The Year of Video Streaming: 5 Trends to Look for in 2015


When I first started working on streaming media products in 1999, my colleagues and I were convinced that online video was going to be big someday. Mainstream success over the past decade from pioneers such as YouTube and Netflix have fueled the online video fire, and today few would argue that its ubiquity is spreading across the globe and that "someday" has arrived.

Today’s popularity of online video is evident, and will only continue to grow over the next year. As we head into 2015, technological advances such as HTML5 streaming, HEVC (H.265), 4K and MPEG-DASH will fuel broader changes already ramping up in the market. So as you gear up for 2015, here are five top market trends to watch that will further propel the adoption of online video.

 1. Content owners will bypass distributors. 

Young adults are more likely to stop paying for TV services or never even pay for them in the first place. Recent findings from Experian Marketing Services found that almost 15 percent of young adults between 18 and 34 don't pay for TV. To ensure they reach this growing audience, major providers such as HBO and CBS have announced plans to make streaming content available directly to viewers, and others are following suit. While it’s a departure from traditional models, the direct customer relationship has clear benefits for content owners, including recurring subscription fees and highly targeted advertising opportunities. Look for more content owners to go directly to viewers, bypassing the slower-paced telcos and cable companies and their expensive subscription bundles.

 2. Live streaming will continue to grow fast. 

If you thought live content was dead in the age of the DVR, think again. Events such as the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil demonstrated that there is huge demand for watching compelling live content, anywhere, and on any device. It's not just about sports though; audiences are flocking to live online events for the immediacy, interactivity and social aspects they provide. Examples include online video gaming (, live concert events (TourGigs), and shared experiences with casts of favorite TV shows (ShowCaster). As costs fall, reach extends to larger audiences and ease of deployment increases, more and more live broadcasters and viewers will tune into the power of now.

 3. Mobile video consumption will multiply. 

Online video delivery to mobile devices will show big gains in 2015. This isn’t confined to just consumer video offerings, either; more businesses are making mobile video streaming a “must have” requirement for communicating with their employees and customers, mirroring industry predictions from research firms like Gartner. With HD-capable mobile device proliferation, connectivity, and streaming quality increasing all the time, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.

 4. The flipped classroom becomes a reality. 

Online video has been growing as a primary tool for distance learning, and now it's picking up speed within education for a second reason. Flipped classroom experiences allow teachers to assign lecture videos for students to watch on their own time, allowing them to spend more quality group and individual time with students in the classroom. Not only does this boost the learning experience and outcomes, it may also have a long-term multiplier effect: as these students enter the workforce, they'll take expectations for new modes of video learning and consumption with them.

 5. Businesses adopt cloud video infrastructures. 

Many businesses now stream video from Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, and cloud deployments are only accelerating. With a cloud-based video workflow, companies can quickly launch video streaming using third-party servers, scale up and down as needs change, and only pay for what they use. New cloud marketplaces and video platform-as-a-service offerings will be doing more of the heavy lifting, making it even easier to get started with cost-effective and flexible cloud-based video delivery in 2015.

 In 2015, don’t miss the business opportunities that online video presents. Take note of these trends and plan your video strategy accordingly.

About the Author: As a passionate evangelist for streaming media products, Chris Knowlton has spent over half of the past 25 years developing technologies that make live and VOD media delivery accessible for companies of all sizes. A recognized industry authority, Chris was honored in 2011 as a “Streaming Media All-Star” by Streaming Media Magazine, and he holds three patents for streaming software technologies. Chris came to Wowza from Microsoft, where he spent 10 years orchestrating the company’s on-premises and cloud media server roadmaps, leading cross-divisional and partner efforts to develop the core Microsoft Media Platform. Chris has also worked in alliance management at NetApp and with several Tier 1 automotive suppliers. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.


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