3 Fresh Views On The Future Of Video


Have you ever heard the expression “ebb and flow”? It describes something that changes on a regular basis – a pattern of change that over-the-top (OTT) streaming businesses are all too familiar with.  

As the world of streaming video grows at a mind-blowing pace, media companies are continually having to adjust course to stay on top of what their audiences want to see and how they want to see it – everything from which device viewers stream on the most to how they pay for the service, how often, and of course, how much. 

One of the most important things these businesses need is a strategy for anticipating change, connecting with and bringing in new audiences, and staying on top of the booming market. 

During Brightcove’s Over-The-Top-View Video Strategy Summit , we invited some of the media world’s top experts to give us their perspective on what streaming businesses should be thinking about right now if they want to face the market head-on. Here are three things we learned:  

A la carte or bundled up?  

More and more viewers are breaking ties with traditional pay-tv for more control over what they watch and when, but how much control will we really see in the near future? If you’re a viewer who just loves CBS’s NCIS series, will you be able to pay for only that? Will control extend to individual pieces of content selected a la carte, or will our choices have to fit into broader bundles?

Interpret’s Brett Sappington says it “depends on who’s doing the bundling.” There could be an advantage to bundling specific content and channels or services if there’s a demand for that particular bundle. For example, we might start seeing different services like Discovery+ paired with ESPN+ in the future, but only if they benefit from each other’s audience.  

How to avoid the digital freeloader.

We all love free stuff, but what’s free for the customer can be very costly for the business – especially for a streaming business. Adding a free trial to your service that lets viewers explore your content seems like a no-brainer right? That’s not exactly what the experts are saying. 

CakeWork’s Rebecca Paoletti says you have to make sure you’re not giving up too much. “We encourage seven days free or less. If you really have a good service and have many people talking about your offering, it should really be just a one-click buy.” 

Audiences are driven by good content, but if they’re given free access to that content, you’re not only losing revenue, you’re devaluing your service. WATCHiT’s Moustapha Bekheet notes that it’s important to remember that your content generates cash flow for your business and not to give it up so freely. “We don’t have any free trials, but sometimes we offer an episode for free of a premium series, a generous snippet to get the audience interested in the content and make them want more.” 

FAST doesn’t just mean speed. 

Are you familiar with FAST? We’re not talking about NASCAR or Usain Bolt – FAST as in free ad-supported TV. It’s what today’s streamers want and what content creators are jumping into in order to grow their audiences. 

FAST services such as Pluto TV, Xumo, and Roku Channel are popping up everywhere. At their core, these services provide free content to consumers who don’t mind the ads. But they also provide a way for creators and media brands alike to increase the number of eyes on their content. It’s sort of a win-win scenario. 

However, just pushing content to a FAST channel isn’t enough. Revry’s Alia Daniels says you need a strategy in place if you want to take advantage of this new trend. She recommends that businesses “push the best, most well-known names, and content topics that the partner or channel would actually want to promote.” Once you have your viewers’ attention, they’ll be more likely to explore your own channel outside of the free one and consider signing up for more.    

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Learn. Build. Play. Repeat. 5 Million Viewers Master Their Crafts With Video.


Did you know that billionaire investor Warren Buffet is also a passionate ukulele player? Or that singer and songwriter Rod Stewart has a knack for building model railways and trains and regularly takes them with him on his worldwide tours? 

For some, hobbies are a means of sharpening the mind; for others, they’re a simple creative exploration into a new craft or field. No matter the reason, people will find joy in their hobbies, and the desire to learn more in a way that’s both engaging and reliable is something all hobbyists have in common. 

With nearly 2,000 hours of on-demand instructional video tailored toward over 5 million viewers in more than 150 countries worldwide, TN Marketing delivers what all learners crave: a quality, engaging way to connect with their interests from anywhere, at any time. 

They’ve built virtual communities such as GetHealthyU TV, Woodworkers Guild of America, and the National Bowling Academy — and that’s just to name a few. Viewers connect to each community right from home on their connected devices. 

For the community enthusiasts on the go, TN Marketing also delivers high-quality, reliable video on the web, so viewers can connect and learn from anywhere. All they have to do is press play. 

