Why Pay-Per-View is the Past, Present, and Future

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Content distribution is accelerating its trend toward immersive online experiences. Still images are more immersive than text, moving images more immersive than still ones, and live moving images in real-time are the most immersive of all. Social media platforms are banking on live streaming to keep viewers coming back, and companies have their fingers crossed that it will be a rich source of advertising revenue.

With that in mind, live streamed PPV has moved from a way to catch movies and sports on TV to the wave of the future on the web. Live streamed concerts are attracting millions of PPV viewers, and many of those fans are following up by attending the same concert in person. The PPV model is one that is proven to work for world-class events, but soon, it could be one that works for your nephew’s high school graduation. The growing sense of urgency that feeds live streaming in general will extend to PPV.

Audio and visual quality coupled with the sense of emotional connectedness from a real time experience will outweigh viewers’ cost concerns. In fact, more intimate events may be the future of PPV. A college football game or basketball game has maybe 80 pay per viewers. But a high school game may have more than 300 viewers. Besides, PPV is not an all-or-nothing commitment: it’s one area where you are free to create a mix of live stream and on-demand.

It’s safe to say that people are more willing to pay for content today than they were a few years ago. A 2016 study by the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and Post Game revealed that 63% of sports fans (86% of Americans) would be keen to pay for an OTT subscription service, and 90% would pay something for quality sports content. Viewers’ main concern was an excellent experience, not the cost.

One live social video company, Hang, is experimenting with digital tickets. The producer (you) sets the price of admission, and those who want to view the product (your viewers) pay for the experience with coins purchased within the app. The jury is still out on who is willing to pay, how much, and for what. But early returns indicate that Hang is getting the hang (sorry) of the new wave of PPV.

Part of PPV is dictated by the purpose. If you’re a church service and your purpose is to communicate your message, you don’t want to create an obstacle by making somebody pay. If you have a different content that’s in demand, however, you can do PPV successfully. For PPV TV, that means the future looks a lot like the present. For live streaming on the Internet, however, the PPV trend may just be ramping up. All signs indicate that as Internet picture quality and speed improves, people are turning from their TVs to their laptops. And yes, they’re willing to pay for the experience:

  • The global VOD market is about US$16.3 billion in 2016. Accounting for 16% of the digital media market, VOD is significantly larger than digital music and on a similar level with ePublishing
  • The VOD market cumulatively amounts to US$9,529 million in 2016 with growth in PPV, video streaming, and video download all predicted to drop annually
  • Revenue in the “Pay-per-View (TVoD)” segment amounts to about $3.4  million in 2017 (Statista)
  • Most revenue is generated in the US followed by the UK, Germany, China, and Japan
  • By 2021, around 77 million people will be PPV (TVoD) users
  •  Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 4.5 % resulting in a market volume of US$4,046m in 2021
  •  User penetration is at 5.8 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 7.2 % in 2021.
  •  The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$14.94
  •  From a global comparison perspective it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$1,915m in 2017)
  • In Europe, the PPV market is growing with an average of 5.7% per year
  • The video market globally is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.3% to 2021.
  • Unsurprisingly, the majority of 2016 users are under the age of 34. There are 29.6 million users aged 16 to 24 and 33.9 million users in the 25 to 34 age group
  • In that same 25 to 34 population, viewers can be segmented into different income levels with middle-income users making up nearly 50% of the audience in this age group

The biggest players, or organizations with millions of engaged fans, will always have pay-per-view in their plans since it guarantees revenues. And that’s because of their freedom to reach the audiences directly. The most successful broadcasters of live events are the ones who:

  • Raise interest and deliver top-notch content: The goal is to market content so that viewers are talking about it and spreading buzz. Using traditional communication channels while directing them at the PPV site where the revenue is made is something that the successful ones manage to do.
  • Take care for the full fan experience: At end of the day, the goal is to deliver all the what the fan would expect from a premium video package.
  • Make sure that their event has quality mobile coverage: Statistics show that mobile access of premium video is growing immensely. Over 40% of mobile views is the norm nowadays and broadcasters need to put special attention on this while their are planning.

PPV is no longer limited to boxing matches, old movies, and massive sports and entertainment events. Today, options have filtered down to a level as granular as a single individual with a Facebook account and a sense of humor. Anyone can set their own PPV rates and upload video content to their web site. Hosting services that provide low commision cash flow management are springing up. PPV hosting for little guys works on all devices, and hosts are beefing up security at all levels.

