Today StreamingMedia.com and Help Me Stream Research Foundation launch the newest State of Streaming survey report, sponsored by Tulix. This sixth edition of the bi-annual report, based on survey responses from Autumn 2022, covers topics from average data rates and video resolutions to the impact that advertising revenues have on overall operational costs.
The new report expands on details provided in a recent Streaming Media West keynote during which time Streaming Media’s conference chair, Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen and Help Me Stream Research Foundation’s Tim Siglin were joined onstage by Tulix founders George Bokuchava and Nino Doijashvili.
The most recent report also covers trends in softening viewership and higher-end revenues that were first noted at May’s Streaming Media East 2022 research keynote in Boston and have now accelerated significantly to the point that lower-end viewership rates have now risen enough—as an overall percentage of survey respondents’ viewership and subscription models—to account for a greater percentage of business opportunity than do the higher-end viewership models.
“For us, 1,000 to 5,000 viewers is is actually the sweet spot we see in reality,” says George Bokuchava, CEO of Tulix. “We often have customers who are planning to have more than 10,000 viewers but it’s very difficult to actually reach this number. We see more and more difficulties for multiple reasons.”
Those reasons are detailed in the report, which can be downloaded here.
Another key topic explored for the first time in this survey dealt with the impact that advertising revenues have in covering overall expenses for over-the-top (OTT) providers. This is an especially important metric as the industry shows renewed and growing interest in the FAST model, where free ad-supported OTT “television” is used to supplement declining subscription revenues.
Respondents shared details that appear to put advertising revenues at a point where they cover approximately one-third of all costs for the OTT platform representatives that took the survey. As the report shows, this revenue number appears to lag far behind the cost of content, distribution channels and general overhead, putting the industry in a potential position of not being able to cover costs.
This may be, in some part, due to the fact that content costs—which continue to rise, both for acquisition of existing content and the creation of newly commissioned original content—account for a much higher portion of overall costs among survey respondents.
While bespoke content costs are, perhaps, sustainable for the very large OTT platforms, smaller platforms should work to rein in either content expectations or costs in the near term.
During the Streaming Media West Research Keynote, Schumacher-Rasmussen noted that the industry encompasses a wide variety of OTT platforms well beyond the premium players that draw the most attention. “I made a joking comment a couple weeks ago on LinkedIn about how just for one day I’d like to be able to mute the words Netflix and Disney for my LinkedIn feed and see what it looked like,” said Schumacher-Rasmussen. “One of the things I love about this survey and these shows is that they remind us that the vast majority of OTT providers and streamers are not playing on that playground at all. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
One final highlight from the survey centers on ongoing trends around the planning stages of various respondents when it comes to rolling out FAST solutions. The growing interest in FAST pilot projects we saw in the Spring 2022 edition of the State of Streaming survey report [URL] has continued in to the Autumn 2022 edition, even at a time when a rise in overall average bandwidth rates puts additional price pressure on OTT platforms, especially as 720p60 and 1080p60 usage in on pace to match that of 1080p24/25/30 due to the continued use of 50- or 60-frame-per-second video when it comes to delivering sporting events on OTT platforms.
“For all the talk of 4K, we consistently are seeing no more than 10% of respondents saying that they are actually serving 4K,” said Siglin.
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