As a player in the media & entertainment market, you’re excited at the idea of launching your OTT streaming project. But how do you make sure it’s successful? And above all, what are the pitfalls you need to look out for?
Here’s a list of eight common pitfalls you need to be aware of – and the key questions to ask your potential infrastructure vendors, to make sure you avoid them.
1. Not Defining Clear Objectives:
As with any project, when you launch an OTT streaming project, you need to be clear about your objectives. Why are you doing this? Is it to expand your audience, to find new ways of monetizing content, to engage your users, or something else?
Once you are clear on your objectives, you then need to see if your vendor can help you map out your objectives and the resulting requirements onto the proposed infrastructure, to make sure the goals are clear to both parties, and achievable together.
2. Overlooking Scalability:
The technical solution you are examining is perfect for you – now. But how about in three years’ time? And will it still be useful in five years?
Unlike broadcast platforms, OTT streaming platforms need to scale up as the audience grows. You need to check if your chosen vendor’s solution can accommodate future growth – not only in terms of the number of subscribers, but also in terms of traffic (many subscribers connecting at the same time). How easy will it be to add extra encoders, more packagers, and further CDN nodes?
3. Ignoring Latency and Performance:
When delivering video over the public Internet, you have no control over network conditions and priorities. The Internet is public, and net neutrality rules. So you need something in place to make sure you maintain high performance and low latency, even during traffic peaks. In fact, those traffic peaks mean everyone is watching – making it even more crucial to deliver in a way that will captivate audiences and keep them engaged with your platform. If your quality is lower when everyone is watching, you’re opening the door to churn. So ask any potential vendor what measures the infrastructure offers to ensure low latency and high-quality performance for your viewers.
4. Not Understanding True Cost-efficiency:
Ensuring high-quality performance is great – but not enough. You also need to understand its relationship to your costs and what levers you can play with, so that you make the right cost/benefit decisions. How does your investment align with your performance and quality expectations? What are the potential tradeoffs? Your suppliers should help you answer those questions.
5. Lacking Integration or Compatibility:
Unless you’re a new player, you already have tools and systems in place. You don’t want to overhaul everything. So you need to make sure that the system you buy can integrate seamlessly with your existing tools and systems to optimize your workflow. Check with your vendor how easily its systems integrate with other systems, and how they can fit into yours to optimize your workflow.
6. Missed expectations on Support and SLA capability:
Your service needs to be up and running 24/7, because viewers are watching all the time. If an issue occurs, it needs to be resolved right away. Failing to check on this is a sure way to run into trouble. Ask your potential vendors what their SLA includes to ensure minimal downtime and prompt issue resolution.
7. Not Preparing for Future Trends:
If you only think of what you need today, sooner or later you’ll run into trouble. It pays to think of the future from day one – especially in the rapidly evolving media-tech industry. New codecs, new technologies, and new standards keep coming up. As the world around you changes, how will your platform keep up? Can the infrastructure accommodate emerging video formats and codecs, and adapt to new industry trends? And just as importantly, as components are upgraded and newer versions come out, if they all come from different vendors, will they still work smoothly together?
Probe your vendors and make sure they have a vision for the future – not just for one of the platform components, but for the platform as a whole.
8. Neglecting Vendor Reputation:
When you choose a vendor for your OTT streaming project, it’s a long-term affair. So it’s important to do your due diligence. Find out how they have behaved in the past: gather information about their track record and their industry reputation. Also, check how they contribute to the industry as a whole. Do they participate in standardization organizations? If so, there’s a good chance they are reputable. What do their previous clients say about them? They should be able to share this kind of information – and if not, it might well be a red flag.
As with any strategic investment, you should always conduct thorough due diligence, define your requirements as clearly as possible, and engage in open and transparent communication with infrastructure vendors. Seek recommendations on best technology options, as well as references from other industry professionals, who can provide valuable insights in finding the partner for your success.
As an award-winning provider of end-to-end solutions for live and on-demand OTT streaming video delivery – from contribution encoders, packagers, and ad-insertion solutions and all the way to content-aware CDN solutions – Ateme provides a scalable and future-proof platform that complies with the major industry standards and adapts to your needs. What pitfalls have you come across when setting up your OTT streaming platform? We’d love to hear from you. Please share your insights in the comments below.