Interconnection Is Key as Digital Video Surges

OTT and VoD drive digital shake up, but interconnection delivers an advantage

The insatiable demand for video content on demand continues to be astounding – and, for many traditional content and digital media (CDM) companies, potentially nerve-wracking, as well.

According to eMarketer, this year nearly 765 million people will use a subscription over-the-top (OTT) video service, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. That’s a tenth of the global population.

At the same time, eMarketer estimates that nearly 13% of U.S. households will “cut the cord” in 2018, meaning they will cancel subscription cable or satellite TV services in favor of OTT services and other viewing options.

Even in regions where cord-cutting is not a major trend, like Europe and Asia-Pacific, broadcasters are still being forced to adjust to a world where the demand for content keeps growing and the expectations for superior, anytime, anywhere, any device service never diminishes. Traditional business, content delivery and content creation models don’t cut it anymore. But what will?

That’s a big question as CDM companies meet for the annual International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam amid this digital disruption. The industry in general seems to agree that the answers are found in cloud, as it has firmly grabbed hold of the cloud after some initial hesitation. And, whether attendees know it yet, interconnection has been critical to getting the industry to where it is, and it will be essential to its future.

Cloud is key

Cisco estimates that by 2021, video on demand (VoD) traffic will represent 13% of all global IP traffic. In the Zettabyte era, that’s a lot of binge-watching. Cisco also says overall video traffic will be 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021. It’s not easy to grab viewer eyeballs in the middle of this video flood, and that’s also a lot of content that viewers will be expecting to be delivered on-demand and glitch-free.

Amid these demands, CDM companies have gone all-in on cloud, specifically multicloud, because they really don’t have a choice. For one thing, cloud helps content creators move material through different stages of production more quickly than ever. A crew shooting on location in Barcelona can instantly collaborate with a team in, say, Los Angeles, on film processing and editing.

CDM companies also need the cloud if they hope to quickly deliver customized content to viewers in multiple markets. Access to cloud analytics and storage services, for instance, enables companies to take advantage of machine learning to assess users viewing habits, make real-time recommendations, and deliver the content in seconds. This can’t work like it should with traditional IT architectures, in which content is stored in a distant, centralized location, far from viewers and needed services. Distance adds latency, which kills performance, and ruins the user experience. With so many other viewing options, that can be fatal to new and traditional players alike.

Why interconnection matters

As cloud grows increasingly important to the media and entertainment industry, so does interconnection – the private data exchange between businesses. Interconnection has already played a major role in enabling CDM companies to get close to customers in markets all over the world, so they can deliver superior content to a dispersed user base. And Volume 1 of The Global Interconnection Index, published annually by Equinix, indicates the need for interconnection among CDM companies is growing fast. The Index estimates that Interconnection Bandwidth –the capacity to privately and directly exchange traffic between a diverse set of participants at distributed IT exchange points – will increase at a 36% CAGR among CDM companies and could reach 420 Terabits per second by 2020.

How does this growth in Interconnection Bandwidth play out for CDM companies? Well, it could do so in numerous ways on Platform Equinix, Equinix’s global interconnection and colocation platform. For instance, the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric) instantly connects our customers to any participating cloud provider on the ECX Fabric. So a CDM company can directly and securely connect in real time with multiple cloud services to deliver high-quality, innovative services locally and worldwide. And because Platform Equinix extends globally, CDM companies can access interconnection to get close to users, partners and employees and deliver low-latency connections pretty much anywhere. That’s critical if the world is your audience.

A great example of how this works comes from the sports streaming platform DAZN (pronounced “da zone”). The company has used Platform Equinix to support their expansion into multiple global markets and reach dispersed users on a myriad of connected devices.

Platform Equinix’s global reach allows DAZN to deploy IT as close as possible to the sport events they cover, enabling the low-latency connections essential to quickly add commentary and polish to raw video feeds. The always-up Platform Equinix also offers resiliency and direct access to a wide variety of cloud services, so DAZN can expand its computing capacity on demand and access all the interconnection it needs during high-profile events.

Download the CDM Playbook to learn how to develop interconnection-based content delivery architectures that meet the digital demands of today’s users.

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