes of first-party data through various consumer touchpoints. Mobile applications, video, audio, social media, and ongoing advertising are continuously generating heaps of unstructured data. However, the majority of businesses don’t have an efficient infrastructure to make sense of such data at scale through effective collection, onboarding, processing, and modeling.
Hence, traditional approaches have become inefficient and time-consuming in tackling data integration. For instance, OTT video service providers like Netflix and Hulu have enabled users to gain access to video content from any device and location. This generates consumer data in silos across multiple systems. Data extraction and integration from multiple sources have led to data mismatch challenges.
To overcome these challenges and create a true customer-first experience, OTT platforms are offering a reimagined data architecture that is capable of efficiently managing various data sources, creating customer profiles and enabling the delivery of personalized services at a maximum scale in real-time.
Media companies will be seen investing, to graduate from retrospective reporting behavior and event-driven activation. OTT businesses need to leverage data more smartly to derive automated actionable insights with data queries through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) models.
3. Internet of Things Video Streaming
Businesses from all quarters are already leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) for different applications. Some of its core applications include law enforcement, endoscopic surgeries, and manufacturing of various products amongst others.
However, with the availability of affordable IoT devices, businesses are now targeting consumer applications including home security systems, pet monitors and IP cameras, to name some. And with the emergence of connected home appliances and personal assistants, IoT is expanding its market presence and user base.
The application of IoT streaming is expected to rise exponentially for home monitoring, security systems and monitoring of warehouses/ businesses. The increasing availability of 5G enabled devices will further accelerate the adoption of IoT video streaming in both premium and emerging markets.
4. 5G Penetration
5G technology is on the verge of maturing. In 2019, the high-speed wireless internet was already rolled out in some parts of China, Japan, the USA, and Korea amongst others. Apart from these large deployments, more areas are expected to get 5G coverage in 2020.
With larger TV screens and laptops/ smartphones becoming capable of playing 4K videos, the demand for high-quality video content has increased astronomically in the last few years. HD videos have become the norm with viewers seeking UHD devices and content.
4K streaming requires the internet bandwidth of at least 25 Mbps of speed. For streaming 4K videos without buffering, you need an internet bandwidth of at least 50 Mbps. Only 5G can enable uninterrupted 4K streaming on mobile devices.
5G ready devices will easily render UHD content and increase the viewer experience manifold. The higher bitrate of 5G technology will deliver superior quality cost-efficiently. Faster bitrate will also reduce latency coupled with more capable 5G devices with higher computing abilities – with these the viewing experience will only get better on every screen. 5G will also ensure buffer-free streaming of UHD, HDR, and 4K content. The efficient online streaming of 8K videos, 360 live streaming, VR, AR, and personalized broadcasts will also become a reality with 5G.
5. AI Managing the Workflow
As per current OTT video streaming trends, online streaming businesses will leverage much more AI and ML to enhance their OTT streaming services. Machine learning is already leveraged to implement content-aware encoding to render videos more reliably. AI processing is being used to determine the most feasible video format before the start of every encoding to ensure high-quality content on all devices.
AI-based processing is also used for dynamic resolution games and comes powered with a dynamic frame rate configuration. It ensures efficient use of compression engines depending on the type of content to ensure the best possible quality every time.
OTT platforms will also increasingly leverage AI-assisted delivery and use data for dynamic rendering of the content. This will help players easily adapt to network conditions.
Hence, AI is helping OTT services become more adaptive and agile to the global marketplace. It is helping businesses compete with the fast-paced OTT video streaming market that is constantly evolving.
6. Mobile Devices will Rule Video Streaming
The transition of TV 3.0 is happening with video streaming platforms. Mobile phone video viewers are expected to surpass 179 million by the end of 2020 just in the US market. As per data from the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Bank, and the UN the number of mobile phone subscriptions has outgrown the global population.
With billions of mobile users, OTT video content consumption will continue to grow on mobile devices. Constant roll out of 5G services will act as a catalyst in the growth of viewers who will use only mobile phones for entertainment and other information consumption through OTT videos.
With affordable mobile devices and data subscriptions, smartphones are expected to take over television to video movies, TV shows, news, and sports amongst others. To support the mobile-only trend, a lot of businesses have rolled out highly functional mobile apps or mobile optimized websites.
7. Hybrid Delivery Will Become a Norm
OTT video platforms now deliver the same quality of videos as you would see in the traditional broadcast. However, broadcast networks are going to stay for a foreseeable future. It is because broadcast networks have a wider reach and they don’t face challenges of internet connection coverage.
However, broadcasts are not engaging especially for sporting events where OTT live streaming services have changed the status quo. Broadcast services are testing methods to leverage OTT platforms to make their broadcast more engaging and offer more value.
A combination of OTT broadcast to enable hybrid delivery can resolve this challenge efficiently. Apart from simplifying, it can facilitate mosaic, multi-stream, and multi-game apps. 2020 will see more innovation in this space to make hybrid delivery more efficient and reachable.
8. Labels as a Service (LAAS) on the Rise
Technology has now enabled artists to create their own virtual labels on several services. 2020 will see LAAS as one of the most popular video/ audio streaming trends of 2020. Artists can easily aggregate their tracks on an audio streaming platform and create a virtual label of their own. 2020 will see more enhanced management of audio streaming platforms with dedicated mentoring and support.
This will help in more efficient segregation of music to cater to a specific set of audiences. The focus will be to enhance the user experience further by recommending labels that users might like listening to.
9. Music Streaming will Take Over Radio
As per a recent report, Americans will listen more to online music streaming than traditional radio channels by more than 4 minutes on average. With lesser or no ads, total control of listening to any song from any device and that too at any point in time is fueling the trend of online music streaming.
Online music streaming is giving users easy access to the repository of millions of audio tracks without having to worry about storage space and security of data. And with no RJs and lengthy ad breaks, online music streaming is offering better user experience.
10. Innovative Monetization Techniques
According to a video developer report, more than one-third of broadcasters leverage subscription models to monetize video content. And OTT video viewers are finding it difficult to manage multiple subscriptions of different services.
To address this issue, OTT service providers are opting for the pay-per-view model and ads as an alternative to subscription monetization. Rolling out of bundled services of different subscriptions can also become one of the top OTT trends for 2020. A recent example is Disney+ which has bundled its video content of National Geographic and ESPN. The trend is likely to gain more momentum in 2020.
OTT streaming industry will witness brisk and sustainable growth in the near future. With emerging markets gaining faster access to smartphones and high-speed internet, millions of users are expected to sign up to OTT streaming services. However, the industry is also facing some challenges such as lack of 5G connectivity to online stream high-quality video content, constant pressure to produce unique content and compete with several small and big competitors.
While big players like Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix and Hulu are already enjoying a good subscriber base, the entry of other big players including Apple and Disney will intensify the competition further. It will also lead to greater market consolidation and production of world-class content by big players to stay competitive and most importantly relevant.
OTT viewers will become the biggest beneficiaries of all this evolution and market change.