Why Disney is Starting its Own Streaming? Will Netflix be a Competitor for Disney+?

Why Disney is Starting its Own Streaming? Will Netflix be a Competitor for Disney+?

Disney makes billions from licensing its content for streaming on the third-party platforms. However, now it’s clear that Disney wants a bigger share of the OTT streaming pie. The company has already announced they are going to launch their own streaming platform and would be reaching directly to the consumers now.

As per CEO Bob Iger’s words, Disney has been in a “good relationship” with Netflix, but it’s time to exercise an option and have a dedicated platform for or content.

It’s still 173 Days for the launch of Disney’s official OTT subscription platform, but it’s already in trends. A buzz was there since before 2017, but things went official with Disney announcing their launch in the upcoming November 2019.

The officially named Disney+ streaming service is in direct collision with the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. However, as Netflix is the biggest of the giants with over 140 million premium subscribers worldwide, it is believed that we would be seeing a direct face-off between the two.

How Netflix is a tough nut to crack for Disney?

Netflix is as far the biggest giant in the OTT streaming services. With over 140 million subscribers, its way ahead of its biggest competitor Amazon Prime, which has only around 20 million subscribers. In such a market, if Disney has made its mind, of course, it’s going to start with a bang.

The first thing that comes to the mind is the pricing comparison. While Netflix’s cheapest plan in the US starts from $8.99/month, Disney plans to grab the audience with cut-rate $6.99/month. The price difference of $2 is significant, and Disney is clearly a winner in term of price.

We must also note that Netflix is exhibiting quite a different strategy for the developed countries like the US, while it’s also aiming contrarily at the developing countries, which are growing fast in terms of adoption of the OTT streaming services.  Recently, Netflix has been testing a mobile-only plan in India for as low as 250 Rupees/month ($3.6).

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However, there is this other side where Netflix raised its cheapest plan’s price from $7.99 to $8.99 in the US. Disney is watching this and probably has a plan to capture first the US market and then worldwide. It has to come up with some extremely competitive pricing if it’s even thoughtful about the global market.

Clearly, as of now, Disney is winning the war of pricing, but still, it’s too early to say anything prior to the launch. Netflix has also been testing some way cheaper weekly plans separately for cross-platform streaming and mobile-only streaming. It is not going to give up on the pricing that easily.

Price is not the only Contemplation for Winning this Combat

Of course, everyone wants cheaper prices, but that does not mean they are going to compromise on the content. Nobody would stick to a platform if there is no value for money in the returns. Cheaper prices won’t help much if there are no shows or content that everyone would like to watch.

Currently, Netflix is a giant repository of over 5,500 titles, which includes TV shows, Web series, Netflix Original Series, Labeled movies, Netflix Original movies, Documentaries and much more. Disney+ would have to come up with quite a competitive catalog right from the first day.

If you have been a Disney’s label fan, you would know, it’s going to be a bang with some awesome Disney owned titles in the catalog. Take movies like The Lion King, Star Wars, Marvel movies, and shows like The Simpsons for the starter. Netflix is full of a very huge list of Disney’s properties. It’s going to be a tough job for the giant after Disney pulls out all of its proprietary content from all other platforms, which actively includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Though Netflix has been making a space with its originals, without Marvel, Disney, Fox, and Pixar, it will lose a significant amount of content to its direct competitor. That also means, Netflix has to come up with more originals, and billions would be spent on creating exclusive content.

Same also goes to the Disney, as old content might give them a head-start, but they would not help Disney carry on for the extended period. Eventually, people will want to see originals from Disney too; Content which they cannot find anywhere, not even in the theaters.

Disney has a Plan for the Content

Disney knows the market and admits it’s going to be a long battle before they can actually start receiving the profits. They admit that the service will not aim for the profit up until 2024 and will continue to operate in the loss until then. It will invest in content creation and providing cheaper plans so that they acquire the market first before heading for the profit generation.

Disney owns the major labels and franchises like Disney movies, Star Wars, Fox entertainment, and Pixar. It has plans to keep most of these content exclusive to the Disney+ platform while allowing some of them to be streamed on other platforms including Netflix. By pulling the exclusive content itself, Disney will lose over $300 million annual revenue, which comes directly by selling streaming rights.

In addition to exclusive streaming of Disney movies, Star Wars, Marvel movies, Disney has a pact with Hulu for allowing its content on the platform. Especially, the content from 21st Century Fox, which is now a property of Disney, but it was already a major shareholder of Hulu. Moreover, it also owns the live streaming platform, ESPN+, which is a dedicated and popular live sports streaming platform. So, we can also speculate that Disney might offer its streaming platform with a discounted bundle of Hulu and ESPN+.

Well, you can’t expect anything lesser from a multi-billion company and they can even afford to operate in the loss. With such a commitment, it’s going to be a rigid competition for Netflix to walk toe-to-toe with Disney. Nevertheless, Disney’s announcement to take the OTT streaming platform market by the storm has indeed created a ripple effect.

