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DLVR - Executive Predictions for 2018

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The transition of the global video industry from mostly television to mostly Internet will continue in 2018, which won’t surprise anyone. While it’s only beginning, we can all now see that this trend is unstoppable. Much less obvious, however, is the lack of readiness throughout the industry. The question for 2018 is how will Internet video perform under the pressure of this growing wave of viewers? 

The broadcast video tech stack has been meticulously standardized over 75 years, is well-understood at all working levels (including in the executive suite), is readily interoperable across equipment vendors, programming distributors, and content producers, and works so reliably that the audience almost never notices that it’s there. The magic of storytelling rests on this invisible, but rock-solid, foundation.

The same cannot be said of the Internet video tech stack. The Internet itself may be built on a long-standing set of standards – the first RFC was published in 1969 – but Internet video today is based on multiple, competing standards, all of which are very recent, some of which have multiple branches, and none of which are fully followed by every component maker. As anyone who works in Internet video can tell you, the parts don’t always fit easily and snugly together. The number of available alternatives is mirrored by the diversity of implementation approaches taken by content distributors and producers as each painstakingly assembles a nearly bespoke solution from the available component parts. And to top it off, it takes many companies working together to deliver an Internet video to a viewer – a hosting or cloud provider, a CDN, the user’s access network, and the user’s device manufacturer. What could go wrong?

In 2018, we expect to see an increased focus throughout the industry on developing an industrial-grade, Internet video tech stack that rivals today’s broadcast tech stack in consistently delivering high quality video experiences to audiences. 

This newer wave of internet video technology will be built on extensible software and networking platforms that rely on open APIs to easily interoperate and share data up and down the Internet video workflow. Customers will finally be able to understand not just what happened but why, fine-tune workflows, and provide new levels of self-healing and correction. The end result? Consistently great video viewing experiences for every viewer on every device. 

Mike Gordon


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