Green Streaming: Good for the Planet and for Viewers

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I became a vegetarian in 1990, when vegetarians were still an oddity where I lived.

Yet today – more than 30 years later – it is clear that a plant-based diet is not only good for animal welfare (my original motivation); it is also necessary for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the main culprit of global warming.

Necessary, but not enough. As we have seen this summer, climate change seems to be already here with us. An estimated 500 people (and probably over a billion marine animals) have died in a heat wave in Canada; over 180 people in floodings in Germany and Belgium; and one of the dreaded climate-change “tipping points” has been reached, with part of the Amazon forest now emitting more carbon dioxide than it absorbs.

Clearly, it will take more than individual action to mitigate climate change. We need collective action – from both individuals and businesses.

Concerns over global warming spill over to contributions from the video-streaming industry. The energy consumed to deliver and store video is not carbon-neutral. According to research by Emma Stewart, Ph.D, Sustainability Officer at Netflix:

“[O]ne hour of streaming on Netflix in 2020…[is] equivalent to driving a gas-powered passenger vehicle a quarter mile (or 400 meters). These results are consistent with our peers and validated by our independent advisory group.”

While the findings disprove earlier assertions of much higher gas-consumption equivalency, they still point to significant energy consumption. With 204 million subscribers spending an average of two hours per day watching the service, the metric suggests that the annual global viewing of Netflix is equal to the carbon footprint of 37.2 billion passenger car miles.

And new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, are appearing on the horizon – with the promise of even higher energy consumption.

So amid these concerns, can streaming service providers help to mitigate climate change – while still offering a superior viewing experience?

At ATEME, we are confident that they can – and that’s thanks to the energy-saving solutions that exist for delivering video. Green streaming is the answer. In fact, over the last three years, innovations in ATEME’s TITAN encoders and NEA CDN solution have led to a two-third reduction in energy consumption for OTT delivery compared to the industry average.

It’s not necessary to become an oddity, or to offer less than what your competitors are offering. In fact, this reduction in energy consumption comes with an increase in the quality of the viewing experience.

How does it happen? We have recently published a white paper about this. Download it here to find out more about green streaming!