If nothing, we are certainly going to see aggression in the pricing plans and content quality in the upcoming time. The imminent giant owns most of the content labels, a majority share in a popular OTT platform (Hulu), and a well-known sports Live Streaming Software (ESPN+). Disney will target your whole family from kids and adults to sports lovers.

As per the exclusive Disney originals are concerned, they have already announced a few of the popular titles. Be it the adaptation of well-known kid’s book Timmy Failure, comedy shows like Noelle, Action packages like Lady and the Tramp, it’s a huge catalog to choose from. Disney is also planning to oversee the Star Wars series named Mandalorian with the first day of the launch. In addition, they have also planned a Return of the Jedi spin-off.

Can Netflix be a Competitor for Disney+?

As there is already an ongoing battle between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, Disney might just win on the content with most, while loose on price with some.  However, content is the king, and people would not pay even pennies if the content is not up to the mark.

In all this, original content plays a significant role, which has become a new standard of quality. Netflix has already won hearts with its originals and so did Amazon Prime. Having exclusive content like House of Cards, Stranger things, and The Umbrella Academy, Netflix shines in the competition.

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However, with Disney joining the race, Netflix would lose some of its best performing shows like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or the Iron Fist. To tackle with each other, both the giants will have to spend billions on more originals.

Disney might win this war with most of the popular franchises in its trunk. I mean, who would not want to see a standalone or combined Marvel’s Black Widow, Vision, or Scarlet Witch series. While Disney is a mainstream media production house moving slowly to the streaming world, Netflix is doing right the opposite. It’s transitioning from a Streaming service to a full-fledged production house.

Finally, it’s hard to tell if Disney is becoming Netflix or Netflix is growing into Disney, but it’s certain that viewers are going to have a great time. As per the exclusive rights of the content are concerned, we can be certain that Disney will not make any deal with Netflix, Otherwise, they might just end up killing their own platform with their own content.

The Rise of Sports Live Streaming (Infographic)

The Rise of Sports Live Streaming (Infographic)

Sports is honored with a ceaseless furor among the fans. From club soccer, cricket, rugby, baseball to chess matches, fans dependably purchase tickets to their preferred games. It is one such circle which has never observed a decrease in the income.

Every day, new games are being added to the broadcast rundown, and TV channels are communicating live games from a variety of genres. Nowadays, the furor for games has gone up in the sky with live streaming services broadcasting games straightforwardly to mobile apps and internet browsers.

Increasingly, the live sports streaming software have also gone extremely accessible with each day new streaming app joining the league with others like Hulu, Twitch, and YouTube Live.

How profitable are sports live streaming?

In a bustling life where a large portion of the general population don’t get time to watch their preferred teams playing on the TV, live streaming applications enable them to take a look regardless of where they are.

You can figure the notoriety of online live sports streaming by the fact that a critical populace in the US inclines toward watching games on Smart TV Apps or mobile apps regardless they can still watch the same on the traditional TV channels. It has occurred because of the growing popularity of live TV apps like Hulu, which enable clients to stream TV content through the web. As a result, there has been a decline in the market of traditional TV broadcasting as Apps like Hulu are offering the same in addition to extra benefits.

Just think of it in this way. Traditional TV channels are still being broadcasted in 480P, 720 P, and 1080i. Where platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are offering the content in 4K quality. Today, users take OTT streaming as a perfect alternative to cable TV. In return, they get access to all the Cable TV content bundled with extra stuff like on-demand Movies, Web series, Live Sports streaming, and Originals.

One more factor that makes live sports streaming more popular is the grown penetration of internet in the developing and developed nations. The same has also helped new business joining the league and building new live streaming platforms with easily accessible Live Sports Streaming Software solutions in the market.

What’s the best way to monetize a sports streaming service?

Tickets. They have always been an effective way to monetize any sports event. People love watching live games and for that, they purchase tickets to the events. A sports streaming software can be built with a similar monetization model, where users can purchase the streaming for a particular sports event. We call it a Pay-Per-View (PPV) model.

The idea of PPV is exactly the same as selling tickets. You can set a price and ask users to purchase the stream in the same way you ask them to purchase the stadium tickets. Many of the live sports streaming software solutions come inbuilt with the PPV monetization model. You just have to look carefully to find a sports streaming software like StreamNow, which comes inbuilt with PPV and many other monetization channels. PPV is amazingly easy to set up with StreamHash and you can bundle it with others as well, for example, PPV with Ads or PPV with Subscription packages.

The future of live sports streaming is already bright. Check out this infographic to learn more amazing facts about sports streaming as a business that you perhaps didn’t know:

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Things that define the future of Video Streaming & Benefits of Modern Video Streaming

Things that define the future of Video Streaming & Benefits of Modern Video Streaming

As the devices are getting smarter and the internet is getting faster, the closely associated trends are also clutching the stage. Online video streaming has gone through an unprecedented evolution and has influenced the market share of its closely related segment –traditional pay TV t a great extent. Looking at the stats released by Deloitte for the year 2017, we can conclude that-

  • 55% of the US population is now using paid video streaming services.
  • 48% of US consumers stream the same TV content via online services.
  • US consumers paid $2 billion monthly subscriptions to video streaming services.

