Concurrent stream limiting can help combat password-sharing, whilst AI could be set to have a major impact on content discovery in the OTT market writes Michael Stattmann, castLabs

What are the main challenges facing those tasked with creating and delivering content?


Michael Stattmann, CEO and founder, castLabs

For services offering premium studio content I believe the main challenges are in the areas of consistent user experience across a large number of streaming devices, studio requirements for content security, scalability and cost-efficiency. With a quickly growing user base for OTT services demanding highest content quality, operating and scaling infrastructure systems has become a challenge. For live must-see events with everyone tuning in at the same time, the load of a CDN or DRM service can explode – ie. jumping from a few views and license requests to over 50 million in minutes.

Companies look for solutions to accommodate the demand for large live sports events, while maintaining low latency and an error free tune-up without buffering. Additionally, with ever-increasing technical quality of content ranging to UHD, 8K, HDR and beyond, the requirements content owners have for content protection increase as well. The current challenge lies in correctly fulfilling these requirements across viewing devices and platforms with different security levels, while ensuring the best possible user experience. That requires in-depth knowledge of a quite fragmented world of device platforms, as well as multiple DRM technologies.

How is your company helping content owners and creators to overcome their challenges?

The surge in demand is opening more opportunities for video streaming services as people are looking for high quality video content on multiple devices. With the increase of people snuggling up on their sofa watching streaming entertainment services, the speed and quality of video streaming have been affected. Using our PRESTOplay SDKs, streaming services can build player apps that use an ABR algorithm and optimise video delivery to reduce streaming bandwidth across browsers, desktops, mobiles and TVs.

In addition, our highly scalable DRMtoday solution has built-in logic to deliver millions of licenses every day and peak times to be served without delays, should there be a sudden surge in viewers. The flexible cloud solution helps to avoid service outages with dependable high availability and excellent fault-tolerant redundancy.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, people turn to watching video content due to a limited choice of activities. Having more time to consume content can also lead to an increase in password-sharing with more users trying to take advantage of services. To ensure fair streaming and the use of streams as intended, DRMtoday’s concurrent stream limiting feature is a useful tool to deny license renewal requests (or the license deliveries themselves) if too many concurrent streams are used by a single given customer. These are just some of the examples of things we are doing as well as technical consulting, where we provide niche knowledge and help to overcome barriers along digital video chains.

What impact has Coronavirus had on the media and entertainment industry?

The global pandemic has resulted in a surge of demand for video streaming worldwide in the short term. It even led to bandwidth reduction by some services to reduce the strain on networks. That’s good news for all existing and recently launched streaming services, but requires scalable and easily configurable infrastructure. Also, a shift to more remote work and education has opened up opportunities for innovation and new types of video streaming services.

Also, it is important to ensure the protection of privacy and intellectual property in video distribution. The decline in cinema visitors starts to change the way movies are released and it is likely that we will see more ‘digital first’ releases in the future. The industry as a whole seems to be doing comparably well, and was quick in adjusting to the changes in processes and everyday activities to make sure that digital video remains accessible to as many people as possible in the safest and most protected way. I predict video delivery will continue developing and striving as it has been proven once again to be highly in-demand.

What media trends do you expect to dominate 2022?

Artificial Intelligence is setting a trend in the OTT industry by not only serving recommendations to audiences and content discovery, but also with content material enhancing, video indexing, content promotion, and video streaming workflow optimisation. There is so much information to process that it cannot be done via any other way, and it is being used in both live and on-demand scenarios. AI is aiding in providing a more scalable service with a better user experience, and I am sure it will only continue to grow and develop further.

  • Michael Stattmann is the CEO and founder of castLabs

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