Key Challenges and Opportunities Guiding the Future of Streaming Media


Digital video technology firm Bitmovin has unveiled the results of its fifth annual Video Developer Report. The latest data reveal a maturing video/streaming/OTT industry overall, experiencing key areas of growth, innovation, and opportunity as consumption and pressures to personalize and deliver seamless experiences increase.

Conducted between July and August 2021, the Video Developer Report underscores the most relevant issues to the video developer community. As more devices come online each day, the pressures mount for industry professionals to continually innovate, increasing quality and engagement all while carefully controlling costs. This report illuminates the inter-connected and competing priorities developers are facing and how they’ve evolved over time. This year, low latency streaming topped the charts as both the biggest challenge and largest opportunity for innovation, primarily driven by demand for more interactive experiences and competition with traditional broadcast latency.

Key findings include: 

·         Increased consumption and variation in device preference.  

o    81% of respondents deliver streams via HTML5 in desktop browsers, followed by 57% via HTML5 on Android.

o    Smart TV brand preference varies by region, with Philips the preferred Smart TV brand in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Vizio in North America. 

o    Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) is the most popular console for streaming in North America, outranking many Smart TV brands. Console use in all other regions of the globe is much lower.

·         Regional shifts and the quest for compatibility.  

o    Streaming device usage differs significantly worldwide. While Apple TV is most popular in North America and Asia Pacific, it comes in at only #5 in Latin America (LATAM).  

o    Android TV is preferred in LATAM (44%) and EMEA (51%), with others, such as Chromecast TV, closely behind at 44% in LATAM and 38% in EMEA.  

o    These differences are largely due to variations in infrastructures, as devices like Apple TV require a powerful, consistently reliable Internet connection which is not available in all areas of the globe. 

·         A ‘changing of the guard’ in codec usage. 

o    The AVC/H.264 video codec continues to dominate device reach, however newer and more efficient codecs, such as HEVC, VP9, and AV1 all saw increases in testing and production usage in 2021. HEVC is being deployed currently by nearly 50% of survey respondents.  

o    Increased AV1 usage on consumer platforms like YouTube and Netflix and support from affordable devices like Fire TV Stick 4K Max signals a potential shift toward broader AV1 adoption across the ecosystem. 

o    Reigning audio codec AAC continued its position at the top but did see some incremental decline over the past year while multiple Dolby audio formats rose in popularity and usage. 

o    The most popular streaming format, HLS, saw its first usage decline. With CMAF rising in adoption from 21% to 26%.  

·         Critical importance of video analytics platforms.  

o    Industry standards are essential in the video broadcasting space, and leveraging the power of an analytics platform is key to optimizing organizations for scalable growth. This year’s study found that for the first time in two years, in-house solutions took the top spot for analytics at 39% over Google at 37%, indicating more sophisticated usage and that basic traffic and completion rates are no longer sufficient.

o    As the market landscape becomes increasingly competitive, video analytics play an integral role in monitoring viewer experiences/engagement and gaining audience insights to improve future offerings and solutions.



Download the Bitmovin’s 2021 Video Developer Report