The taste of entertainment and media consumers is changing. We can see a shift both in the ways video streaming services function today and the ways consumers consume the media content. Though this massive shift did not occur overnight. It was a gradual proliferation that actively involved the advancement in the technologies being used to-

  • Develop video streaming software and solutions.
  • Broadcast the online content to the global audience.
  • Consume the online content from the end-users’ side.

How did this shift occur?

2015 was an imperative eon for upgrades in the streaming friendly internet technology. We saw a shift from the legacy streaming protocols to the specially crafted overlay networks, dedicated streaming protocols, and custom servers for faster buffer free content delivery. The new infrastructure supported the advanced content delivery mechanisms like –

  • Breaking data packets in small chunks
  • Enlarging the geo-boundaries and loss-less streaming.
  • HTTP-based WebRTC streaming directly direct browsers.

These advancements when implemented on contemporary video streaming software, aided streaming services to –

  • Reduce video infrastructure cost.
  • Simplify the network organization.
  • Upscale the IT and server infrastructure.
  • Enhance video streaming quality and UX.

How it affected the legacy streaming operations?

For most of the video streaming services and organizations that used the legacy technologies, infrastructure, and protocols, the modern shift was a decisive modulation. For example, the new setup offered a better alternative. So most of the video streaming software development companies, white label streaming services, infrastructure providers, and the associated service vendors adapted to the change and closed their legacy operations.

Now, the video streaming services still stuck with the legacy technology faced a forced situation to adopt the inevitable change. Otherwise, they would have to be ready to face challenges such as –

  • Limited choice of hardware infrastructure
  • Limited streaming software support
  • Limited vendors for associated API support
  • An eventual boost in the delayed migration cost

Bottom line: The shift to the modern stack was not an option but a necessary move if the streaming services and business intended on continuing their operations and enhance the end-user experience with a better tech stack, reduced operational cost, and up-scaled streaming quality.  

How the world adapted to modern video streaming?

Early adopters took no time to migrate. They saw a new arena of broadened possibilities and enhanced video streaming business operations. However, this transition was not a sudden explosion. The 2008 Summer Olympic had already laid a foundation of new expectations for it.

For the first time ever, they streamed the entire Summer Olympics in high definition video quality. With a partnership between Microsoft and NBC, they delivered the smoothest video streaming world had ever seen by then. In a very short span of just 2 weeks, almost 50 million unique visitors streamed 70 million times to watch 10 million hours of video content.

This joint venture by a tech giant and the well-known broadcaster laid a milestone. It’s not that such attempts were not made in the past, but this time a complete broadcast in HD quality was a wonder. The event made it clear that the internet is much scalable to stream huge, high-quality, stable, and seamless video content.

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Foundations of Modern Streaming Technologies

The success of HTTP streaming for the Olympics was mainly an indication for something bigger. They used the simple but very powerful architecture.  HTTP streaming proved its significance by fully adapting to the laid network topology and leveraging the stateless and cache-based internet architecture. Contrastingly, the custom streaming protocols hinder the underlying architecture and fail to leverage the internet to the fullest.

Here are a few of the fundamental aspects that make contemporary video streaming infrastructure better:

1. Content delivery in small chunks:

The modern transmission protocols divide a video file into multiple smaller chunks and transmit each chunk independently through different routes across the internet. The routing manages the sequence of the delivery and transports the final content in the original form at the user end.

2. Independent chunk transmission:

Each of the chucks takes independent routes while in transmission and none are dependent on the previous requests.  That means the video playback is independent of the need for a persistence connection between the device and the origin server.

3. HTTP-based transmission protocols:

The chunked-segments travel across the internet and the local WAN networks using a single HTTP protocol. The HTTP protocol is equipped with both abilities to transmit unencrypted content through TCP port 80 and 443 for SSL-encrypted content.

4. CDN-based global HTTP caching:

Content delivery networks (CDN) have made transmission smoother through dynamic caching. CDNs use HTTP caches across the internet and corporate WANs. This helps them to cache and store segmented data to different nodes and deliver them to the nearest device much faster. This passive network architecture ensures a dynamic buffering of the content from the nearest nodes without fetching them from the origin server each time.

5. Adaptive bitrate switching:

The biggest driver of advancement in the video streaming market is adaptive bitrate switching.  The video is encoded on multiple formats and resolutions for different qualities. Streaming engines use adaptive bitrate switching to dynamically adjust the stream quality according to the internet bandwidth and device playback capacity. It minimizes the buffering efforts and delivers seamless packets in an adaptive environment.

 

Benefits of modern streaming for businesses and consumers

The advancements in the tech stack and addition of modern protocols opened doors for easy broadcast to the multitude. The HTTP streaming was indeed superior to legacy protocols like RMTP and RTSP in terms of streaming quality.  However, it also made the paid streaming services possible and allowed an enhanced user experience to the end users. Ultimately, we could see the positive effects on business operations as well.