It’s no surprise that learners crave an opportunity to explore their interests in a way that’s both personable and genuine, especially if it involves hearing from experts who know their passions best. This immersive experience is one that video can deliver.

Video also has the power to provide audiences with one-on-one walkthroughs at a pace they can control with the click of a button. If a viewer gets lost along the way, they can always hit rewind or press pause. For those who love to practice their crafts alongside their learning, this is a crucial seller.

Video helps to connect people with their passions like no other medium can. TN Marketing chose to partner with Brightcove to make sure those connections never stop and that savvy hobbyists can get the information they need to keep doing what they love. 

Do you want to learn more about how Brightcove is helping TN Marketing bring quality, reliable content to millions of hobbyists around the world?

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What Streamers Want: Three Tips for Keeping Up With the Shifting Streaming Market


Without question, the pandemic has accelerated the already shifting trend of audiences making the switch from traditional broadcast video to digital streaming — and the industry is seeing changes:   

  • Streaming minutes are up 23% worldwide. 

  • While ad sales took a hit earlier this year, connected devices such as smart TVs saw the most resilience with a decrease in CPMs of 6% — considerably less than other devices. To close out the year, the industry is expecting a 6% YOY increase in overall digital ad spend.

  • New streaming services are emerging such as Quibi, Peacock, HBO Max. 

As the streaming industry grows, businesses must pay attention to what viewers want to keep them from going to a competitor — so we partnered with YouGov to explore trends like what device audiences stream on the most and how willing streamers are to try new services. Here are some of our most notable findings:

1. Streaming is up all around, with smartphones taking the lead.

People are streaming more on all devices, but the biggest jump in views goes to the smallest device —  smartphones take the lead with a 46% increase in streaming since the COVID-19 outbreak began. This trend may be here to stay with mobile subscriptions claiming 40% of the subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) market by 2025. 

Action: Optimize your mobile viewing experience – your content needs to be pushed through a mobile app; mobile-web won’t cut it. Audiences want to turn a screen and watch content from every angle and they want to click and share their favorite episodes using social sharing features. Having an improved performance can also reduce costs for service providers and enhance viewer experience, encouraging loyalty.

2. Ad-supported and subscription-supported video were both watched equally. 

Viewers didn’t mind watching their favorite shows with ads in between, but they were also willing to pay for a monthly or yearly service without ads. When asked how they liked to watch their content, ad-supported (AVOD) and subscription-based (SVOD) services were preferred equally

Action: Give your audience what they want – the power of choice. With both ad-supported and subscription-based models, viewers are free to choose how they spend their time and money. These models also give viewers a sense of control, something they’ve never had with traditional broadcast services.

3. Seven out of ten people are willing to try a new streaming service. 

Now is the time to launch that new service. But before you can convince audiences to pull out their wallets, consider giving them a taste of what you have to offer. Nearly 63% of consumers said the primary driver to try a new service was a free-trial or offer.

Action: Make sure you build your service with the ability to offer trials, couponing, and promotions. For example, Revry , the first global LGBTQ streaming network, relaunched its apps during pride month with a special promotion for new subscribers and is now reaching over 250 million homes and devices.

Streaming is higher than it’s ever been before so if you’re looking to get ahead of the shifting market, now is the time. Invest in your technology platform, content, and promotional strategy and prepare for a future in the growing streaming market.


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With iOS 14, ad personalization requires permission


You might’ve heard that Apple is making changes to its user tracking policies that will impact the use of device identifiers in iOS 14. Now, if you’re not using tracking for advertising, these new policies won’t affect you. And since the data that Brightcove analytics collects is anonymous and isn’t shared between publishers, it’s not subject to Apple’s new policies.

But let’s take a look at what’s changing and what you need to know as an app publisher.

What is IDFA?

