For companies that provide streaming services to their users - whether for news, entertainment, education or work - a high-quality end-user experience has always been their top priority. Then 2020 hit, and providing an optimal end-user experience while managing surging user traffic made it a mission critical priority. The majority of companies I speak to expect their streaming volume to increase by a higher rate in 2021, when compared to 2020 and as a result, are increasing investments in their video workflow to ensure an optimal end-user experience.
To learn more about some of the challenges they are facing, as well as their needs in the market, I recently conducted a survey with NS1 collecting data from over 200 broadcasters, OTT providers and publishers.
The goal of the survey was to find out the top challenges facing video engineering and development teams tasked with maintaining a high-quality streaming experience. We also collected their predictions regarding the changes they expect to see in the volume of streaming traffic over the next 12 months and their plans and investments to meet these changing demands.
Current Challenges Facing Video Engineering Teams
Nearly half of the companies surveyed cite a lack of visibility into Quality of Experience (QoE) issues as their biggest challenge. However, efficient traffic routing across a multi-CDN deployment and lack of flexibility from vendor platforms were tied at a close second for top challenges.
Adding to these challenges is surging demand for streaming services, which most teams expect will only continue into 2021. Given current social distancing requirements, it’s unsurprising that more than half of respondents expect an increase in the volume of streaming content over the next year, but the numbers varied based on the level they expect. For those that predict an increase, 19.8% anticipate up to a 25% increase; 32% anticipate a 25-50% increase in the volume of streaming content in the next 12 months; 10.6% expect a 50+% increase in volume.
How Companies Plan to Meet Streaming Challenges
To mitigate streaming quality issues and prepare for the increase in volume, 62.2% of respondents rated automated and intelligent traffic routing as the most important tool for a positive end-user experience. However, half of the respondents said they are not currently doing any intelligent traffic routing for their video delivery.
To account for this, most engineering teams without an intelligent traffic routing solution plan to implement one within the next year. Of those 50% who are not currently using an intelligent traffic routing solution, most plan to implement one within the next 12 months, with 15% planning to do so within 6 months.
And as they look to implement an intelligent traffic routing solution, teams are prioritizing features that mitigate any interruption to the end-user’s stream. The highest ranked feature by the respondents was automated responses to network disruptions (37.8%), followed by point and click configurations (30.4%).