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1. It slashed the infrastructure complexity

The default HTTP streaming using TCP ports 43 and 443 were competent to adapt to the caching-friendly internet architecture. Unlike legacy protocols, you are no more required to develop dedicated infrastructure for caching management.

HTTP protocol can seamlessly travel the firewalls. Every corporate network always keeps its TCP ports 80 and 443 open while restricting the RMTP and RTSP protocols. Hence, it made the streaming implementation easier in corporate WAN networks and businesses could by-pass the need for dedicated infrastructure to manage the flow of traffic from white-label video streaming services.

2. It reduced the overall implementation cost

In addition to the cost saved by eliminating the need for above to separate infrastructures, the streaming services and corporates can now also save the investments in server hardware and additional software to manage video overlay.

Next, by using the CDN based dynamic caching, the business can now save the extra bandwidth required to fetch the content from origin server each time some user makes a request. The HLS based streaming can adapt to the existing HTTP server network and save the cost of extra hardware and software for caching. CDN implementation made streaming smoother and allowed branded and white label video streaming services to expand their business globally.

3. It enhanced the user-end payback experience

With dynamic bitrate switching the video streaming has become accessible through any device and even via a slower internet bandwidth. Besides that, HTTP can adapt to the popular video and audio codecs (H.264, AAC, etc.), which make streaming further accessible across a wide range of devices. It gave a broader consumer base to the video streaming services and opportunity to expand their business. Now a user could stream both from a high-speed Ethernet connection and through a mobile internet network.

4. It scaled the infrastructure for streaming businesses

Legacy protocols had limited scalability. Streaming services could upscale their broadcast capacity only by investing in additional hardware and software. With HTTP-based modern protocols, they got inherited scalability and also some advanced native supports like mirroring and edge caching, which also allowed seamless CDN integrations.

Using it, now a particular stream was accessible by the masses and CDN services could use the existing infrastructure to boost the reachability with reduced network latency. With faster content delivery, the HTTP protocol now supported both on-demand and high-quality live video streaming.

The above benefits allowed white-labeled video streaming services to extend their operations from corporates to general consumers. Now they could broadcast as many content to as many users at a time. Which ultimately got the names of branded video streaming services or OTT streaming services. For example, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, etc.

5. Introduction to the e-sports

The reduced latency and improved stream quality did not only evolved the way video was broadcasted but also for a lot of other media too. Be video, image, text, or Gif, the contemporary HTTP based CDNs can transmit any type of content.

On this budging edge, a new form of streaming is budding gradually- eSports. The new concept leverages multi-player video game competitions as content and broadcasts the live gameplays direct to the internet audience. This sphere alone is a multi-billion dollar global industry and is expected to grow over $1.5 billion by 2020.

Video streaming market has changed a lot since modern protocols were introduced. There is a lot more that can be done in this industry. With this rate, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see global Paid TV market being surpassed by the OTT-streaming very soon. The coming era of 5G infrastructure is yet to come. You never know what is possible with a 5G speed and what else can you broadcast further. It is certain that AI will become an inseparable part and we will see some intelligent routing, bitrate adaptation, and smoother content transmission. AR and VR streaming will become more prevalent. For now, just know that the finest of online video streaming wonders is yet to arrive.

6 Alternatives to Open Source Live Streaming Solution

6 Alternatives to Open Source Live Streaming Solution

With social media platforms offering Open source video streaming capabilities, going live was never this easy for an individual broadcaster. We have to admit that social media streaming has given a gem to the hands of the common smartphone or desktop users. Grab some basic equipment with a decent smartphone and internet connection, and you are ready to broadcast your stuff to the thousands of followers on your Facebook page or YouTube channel.

When individual creators are broadcasting for fun and earning, businesses are leveraging it for marketing, revenue-boosting, product promotion, brand educations, and even for customer support. In a very short sort span, the popularity of the genre has seen an unprecedented growth, and it is expected that live streaming business would cross the $70 billion mark by 2021. Indeed, it is a profitable market, and you would love to be a part of this.

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Are Open source live streaming services competent for professional grade streaming?

No doubt, gamers, and individual live streamers make some good money through YouTube Live and Twitch live. Indeed, the open source live video streaming providers like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitch, and periscope offer an array of amazing features, and it is easier to get a quick viewership from the existing base of followers on these platforms.

However, it is likewise crucial to note that open-source platforms are open source only because they lag on some critical stuff, which limits their implementation for a professional grade live streaming. These open source live streaming solutions lag the competency to let you realize live streaming as a business and lose many prospects to generate much more than what you make on YouTube Live or Twitch. Furthermore, for an already established business, using social media streaming as a dedicated live streaming solution means compromising with the aspects that are not being compromised by its competitors at all.

