Video streaming is already an established part of our lives, but it’s not done yet. Its popularity is growing rapidly and experts predict that streaming will account for 82% of all Internet traffic in 2022. You and your loved ones have undoubtedly streamed a video, be it on Youtube or elsewhere, in the last week. In 2022, a number of trends will affect your streaming habits. At Evolvera, we have identified 5 major trends that both consumers and companies need to watch out for this year.
1. The emergence of 5G
5G technology is on the threshold of maturity. Yesterday, we wrote about Russia potentially becoming the next country in line to develop its commercial 5G network. China is also speeding up its 5G investments this year. Last year, fifth-generation high-speed wireless Internet networks have already been built and put into operation in a number of regions in countries such as China, Japan, the United States, South Korea and in European countries. By the end of 2022, 5G networks are expected to cover even wider areas. 5G is a key cornerstone and foundation of the Internet of Things (IoT) that is set to explode in the next decade. As such, streaming through connected devices will undoubtedly be a trend to watch. However, IoT will unlikely factor into streaming in the year 2022.
2. Ultra High Definition (4K) quality and Virtual Reality (VR)
4K is currently the highest level of picture quality available to viewers. Due to this current availability and in order to stay competitive on the market, all leading streaming platforms have included premium 4K content in their offerings, and on some platforms video viewing in 8K is also available. 8K is simply higher resolution. Because of the emergence of large-diameter TVs, laptops and smartphones that support 4K video playback, the demand for high-quality video content has seen unprecedented growth in the last three years.
HD video has not only become the norm, but a standard and viewers are looking for Ultra HD (UHD) compatible devices and related content. In other words, Ultra HD will become one of the key growth drivers for streaming services in relation to 4K. Virtual reality has also grown since Palmer Luckey popularized VR with his Oculus Rift headset and successive versions. Mark Zuckerberg’s “Meta” re-strategy and betting big on the Metaverse entails that VR is an area that will transform streaming.
3. Novel monetization opportunities and subscription models
Dacast, a leading streaming platform based out of San Francisco, has spoken about the current trend of “subscription fatigue”. Many people subscribe to multiple platforms to watch their exclusive content. Back in 2019, the service Apester conducted a global survey, according to which more than 60% of users said they were tired of the subscription-based business model in relation to streaming.
Video platforms and online movie theaters are, therefore developing ways to combat this fatigue. They have commenced providing individual and targeted approaches in this sense as the user may not feel comfortable subscribing to many different services just because they are interested in one movie, video or content.
In general, this “fatigue” can stimulate services to other ways of monetization: pay-per-view or advertising. Which, by and large, is already happening.
According to PwC, the pay-per-view model for specific content is growing: growth is expected to continue at 15% per year and reach $91 million by 2024.
4. Artificial intelligence for content analysis and data processing
Based on the analysis of current video streaming trends, experts predict that OTT (over-the-top) platforms and Internet video streaming companies will make much greater use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve their services. This is already happening in real time. Machine learning is already being used to implement content-aware compression for better video playback and is sure to become even more advanced this coming year and decade. Artificial Intelligence video processing is used to determine the most appropriate video format before each compression process begins, to ensure high quality content is displayed on all devices.
This has also affected gaming. Artificial Intelligence-based video processing has also found its application in games with dynamic resolution and dynamic frame rate configurations. This provides the ability to efficiently select compression mechanisms depending on the type of content, to ensure the best video quality every time.
In this way, AI helps over-the-top platforms become more flexible and adaptive to changing global market conditions. Both startups and established companies play on the same field in the rapidly evolving OTT video streaming market depending on their level of funds allocated and devoted to AI, which in a general sense, is constantly evolving.
An important trend that follows the trend of artificial intelligence is localization of content, subtitles and monetization. It allows large services to go beyond their traditional markets and make content available to different audiences. For example, subtitles in different languages, payment in different currencies and content adapted to specific regions. We can expect more of this to follow in the year 2022.
Final thoughts on streaming in 2022
The competition in the streaming video market is enormous. The new generation of content providers gives consumers the opportunity to watch their favorite shows on any device connected to the Internet. Viewers are able to choose from a huge number of service providers, and so the main goal of the latter is to retain their audience – audience retention will therefore be key. There has also been a rise in illegal content and streaming platforms, which requires companies to adjust to a new reality and experiment with freemium models.
The real breakthrough in this sector came during the lockdown period. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, billions of people were isolated in their homes and were looking for any available means of entertainment – so the popularity of streaming services was set to skyrocket.
Streaming content through a variety of applications, game consoles and multimedia devices is turning the ecosystem of connected TVs into a very attractive and actively developing medium of mass information. The global OTT market has grown from $104.11 billion in 2019 to $161.37 billion in 2020, posting an astounding compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.0%.
In 2022, the market is set to continue this level of growth.
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