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3 Reasons Video Technology Will Undergo a Sea Change in 2017
Think online video showed impressive growth in 2016? Well, prepare to be amazed. Here are the three cutting-edge technologies that will propel streaming video in the coming year.
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2016 was a watershed year for video: Live streaming changed the face of broadcasting, delivering breaking news over social feeds; Apple and Google made their browsers consistent with the desktop versions allowing native app publishers to auto-start video playback inline on the page; and Flash's continued depreciation was a positive sign for most. Additionally, 360/VR moved beyond the gaming realm as high-profile publishers experimented with immersive news reporting.

While 2016 moved the technology needle forward, expect a sea change in 2017. The following three advancements are the reason why.

The Return of the Mobile Web: Shifting From Native Apps to Progressive Web Apps

Around 2010, a huge shift in video saw publishers adopting native mobile apps instead of browser-based experiences. Everyone suddenly needed to have an app. However, the pendulum has swung back. Consumer trends show people installing fewer and fewer apps, spending the majority of their mobile time with the top five: YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. According to ComScore’s 2016 Mobile App Report, the audience for browser-based internet on mobile devices is almost three times the size of the app audience—and it's and growing twice as quickly.

The technology behind browser-based internet experiences, known as progressive web apps, is a hybrid of standard web pages with mobile applications that use features supported by most modern browsers. In the past years, web tech has caught up to native. Push notifications, autoplay video, and fluid animations are all available through mobile browsers. Add the fact that today's phones are even faster than the laptops of seven years ago, and this confluence of events has led media companies, in particular, to re-evaluate their app vs mobile web strategies.

In 2017, the majority of publishers will build their properties only once on HTML5, instead of three times on HTML5, Android, and iOS. Doing so saves money, time, and headaches, while also providing all the intrinsic benefits from web technologies: discovery through search and social networking, linking, and transparent app updates. Even better, there's no need to live and die by those dreaded app store submissions.

Header Bidding Extends to Video

Publishers and advertisers are always searching for new products that give them an edge. Publishers want to maximize ad revenue and advertisers want to optimize ad performance. In the last few years, header bidding has emerged as a solution that meets both parties’ needs. By using a programmatic technique publishers offer inventory (advertisements) to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously. Based on the bids, publishers then send information to the ad servers. By letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yield and make more money.

2017 will see new technologies advance that solve current header bidding issues such as complicated setups and latency. Server-side technologies will emerge that publishers can use to sell inventory on a per-impression basis, giving them more transparency, as will publisher integrations that simplify setup.

Machine Learning Boosts Content Discoverability

The ability of software to understand, digest, and learn through video images and metadata has seen drastic improvements in the past year. Machine learning, focusing on the construction and study of systems that learn from data to optimize performance, will evolve in 2017, improving publishers' ability to distribute relevant video content to viewers.

Machine learning in video is driven by a neural network that recognizes nearly any image and its relationships to other images, and it drastically improves a publisher's ability to understand viewer preferences and deliver relevant content. That, in turn, keeps users watching longer, leading to increased engagement and revenue.

By auto-generating high-quality video encodes, previews, and metadata, publishers improve content discovery and lift. In 2017, machine learning will match advertisements with online video content, and lead to new ways of organizing video collections and editing footage.

[Jeroen Wijering is the founder and head of product at JW Player. This is a vendor-contributed article. Streaming Media accepts contributed articles from vendors based solely on their value to our audience.]

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