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Doubling Down on OTT

It's no secret that digital video entertainment is in the midst of a massive transformation that includes the way content is packaged, distributed and consumed. The days of consumers demanding large cable TV packages and renting feverishly from local video stores are a distant past. Today, electronic consumer media spend has already surpassed physical, the words "skinny bundle" have crept into our vocabulary and those of us in the US are now more likely to belong to a broadband enabled household that subscribes to an OTT video service than not. Streaming services that offer ubiquitous access to quality premium video content at an affordable price are currently all the rage. As new and existing services jockey for position to secure consumer mindshare, it's apparent OTT as whole will continue to be a critical growth area as recent data predicts the OTT video market to grow at a CAGR of 18.40% from 2014-2019.

A deluge of new subscription video services are being launched, helping spark OTT momentum. HBO, Starz, Showtime and A & E are just a few who have launched their services in 2015. While content owners have a valuable opportunity to forge stronger relationships with consumers, simultaneously they are realizing the challenges of delivering content to any screen, anywhere reliably and securely. Increasing network congestion due in large part to IP video growth along with consistently delivering high resolution video with fast startups and minimal rebuffering are some of the challenges impacting OTT video services. Delivering OTT video clearly requires scale to meet the growing demands.

A particular example that came up on the latest Akamai Q2 earnings call helps put these scalability requirements into perspective.

"Typical subscribers watching OTT video delivered across the Akamai platform could consume 10 megabits per second or more of traffic while they're watching. This means that an audience size of only 5 million users, which is the equivalent of about four Nielsen points, could generate 50 terabits per second of demand, far more than we deliver today for all of our customers combined."- Tom Leighton

Ultimately, meeting viewer expectations for broadcast-quality OTT video content will in all likeliness become increasingly challenging. 

OTT video is nothing new to Akamai Technologies, in fact we've been delivering OTT broadcast quality experiences across our platform for over a decade. Akamai's Media  Delivery Solutions are designed to manage all the challenges of delivering OTT content for the world's leading broadcasters, content providers, and major Internet companies. Our unique approach of streaming content through servers in thousands of locations close to end users allows us to bypass congested peering points, resulting in a more reliable viewing experience for end users.

At Akamai, we're doubling down on OTT. In anticipation of these trends we've been building out the capacity of our platform to meet the future needs of our customers. So whether it's standing up the world's largest and most viewed events - from the Sochi Olympics to the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women's World Cup - or delivering massive on demand content catalogs we're ready to meet the challenge.


Alex Balford is senior product marketing manager at Akamai responsible for media delivery solutions. He is a seasoned high tech marketing professional who's focused on the media & entertainment industry. Prior to joining Akamai, he was most recently with SeaChange International and also holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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