Drawbacks of Open source live streaming engines

  • They do not provide a white label service. You will stream under the brand of a selected live video streaming platform.
  • Video monetization is only through Ads, which is not enough for revenue generation by a business.
  • You cannot implement advanced monetization methods like subscription, pay-per-view, etc.
  • You cannot trust the stability of the platform, as it is more than just a live streaming solution. It is a social media platform with billions of users already active.
  • You have zero control over the rights, as the platform alone possesses the sole right on your videos.
  • The video quality of the stream is dependent on the platform and its ability to take-on loads without disturbing the stream quality.
  • You cannot control the streaming latency as platforms depend on their own DNS routing.
  • They offer limited bandwidth, which makes HD or 4K streaming nearly impossible.

Why do you need a dedicated live streaming solution?

Open-source solutions are inadequate to fulfill the advanced requirements of a professional-grade live streaming. To overcome the drawbacks, you need your own streaming engine with dedicated and content delivery network (CDN).

Luckily, you need not developing your own engine. There are streaming server companies, which provide ready-made APIs to let you integrate your own streaming channel with dedicated bandwidth and live streaming server. The developers use these APIs to integrate live streaming capabilities to their live streaming software.

Here is a list of features that you should necessarily look up while selecting the best suitable live video streaming software, built on these APIs-

  • White label service where you can customize its branding to fit your own brand identity.
  • Basic video monetization through options like creating subscription plans, imposing pay-per-view, embedding video ads etc.
  • Equipped with payment gateways to receive subscription payments from the viewers.
  • Basic security to protect customers’ payment and personal data.
  • 24X7-tech support to assist in case of any technical error.
  • Stream in high quality with low latency across the targeted regions of business.
  • Dynamic transcoding to offer flexible viewing based on different devices and bandwidth.
  • High-quality audio streaming with top-tier CDN delivery.
  • In-depth analytics to scrutinize the spread and performance of live streaming events. 

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Livestream alternatives to open-source solutions

Here is a list of top six live streaming API providers who offer turnkey solutions to integrate dedicated streaming capabilities to a range of devices and platforms-

1. Opentok Tokbox-

OpenTok is a popular WebRTC platform for embedding interactive video, voice and messaging on mobile and web platforms. It offer different APIs for a customized implementation of live video streaming on your website or mobile app. With its ready-made APIs, you can quickly access the comprehensive set of mobile solutions to get your mobile app ready and running with advanced features and cross-platform support. The embedded communications fused with a white-labeled API lets you design your own platform and integrate the live streaming capability with customized UI matching your own brand.

Features to highlight:

  • Live streaming on any platform WebRTC, Mobile, or Desktop.
  • Recording of live sessions
  • Video messaging
  • Live video chat

Pricing:

Adaptive pricing is available for all levels of usage: developers, business, and enterprises. Base price starts at $9.99/month and moves up as you go for the enterprise plans.

2. Twilio video-

With Twilio video API, you can have the access to make instant personal connections. Open-source software alone is not enough to get to the production scale required for professional grade live streaming. The Twilio video eliminates the drawbacks open-source live streaming solutions and offers a readymade platform to build a flexible, scalable, reliable and high-quality live video experience for your users with WebRTC and custom SDKs. With this turnkey API, developers can focus on the UI code while the logic to embed live streaming solution would be taken care by the Twilio API. Use anything from JS, iOS, Android SDKs to quickstart your live streaming platform on the go.

Features to highlight:

  • Peer-to-peer connection
  • Group Rooms for live interaction
  • REST orchestration & web hooks
  • Screen sharing and Co-browsing
  • Recordings of live interactions

Pricing:

Offers simple, flexible and contract-free pricing. The programmable Video plan starts at $0.0015/min per participant with features like SDKs for mobile and web, video recording, screen sharing, and supports up to 50 participants.

3. Wowza-

Wowza Streaming Engine, also known as Wowza Media Server, is one of the most popular live streaming providers. It offers a combined streaming solution used for streaming live as well as on-demand video and audio. The solutions support a wide range of applications over IP networks, desktop, laptop, tablets, mobile devices, IPTV set-top boxes, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. Being a Java application, it is deployable on most of the operating systems. The Wowza live streaming serves lets you broadcast your live video using any Encoder. In addition to the custom build solutions, the turnkey API lets you embed the Wowza streaming software on any third party live streaming app, website or platform.

Features to highlight:

  • Allows streaming from the phone over Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G connections.
  • Supports Pause, Rewind and resuming of live streaming sessions
  • While labeled API can be embedded on any platform or mobile app.
  • Supports live streaming through CDNs for seamless user experience.

Pricing:

The plans for Wowza streaming cloud offering Managed Live-streaming services start from $49/month. The pricing goes up with the advanced add-ons like ultra-low latency, API, Event streaming solution, 24X7 streaming solutions etc. 

4. Agora io

Agora offers a turnkey API ready to deploy the features like voice call, video call, and interactive live broadcasting to your existing platform. With Agora Interactive Broadcasting for live streaming, you can add live video chat with interactive features like in-app messaging. The low ram consumption makes it best fit for developing game-streaming solutions with HD video and audio transmission. Agora has Data centers and streaming servers in all the major regions on the planet.

