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March 16, 2011

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Importance of the OTT Video Ecosystem

Last year I wrote about the growing importance of HTTP Live Streaming at IBC. It was pointed out to us that although adaptive rate streaming was gaining in importance, it was “ridiculously low” in terms of relevance when considering its potential to transform our industry, Things have certainly changed in the last six months.

  • Cord-cutting may be still a much debated statistic, but is in fact a competitive threat to traditional pay-TV services, particularly with younger generations. This threat grows with the quality of services that can be delivered over unmanaged networks and the variety of devices that can be used to display high quality video services.
  • Progressive operators are finding ways to add OTT services to their subscription packages. IMS Research forecasts that in 2016, OTT services delivered via pay-TV set-top boxes will generate $436 million in worldwide operator revenues.
  • Innovation among television technology suppliers has far from run its course. New announcements from digital systems vendors appear every day, creating momentum for strong partner ecosystems that can provide operators with the advanced capability they seek, but with options and flexibility for deployment.

We are seeing this support largely for the standard of HTTP Live Streaming (as opposed to the proprietary HTTP Dynamic Streaming from Adobe and Microsoft’s Smooth Streaming) mainly because of its open standards-based approach, including the definition of a standardized stream encryption mechanism for live and on-demand content.

The natural effect of a standards-based protocol and growing technology support is of course a more cost-efficient platform, making HTTP Live Streaming ideal for the kind of large-scale services that these progressive operators want to add to their line up. However, we recognize that we are still in the early days of developing the business environment for adaptive rate streaming and OTT video services – which is why we are organizing the Capitalizing on OTT Breakfast Forum the morning of March 22 just down from the IP&TV World Forum conference that starts that same day. We are bringing together industry leaders from Harmonic, RealNetworks, AwoX, Minerva Networks and Heavy Reading to discuss revenue optimization strategies for OTT services to multiple devices. These companies are far from the only strong contributors to the momentum in this space, but do represent distinct elements of the overall value chain. And as such are able to illustrate very effectively the growing body of both product and expertise that can be brought to bear on this new market. The point here is not to talk about where the industry is currently positioned in regards to OTT video, but to illustrate a vital and growing phenomenon that will shape the next phase of industry development – the integration of these new delivery mechanisms within an existing managed network service. The presenters will be discussing specific technology decisions operators need to make when building an integrated OTT platform. With the ability to secure OTT video, operators are also provided a platform to deliver – and more directly monetize – their existing and future premium content. This event is for broadcasters and network operators that are evaluating adaptive rate streaming technology in order to expand their service umbrella. Not only will you have access to these industry leaders, they will provide a preview and focus of what’s most important at the IP&TV World Forum conference. Skip the queue the morning of the show and attend our free OTT breakfast forum. You won’t be disappointed. Plus you can enjoy delicious bacon sarnies to start your day! RealNetworks Harmonic Minerva Networks AwoX

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