Are You Ready to Go Over the Top?

I was recently invited to be a panelist at the SVG College Sports Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss how the over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere era has put content in viewers’ hands—no matter where they are or what devices they’re using. To quote from the panel description, “whether your fans are on their laptop, using a streaming media device hooked up to their television, or checking their smartphone, is your channel everywhere it needs to be?”

I was joined on the panel by Michael Calderon, VP of programming and digital media at the Big Ten Network, and Matt Panto, assistant executive director for digital media and communications at the Ivy League. Both Michael and Matt provided insight on their needs from the content owners’ perspective, and one big issue they’re facing is how to protect their OTT deployment investment, whether they deploy in house or use a third-party service. OTT streaming infrastructure needs to support an ever-changing landscape of devices that use different codecs, protocols, and platforms (see Streaming Media’s chart comparing today’s streaming boxes and OTT platforms).

In fact, the issue of developing in house or using a third-party service is impacting even the largest media companies. HBO, Turner, and CBS outsource streaming to Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and other major TV networks are looking to cloud services to handle playout and OTT device support. Interestingly, as IP-based delivery continues to grow, the industry is transitioning away from the old model of content owners buying boxes to handle distribution, and toward hiring service providers to manage the technical streaming and OTT support infrastructure.

In our recent webinar we talked about what Wowza Media Systems does to protect and future-proof your OTT deployment and investment. Because Wowza Streaming Engine is codec and platform agnostic, we reduce the complexities of supporting a wide range of devices. Wowza supports emerging codecs like H.265 and VP9, as well as emerging protocols such as MPEG-DASH and WebM (see Streaming Media’s article on H.265 vs. VP9).

The OTT and streaming media industries are changing faster than ever. Although many companies—including Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and RealNetworks—have stopped supporting their own streaming server technologies, our continued focus on Wowza Streaming Engine gives our customers the peace of mind that we will continue to proactively develop our software while supporting legacy streaming and proprietary protocols such as Apple HLS.

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