Crashing through the digital turnstile of broadcasting with Limelight Networks

By Steve Miller Jones, vice president of edge strategic and solutions architecture, Limelight Networks

The average American subscriber pays for three video services, according to a 2019 Deloitte Insights survey. Cheaper than cable, yes, but with so many new options, like Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock coming in to play, are consumers are getting overwhelmed?

Watching exactly what you want, when, where and how you want, is coming with a bit of a hangover for many who overindulged this past year. Cord cutting consumers are now starting to scrutinise their ala carte video subscriptions, dropping the duds and adding those that offer more robust content and a superior experience.

To attract and retain subscribers, streaming services will need to up their game in 2020. This is, of course, easier said than done. The importance of quality in the service offering is critical, in addition to the content itself, because the experience a consumer has of that content drives repeat behaviors.

The range of devices that the content is available on, the image quality and the experience of the viewer (start up time, latency, buffering) all contribute to the decision to keep on using a service, or to swap it out for another.

Delivering a seamless experience for large live audiences is also incredibly challenging as there are a lot of things that can go wrong.

What can possibly go wrong?
Often scaling all of the services you need can be a challenge, with security, log in, sign up, and advertising all elements that add up to a good viewing experience, in addition to the video itself. Making sure all the services scale and that you have options for all devices and can anticipate the likely network conditions is really important for success.

But plenty can go right, as it did recently with Amazon’s Premier League Live Stream of Englidh Premier League (EPL) games, one of the biggest ever streaming events in the UK.

For the EPL games, viewers were immersed in the experience, with plenty of interactive extras, like on-screen access to line ups and stats, as well as the option to turn off commentary and listen to the stadium atmosphere. This is the kind of engaging user experience subscribers will be looking for from services in 2020.

In 2020, we are going to see more live content online and some really exciting experiences around events like the 2020 Olympics, Super Bowl and the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
These events are going to attract large audiences and there will be a lot of focus on the range of viewing options and interactive experiences that are available to the viewer. One of the big challenges will be not overwhelming the infrastructure when everyone crashes through the digital turnstiles just before the game starts.

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