Top 3 IPTV Platforms for Service Providers

If you create and distribute video content, you might want to listen up. You may already know that in the last year alone, millions of households have become cord-cutters or cord-nevers, opting for internet-based services over traditional cable subscriptions. A majority of households either pay or are willing to pay a higher proportion of their budget for subscription streaming services over cable. OTT (over-the-top) services and IPTV (internet protocol television) are two of the most common alternatives. If you’re a content provider or publisher, a good content delivery system is a must as we move towards a newer, more mobile, subscription service based world. The best way to get set up with this kind of video distribution and capitalize on the OTT/IPTV model is to work with an established platform. A good OTT service will provide you with the shutterstock_165940991basics, but a great one comes with advanced features for uploading and managing your video content, and makes it easy to do so seamlessly. Here are the services that made the cut:

Brightcove

The OTT platform offered by Brightcove is built around growing viewership as well as revenue. In other words, user growth and monetization are central to the the Brightcove model. Their claim to fame is speed and ease, and they promise quick growth. The platform itself is feature-heavy, making it a great choice for larger organizations—it’s designed to support large content libraries. Notable features include hardware integration, batch uploads, and high end SSAI technology that minimizes buffering. This monetization-focused platform also offers up useful marketing tools. The downside of a feature-rich platform designed for large clients? $500 is reportedly on the lower-end of plans for Brightcove, which doesn’t list pricing on their site—potential clients must reach out to get a quote for the custom plans they offer.

Ooyala

Ooyala is a popular video hosting, video advertising, and media logistics platform which shares a lot of similarities with Brightcove in terms of their OTT services. They tout large-scale, global clients and offer up a robust user interface. Ooyala’s website lists strong video management and delivery, batch uploads, HTML5 video playback, an open API, and content recommendation and personalization as its standout features. The emphasis, however, is clearly on its strong analytics. It offers detailed analytics for video performance and audience engagement, page-level behavior analytics in-app or on the web, and even a heat map which highlights which parts of your video content increase audience engagement. Like Brightcove, pricing is entirely customized based on each client’s personal requirements and bandwith/storage usage, but is reported to have a similar starting price ($500).

Server Room

An all-rounder, Server Room is a video hosting, streaming, and internet radio platform which serves up OTT/IPTV services with global reach. Standout features are service and speed, which are fully managed and lightning fast, respectively. Its custom-built content delivery network brings your video content to any H.264 compatible set top box, mobile device, or internet platforms like ROKU or Amazon. Dedicated IPTV middleware allows you to create your own IPTV service or resell. With certain plans, you can also get a custom mobile app for iOS and Android.  All plans come with 24/7 support, making it the most user-friendly platform, ideal for organizations of any size.

Server Room has the most budget-friendly plan of any OTT platform listed, starting at $279 a month. Users of the Simple plan can get up to 20 channels at 100 viewers per channel and any bitrate. This plan, like the more professional plans, comes with 24×7 support, analytics and statistics, and offers dedicated hardware. The Enterprise plan comes with up to 250 channels at unlimited viewers per channel and premium features like geo-fencing, dedicated support, dedicated hardware, a dedicated account manager, and free app development. Customized plans are available in addition to base plans. With Server Room, what you see is what you get.

What You Need To Know About OTT/IPTV

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Time and time again, the numbers have proven that we are shifting into a a world that streams it all. Pretty soon, we might be streaming our meals. A majority of households either pay or are willing to pay a higher proportion of their budget for subscription streaming services over cable. OTT (over-the-top) services and IPTV (internet protocol television) are two of the most common alternatives to cable TV.

For the average viewer, there may not seem to be much of a difference between digital cable and IPTV. Both service providers can offer hundreds of different TV channels, HD programming, pay-per-view, video on demand, program guides, and more. The difference is in the delivery: IPTV is delivered to a TV, PC, or other device through a private network via the internet. A series of internet protocol packets encode video streams, which are then carried out through a broadband connection, allowing anyone with a connected router and subscription to the service to stream freely. In addition, instead of the traditional cable set-top box, the user usually requires no more than a flash-drive like device to get set up. ROKU and Amazon Fire TV are popular IPTV services.

In comparison, OTT (over-the-top) video services use the publicly accessible Internet to deliver video streams. Such content is not just available via set-top-boxes, but also via any devices that can access the Internet – such as phones, tablets and smart TVs with a broadband connection. OTT is television from third-party services like Netflix and YouTube, delivered over the open Internet.

