By- Sowmya Gogineni
Newbie but a quick learner!

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Sowmya Gogineni

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OTT STREAMING – DEFINING THE FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT

Technology


Being a 90s kid, the only source of entertainment in those days were TV and movie theatres. The tv audience could not choose because the channels were limited to a handful with interesting content limited to primetime, with movies limited to 2 each week.

But now, because of the entry of OTT (Over the Top) streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney Hotstar, and many others, the idea of entertainment has changed completely. The variety is plenty, and the content in various languages and genres is readily available at the click of a button. During the COVID-19 lockdown, OTT streaming platforms have entertained many people with smart TVs or internet-connected TVs. Live streams and web series have been a constant source of entertainment.

How is streaming different from downloading?

If the client sends a copy of the whole content file to the viewer in a single go, which he can view at his convenience, it is called Download. Streaming means having the content stored in a client-server. These servers are usually in a remote place and distributed to the viewers through many more servers. The content is sent in tiny chunks or blocks of data to view. Hence streaming can be termed as unlimited live or recorded content available in real-time.


Nowadays, the demand for OTT streaming has increased because one doesn't have to wait to view the content of his choice and the availability of high-speed internet at low prices.

Challenges faced by the OTT streaming platform payers in India:

  1. This industry requires a lot of investment, and profits are obtained only by retaining the subscribers who pay for the service.
  2. The industry players need to change their strategies accordingly from time to time to thrive.
  3. All the players are tapping on the same restricted subscriber market (who pay for the service). Not just the major global players like Netflix, Amazon, and Hotstar, but many new local production houses have started their own OTT platforms like SonyLIV, Hulu, and Zee5. As a result, competition has increased.
  4. The local government bodies regulate the content on OTT. To follow the regulations, the quality of the content may have to be compromised.

How is the present technology being used in OTT streaming platforms? 

82% of data on the internet accounts for the streaming content. Let us see how the technology helps improve the viewing experience of this streaming content.

  • Data Automation:- With this technology, our recommendations are much appropriate, and the content is much more personalized.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI):- AI is a trendsetter in all industries. Streaming makes intelligent choices using repetitive searches of its subscribers with AI.
  • Cloud-based technology:- Rather than investing in high-cost traditional data centers, the industry is currently exploring a cloud-based technology called CDNs(Content Delivery Networks). These CDNs act as data centers that distribute the content to other locations. It reduces the traffic and the time to deliver the content to the viewers.

Future of the OTT streaming platforms? 

There was a 123% increase in the subscriptions for Amazon and Netflix when the lockdown started in February 2020.



 



With the current technology, the streaming industry is seeing tremendous growth, especially during 2020. The future looks very bright with many path-breaking technologies that are coming up. 

Here are the new developments that we will see in the future OTT streaming industry

The advent of 5G networks: This industry will benefit the most from the 5G networks. These high-speed networks are much faster than the current 4G networks. Because of this, the viewers will enjoy high-quality videos with much lesser delays at a low cost in the future.

Content-Aware Encoding: Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, OTT streaming platforms will be able to use Content-Aware Encoding (CAE) video compression to provide a high-quality video within less bandwidth. It can create a lower resolution video that changes to a higher resolution video on the client device. The increase in quality while using less bandwidth will increase the number of subscriptions too.

Multiple CDNs: The currently used CDNs may not always perform consistently and have what we call outages. Hence, by shifting to Multi CDNs, these platforms can use more than 1 CDN during outages. They will fetch the content from the best performing CDN to provide quality content without causing delay to the viewer.

Technology to create dubbed content: Nowadays, demand has increased for content other than English. So the OTT players are planning to use new technologies to keep dubbed content ready with the original language content. It will help them increase their market reach.  

In closing

Because of the limitations that traditional cable or satellite TV have, streaming services will continue to dominate the entertainment market in the future too. It is possible only if they adapt and use upcoming technologies to strengthen their base. Live TV, which will stream the videos live on-demand, will be preferred by many viewers. Using new technologies, the OTT players can provide better quality content at cheaper costs to improve the user experience. 

All this means that the VIEWER will reap the benefit, and it means unlimited entertainment for you, me, and all of us.

Happy Viewing!




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