In a content-centric industry, a high-quality viewing experience and privacy assurance go a long way in garnering viewer loyalty and engagement…
The current fate of the world seems to be stuck in a time-lapse, minus the certainty of an end date. Ever since the lockdown was implemented by countries across the globe, citizens have been at home, dealing with the uncertainty by being online more than ever. Like the digital spectrum wasn’t already grabbing enough eyeballs, the coronavirus-led isolation has resulted in the number of people glued to the screen skyrocketing.
From BIGFlix by Reliance launched in 2008 to Hotstar (now Disney+ Hotstar) setting aside 120 crores for its ‘original’ content, the Over the Top services (OTT) scene in India has come a long way to include ‘binge-watching’ part of our dialects. As per FICCI EY 2019 report – ‘A Billion Screens of Opportunity’, the OTT sector in India grew by a whopping 59 percent in FY2019, growing from Rs 13.5 billion in 2018 to Rs 17 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach Rs 24 billion by 2021.
What started off with high rates of mobile usage for online video consumption India is being augmented with consumption happening on larger TV-screen which calls for a shift in viewing experience provided to the viewers who are coming in with the expectation of a TV-like online video viewing experience. Every consumer electronics brand is now pushing Smart TVs loaded with OTT apps. In addition, leading cable and direct-to-home operators are introducing Android-powered, smart set-top boxes, which provide consumers the flexibility of regular TV as well as streaming video. According to experts, after mobiles, video streaming on TV is the next big trend.
Engaging viewers on larger TV-Screens is really the secret sauce to win viewer loyalty which is a highly contested element in the Indian OTT industry today. Increased video streaming choices and low cost of switching providers are leading to viewers churn, if the viewing experience is poor. 77% of the survey respondents in the February 2020 edition of the Nielsen Total Audience Report marked playback quality to be an ‘Extremely’ or ‘Very Important’ video streaming attribute.
The highlighted boxes identify the attributes, the quality of which can be impacted by the CDN platform being used for video delivery. Importance of the CDN delivery partner is testified by the number of attributes that CDN video delivery technologies can positively impact when it comes to providing high-quality videos needed for a TV-like experience.
While the viewer is primarily concerned with premium content and a high-quality, uninterrupted viewing experience, the industry has been battling a long fight against securing this content to maintain brand reputation and safeguard revenue streams.
The cost of global online streaming piracy will hit $52 billion by the year 2022, according to a report by Digital TV Research. Nearly 190 billion visits were made to illegal piracy websites in 2018 - 17.4 Billion from the US, followed by Russian Federation (14.5 Billion), Brazil (10.3 Billion), India (9.6 Billion) and UK (5.75 Billion). Almost 50% of visits to the pirated websites were for television shows, and 20% of visitors were looking for the latest released movie. Online TV and movie revenue lost to piracy in India is expected to reach USD 3.08 Billion by 2022.
The impact of streaming video piracy has reached epidemic proportions. Compromised revenue streams, diminishing value of content rights, rights holders losing content rights, and more are at stake if media and entertainment organizations cannot mitigate the impact of online video piracy. There are multiple threat vectors when it comes to digital video piracy:
● Geo, Device and Network Restricted Access: Includes accessing content from geo-restricted regions or from unauthorized IP address and proxies using VPNs and Proxy server to mask the original IP
● Credential or Link Sharing: Genuine subscribers who share their credentials or URL with other users or bad actors resulting in lost monetization opportunities
● Stream Ripping or Rebroadcasting: Pirate sites sign up with the content provider as a single subscriber but then start using sophisticated piracy tools like re-encoders or stream ripping tools to grab the content and redistribute it.
● Credential Abuse - Sophisticated Bot-powered pirates successfully validating a login on the OTT providers page can lead to premium video being streamed without permission or payment threatening online revenue streams.
● Identity Threat - An emerging area of threat for media and entertainment organizations is “Account Hacks” which according to a survey by Akamai comprises 11% of attack types. Increasing focus on subscription-based OTT models will make subscriber identity data management and user authentication critical.
In the days ahead, content consumption is expected to reach higher matrices. The widespread availability of online video content, instigated by factors including ubiquitous high-speed data connectivity, hyper-connected devices and living room experiences - are all playing their part in the growth of online video consumption.
As more and more viewers move to mediums and platforms that are digitally native, their expectation around the quality of experience is also maturing. What started off as a “good to have” requirement, has now become a “mission-critical” necessity. OTT services need to be extra cautious in terms of securing content, safeguarding user identities along with ensuring high-quality viewing experiences to engage viewers better and subsequently monetize the engagement from advertisers and subscribers to deliver a successful business impact.
An expert panel of top business executives as well as CTOs will address these OTT business and technology trends in this exciting, interactive webinar. Registrations are open now!
(The article is authored by Sandeep Singh, Product Marketing Manager, Video and Media at Akamai Technologies).