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Infographic: Next-Gen Video Formats

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When it comes to OTT video delivery, there seem to be several streams of thought on the best way to approach it.

One approach is what's often referred to as the "bread and butter" approach, where an online video platform or over-the-top (OTT) service provider offers up a basic video-on-demand (VOD) service in a semi-custom, white-label wrapper.

Another approach is to offer next-generation formats, including the most-talked-about video formats and services to attract the attention of marquee clients (or at least those bleeding-edge clients that want to push the streaming envelope).

The latter group will be most interested in a new infographic from Unisphere Research and Streaming Media titled "Next-Gen Video Formats." (Click the infographic at the bottom of this article to download a full-size PDF.)

Sponsored by Level 3 Communications, the infographic presents insights into three major video format trends that OTT decision makers are exploring today: virtual reality video streaming (VR video), market adoption of 4K displays and streaming delivery, and 1080p content delivered in high-dynamic-range (HDR) and displayed at high frame rates (HFR). The full research report is available for download.

Of all the next-generation video formats, HDR and HFR have the most mindshare as we enter the end of 2016. Almost 7 out of 10 respondents in the survey stated that they had plans to use HDR and/or HFR content delivery as a differentiator for their OTT service.

What was a bit more surprising, though, at least to an old streaming curmudgeon like myself, was the fact that VR video had significant mindshare. The survey was conducted several months before the Pokemon Go craze hit the United States, demonstrating the appeal of not only VR but also augmented reality (AR), but even then almost two-thirds of respondents from OTT service providers admitted that VR video was here to stay.

That's not to say that everyone agreed on the level of impact VR video would have on the streaming industry, as only a small portion of respondents thought it would dominate the industry. But the percentage was at least as high as those that dismissed VR video as a "non starter" like 3D TV was just a few short years ago.

In addition, for those that have taken the time to research VR video, the infographic shows a fairly consistent correlation between research and an active move towards producing or distributing VR video content. While only 5% of companies had launched a VR video content service at the time of the survey, almost a quarter of respondents were actively researching VR video options.

Finally, 4K video is also beginning to gain slow traction in the streaming marketplace, but interest is split across several key areas: VOD, live-event streaming, and traditional broadcast.

For those looking to broadcast 4K via over-the-air (OTA) or cable delivery, the lure of live-linear 4K delivery is also strong. That's in keeping with many TV Everywhere offerings in lower-resolution formats (720p, 1080p) that mirror the broadcast OTA equivalent with an online streaming offering.

How confident are we in the results and trends presented in the Next-Gen Video Formats infographic? Very confident.

The methodology used to gather the data behind the infographic and accompanying report is solid, and based on a tried-and-true formula that Unisphere Research has used for a number of large clients in both the relational database (RDMS) and streaming industries.

With Streaming Media’s large global online and print audience, the combination of Unisphere (unisphereresearch.com) and Streaming Media—both of which are owned by Information Today—offers a compelling way to conduct primary research into a variety of customizable topics and trends.

I've had the privilege of working on a number of these reports over the past two years, leveraging my years of business development research, survey questionnaire creation, and subsequent analysis work on the results.

While I've been blessed to do this work over the past quarter-century for major companies in the videoconferencing, media production, and streaming industries, each chance to help a client generate insight into emerging markets and potential products or services brings its own level of satisfaction.

The process is fairly straightforward, as explained by Thomas Hogan, Jr., president of Unisphere Research.

"Our clients assist in crafting the overall goals of the survey, but their sponsorship is not revealed when the survey is launched," says Hogan. "Instead, our team takes the overall goals under advisement, using those goals to craft the questions that aren't leading questions but still generate insightful responses."

Once the questions are completed and the survey launches, the Streaming Media team is able to leverage its massive industry database to generate interest among industry experts in taking the survey. (The chance for respondents to win a fabulous prize doesn't hurt either).

A few weeks later, when enough responses have been gathered to make the survey analysis statistically relevant, I gather the overall data, remove any obvious “I only answered to enter the prize-drawing” responses, and then use evaluative and analytical tools to drill down into trends of interest to both the sponsor and those who have taken the time to take the survey.

The resulting report, as well as any additional resources such as the infographic here, are generated and published jointly by Unisphere Research, Streaming Media, and the survey's sponsor. The report is made available to anyone who is willing to register and download it.

To download this and other Unisphere/Streaming Media research reports, visit streamingmedia.com/research. If your company is interested in sponsoring a custom survey and research report, contact Streaming Media publisher Joel Unickow at joel@streamingmedia.com.

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