Heavy Reading
Length: 45 Pages
Price: $3,995
Click here for a full list of included companies
45 pages of analysis covering the effect of the explosion of Internet video on service provider networks, breaking down the nature of the problem and exploring ways in which service providers can cope with it or even turn it to their advantage
A detailed study of the underlying drivers for the growth of online video, and how this trend is likely to develop in the future
Detailed profiles of 24 members of the OTT video value chain, including video players, P2P enablers, CDNs, and vendors that offer tools to help service providers manage and monetize Internet video
In-depth analysis of the role that regulation could play in this space, including recent and planned moves by regulators in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia/Pacific
Length: 45 Pages
Price: $3,995
Senior Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Leveraging his 15 years' experience in consumer media, Kishore covers digital media applications and services and their distribution over broadband networks...
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OTT Video: Service Providers Face a Gathering Storm

Hundreds of millions of consumers around the world are increasingly accessing video content over the public Internet, reaching beyond the walled-garden services offered by their pay-TV providers. This over-the-top (OTT) video offers consumers on-demand access and a broader selection of content than pay TV, and has no monthly subscription fee associated with it. Increased broadband penetration, improved video compression techniques, and faster average connection speeds have also greatly improved the user experience over the past few years.

In a Heavy Reading study of U.S. consumers conducted in October 2009, nearly 40 percent of respondents said they watched more online video in 2009 compared with the previous year a substantial year-over-year percentage increase, as shown in the excerpt below.

Video is now responsible for the majority of Internet traffic, as users are moving beyond viewing short, low-quality clips of user-generated content on YouTube and increasingly seeking out TV shows, films, and other professionally created, high-quality video content on the Internet. Video quality and resolution are also improving steadily, and HD video is now being offered. As these high-bitrate streams use up an increasing amount of bandwidth, service providers face a much greater challenge in managing their networks than that posed by P2P traffic in the past.

Service providers do not benefit from the popularity of online video: It is called "over-the-top" because it can be delivered without their involvement. However, this video content does travel over their networks, and its high-bandwidth, low-latency requirements, coupled with widespread usage, are causing significant problems for service providers. Broadband pipes are getting clogged, and service providers are having to develop new ways to manage the challenges posed by broadband video traffic.

This problem is not going to go away: Even as service providers struggle to manage video traffic on their networks today, it is projected to increase exponentially over the next five years. Network operators will have to identify ways to either manage this traffic, or monetize it so that they can pay for continual network upgrades.

OTT Video: Service Providers Face a Gathering Storm examines the spread of OTT Internet video and analyzes the factors that are driving its popularity. The report reviews the management tools that service providers can leverage to deal with this problem such as deep packet inspection (DPI), policy, and local caching and weighs the viability of potential revenue-generating options for service providers. It also explores what other members of the value chain including content owners, P2P enablers, and content delivery networks (CDNs) are doing to reduce the network impact of online video. Further, it considers the role that regulation could play in this space and analyzes the current status of regulatory policies on this issue, particularly the heated "net neutrality" debate in the U.S.

The information and analysis presented in this report is based on interviews with various players across the video value chain, including service providers, technology vendors, content owners, online video distribution companies, and advertising/media agencies. The report reviews selected players in this space, summarizing their key products and solutions and evaluating their strategic strengths and weaknesses.

For a list of network operators analyzed in this report, click here.

The excerpt below lists the various ways in which service providers worldwide are using policy tools to manage network bandwidth and mitigate the impact of OTT video. As the table demonstrates, there is no perfect solution. Still, these tools offer service providers some solutions for the challenges that OTT video is throwing at them.

Report Scope and Structure

OTT Video: Service Providers Face A Gathering Storm is structured as follows:

Section I includes a full executive summary and report key findings.

Section II examines the rapid growth of online video and explores the primary forces driving its growth. It looks at the growth of Internet advertising and the ability for online video sites to monetize their business. It also compares the current impact and prospects of IPTV and OTT video for service providers, and discusses the relative importance of each approach.

Section III reviews the impact of video on service provider networks and the expectations of its growth. It includes a discussion of growth expectations and the shift from P2P to HTTP traffic and its implications. It analyzes the primary problem areas for service providers and includes a service provider case study.

Section IV explores potential solutions for managing traffic and developing revenue-generating models for service providers, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. This section also provides a snapshot of the regulatory picture and a list of recommendations for service providers.

Section V provides a guide to the structure of the industry and assesses the role and capabilities of selected players in this space. It also analyzes selected vendors in each industry segment, 24 in all, appraising their relative market strengths and weaknesses.

The report is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:
  • Telecom service providers: How will the popularity of OTT video impact your network and business model going forward? What techniques or strategies can you employ to mitigate the effect of this traffic on your networks? How can you balance your customers' desire for high-speed connections supporting HD video with the difficulty of monetizing this increased usage? Which technology suppliers are in the best position to help you both manage and monetize Internet video?
  • Telecom equipment vendors: How do your products and solutions stack up against those of your competitors in the network management arena? Is your current and anticipated product portfolio in line with service providers' needs in dealing with OTT video? Which technologies are service providers most interested in for managing bandwidth and optimizing the end-user video experience?
  • Media content owners: What new technologies and content distribution models are service providers exploring to deal with OTT video? Which media players and/or video compression formats present the best option for distributing your content online? What business models are most likely to govern service providers' relationships with content providers going forward?
  • Investors: What new technologies and content distribution models are service providers exploring to deal with OTT video? Which media players and/or video compression formats present the best option for distributing your content online? What business models are most likely to govern service providers' relationships with content providers going forward?

OTT Video: Service Providers Face a Gathering Storm is published in PDF format.