Features to highlight:

  • Smart Routing with real-time network monitoring
  • Seamless switch between host and audience
  • Recording live sessions
  • Supports CDN-Based Websites
  • Automatic transcoding
  • Third Party Integration Support

Pricing:

Pricing starts with $3.99/1000 minutes for streaming in 720P or greater quality.

5. Vidyo io

Vidyo.io allows developers to embed group video communications to their websites, mobiles apps, and platforms without needing to code one from scratch. It saves developers from re-inventing the wheel and allows them to use the ready-to-use API for integrating live video features to their touchpoints. Vidyo io uses Scalable Video Coding (SVC) to encode videos into discrete strata. It dynamically allows encoding of live videos into layers, which can increase or decrease the video resolution as per the varying bandwidth.

Features to highlight:

  • Dynamic switching of video quality
  • Optimized for mobile devices
  • Supports HD to 4K quality streaming
  • Recording of live videos
  • Uses local data centers to ensure HD streaming with the lowest latency

 Pricing:

Base pricing starts with 65/month offering the features like 6500 participant minutes per month, $0.01 for each additional participant minute, Group video chat, Customizable layouts, Screen sharing, Text chat, Mobile SDK (iOS, Android), Desktop SDK (Windows, Mac OS), Browser SDK (WebRTC, Plug-in), and RTMP Broadcast via media bridge.

6. Xirsys

Xirsys offers global turnkey server infrastructure for embedding streaming capabilities to the WebRTC applications. With data centers in nine regions including USA, Europe, China and Brazil, Xirsys is able to offer high-quality streaming with the lowest latency. Xirsys offer WebRTC cloud and WebRTC Servers to power up streaming solutions in almost every continent on the globe. 

Features to highlight

  • High quality streaming for Audio as video
  • Low Latency with Global DNS Routing
  • Data centers in nine major regions
  • Patented technology to provide distributed deployment architecture
  • Hosting of major WebRTC servers: Jitsi video bridge, Janus video room, Medooze etc.
  • Service and server accessible through readymade API

Pricing:

The basic monthly plan starts with $39/month with features like 50GB Bandwidth, 999.95 % uptime etc.

Which one is better?

If you wish to set up your own live streaming business, setting up your own streaming server would be same as re-inventing the wheel. Why invest so much of time and capital, when you can readily use the APIs from the above streaming engines. There are several challenges of setting up your own streaming server, if you think you can avoid these, you can surely set up your own streaming server for developing your own streaming application.

Challenges of running your own streaming server-

  • Latency- To ensure the lowest possible latency, streaming servers must be equipped with CDN servers set up in all the major reasons of the planet. Failing to do so will create a huge gap between the capture, transmission, and receiving of video and audio feeds to the final viewers.
  • Buffering- Streaming servers operate on a high bandwidth connection. Not all users have access to high-speed internet. As a result, many of the viewers would experience continuous buffering. Streaming API providers mitigate this by using dynamic switching of bit-rates and resolutions of the transmission.
  • Limits to scale- Limits apply to live streaming, as there are restrictions to the extent where only a finite number of streamers can go live at the same time. The cost and complexity of scaling servers, to involve as many streamers, is tough to manage. Only a dedicated business is expected to do it properly with dedicated men and tech power to realize it.
  • Security vulnerabilities- Running your own servers means being responsible for every implementation required to keep them secure and up. In a practical world, you would be working continuously to save your server from phishing attacks, piracy, and much more.

Running your own server is not easy. Especially when your primary focus is on developing a live streaming solution, you should not waste your efforts on doing what is already been done by the others. Just use their APIs, pay them the rent, and focus on developing the enhanced user experience for your live viewers.

You can pick any one of the alternatives that overcome all the drawbacks mentioned above and fit your intent of capital investment. Like we chose Wowza to power up our live streaming solution- StreamNow. With the APIs from Wowza, we were able to develop a readymade live streaming solution with cutting edge UI and features for professional grade broadcasting. In fact, the same API also powers our live streaming apps for Android and iOS. Just one ready-made API allowed us to develop a cross-platform solution that supports almost all possible devices.

 

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Online video hosting platforms: common challenges and ways to deal with them

Online video hosting platforms: common challenges and ways to deal with them

‘Change’ is an obvious strategy that Brands have to continuously look out for and apply when it comes to the fluctuating behavior of the online audience. Internet now has become an essential part of human lives as we enigmatically depend on it for our basic needs (from communication, entertainment, and information to product and service purchases), and therefore the way we consume the digital content is in an abrupt change. The traditional text-based content gave way to the image content, then the GIFs which in turn paved the path for pre-recorded videos, and now there are live videos. The higher the engagement rate among the audiences is, the more sophisticated the content is expected to be.

Why should you consider starting a video streaming service?

We all very well know that videos are currently the most engaging mode of content online. And now, live videos are starting to take over the digital media, witnessing a year over growth rate of more than 80% since 2015. Here are the reasons for its impeccable growth and why a business should consider investing in a video streaming service.

