Bitmovin CEO and co-founder Stefan Lederer reflects on the implications of a growing trend towards selecting ‘the right codec for the right job’.

Bitmovin Stefan Lederer

Stefan Lederer

What do you think are the key developments in, or threats to, your market sector at the current time?
With streaming becoming one of the preferred ways for consumers to view their favourite content, codecs play a very important role behind the scenes in delivering these high-quality streams to consumers. According to Bitmovin’s latest Video Developer Report findings, H.264/AVC is still by far the most popular and widely used video codec, used by nine out of ten (91%) of all survey respondents. However, planned usage of AV1 is set to triple, with 7% of respondents having started to work with it and 20% expected to start using it in the coming year.

A common theme that’s emerging in the use of codecs is that many video developers are moving away from using one preferred codec and are starting to select the right codec for the right job. The transition to a multi-codec strategy won’t bring an end to the codec wars immediately but will help to satisfy uses across all platforms and devices. 

What are the major technology drivers for your business going forward?
Our customers are looking to redefine the viewer experience, while drastically lowering streaming cost as streaming becomes the pre-eminent way for broadcasters and content owners to deliver video content. But as well as innovating to bring new experiences to screens everywhere, they must also deliver traditional broadcast quality through an increasingly diverse set of platforms and devices.

As the media landscape grows in complexity, and new players come to the market, Bitmovin is shaping the future of video by enabling broadcasters, publishers and social media companies to deliver content simply, efficiently and at the highest possible quality and the lowest possible bitrate. And it’s that balancing act, between quality and bitrate, that Bitmovin sees as fundamental to the challenges facing the industry as 4K becomes the standard and 8K and HDR content emerges. 

Can you outline one of your latest product launches or developments?
Bitmovin believes in data-driven development, and over the last year, the Bitmovin Player and Analytics product has been taken from a closed beta release to general availability. It was initially created internally to help debug common playback issues, quality snafus and trace problems across the entire workflow chain so that the perfect playback experience is ensured. New features have been added such as Ads Dashboard and Fraud Detection, and all video developers will now be able to test and optimise their current video player experience using the combined Bitmovin Player and Analytics solution, allowing them to troubleshoot and diagnose problems quicker than ever before.

What are your own observations of IBC 2019 in terms of what it suggests about new technologies and business trends?
The acceleration in AI technology was a big discussion point at IBC 2019, and Bitmovin’s latest Video Developer Report sees 24% of video professionals expecting to start using AI as part of video workflow solutions before the end of 2019. With this sort of technology, developers will be able to deliver personalised high-quality video efficiently and reduce costs.

Stefan Lederer is CEO and co-founder at Bitmovin