The concept of ‘content is king’ is long gone. The way viewers now consume content has changed dramatically. Viewers are breaking free of the confines of traditional television, and have taken to alternatives such as over-the-top (OTT) video services.
In our State of Online Video report, we found that the average consumer in Southeast Asia views an average of over eight and half hours of online video each week, among the highest globally. As online video viewing grows, so do consumers expectations for high-quality online viewing experiences.
OTT platforms – both new market entrants and established players alike – have to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of modern-day viewers. With viewers now consuming online video content from all across the globe, and through a gamut of devices, platforms and network conditions, delivering high quality and consistent online viewing experiences each time becomes a key challenge. Delivering content to desktops, mobile browsers, and dedicated mobile applications adds complexity to the web infrastructure because each device supports different capabilities.
One thing is clear – the user experience is arguably the most significant factor that determines an OTT player’s success or failure.
Rising Consumer Expectations
With the vast availability of OTT platforms as well as streaming options in the region, viewers can easily switch to alternative platforms at the mere click of the button in the absence of desired quality. Viewers are becoming increasingly impatient with frequent interruptions caused by content latency or rebuffering. In fact, more than 61 per cent of viewers will stop watching a video if it gets buffered twice. This leaves OTT platforms at a considerable disadvantage to their closest competitors, if viewers deem their platforms to have inferior streaming quality.
Such performance issues and downtime can have a major impact on brand perception and customer loyalty. Even the slightest of delays could reduce viewership over time, and the inability to stream online video content quickly anywhere in the world can severely limit business opportunities.
Viki, a renowned global OTT site based in Singapore, was not impervious to such challenges. Offering primetime shows and movies from Asia in more than 200 languages to tens of millions of viewers worldwide, via its industry-leading video platform, Viki was looking for a technology partner that would enable them to deliver the best viewing experiences. Engaging with an international audience, Viki also needed to ensure that content is delivered in a standardised manner across all devices and network conditions, even when there are spikes in web traffic.
Unlocking Viki’s Potential with Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)
Recognising the importance of keeping up with ever-increasing viewer demands, Viki turned to Limelight Networks’ Content Delivery Network (CDN) – a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of web content. Leveraging cloud-based technologies, CDNs are able to automatically convert videos into multiple streaming formats and reduce workflow complexities.
Tapping on Limelight Networks’ scalable CDN services, Viki was able to deliver high quality video content virtually anywhere viewers have an internet connected device. As a result, the average bitrate of videos delivered increased by 150kbps.
Moreover, using highly efficient edge-caching technology and the latest protocols, Limelight enabled Viki to deliver complex web content while dramatically reducing response times by 38 per cent, ensuring broadcast quality content delivered consistently, reliably, and fast. Rebuffering rates were also declined by 20 per cent.
Additionally, the combination of the value of Viki’s vast library of content coupled with the high quality experience enabled by Limelight’s CDN, helped convert passive viewers into highly engaged fans.
What Lies Ahead for The OTT Industry
As the OTT industry continues to thrive, players will face increasing pressure to cater to the rapidly changing expectations of their customers. This challenge will be compounded by the geographical dispersion of consumers around the world, accessing their platforms twenty-four-seven. Operating in an industry that is constantly evolving and hypercompetitive, OTT players need to ensure that meeting customers’ expectations remains at the top of the agenda.
Choosing the right technology provider is therefore an integral part of the equation in delivering the best viewing experiences. More recently, CDNs have become of paramount importance to ensure a seamless viewer experience and encourage the growth of a loyal viewer base. Playing a pivotal role in influencing the ultimate success or failure of platforms, CDNs ensure that a quality content streaming experience is delivered to meet consumers’ uncompromising demands for superlative content.