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Looking for OTT Commonalities, Conviva Finds a Range of Methods

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Video optimization company Conviva set out to create a study on OTT publisher commonalities and found something surprising: There aren't any.

While Conviva wanted to determine standard OTT procedures so it could define economic benchmarks and list best practices, it discovered over-the-top publishers use a variety of methods to stream video and ensure quality of experience (QoE).

Many publishers said determining the source of problems like re-buffering or stream failures was a difficult task, and automation or machine learning would be helpful in identifying the root of these issues.

QoE isn't typically a concern for young OTT publishers at any scale, the report finds, but as services mature they see the importance of meeting customer expectations for high reliability.

The delivery chain for IP video is more complicated than for broadcast, although consumers expect the same degree of quality on both. The typical OTT video delivery chain includes multiple origin services, ISPs, CDNs, and devices, with over 100 million combinations of possible issues. Video start failures, rebuffering, and pixilation are the key performance indicators publishers should watch.

To help the industry progress, trade groups like the Streaming Video Alliance should establish streaming experience standards to use as benchmarks, and publishers should share best practices with their peers, the report concludes.

“When we conceived of this study, we wanted to understand how much time and effort our customers put into monitoring and measuring the quality of their video delivery service versus their other operational costs," explains Ed Haslam, CMO at Conviva. "What we found is there is no commonality across the OTT businesses—both publishers and service providers—who were interviewed: Everyone seemed to employ different operational procedures and staffing levels. While that was incongruent, what was common across all interviewees was the need for help in the form of automation and artificial intelligence. The respondents all felt that AI could free up highly valued staff members' time to be able to accomplish more meaningful work.”

The report is based on research and analysis conducted this summer by strategy consultancy MTM. Download the full report for free (registration required).

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