Giving your audience a sense of personalized interaction: 79% of the marketers say that a live video facilitates an authentic interaction with their audience, and 63% say that it brings a human touch to digital marketing.

Get more attention: Viewers spend 8 times more time with live videos as compared to the on-demand videos, making it the best medium for brands to invest in.

Leverage your content strategy: 61% of marketers say that live videos benefit them in creating content that can be repurposed later. With this, you can make sure that the content you create is consumed by your audience more effectively.

Increased audience engagement: Live videos on Facebook have shown to receive 10 times more comments than other forms of content. This clearly shows how interactive are live videos and its huge potential in boosting your audience engagement.

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Choosing a live video hosting platform

If you want to start a video streaming service, you will need a variety of tools and resources. Most important of all is the server that can distribute your content to viewers around the world. It is, of course, possible to create your own server, but your requirements will vary as your audience base increases, leaving you with high expenses and technical overhead (let us elaborately discuss on the challenges faced by hosting your own live streaming platform later in the article). Generally, only large enterprises with ample resources will deploy their own streaming servers, and even with well-established businesses, it is rare.

A video streaming host is linked to a global network of servers called the live streaming CDN (content delivery network). The CDN from top-notch live video hosting solutions like StreamHash can ensure your stream to be free of glitches and buffering. Besides linking you to CDN, a live streaming platform provides a smooth software backend from which you can stream your content. You can be online and start your streaming in no time. You will just have to:

Arrange necessary resources for streaming like video cameras.
Encode the resources to formats that are compatible and streaming friendly.
Connect your encoder to your video streaming host.
Customize it according to your business needs and start streaming.

Things to look out for while considering a video streaming service

There are a wide number of streaming-as-a-service video hosting scripts that can help you instantly start delivering the content to your audience, but you should be aware of their limitations.

Live videos are a valuable tool for your brand in multiple ways, and the main factor to consider while choosing one is to see the extent of customization it offers to make your brand unique among your audience.

Here are the main differences in white-labeled services like StreamHash and the typical streaming-as-a-service providers, and how choosing the right one can have a huge impact on your brand’s growth:

-Give your brand a greater visibility, by giving a personalized feel for your audience. Streaming the video with your brand’s name than that of your service providers’ can obviously give your brand a higher visibility. A White-label solution, unlike the latter, gives you the leniency of streaming your live videos under your brand’s name.

Higher the customization options, greater is the uniqueness delivered by your brand. One advantage of building your live streaming server from the scratch is that you can customize it in the way your brand’s niche demands. But, the streaming-as-a-service platforms don’t provide fully flexible options to customize and the brands have to choose among a limited set of templates available. In contrast, a white-label solution like StreamHash can give you both advantages of a ready-made solution as well as a fully customizable set of options.

Investing your business content in a free video hosting platform? Here’s why you should rethink

We are all well aware of the recent Facebook-Cambridge analytica scandal, which saw a data leak of more than 87 million Facebook users in the United States. The information from their timeline, newsfeed, and messages was enough for Cambridge analytica to create psychographic profiles of the users and employ it to their advantage. Knowing it, many businesses like UniCredit (an Italian banking giant) who were concerned about their users’ data privacy immediately stopped all kinds of advertising and marketing on Facebook.

It is OK for an individual to start live streaming in free platforms like YouTube or Facebook, but for a business, all their followers’ data are at stake and most consumers won’t be happy with their data getting leaked in wrong hands. Apart from this, these consumer-grade platforms don’t have the necessary features for professional users, with abilities like different monetization features, advanced analytics, white-label custom branding, and API integration.

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Doing your own video hosting? Here are it’s challenging.

Another obvious alternative that appeals to business apart from the free streaming service is to start their own streaming video hosting. It is completely advisable to start one of your own if your business is having adequate time and capital investments. But, with 80% of the total online audience base already preferring live videos over other content modes, they expect a lot more unique content from brands other than those in the free hosting services. Notably, 45% are even ready to pay to watch videos that are unique and closely engaging them.

For those who can understand this hustling demand from the audience and the existing limited supply, they will know the extent of competition the market will face in a few years and how crucial is “now” to gain an upper hand.

Hence, when you consider hosting your own video streaming service, there are some significant drawbacks that you should consider in terms of development, penetration, time and profitability.

CDN, servers and another equipment setup

From the servers themselves, routers, firewalls, power supplies, cooling equipment, and a sophisticated environment to mount all these in and keep running, the costs can be significantly high. As streaming platforms are the type of businesses that will have a continuous increase in the number of users, it would require multiple cores of servers and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) implementation.

Scaling and automation for streaming

When the videos are hosted in static web pages, the video also loads each time you load the webpage. For instance, consider one such webpage hosting a 10-minute live video, and there are 100 users who are accessing the video real-time. The server requests are generated in the span of milliseconds (as the live videos demand real-time access), and therefore can overload the server leading to the website crash.

To scale and optimize this process, your infrastructure requires video hosting and website hosting in separate servers, considerably increasing your costs and responsibilities.

