jthibeault

Dispelling the Myths of Multi-Device Delivery

Blog Post created by jthibeault on Nov 25, 2015

It’s pretty clear today that video publishers need to deliver their content to a variety of devices. As our April 2015 State of Online Video report illustrated, people, especially Millennials (see the graph below), are increasingly using a variety of devices to consume online video content.

 

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From smartphones to computers to game consoles to dedicated OTT boxes, consumers have choice when it comes to how they watch online video. And that can create a lot of headaches for publishers trying to figure out how to get their content into the right formats for all those devices.

 

Only despite what you may believe, delivering to multiple devices isn’t actually that difficult, at least once you get all the myths about it out of the way.

 

Myth #1: Mobile Doesn’t Really Matter

First, in case you weren’t paying attention, everyone seems to have a smartphone these days which gives them a screen from which to watch your video. Of course, the question still remains, “are people watching from their smartphones?” According to our State of Online Video report (graph below), the answer is a resounding, “yes!” Smartphones, are ranked second when it comes to the device most often used to watch online video.

 

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Okay, let’s consider that myth busted.

 

Myth #2: No one is watching video on a small screen…

Didn’t I just bust this myth? No really, considering that mobile video traffic exceeded 55 percent of all mobile traffic at the end of 2014, should give you a hint. But also consider an excerpt from the Citrix Mobile Analytics Report.

 

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As you can see, sports viewing on the mobile screen has more than doubled between 2014 and 2015 (from 21% to 50%). It’s clear that people are watching video content on those small screens which means you need to pay attention to them as well.

 

Myth…busted.

 

Myth #3: There can’t be that many devices to worry about…

Although there are only a few major operating systems, there are thousands of distinct devices as illustrated in the infographic below:

 

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But more than that, look at the graph at the beginning of this post again. It’s not just mobile phones that you need to worry about. Increasingly, consumers are using other, multi-purpose devices (like game consoles) to watch online video. The result? A lot of different formats are required.

 

I’d say this myth is busted too.

 

Myth #4: I only have to support one video format, right?

As you can see by the illustration below, there are actually four major formats for mobile device delivery—HLS, HDS, MSS, and mpeg-DASH. But, as we’ve already discussed previously, you aren’t just delivering your device to mobile devices are you? You may also need to encode your video for RTMP (Flash) and RTSP. The first is for desktop computers and the second is for older android devices that don’t support HLS.

 

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The skinny, though, is that you need to be sure your content is available in a variety of formats depending upon the device that users will employ to access content. It's no longer just one format you have to worry about, it's a handful.

 

Myth? Busted.

 

Myth #5: I have to pre-convert all my video assets for each device

If I haven’t thoroughly scared you about multi-device delivery yet, I don’t plan to start now! Although pre-converting all of your videos into each format is an option, you don’t have to do it that way. With a little Cloudgenuity™ you can employ software-as-a-service to provide both on-demand and live content conversion. Imagine this scenario:

  1. You receive a request for content
  2. The content is not available in the format that’s needed to satisfy the request
  3. The request is held in queue while software converts the original content into the requested format
  4. As soon as the conversion process begins, the content is sent to the user so they can start watching even as the conversion finishes!

 

Oh, yeah, this one is busted too.

 

Myth #6: I should be publishing in 4K.

Take a look at this graph from BI Intelligence:

 

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What do you see? I see that it takes years, if not decades, for a technology like 4K to become mainstream. And, as the graph indicates, 4K year 1 was in 2012 so that means we are in year 3 right now at…2% adoption. Given this, it doesn’t make much sense to start publishing in 4K. What does make sense, though, is to start producing content in 4K. Having master files of the highest quality bitrate just means that when 4K does hit mainstream, you’ll be ready.

 

So busted…

 

Myth #7: All I need is one of those sites…

You know which sites I’m talking about. YouTube. Vimeo. MegaVideo. Yahoo!. Take your pick. These are sites that provide you a way to easily publish your video. They take care of the monetization (at your expense), the traffic (at your expense), and the multi-device delivery. But what do you really get? You get video that people can consume but it’s not on your website or in your app. It’s somewhere else. And that monetization? Yeah, many of these sites advertise against your video…sometimes showing competitive ads!

 

Which leads me to a complimentary myth:

 

Myth #7.1: I have to do multi-device delivery all by myself…

Video publishers share a very common set of challenges:

  • They have to deliver their online content in “broadcast quality.” People expect online video to operate in the same fashion (and quality) as traditional television.
  • Multi-device delivery. As we’ve proven through these myths, publishers need to ensure that their video can be consumed on a variety of devices.
  • Multiple formats. In order to reach all those devices, publishers need to convert their content into several different formats.
  • Scale and availability. Without these, publishers can’t reach their audience wherever they are, on whatever device. But to do this, you need infrastructure.
  • Content security. In many cases, publishers will need to ensure that their content is secure. That means complicating an already complex workflow.
  • Audience engagement analytics. Publishers need to know what’s happening with their video. Pushing it to just YouTube or one of those sites doesn’t give the insight that publishers need to make critical decisions about content.

 

Of course, you can go it your own. Although it is capital- and resource-intensive to build your own infrastructure, implement your own software, and manage it all, it’s doable. But, back to that Cloudgenuity™. What if there was a way to handle all that in the cloud?

 

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Limelight Networks offers a unique solution for multi-device delivery—global, physical infrastructure coupled with intelligent software for video conversion and delivery. It’s all there in one spot. The workflow above is a perfect example of Cloudgenuity™ that you can put to use today. With your content loaded into the network, the workflow ensures that it's delivered in the right format to the right device.

 

Myths 7 and 7.1? Busted and...busted.

 

Don't get caught up in the myths around multi-device delivery. It's not as hard as it has to be with the right partner at your side.

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