New Report Reveals Radical Changes to Streaming Industry Over the Past Year

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A newly released report in our semi-annual State of Streaming series highlights several key growth areas for streaming. Crafted by Help Me Stream Research Foundation for Streaming Media and sponsor Harmonic, the report also reveals that the industry may continue to accelerate even as the world comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic this Spring.

Along with the report, which can be downloaded here, the team at Unisphere Research put together an infographic highlighting key trends, which you can see at the end of this article. (Click here or on the version below for the full-size, downloadable PDF.)

One trend we’ve seen over the past three State of Streaming surveys is the growth in religious organizations using streaming.

It comes as no surprise that houses of worship used more streaming during the pandemic lockdowns, a fact we highlighted during the "Get Religion" panel at last month's Streaming Media East Connect, but the study reveals that the usage continues to rise even in spring 2021. In fact, we saw a 50% growth, year over year, of respondents from religious organizations and houses of worship.

Besides religious organizations, we also saw a 25% growth in education respondents, as well as artists—music and visual—who now make up about 10% of the latest survey’s respondents.

Another area that continues to trend upwards is those who both create and distribute content. While our early State of Streaming reports had about an even mix of those who created or distributed content, this newest survey shows a full two-thirds of respondents both create and distribute media content.

A year ago, only 46% indicated they did both, which appears to indicate that the last year of Zoom meetings and online-only events made more respondents—and their organizations—comfortable in not only generating more content but also in finding more ways to distribute it.

This point is driven home by the fact that the group of respondents who only create content, but do not distribute it, has fallen from 19 to 12%, while those who only distribute content has fallen from 20% to 13%

Finally, when asked about bandwidth usage and storage requirements—and ways to address both—respondents noted that video compression and network optimization were two key ways to address bandwidth limitations and storage shortfalls. The industry has been contemplating the need for both.

In a separate question about challenges in video delivery, video quality was also the key concern, even above latency and scalability. So it’s clear that the state of streaming lands the industry at a crossroads of video quality versus bandwidth and storage, especially as some ISPs implement data caps at the same time that overall content resolutions are rising from 720p to 1080p60 or even into 4K.


State of Streaming Spring 2021 Infographic Small Hi-Res

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