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We're All Video Distributors Now

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You've heard the Streaming Media team talk about the State of Streaming surveys, which are a series of, well, surveys about, well, the state of our industry. Here's why those surveys matter, not just to data geeks like me and Michelle Fore, my lovely wife and principal data analyst at the Help Me Stream Research Foundation, but to the industry as a whole.

From the survey creation and analysis side, the State of Streaming surveys allow a look across four surveys in a 2-year period. We've had very few opportunities to gauge longitudinal industry growth (or decline) over the years, but the State of Streaming surveys occurred at a time when the entire world suddenly became streamers.

Here's a quick example: In each of the past four surveys, we asked respondents to tell us whether they create media, distribute media, or do both. In late 2019/early 2020, 46% of respondents said they both created and distributed media. Another 20% said they only distributed media, and 19% said they only created media.

Jump forward to late 2020, and the numbers had already shifted to reflect a growing number of respondents who both create and distribute media (65% versus 46%). Then jump ahead to late 2021 with our most recent survey, in which 73% of respondents said they both create and distribute media. As Michelle notes, that's an almost 60% increase. In addition, we saw a corresponding drop in those who only create media or only distribute media.

To cross-check the numbers, we compared the data to the percentage of respondents who told us they did neither. In the late 2019/early 2020 time frame, those who neither created nor distributed media accounted for 15% of all responses. That dropped to 8% of all responses in late 2020, and in late 2021, that number is well under 4% of all responses.

Here is another interesting topic: We asked respondents to essentially rank a number of market verticals that their organization provides services to, including education, houses of worship, video-on-demand (VOD) content, and sports. Two of those market verticals—education and houses of worship—continue to see growth, even into the last part of 2021. For instance, organizations providing educational streaming services grew from 61% in late 2019/early 2020 to 65% in late 2020, and now 70% of all organizations offer streaming services to educational institutions. The same pattern held for houses of worship, from 31% to 35% to a current rate of 43%.

Two other market verticals mentioned—sports and VOD content—fell off over the same period. It's curious to see VOD dropping away, but that's most likely due to the fact that live events and live-linear streaming have picked up considerably over the past 2 years.

Sports is a bit more of a conundrum. In late 2019/early 2020, we saw that 56% of respondents' organizations offered streaming services to the sports market vertical. In late 2020, we noticed that sports had dropped to 51% and called that out in the Autumn 2020 survey report as a trend to watch. Where does sports stand now? In the most recent survey, only 25% of respondents said their organizations offer streaming services in the sports market vertical.

[Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Streaming Media magazine under the title "We're All Distributors Now."]

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