As we begin 2020, we often forget how far OTT and video entertainment has come in a single year. The world of digital streaming and entertainment has grown by leaps and bounds and shows no signs of stopping. This is great news for current or potential cord cutters, video streaming junkies and OTT providers alike. But where does that leave the tried and true technologies like pay TV and traditional TV services in 2020? While pay TV and traditional video continues to decline, service providers are exploring new, innovative ideas that establish partnerships with digital leaders to stay relevant in 2020 and for years to come.
Top OTT & Video Trends of 2019
2019 was filled with a plethora of digital advancements driven by the growing smart home market and improvements in wireless with the addition of Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technologies. One of the most talked about topics of OTT trends is the growth of the video streaming market. In 2019, Disney launched the greatly anticipated Disney+ streaming service. The service gained an initial 10 million subscribers that were welcomed to the service with a series of outages on launch day due to the massive demand. Around the same time, Apple launched their OTT service: Apple TV+. Apple’s streaming service boasts an ad-free streaming experience with new exclusive and original movies and shows. Apple is well known for their exclusivity, but with Apple+, they’re extending their reach. While Apple+ is readily available through the Apple TV app preinstalled on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs and the iPod touch, they extended their service app to include non-Apple devices like Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, LG, Roku, Sony and VIZIO platforms. In addition to the big names in video entertainment, smaller niche streaming platforms like library-based Kanopy and anime-centric Crunchyroll TV gained traction as well.
With all the streaming services and exclusive content available, it comes as no surprise that pay TV households continue to decline as the cord cutting trend grows. Households that have cut the cord have increased to 40.2 million in 2019. In addition to cord cutting patterns, there is significant growth in the “cord nevers” demographic of customers, a group that encompasses households that have never subscribed to a traditional TV service. In a survey conducted by nocable.org, over half the respondents stated they currently subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime. The addition of new streaming players in 2019 and 2020 suggests that households will continue to shift in favor of cord cutting.
Innovations in smart home technology are making it even easier to stream your favorite videos with a simple command. Amazon launched the Amazon Fire TV Cube in 2019 that is designed to not only stream video, but control the entire entertainment system in lieu of remotes. The Amazon Fire TV Cube was designed as a standalone product, meaning it doesn’t require an external Alexa device to function. While Roku has seen ups and downs throughout 2019 following Comcast’s announcement to provide streaming boxes to their broadband-only subscribers, they fought back with the release of Roku Ultra in October 2019. Roku Ultra’s remote features a microphone button that enables voice command and is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers, making it an innovative addition to the smart home and streaming experience.
What to Expect in 2020
2020 promises to expand on all the innovations of 2019. More streaming services are set to launch in early 2020, including a Discovery and BBC streaming service, HBO Max from WarnerMedia, and Peacock from NBCUniversal. As the competitive streaming market works to gain subscribers, streaming services will have to work hybrid monetization models into their business plans. These models come in the form of subscription video on demand, ad-based video like YouTube, and transactional video on demand like iTunes. OTT services are beginning to experiment with different hybrids of the three models as subscribers show willingness to pay for premium content.
New streaming services will be powered by faster, better Internet connections thanks to the large-scale rollout of 5G and Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 boasts higher gigabits per second speeds and a wider range for faster and better connections throughout the home. OTT companies that adopt enhanced platform development strategies that harness the power of new wireless technology can deliver a superior streaming experience and attract more subscribers.
Optimizing Home Wi-Fi for OTT and Video Entertainment
The video streaming experience is only as good as the customer’s Wi-Fi connection. While many OTT services are rolling out 4K definition content and more services are being offered through smart home devices, customers expect a high quality streaming experience. This many not be the case if a customer’s network isn’t up to the task. Netflix recommends a minimum of 25 Mbps speeds for reliable 4K streaming. As Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networking is rolled out on a large scale in 2020, consumers can expect faster Internet to generally meet these needs. Other, more immediate solutions include using a managed Wi-Fi service like Optim to optimize the network. Managed Wi-Fi services include features like automatic band steering to establish the best possible connection for specific devices. This means that your Roku or Amazon Fire TV Cube will automatically connect to the band on your network that will provide the best streaming experience.
In addition to faster speeds, home networks are growing more complex. Network security will continue to be a hot topic in 2020 as more set top boxes are equipped with smart technology. Adopting advanced security solutions not only give offer a stress free streaming experience, but also protects smart streaming devices from hackers and other digital threats.
From troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues to improving network performance, Optim provides customers with a superior Wi-Fi experience. 2020 will bring new, exciting technologies that depend on a reliable Internet connection. Optim delivers state of the art solutions with the help of machine learning and advanced big data analytics.
Learn more about how Optim Managed Service Assurance Platform can support service providers and customers in 2020.