Streaming in the age of blockchain

Online streaming has seen an incredible transformation in the past 5-6 years and has graduated from 56k modem lines, slow 2G network to lightning 4G network.

The digital landscape that was once marred by infrastructural problems like lack of bandwidth, coverage, and scalability is now flooded with OTT/VoD companies to cater to the content needs of today’s digitally smart audience. Here are five significant trends that are shaping the future of entertainment content streaming:

Digitisation: Fall in data prices and video production costs, along with scalability of IT systems brought in a simultaneous surge in the supply as well as demand for online content. Anyone can now create, upload and start distributing content online, blurring the lines between content creators and audiences.

Cloud-based hosting has further facilitated easy data storage and file transfer. It also enables the content to be routed through multi-layered servers, so that even if a part of the system stops, the traffic can be shifted to another segment, resulting in seamless streaming. Users today enjoy a buffering-free video as the network changes the video quality based on the data speed.

Capable devices: The introduction of 4K Smart TVs and 4G/3G enabled high definition smartphones have made content delivery far superior. The picture quality is sharper due to better frame rate, clearer sound, precise quality, very crisp and delivers realistic effects. These devices can connect to a WiFi network, run applications and stream content exactly like a computer or laptop.

Lightning internet speeds: India witnessed the most phenomenal wave in data consumption patterns when the price/GB went down to less than Rs 10 two years ago. Indians consume 65% of data in streaming videos on their devices. The introduction of affordable high-speed data and devices has nearly eliminated the purchase of physical media and illegal downloads. Masses are now shifting to real-time streaming for their content needs. This has boosted legit consumption of content through subscription and pay-as-you-go models.

Connected networks: The consumers of any streaming service are part of social media platforms and are influenced by communities they follow and vice versa. A content that gets streamed on one platform resonates among multiple networks due to the involvement of the consumers into multi-channel experiences. Any content that is liked by a few can win a million streams through micro-sharing across social networks. This instant high of being able to give a ‘tangible compliment’ whether in the form of money or introducing the content creators to newer audiences is a bonus for superfans and influencers.

Revolutionary technology: The online streaming media industry is standing on the threshold of another major revolution today. Digital landscape players are increasingly looking for ways to make content distribution and consumption experience for creators and consumers far more engaging, rewarding, transparent and fair. With the advent of technologies such as AI/machine learning, the online viewing experience has transformed drastically.

Users are getting accustomed to interesting content suggestions based on their viewing behaviour and history and saved of efforts to find the content they would want to watch, while new codec technologies are improving the overall quality of content (high-quality audio/video) by improving the compression efficiency at existing bit rates.

One of the most recent technological developments that claims to transform entertainment infrastructure and address existing challenges is the blockchain technology. Entertainment providers globally are now vouching by blockchain technology and believe that it has the potential to bring in digital revolution 2.0 which would facilitate more transparent, direct creator-to-consumer engagement, optimise the revenue value-chain, bring in much-needed transparency and reward every entity involved fairly.

The US and Europe are at the forefront of bringing this revolution, with an array of players already working towards blockchainifying entertainment. India is soon gearing up to embrace the technology with MinersINC as the first blockchain powered entertainment platform in India.

Entertainment industry lies at the intersection of the most vibrant consumer community and artists that continuously look for innovative ways to consume and distribute data. A blockchain-powered entertainment infrastructure has the potential to put creators back in control of their content, preserve their rights over it, price the content, reach audiences globally, secure the creation and have complete visibility on how revenues get distributed.

Similarly, consumers can access global content without getting tied to a platform and get the satisfaction that a significant amount of her subscription/membership/viewership money, is going directly to the content creators.

(The writer is founder and CEO, MinersINC)

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Streaming in the age of blockchain

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