Affordability, variety, mobility.

  • OTT STREAMING

    Pros:

    • Price: Monthly prices as lows as $5, with much free content on YouTube and Hulu.
    • Installation: All you need is a laptop or phone. (Having a streaming TV box like the Roku or Apple TV enhances the experience, though.)
    • Programming: Wide choice of providers, with Netflix and others now offering original programming similar to cable.

    Cons:

    • Quality: Subject to Internet speed, with “buffering” and other wait-times common for slow connections and peak-hour viewing.
    • Programming: While most shows can be found via major streaming services, some are cable-only and they generally don’t reach OTT streaming until the end of the season.
    • Data caps: Many ISPs now have limits on how much data you can consume, putting a limit on how much you can watch each month. (Yes, even with “unlimited” plans.)

IPTV

Pros:

  • Quality: High-quality video with fewer interruptions than OTT streaming due to privately managed content delivery network.
  • Programming: View-on-demand and get shows date of release.
  • Installation: requires no special installation aside from a set-top box, assuming you already have broadband Internet.

Cons:

  • Price: Sold as a subscription at comparable rates to cable TV.
  • Quality: Since it comes over the Internet, it can get slowed down during peak hours.

Top 7 Dedicated Server Hosts

Untitled designIf your website sees a good amount of traffic, chances are that you need a dedicated server. Imagine a very, very large computer dedicated to hosting in a protected room somewhere, with storage space for you and your site alone. This is what a dedicated server essentially is. And because this server is entirely yours, there’s no need to compete with other sites for speed, bandwith, or uptime. Unlike a Virtual Private Server (VPS), which is made for sharing one physical server with others on the same plan, all the resources available are yours. With shared servers, other sites can eat into the RAM and CPU of the host server, resulting in reduced loading speeds across the board. This is especially burdensome on resource-intensive sites which rely on these to function properly.

Dedicated servers are the most secure solution and the one that makes the most sense. Not only do you have the capacity to run at maximum performance, you also have the advantage of operating on powerful physical servers in secure data centers. Any kind of downtime can lead to loss of revenue and traffic to your website. Protected servers prevent disastrous downtime and provide round-the-clock monitoring and security. Your site, of course, has unique requirements that require custom solutions out of a dedicated server host. In general, though, you want to have sufficient storage, high performance hardware, customizable features, choice of operating system, advanced security, maximum uptime, and an expert support team. There are dozens of hosting solutions out there, but based on these factors, these are some of the best in the industry, in alphabetical order:

A2 Hosting

  • Good for: speed and variety
  • Starting at $99.59 for dedicated server for 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Easily customizable managed and unmanaged servers
  • Full control over high performance dedicated server
  • High speed
  • Variety of pre-installed software
  • Choice of location of web servers
  • On-going monitoring to ensure your site is always up and running
  • Developer-friendly: great for both businesses and developers with a wide range of configuration options

BlueHost

  • Good for: value, protection, and quality
  • Starting at $79.99/mo for 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Excellent quality: in-house maintenance of web server hardware requirements
  • Full control with cPanel/WHM included in its plans
  • Good value for Linux based operating systems
  • Easily expandable
  • Full support, even with unmanaged servers
  • RAID1 Level support: drives are completely mirrored, ensuring your data is extremely well protected

DreamHost

  • Good for: management and support
  • Starting at $149/mo for 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD drive
  • Reputation for quality service management
  • RAID1 SSD Storage
  • 100% uptime claim
  • DDos protection
  • Unlimited monthly transfer
  • 24/7 support + monitoring service

Host Gator

  • Good for: value and reliability
  • Starting at $119/mo for 8GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD drive
  • High marks for power and premium hardware
  • Plans for both Linux and Windows servers
  • Powerful, top quality databases
  • Great bang for your buck
  • One of the most popular hosts
  • Reliable hosting infrastructure
  • Intel XEON processors, RAID1 drives
  • cPanel or Plesk control panel
  • Suitable for organizations of any size

Inmotion

  • Good for: power and value
  • Starting at $99.99/mo for 4GB RAM, 500GB SSD drive
  • Reliable data centers on both coasts for premium protection
  • Easily configurable with a range of customization options, offer many unlimited features
  • Fewer restrictions than other servers
  • CentOS 6 based with dual or single processors
  • Suitable for medium to large organizations
  • Money back guarantee
  • Good value for price
  • DDoS protection

