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The State of Streaming Autumn 2020

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What impact has COVID-19 had on the streaming industry? That was the primary question that compelled Streaming Media, along with Unisphere Research, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and survey sponsor Zixi, to conduct a second State of Streaming survey in 2020.

The inaugural State of Streaming 2020 report, sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS), was released in mid-March 2020, before North America became overly familiar with lockdowns, isolation, and quarantine. That report covered industry best practices and 24-month projections from a pre-COVID 19 vantage point, while this most recent Zixi-sponsored version gleans details from industry experts after six months of pandemic-fueled business.

The State of Streaming 2020 Autumn survey garnered 277 quality responses. As the infographic below states, we were looking for “top trends in an industry in transition” that had occurred throughout the Spring and Summer months of 2020.

What we found is that streaming business overall is actually accelerating in growth. Respondents represented industries disparate as corporations, houses of worship, not-for-profits, and medical facilities—in addition to media & entertainment, of course—all embracing streaming in direct response to work-from-home and worship-from-home COVID-19 trends.

There were a few pockets of slowed growth, including professional sports and live events. But even those were only slowed for a few months, and the recent uptick in sports leagues over the past two months since the survey was closed for analysis means we could easily classify live sports streaming as delayed rather than shrinking in popularity.

In addition, while the mix of respondents was different between the spring and autumn surveys, the technical and business challenges, as well as organizational goals, were fairly consistent across the whole of 2020.

A few quick highlights from the State of Streaming 2020 Autumn report are noted below, but these only scratch the surface of details that can be gleaned by downloading the full report here.

One key finding is that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the movement of more streaming workflows to the cloud.

While cost might have been a compelling reason (the classic capex vs. opex dilemma), the number one reason that respondents noted for moving their workflows to the cloud is added flexibility. Respondents also told us that supporting a virtualized workforce and the ability to speed up time to market for new streaming solutions were key benefits of the types of software-based infrastructures provided by cloud platforms.

Speaking of software-based infrastructures, respondents also told us that the pandemic has only hastened the shift away from hardware-based infrastructures. The need to support a wide swath of workers outside of the traditional corporate work environment means that software-based solutions could be configured to accommodate work-from-home requirements but are also flexible enough to address hybrid home-office-and-corporate-office scenarios.

As a byproduct of software-based infrastructures, 85% of respondents told us that technology interoperability is important to their streaming business, and almost 60% of respondents deemed it as crucial.

Finally, when we asked about emerging technologies, such as 5G, we found that over half of respondents say that 5G will have a powerful impact on their future streaming strategies.

Download the full State of Streaming 2020 Autumn report here.

Click on the infographic for a full-size PDF.

State of Streaming Autumn Infographic

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