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Online audiences are growing and so are their expectations for the quality of experience. You know exactly what I mean if you've ever been frustrated with the rate at which a game is downloading or if your video stalls at the most inopportune time.

Online streaming is no longer novel, it's the norm. The days of being enamored by streaming your favorite TV show online are over. Viewers now expect instant access to uninterrupted video streams on whichever device they're using, anywhere they might be, at any time of day or night. The same goes for online gaming, where mobile downloads and updates are expected to complete in just a matter of seconds and large software files are expected to download faster than ever.

How the cloud streamlines video workflows

Rock, meet hard place.

On the one side, sophisticated audiences are watching more video online and demand ever-higher quality. On the other, your challenge to simply deliver - keeping in mind scalability, workflow complexity, and cost.  

Three keys to victory in the OTT video race

The numbers are impressive.

By 2020, Digital TV Research predicts the Over-the-Top (OTT) video market will be worth $55 billion in consumer spending. In the U.S., the average OTT-enabled household already has 1.4 subscriptions to providers such as Netflix and Amazon, and that number is rapidly increasing. In China, eMarketer expects subscription video on demand to increase by a stunning 1,400 percent in the next five years. 

It's a fact: if you can't give your viewers the quality they expect, they'll take their eyeballs elsewhere.

Usually in less than two seconds.

That's why you'll want to pay particular attention to your network architecture. All those servers, connections, and delivery mechanisms can make the crucial difference between optimal quality and a lousy stream.

So, how do you get it right?

Internet TV Makes Stranger Bedfellows

Ever thought you'd be able to order Xfinity TV service from Amazon; or watch Netflix through your cable set-top box? If politics makes strange bedfellows then programming for Internet TV is like:

... last call at a college bar.

... a '70s key party.

... an episode of 90 Day Fiance.

Let's just say that some unexpected relationships have been forged thanks to the disruptive forces of online video. It's changing the way that we as an industry look at TV and certainly what consumers expect from the many available services.

Akamai's CTO for Media, John Bishop, will help to make sense of it all as part of the CES session, "Internet TV, The Disruption: Programming Everywhere." Taking place on Thursday, January 5th, as part of the CES Digital Hollywood Conference track, John will join panelists from Deloitte & Touche, DISH, Strategy Analytics, Vubiquity and 87AM to explore the options ranging from a la carte viewing to premium bundles.

If you're attending CES and want to learn how we can help support your OTT service and strategy, feel free to arrange a meeting with us. We'll have demos and subject matter experts available to discuss your business and technology needs, and how Akamai's global content delivery capabilities can help.

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai.

Count me among the tech pundits who got last night wrong. I predicted to my colleagues that peak traffic on election night here in the U.S. wouldn't beat the debates. Boy was I wrong!

We've been tracking peak traffic and peak concurrent viewers across a basket of 16 customers for the debates, election night and early next year, Inauguration Day.

New Year's Eve is typically in the depth of end-of-year change freezes for most IT organizations. At the end of 2016, however, two major events will be occurring right at the end of the year: a leap second and the final end of browser support for SHA-1 TLS certificates.  Both of these changes have the potential to break software systems and applications.  Significant preparation, planning, and testing ahead-of-time can significantly reduce the risk for both.

NYC You at NAB

Akamai is participating in the East Coast edition of NAB next week as we head to NAB Show New York at the Javits Center November 9th-10th.

Stop by booth #1053 where we'll have a host of interactive demonstrations highlighting Akamai technology and services that can help broadcasters and content owners deliver OTT video at consistently high quality and scale. This includes live and on-demand video workflows, new media acceleration technology and predictive content delivery and pre-positioning capabilities onto connected devices.

Elections and Events: Expect the Unexpected

Much like most everything else about this year's Presidential election, live video streaming traffic for last night's final debate didn't fit the norm. Whereas viewing numbers typically decline for each consecutive debate, aggregate video traffic for Akamai broadcasters streaming the third matchup between the two candidates was actually slightly higher than the second, peaking at 3.8 Tbps yesterday compared to the 3.6 Tbps peak we observed during the October 9th faceoff.

A bit of political controversy, and a lot of streaming

This morning, the pundits are busy debating whether last night's "Town Hall" will move the needle on the election, but one thing is certain: here in the US, it certainly moved a lot of bits. We delivered a peak of 3.6 Tbps across the ten broadcasters we worked with for the second Trump-Clinton match-up. Compare that to the 3.5 Tbps we peaked at during the Sochi games just two years ago. With dozens more broadcasters and a global audience, exceeding Sochi gives you an idea of just how much streaming has become part of the fabric of our media lives.

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