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2017 Online Video Industry Predictions: An Introduction

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Predicting what’s to come is a tough one, isn’t it? Some people would say, “More of the same, Joel,” and what they mean by that is the same thing that happens every year in our industry—muddling toward standards, watchingvendors come and go (and seeing some lucky ones get acquired), and of course marveling at the genius of losing money with entertainment content (I’m looking at you, OTT). But I can’t think of a more exciting industry to be in. It’s amazing to see such a small group of very smart, very passionate people affect how so many people worldwide consume content, and the changes happen so incredibly fast. It’s a push industry, and it’s led by the technical—the super geeks, if you will. When I saw a contentious standing-room-only panel discussion about MPEG-DASH at Streaming Media West in November, it reminded me who’s really running the industry. So, yeah, more of the same, but I can’t wait for it.

While 2017 may not look that different for the online video industry from this bird’s-eye point of view, we can learn a lot about the future by looking at the past. The top-read articles on StreamingMedia.com in 2016 were actually articles from previous years:

  1. H.265: Here’s the Good News, the Bad News, and What to Expect”—from 2015, 56,307 page views in 2016 alone
  2. 10 Best Practices for Live Streaming Production”—from 2014, 42,005 page views in 2016
  3. What Is HLS (HTTP Live Streaming)?”—an oldie but a goodie from 2011, 37,797 page views in 2016

As for articles published in 2016, these took the top spots:

  1. Netflix Finds x265 20% More Efficient than VP9
  2. Comcast Hit With FCC Complaint Over Net Neutrality Violations
  3. A Progress Report: The Alliance for Open Media and the AV1 Codec

These are the most-read blog posts by Dan Rayburn, our resident analyst:

  1. The Adoption of 4K Streaming Will Be Stalled by Bandwidth, Not Hardware & Devices
  2. How Transit Works, What It Costs & Why It’s So Important
  3. Latest List of Vendors in the Content Delivery Ecosystem

Notice anything here? I really hope you do—with all the talk about fake news since the election, these are real, useful, technical discussions that play a serious role in how the job actually gets done. My prediction is that when you need to see the rubber meet the road, you’ll continue to use us. We’ll stick with what we know, and we have no plans to pretend to also be specialists in other areas like drones or what to watch on Netflix to try to get a quick traffic boost just to sell more ads.

Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen our site traffic increase by over 330%, and we’re serving up around 330,000 pages of content every month—all about the ecosystem of streaming. We don’t publish click-bait, and we haven’t changed our marketing or social strategy for advertising inventory gains.

So why the boost in traffic? There are more technical video jobs being filled out there than ever before, and that’s not going to slow down anytime soon. More companies in corporate America are building out their own studios than ever before. Enterprise video has always been a Streaming Media staple—it’s totally measurable; it’s not an eyeball game. What about education? Are you kidding me? Going beyond instantly learning which way to wrap the plumber’s tape when playing homeowner handyman, we are going to see a boom in accessibility of content for students of all levels, as the classroom continues to “flip.”

We’ll see more SVOD and some decent live OTT with record-breaking numbers—well, of course. But don’t get too excited just yet. That’s always been the problem with the frontier. It takes a lot of hard work to make things actually happen. There are patent issues, royalties, and a whole slew of arguments on the way to consensus. I, for one, am glad to see that competition is still driving the innovation that leads to change. The best news is that we can all come together at a Streaming Media conference and figure all this out, one algorithm, one pixel, and one patent at a time. Mi casa es su casa—please be a part of this community and be sure to send us your requests, feedback, critiques, and wish lists. Let’s make this another great year … together. I expect to see you at Streaming Media East in May. If you are reading this, you better be there, now shouldn’t you? Let’s get 2017 done.

See the rest of the 2017 Streaming Media Executive Predictions in the related articles below, or download the entire batch here.

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