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Akamai, Streaming Media survey underscores device fragmentation, focus on CDN pricing and importance of multi-screen delivery
Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading provider of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications, and Streaming Media, a diversified news media company serving and educating the streaming media industry and community, recently released a report in which online video professionals in North America and Europe share insights about how their organizations leverage content delivery networks (CDNs), as well as how they consume content both personally and professionally.
The report, State of CDN Services, found that industry experts, engineers and executives prefer an array of primary devices to consume media, tend to work for companies that deliver either less than 1TB or more than 100TB of online content per month, and are almost equally concerned with pricing in CDN service models as with the need to maintain multi-screen delivery to existing and emerging media consumption devices.
More specifically, the research showed that 67 percent of respondents prefer to stream their favorite TV shows on-demand as opposed to watching them live, but 56 percent of viewers prefer to view live content on the television, as opposed to streaming it online. When they are streaming content, however, they're doing so via numerous devices. Laptops account for 25 percent of all personal on-demand viewing in North America, followed by desktop computers (22 percent) and TV (19 percent). Conversely, 23 percent of European viewers prefer tablets as their primary streaming device followed by desktop computers (15 percent) and smartphones (10 percent).
"There's never been a more critical inflection point for media delivery services," says Timothy Siglin, principal analyst at Transitions, Inc. and contributing editor for Streaming Media, who was responsible for creating and analyzing the State of CDN Services survey. "The market is more fragmented, in terms of devices, than ever before, presenting an unprecedented challenge to premium content owners who need to deliver to multiple screens and device types."
As more and more content consumers are moving toward watching streaming content online, this presents greater challenges for content providers. The importance of quality and load time has never been greater. Nearly one-third of respondents will wait less than five seconds before abandoning a video. In addition, 92 percent of respondents said that content quality is important or very important to their overall online viewing experiences.
"More consumers are streaming more video across more devices, and their expectations for the quality of the content along with the overall experience continue to rise," said Neil Cohen, vice president, product marketing, Akamai. "This challenges the full online video ecosystem – from the technology that content producers and distributors are using to how and where ads are inserted to business decisions around formats and capacity planning. To address these challenges, businesses need to carefully identify and evaluate solutions to deliver the content and quality audiences want and expect at broadcast-size scales."
As trends shift, there are particular CDN features that are critical to businesses. More than 26 percent of respondents listed multi-screen/multi-device as critical services, followed by adaptive bitrate and analytics.
Additional report findings include:
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