Report: OTT Companies Are Embracing VR


BROOMFIELD: According to a new global study, virtual reality will play a decisive role in the future of OTT video, with a majority of OTT companies agreeing that the technology is here to stay.

Level 3 Communications commissioned the study, titled The OTT-Video Services Market: Today’s Trends and What Is Next for 4K, HDR, HFR and VR and conducted by Unisphere Research in partnership with Streaming Media. The report found that 67 percent of respondents believe VR is a lasting technology, though these participants still acknowledged primary business and technical challenges such as lack of consumer awareness, interest and fear of competition from free services, user-generated content and bandwidth caps. Other potential barriers to adoption include lack of consumer access to players, delays in the availability of VR devices and bandwidth limitations for OTT VR content delivery.

Respondents were also asked to weigh in on the current state of OTT, with 87 percent of respondents stating that offering an OTT service is a viable revenue opportunity. Around 45 percent of companies surveyed currently offer OTT services. Of that number, 52 percent are researching, getting ready to launch or have already launched VR-video content.

On the HDR and HFR front, almost 70 percent of respondents confirmed they offer or plan to offer both HFR in existing HD video, as well as offering HDR content for greater color depth. Additionally, some impending OTT service offerings are expected to begin emphasizing live OTT content over on-demand content. If this occurs, the study notes that it will signal the first time the OTT industry has highlighted live content instead of on-demand content and catch-up services.

Anthony Christie, the chief marketing officer of Level 3, stated: “As the OTT industry continues to grow and evolve, this study shows there is more focus on not only delivering live streaming events—which can be a challenge in itself—but also streaming in 4K or even VR. End users expect their video streaming experience to be seamless, even as they begin to consume next-generation content, and this study reveals the ever-increasing importance for OTT providers to have a robust CDN strategy to enable this upward OTT trajectory as well as the importance of a safe, secure, reliable network.”

Tim Siglin, the contributing editor for Streaming Media Magazine and the principal report author, remarked: “When I started the process of crafting questions for this second annual survey on OTT for Level 3, I was a VR-video skeptic. But it became clear, during the analysis phase, that a VR-video strategic decision has tremendous mindshare for those companies already offering OTT services.”