Liquidweb

  • Good for: variety, performance, and power
  • Starting at $199/mo for 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD drive
  • High ranking data centers, performance, and power – an all-rounder
  • Array of fully managed plans
  • High ranking
  • 100% uptime claim
  • Choice of operating system and custom configuration
  • SSD RAID 1 drives, single/dual/quad processors
  • Wide variety of features
  • Built their own data centers
  • Ideal for medium to large organizations
  • DDoS attack prevention
  • For most advanced operating systems, including Windows, Linux Ubuntu, CentOS and Debian

Primcast

  • Good for: value, reliability, performance, a little bit of everything!
  • Starting at $29.99/mo for quadcore 8G of RAM. 32G SSD drive, 100 TB of traffic on 1000 megabit port
  • Entry level dedicated servers with unshared 1gbps ports and SSD storage
  • One of the most affordable dedicated servers on the market
  • Intel XEON processors
  • 24/7 support
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Wide selection of operating systems
  • Fully managed
  • For any size business
  • Your choice of data center
  • Highly customizable
  • DDOS protected dedicated servers monitored 24/7
  • Same low monthly cost, with no setup fees, no surprise fees or price increases after your initial term

5 Powerful Video Trends of 2017

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Seems like 2016 was just yesterday, but before we’ve even had the chance to blink, July is upon us. And as the seasons move forward, so do the things we consume and how we like to consume them. Online, this of course includes video, and trends in video tend to move as fast as your Facebook feed does. So what have content creators been brewing up?

Everything is temporary

Live in the moment. Seize the day. These clichéd terms usually apply to those who read self-help books (good for them!), but who knew how explosive this very concept would be in video? Short-form videos have blown up the social media scene. First there were Snapchat stories, then there were Instagram stories, and then…you get it. But the influence of this spilled over into almost everywhere else we consume video. Attention spans are shorter in 2017, and capturing viewers’ attention within the first 15 seconds is a must. Moreover, shorter video content is more likely to be watched all the way through. Out of digital storytelling came digital short storytelling, and this concept seems to be thriving.

Life in 360°

360-degree videos offer us the ability to transport ourselves into parts unknown without ever leaving bed. Many of us have seen 360-capable video on Facebook or maybe even The New York Times. More platforms have added support for this trend than ever this year. Before you start imagining an Inception-like future, consider the benefits–global news and travel is more accessible and gaming and sports are more lifelike than ever. A case study by Magnifyre found that a 360-degree video got 28.1% more views than its non-360° counterpart. The number of viewers who watched the former all the way to the end also doubled. On top of all that, click-through rates for 360-degree videos are 4.51% higher. As we move further into 2017 and beyond, filming from every angle—literally every single angle—will continue to grow in popularity.

Futurisms

Speaking of 2017 and beyond, this year in video has been all about the future. And why wouldn’t it be, what with Elon Musk wanting to launch himself (and whoever else is rich and bored enough) to the moon? According to a study by VideoBlocks, more and more people are searching for video using keywords related to concepts of futurism and surrealism. Elements of space, time, and existential dread are often included. Interpret that how you will. As viewers look to the future, content creators and brands are drawing their attention in new and compelling ways.

Explain that again?

Explainer videos are exactly what they sound like. According to Wyzowl, 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text on a page. 91% of consumers in the same survey said that they have already used explainer videos at some point to learn about products or services. If you want to inform or educate your audience on what you have to offer and you have the budget to produce one, an explainer video is an effective way to, well, explain it, and this is one reason you’re seeing them everywhere this year. Many things fall under the umbrella of the explainer video, be it a product or a concept. BuzzFeed is known for using this concept in excess, but the success of those videos should speak for itself.

Make ‘em laugh

This is kind of an obvious one: funny content is shared now more than ever. While explainer video informs and educates, as viewers would expect them to do, funny video content incites positive reactions from people—you can even say they incite joy. And while the concept of a sense of humor has been around for as long as humans have, it isn’t exactly the first line of weaponry used in branded video content—until now. The single most successful video content publisher on Facebook is UNILAD, which is now infamous for its comical and at times, absurd videos. And then there was Vine, the wildly successful 10-second video platform which became an unexpected goldmine for branded content and content creators alike.

The takeaway here is that humor, when executed correctly, is an easy way to illicit a positive reaction, which is why so much of the content we see in 2017 is trying to make us laugh. And the more we experience those feelings of joy (or sheer confusion, or horror), the more likely we are to sit through something.