On YouTube, four billion hours of video are viewed every month, and 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute. In today’s modern poly-device lifestyle, consumers shift seamlessly, devouring rich0media content wherever they are, creating more of an opportunity than ever before for brand advertisers to take advantage of the effectiveness of video advertising and branded video content.
Web video presents a huge opportunity for brands, but it has its share of challenges, particularly in ensuring quality content and unimpeded delivery. When viewers encounter a rebuffer (the spinning wheel that appears when a video is loading), they click away 81.2% of the time, according to TubeMogul. This is not a minor technical issue. Ensuring high-quality video for an enjoyable user experience is the cornerstone to effectively reaching customers online.
Despite consumers’ voracious appetites for such content, the ability to capture video with state-of-the-art equipment in increasingly higher-resolution formats has far surpassed the technical infrastructure in distribution.
For example, the increased resolution made possible by HD (high-definition) video and the developing UltraHD (4K) resolution standard means higher bitrates, creating a massive burden on both fixed and mobile networks. A technically efficient and low-cost solution for disseminating the massive amount of data required for high-quality video has yet to be adopted.
An obvious solution is limiting the video bitrate, but doing so in “brute force” causes noticeable degradation in image quality — an unacceptable trade-off for consumers and content providers alike.
In just the past few years, we have witnessed a fundamental shift away from video content delivery over traditional broadcast networks (over-the-air, cable and satellite) to virtually spot-delivery via over-the-top (OTT) Internet delivery. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant video and iTunes have emerged as household names, seizing market share in their quest to satiate consumers’ intensifying appetites for content choice, flexibility and value.
The mainstreaming of these popular services, along with revolutionary mobile technologies that make viewing videos as simple as switching on an iPhone, now mean Americans are spending more online time than ever consuming video content. It’s only a matter of time before bandwidth demand exceeds capacity.
The recently proposed HEVC (H.265) video compression standard promises up to 50 percent bitrate reduction compared to the existing H.264 standard, but it will take at least five to seven years for mass-market penetration.
What’s indisputable is that compression of higher-quality video content is mission critical. A video optimization solution is needed now, but only if it possesses the capability to lower video stream bitrates without the loss of quality.
To improve the delivery system and user experience, media optimization algorithms could be integrated into either the content creation or delivery systems to optimize video streams and make videos more storage and distribution-friendly.
Opportunities for innovation from brands, content creators, marketers and technology innovators are integral to ensure new types of video advertising and branded content continues to meet consumers’ shifting expectations.