Download and piracy protection

If you are self-hosting your videos, you are most likely to provide a direct URL from your video hosting server to the website. This can make your video vulnerable to easy downloads through numerous options available in the web like free downloaders and browser plugins.

Video player controls, their adaptation, and customization

Using the Video.js library (JavaScript and CSS library that is used in HTML5 video player) requires a great level of coding. Apart from its initial setup, you will have to code for additional customizations like adding themes you desire, colors, bitrates, sizes and aspect ratio adaptation options.

Coding difficulties:

Even when you use third party plugin or inbuilt WordPress plugin, you will need to write a coding on the video file formats.

Varying video quality across browsers

As you know the video files need to be converted in different formats and sizes and this work is done by software apps. Each app does the process in a slightly different way which results in the varying quality of videos appearing in the browsers.

Also, each web browsers handles playback differently which means the same video file will look different in each browser.

Slow-Loading or Freezing Video

If your video files are located in a server which has a limited bandwidth, then people who try to watch the video would experience buffering during playback until your PC downloads the video files.

Varying video formats

Now even HTML5 does not specify browser which format to support. As a result, the major web browsers are diversified in this option and so browser supports different formats. For example, Internet Explorer and Safari support H.264 (MP4) videos, and not WebM or Ogg. Firefox will support Ogg or WebM videos, and not H.264. Unlike other web browsers, Chrome will support all the major video formats. It’s always better than your videos should be supported by all web browsers without opposing bandwidth cap.

The flexibility of encoding the codecs to multiple devices

The video codecs and compatibility segment currently are highly fragmented. Among the web browsers, none of them support all the majorly used codecs like H.264, Ogg and WebM except Chrome (for instance, Safari and IE don’t support WebM or Ogg, and Firefox doesn’t support H.264). When you are self-hosting videos, you need to transcode specifically in each of the codecs which are again a Server-CPU intensive process.

Staffing

When you have multiple servers and other sophisticated equipment to handle, maintenance is a big pain-point. You need trained and qualified staff to run them and require sufficient resources to manage them as well.

Time and development costs

If you are planning to set up your video hosting infrastructure in-house, it is important that you look at the bottom-line of costs and time development. With the live streaming market set to face a stiff competition in forthcoming years, looking for an instant and affordable solution will help you to efficiently utilize your resources and save them for your future expansion strategies. 

What are my best options that help me start a video streaming service?

When you work with a video hosting service, they offer diverse streaming solutions to help you kick-start your business instantly without much capital and time investments. Also, choosing a prominent video hosting script can help you to handle any amount of users to your website, giving them a seamless streaming experience. These services can also safeguard your content from online piracy, preventing you from losing your original content.

Adapting, controlling and customizing the video players are the main challenge, requiring to code as per the changing requirements and interests of your users. Opting for a video streaming solution will have well-tested features that will give your audience the best impression on your streaming service.

To maximize your user experience, you can give your users a personalized feel by opting for services that give you the flexibility of customizing as per your business needs and preferences, like white-label streaming solutions. Another main advantage of these white-label streaming solutions is that they give you the much needed initial brand visibility, helping you to exponentially expand your user base and profitability. With a video streaming solution, video production, editing, and uploading are just your responsibility.

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Live Streaming  for Business: How, When and Why you should use it?

Live Streaming for Business: How, When and Why you should use it?

Live streaming industry is full of marquee names. The industry has Facebook Live, Twitter’s Periscope, Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Businesses have lofty expectations on live streaming platforms as they help brands communicate with audiences. Interaction and customer engagement is the formula that brands are faithfully sticking to. And yes, viewers prefer live videos from brands and not just run-of-the-mill social media posts.

To say live streaming is an overnight phenomenon is wrong in many ways. Many industry leaders are convinced that live video streaming is an extension of video marketing. They are also convinced that live streaming lends stability and shape to marketing strategies.

 The returns on live video streaming are amazing. Brands do not require any expensive or fancy paraphernalia. They just require an HD camera, a tripod, and a good internet connection. Many popular live streaming platforms are absolutely free. Let’s look at some numbers.

Facebook has more than 2.2 billion active users. Interestingly, Facebook Live has 360 million active users. Periscope has 10 million users while the number of active users is 1.9 million. Of course, its numbers aren’t as impressive as those of Facebook. Let’s now look at Instagram. Instagram Stories has more than 300 million daily active users. Snapchat has an estimated 191 million daily active users. To be upfront, the numbers are overwhelmingly large!

Can brands ignore such numbers? No! Brands should use different live streaming platforms to their advantage and to the fullest.

There is this FOMO – Fear of Missing Out factor which is fast catching up with viewers. To satiate their curiosity and immense anxiety, viewers are tuning into live streaming. More importantly, audiences want to gratify their intellectual curiosity and hence, brands should use live video streaming to educate customers about the benefits and advantages of their product and service offerings.

The infographic below gives a quick insight into why you should consider live video for your business or brand, which platforms to use, and what formats to explore.

live streaming business