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Brightcove Survey Highlights Mobile Streaming Delivery Confusion

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Many online video providers are unsure how to handle the complexities of smartphone and tablet delivery, complaining of a significant lack of monetization for mobile, set-top box, and gaming console efforts. These findings come from a survey on hosted video services (HVS) created by Brightcove and Unisphere Research.

 “We need to provide innovative ways to monetize this through advertising, as most users expect not to pay for the second screen,” one respondent commented.

Approximately 1000 online video professionals completed the 28-question survey, created and analyzed by Transitions, Inc. Almost 80 percent were from North America. Over one-third of respondents were content providers, followed by technology companies, agencies and consultants, resellers and system integrators, content aggregators, and pay TV operators. A high number of education, corporate training, government, healthcare, and religious institution professionals also took part.

Respondents tended to work for companies that deliver fewer than 100,000 or more than 1 million unique streams per month. That wide range is key to understanding the breadth and depth of the shift towards video hosting.

Hosted video services seem to work well for either those with modest or significant streaming needs. Analysis shows a dip in service uptake between 100,000 and 1 million unique streams per month.

One key challenge for nearly every industry segment is the lack of monetization for non-desktop video content.

Only 16 percent of respondents said their companies have realized at least a 50 percent monetization rate for mobile content delivery. Roughly half claimed they made no monetization effort for mobile. Some respondents (such as government agencies and non-profits) are not allowed to do so and others said non-standard subscription fees (such as college tuitions or sponsorships) covered their costs.

Those that monetize mobile video employ a variety of approaches, including subscriptions, ads, and sponsorships.

The results, however, show a clear gap in monetizing connected TV, over-the-top (OTT) devices, and gaming console streams. A full 8 out of 10 respondents said their companies have monetized less than 10 percent of connected TV and OTT streams, and 9 out of 10 monetized less than 10 percent of gaming console streams.

While monetization lags, the move to mobile has given companies an incentive to upgrade their streaming technologies.

“The overwhelming move to tablets/smartphones has given the impetus for us to upgrade to our adaptive stream approach,” one respondent commented. “The bonus is that any new device categories (smart watches, etc.) are already provided for.”

Another respondent agreed: “Mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) require different video formats than PCs, so that creates more complexity in both encoding and delivery and storage.”

That complexity drives the shift toward hosted video services.

The number one reason to choose an HVS, respondents said, is to provide multi-device delivery capability. Companies are re-examining internally-built delivery solutions.

Other critical HVS factors include player load times and a need for detailed analytics.

When asked about the challenges in choosing an HVS, cost was the biggest barrier. Other barriers include a lack of familiarity with HVS benefits or the advantages of using multiple HVS solutions for redundancy and scalability.

Additional insights can be found within the 17-page report, which is available for free download.

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