We are living in a world inundated with digital content today. More businesses are creating and distributing digital content to meet consumers’ growing appetite. In fact, distributing content has become one way for businesses to generate revenue in the long term.
Video is one type of digital content that has seen massive adoption by businesses, and in particular streaming. According to Statista, the revenue in the Video Streaming (SVoD) segment is projected to reach US$80.83bn in 2022.
The rise of video streaming has led many businesses to look for efficient ways to distribute their content, and this has in turn led to the growth of cloud video streaming platforms.
What Is a Cloud Video Streaming Platform?
Cloud video streaming platforms are services which enable the streaming of video content from the cloud instead of files stored on premise. These platforms involve servers and databases located around the world which host and deliver video content to viewers via the internet without requiring them to download the files.
Why Are OTT Brands Shifting to Cloud Video Streaming Platforms?
OTT (“over the top”) brands are those which rely on distributing content over the internet, as opposed to transmission through cable networks. Many of the streaming platforms today such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus are OTT brands, which have grown in popularity over the recent years.
Due to the freedom that these platforms offer to users in consuming content from any device and the flexibility and control in the viewing experience, their consumer base has increased drastically.
According to Statista, Netflix had approximately 223 million paid subscribers worldwide as of the third quarter of 2022. This is an increase of almost 2.5 million subscribers compared with the previous quarter. And almost double the number from late 2017.
This surge in viewership has also meant that OTT brands have had to scale up their infrastructure to provide a good experience for their audience. While on-premise streaming may have worked before, it meant more resources, costs and maintenance work. This has led to many OTT brands shifting to cloud video streaming platforms, for their efficiency, user experience and lower costs in a monthly subscription model.
Video Streaming on Cloud vs. On-Premise
Using cloud video streaming platforms provides a few advantages over on-premise infrastructure.
- Efficient deployment: On-premise streaming requires you to maintain the application on your own, which can consume significant resources while cloud-based video streaming has the service provider allocating resources for maintenance
- Lower Costs: On-premise infrastructure can cost you significant capital, not to mention additional expenses for storage, staffing and maintenance. Cloud-based streaming often employs a pay-as-you-go or pay-as-you-need model which means you only have to pay for the resources you use.
- Better Security: Cloud-based video streaming platforms often have built-in security and protection in accordance with regulations and standards while in the case of on-premise infrastructure you will have to adopt separate security solutions yourself.
- Easier Scaling: If you have a clear idea of how much traffic you will experience for the streaming, on-premise may be an option. But if your viewership spikes up unpredictably, you will need to scale up quickly while remaining available, for which cloud-based streaming is more appropriate.
You may encounter a few challenges when shifting to a cloud streaming platform. You will need to ensure data integration across different clouds if you operate a multi-cloud environment. It is also important to work with the cloud provider to configure the security measures properly so that all your applications and data are protected after the migration. And at the same time, normal business operations should not be interrupted during the migration to cloud.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Video Streaming Platforms
There are numerous benefits to using a cloud video streaming platform, many of which are closely related to the cloud-based model and others that come from partnering with specific platform providers.
Built-in security and content protection
Cloud video streaming platforms usually provide built-in security and content protection features. This may include various types of encryption such as HLS and DRM encryption as well as security features like anti-hotlinking, watermarking, geoblocking and HTTPS streaming. You will not have to configure these yourself as they come as part of the provider’s solution in most cases.
One-stop end-to-end service
By working with a cloud video streaming provider, you also get to benefit from end-to-end service, covering all aspects of streaming – from uploads, stream management, monitoring, security and more. The alternative would be to manage all these on your own or by adopting individual disparate solutions which can create silos and inefficient processes.
Large bandwidth and speed
Using the cloud for video streaming can also help you achieve high bandwidth and speeds for better streaming performance. Adaptive bitrate streaming (ABS) ensures that viewers get access to a seamless streaming experience – no matter their device or network conditions. Instead of manually creating a SMIL file with multiple bitrate and resolution renditions, ABS does the work for you. As you grow your viewership, you will also find it easy to scale without compromising the viewing experience.
Cost-effective for your OTT streaming business
With a cloud video streaming platform, you can cut down on costs as you only need to spend on a monthly subscription charge. Unlike traditional and on-premise streaming, you can eliminate costs associated with storage, hardware, installation and maintenance. This means better control and visibility about what streaming will cost you, on a monthly basis
Since most of the heavy-lifting on maintenance is done by the platform providers, you can free up the time and resource of your team. This way, they can focus on other revenue-generating tasks for your business, such as supporting major live streaming events or developing new products..
Low streaming latency
Traditional streaming infrastructure may involve restrictions on latency in streaming. Due to geolocation limitations, there may have been a limit to how low the latency can be reduced. But with cloud video streaming, your stream can reach across geographies without sacrificing latency. Some platforms also achieve ultra low latency with the help of content delivery networks (CDN), even while distributing video to the farthest corners of the world.
Better ingesting and transcoding
Using a cloud streaming platform means you can ingest a variety of video files and transcode them in the cloud. The files could be Zoom or Teams recordings or videos created using different codecs and of different formats. Cloud streaming platforms take care of converting these into a form that is optimized for the web so that you don’t have to.
Additional features from the platform
Depending on the platform provider, you may also get to enjoy the benefits of additional features such as content management, statistical analysis, developer features and event-specific streaming support.
How to Simplify Cloud Video Streaming Business With CDNetworks’ Solutions
If you are considering shifting to the cloud for your video streaming needs, CDNetworks can help you make the transition. Cloud Live is an all-in-one live streaming solution from CDNetworks that includes stream-management features for ingesting, processing, and delivery to help you deliver a seamless, low-latency streaming experience. It also has powerful media-processing capabilities, leveraging our globally distributed content delivery network (CDN), as well as developer features, security essentials such as HTTPDNS, access control, anti-hotlinking, watermarking and stream analytics to gain insights into your business trends.
For businesses delivering video on demand, we also have Cloud VOD, which provides similar benefits for ingesting, managing, processing, publishing, distributing, and analyzing media content. With CDNetworks, you can ensure that your video streaming is robust and reliable, and by integrating your stream into our cloud platform can simplify your workflow. With our cloud video streaming services, you get to enjoy the same power and features of on-premise streaming, but also with the efficiency of streaming on a SaaS service.