Over the last year, the streaming video market has taken on a life of its own. Though it was fast gaining traction before this, the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled this growth. The global ‘stay at home’ order has meant that home entertainment has become pivotal, and this has seen many of us taking to our favorite video streaming sites to devour never ending content.
The Indian market presents a region of huge growth for OTT services. Analyst group BCG estimates that India’s streaming video market will see more than ten times growth in the next few years. In 2018, it was worth $500 million. By the end of 2023, it’s predicted that it will represent a massive $5 billion.
There are a range of factors that are driving this growth, including rising wealth, an increase in data penetration in rural areas and increased adoption in older age groups and by women. Moreover, there’s been an increase in production of local content that is produced specifically for the Indian market and culture as well as lower pricing.
However, video streaming enables a great deal more than simply Video on Demand (VOD). It can offer access to government services such as distance learning applications, for crew welfare and also for mobile applications so that video can be enjoyed on vessels and in connected vehicles. But the problem that telcos and OTT providers are struggling to address is associated with reach, and with congested networks that struggle to cope with skyrocketing demand. This is where satellite connectivity can bring about significant changes. Satellite is the key to powering OTT to do more – and to reach further.
India is a vast country, and to help telcos and OTT service providers reach as yet untapped subscribers, the integration of satellite into their solution enables them to scale rapidly and cost effectively. A satellite’s footprint covers a vast geographical area and therefore allows service providers to deliver multicast content to many more subscribers in ever more remote locations. Satellite also translates into connectivity in areas where it is currently patchy and unreliable such as cars and trains, making it an ideal choice for OTT on-the-move. Use of a hybrid satellite/terrestrial solution also means that connectivity is maintained, even in the event of a disaster, building in resiliency.
Satellite has the ability to reduce buffering by feeding the Content Delivery Network (CDN). As growing traffic presents a fundamental challenge to telcos and CDN streamers, bandwidth must be used efficiently, and traffic minimized to offer the best possible Quality of Experience (QoE) to consumers. Satellite may be used to significantly reduce distribution backbone traffic and ensure efficient use of bandwidth. By distributing content spatially relative to end-users, the CDN achieves high performance, thus reducing buffering. This is especially significant for live events such as sports. The return path can also be used for DRM/CDN analytics to inform the operator.
When terrestrial networks are unavailable or do not provide enough bandwidth to allow quality video content transmission, VSAT can be used to provide the very best experience no matter where the user is. For example, Isotropic Networks offers VSAT Video, utilizing ST Engineering iDirect technology. It’s the first satellite entertainment solution utilizing IP Multicast, that delivers a picture-perfect Netflix experience, no matter where the viewer is located delivering service to remote communities, mining communities, oil rigs and to those at sea and in the air.
Satellite also helps break down barriers to essential services such as education and governmental services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, where children are forced to stay at home, the capability has really come into its own. It enables delivery of distance learning resources, connecting children with educational materials such as e-books and video on demand (VoD) and even with their teachers for livestreamed lessons.
The scalability, resiliency and flexibility of satellite technology delivers a range of possibilities to OTT providers. OTT is the future and therefore, the broadcast industry must collaborate on ensuring the highest QoE possible to engage and retain viewers and offer an experience that is equal to or that surpasses traditional broadcast quality. Successful satellite-based solutions are already being delivered for OTT services. The future is exciting – with the advent of 5G and an altogether more converged connectivity landscape, the potential for the OTT market is huge – and satellite is going to play an important part in this future.
Join our Head of Media and Broadcast, Hans Massart, at the Enhancing the OTT Experience with Emerging Technologies session during the Convergence India phygital summit on March 25th at 14.00/09.30am CET. Register here to learn more.