The growth of video has been consistent in the last few years. However, the year 2020 was significant and saw a 60% increase in overall video consumption. Stay-at-home orders issued globally in wake of the COVID pandemic had a role to play. While the social distancing norms encouraged people to take to the internet and video trends, studies by PWC show that the consumer expectation is getting more diverse.
To put things into perspective, realize that 3.6 billion people watched the 2016 Olympics that was held in Brazil. With the Tokyo Olympics just about the corner, the viewership forecast is expected to reach a hundred million across all leagues. A significant fraction of consumers admits to wanting to subscribe to new video services that are available in the market.
Recent advancements in video technology such as VR, super-resolution, 5G, and low latency have enabled a better viewer experience. With the latest video innovation, video streaming is now economically viable for mass-scale production. This has led to brands across sectors vying to use video to strike a chord with the audience. In such a situation, the brand that can use the latest technology in its content will survive in the long run.
A look at the video trends of 2021 will reveal that innovation is the key to survival. Brands that innovate solutions to improve the viewer experience will avoid the risk of falling behind. Also, the brands whose innovations aim at improving the profitability of the service providers will be well received by the audience.
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Multiview and Watch Together:
Increased social isolation instilled by the pandemic has altered the way consumers look at the video. 2020 saw an increase in Multiview where viewers can connect with their friends and family to watch a video together. Hulu, Netflix Party, Sling, Sky Sports, Facebook Watch party, and BT Sports are pioneers in this regard.
The French Tennis Open 2020 saw Harmonic come up with a Multiview app for Android devices. While this was well-received, we expect that multiview will become more common in the days to come. In 2021, the masses have started expecting this from branded content, and those who capitalize on the target market’s desires will have a competitive edge. As a brand, while preparing such content, your focus should be on ensuring minimal latency and delivering well-synchronized content.
The unforeseen situation of the covid pandemic has established that audiences are sometimes comfortable with re-broadcast of old content. One major challenge that content distributors faced was that old sporting events and concerts were often recorded in SD. Such videos could not be delivered on modern channels such as UHD. As the situation gradually heads towards normalcy, content providers are looking to update and restore the blocky footage.
The average digital consumer expects high-quality videos on a UHD screen. Content providers who wish to cater to this growing segment need to come up with ways to convert SD and HD footage to UHD.
The French Tennis Championship of 2020 saw France Televisions partner with PIXOPOP to achieve AI-based upconversion of old footage. That way, the consumers watching on UHD screens could comfortably watch highlights from the previous seasons.
While there are hundreds of video editing tools that allow video restoration, you need to understand that restoration is a CPU-intensive process. Thus, unless you have a supercomputer, choosing a video editor tool with a cloud-based architecture will make things easier for you.
Interactive Applications and 5G:
5G has been a game-changer in the world of video. Its low latency and the advantages of New Radio’s efficiencies have enabled natural virtual interactions and enabled brands to deliver content promptly.
With 5G technology, you can expect the delivery of high-bandwidth content such as VR, AR, personalized broadcasts, and other immersive applications. Other advantages of the 5G technology include a higher bitrate availability and massive scalability. The high bitrate will be transformative for the streaming industry and enable a host of new market opportunities.
High Quality 8K VR:
The recent days have seen advancements in 8K production. In 2021, low-cost 8K enabled HMD will allow brands to make the most of 8K VR. A rapid drop in the cost of the tech components combined with the access to 5G networks allows brands to deliver a high-quality VR experience to video enthusiasts.
The XR2 platform that was launched at the end of 2019 by Qualcomm created waves in the world of videos.
A year later, the launch of Facebook’s Oculus QUEST2 established that a satisfying viewer experience can be recreated at a low cost when it is produced at a large scale. 2021 seems promising as video platforms are taking giant strides towards targeted advertisements, and digital rights management (DRM).
Dynamic Ad Insertion:
In 2021, Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) is set to replace conventional cookie-based targeted ads. DAI personalizes the user’s viewing experience and helps to boost revenues through smart advertising. With DAI, the viewing transition between advertising and content is so smooth that ad-blockers cannot block them.
As the popularity of DAI continues to rise, brands are seeing this as an alternative to subscription-only offers. That way, the user has the luxury of choosing whether they will watch the content with or without advertisements.
Usually, there are multiple payment options, and the higher money one spends, the better is the viewing experience. That way, brands can balance the average revenue per user (ARPU) at all tiers of the streaming audiences. This results in a win-win situation where both the viewer and the content distributor benefit from the arrangement. In 2021, such personalized viewing and pricing trends are expected to grow.
Content creators and distributors are looking at innovative measures to push the video industry ahead. The focus of all such video innovations is to provide an efficient and profitable content delivery. The video consumer is at the heart of such solutions, and 2021 is expected to take the trend forward. As technological advancements continue to augment video services, the future of video looks very promising.