Last week, an interesting article was published on Forbes, examining the future of Yahoo!. The author, Eric Jackson suggests that “Yahoo! Needs To Turn Itself In To An OTT Play To Save Itself.”
It’s a compelling argument, as more online content companies are turning to OTT apps to provide enhanced consumer engagement. The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and TechCrunch created their own streaming media channels that provide news, commentary and introductions to new products while other content distributors like Netflix and Amazon have jumped into the publishing business by creating their own original streaming content.
For Yahoo!, who has notable broadcast veterans on its staff, a news channel isn’t that far of a stretch. Also, there existing partnerships with AT&T to be the homepage and email provider for broadband subscribers proves there is already a captive audience.
But if Yahoo! jumps into the OTT game, there are some serious considerations:
Bandwidth will always be an issue
The largest complaint (as mentioned in a Streaming Media study) shows that bandwidth constraints are the biggest headache for consumers. While more people are on DSL or cable modems instead of dial-up, the total download speeds across North America and Europe are barely fast enough to support Ultra-HD content. If consumers want to get the highest image quality, they’ll need to pay for a bigger pipe.
TVs, mobile devices and routers are bottlenecks
We work with TV manufacturers to fix their side of the problem and Google just announced their new smart router, which optimizes bandwidth for streaming. This is an awesome start to get technology manufacturers to realize the major shift in making streaming media an even bigger priority. The lion-share of consumer tech out there isn’t smart enough to optimize quality or routing. While at the same time, these concerns continue to grow as streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix offer increasing amounts of high-quality exclusive content that consumers clamor for.
UHD 4K content is fat
Cord-cutters want more content that works on UHD 4K TVs – but that means larger file sizes. A larger file size needs to be transferred to the consumer’s device, which requires a bigger pipe to get it to load faster. Otherwise you’re stuck buffering, or having resolution shifts… and that, my friends, is where we continue to return to issues of bandwidth.
If Yahoo! would want to provide content to mobile devices, TVs, computers, they’re not only going to need to realize consumer constraints, but should demand that the entire distance to the consumer is accelerated. This could be executed a number of ways: naming supported devices, working with an acceleration partner, or offering content in multiple streaming qualities that offer the best experience in varying environments.
It’s not impossible for Yahoo! to get into the OTT game, and we look forward to seeing how the giant chooses to navigate the current realities of the streaming game. In the meantime, at Giraffic we will continue to improve AVA in a variety of ways in order to stay ahead of the changing video standards, content distribution strategies and bandwidth limitations, while offering consumers the highest quality streaming possible, from any device.