IDFA is Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers, a unique ID string that identifies a particular device. It’s used in a few different ways, but the most common one is to support personalized advertising. Say I’ve opened the app for my favorite local restaurant chain, but I didn’t actually buy anything. Then I open the app for my local news publisher and start watching a video. When the app goes to fetch a preroll ad, it passes along my device’s IDFA, and the restaurant chain might choose to pay a little extra to run an ad about their latest meal deal. Everybody wins — the advertiser reaches someone who’s more likely to make a purchase, the publisher gets paid more for the preroll, and I see an ad that’s actually relevant to me.

But that same mechanism can get a bit creepy. The industry is trending away from sharing this sort of data without more transparency, and the latest move from Apple is a way to push for more privacy by default.

What’s changing?

With iOS 14, if an app doesn’t get explicit permission to provide the IDFA of the device it’s on, then it won’t get something unique. (This new policy will go into effect in early 2021.) This won’t make things fail, but it’ll prevent the advertiser from seeing that an ad request comes from a device they want to sell to, so the value chain is broken.

Apple is making a key change to support this, with a new API to request permission for the IDFA. This only needs to be requested once for each app, and a user can change whether they opt in or out any time in Settings (similar to how permission for location tracking is handled now). As an app publisher, you should explain to your users why you’re asking for this information – the value of personalizing ads. Just throwing up the system dialogue when a user first opens the app is a sure way to get a lot of opt outs. (Especially if you’re also asking for location permissions at the same time!)

For customers using the Brightcove Native iOS SDK, we’ve added support for the OS-level opt-in/out API, along with the latest Google IMA SDK (v3.12.1). Without integration with this API, any requests for the IDFA on iOS 14 – regardless of user preference – will have a value of 0, just as if the user had opted out. This update ensures that developers have access to the IDFA whenever possible. You’ll find this in our September release of iOS SDK v6.7.12, with full iOS 14 compatibility.

What else is there?

IDFA was designed for personalized advertising, but it has also been used in a couple of other ways that Apple is offering alternatives for.

If an app publisher has a network of apps but doesn’t identify users themselves (e.g., via a login), they can access an IDFV (Identifier for Vendors), which is structured like an IDFA but is only unique across that publisher’s apps. So it can’t be used to share an ID between a news publisher and the restaurant, but it does allow a publisher to track a user’s viewing habits across different apps in their own network. (This doesn’t require a user to opt in.)

Another common use case is attributing app installations – IDFAs are used to identify referrals between apps that might be bounced through the App Store. Apple has provided a new StoreKit API (SKAdNetwork) to support this particular use case that also doesn’t require end user opt in.

Should publishers be worried?

No one really knows. Apple has provided users with a way to opt out of the IDFA since iOS 7 way back in 2013, but it’s buried in Settings so it never caught on.

At the other extreme, as Safari has made it harder and harder to work with 3rd-party cookies, publishers have found that advertiser demand (and therefore revenue) has dropped. The IDFA change doesn’t go as far, so if you’re thinking about deploying a native app, you can still monetise it more effectively than you can mobile web on iOS.

It’s likely this will land somewhere in the middle. Encouraging users to opt in and explaining the value of getting relevant ads will certainly help. And separately, publishers should be looking at other ways to trade on their own first- or second-party data to maximise the value of their inventory.

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Mozart. Beethoven. Tchaikovsky. Those Guys Would Have Loved Live Streaming.


Performers want to perform; audiences want to watch. It’s that simple. And nothing should come between this time-honored relationship that’s existed since the first cavemen gathered around their buddy singing dinosaur songs. As concerts and performances rapidly evolve, Brightcove makes sure you don’t get left behind with video experiences that meet all the demands of today’s digital world. From staying connected to donors to building new audiences, the potential of video is unlimited, and Brightcove is ready to put you at center stage.


With the global pandemic shutting down most in-person performances, arts organizations realize they can’t stay silent for long. This is especially crucial when it comes to donors and patrons, the lifeline of any organization. By developing live stream performances and video content on-demand, your organization stays connected to these supporters and demonstrates that you’re committed to engaging with them. Brightcove’s video technology and solutions are helping The Tribeca Film Festival, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and more to remain vibrant, innovative, and top-of-mind with their loyal benefactors. 


For those audience members who’ve always been squinting from the balcony, a video performance now brings the stage up-close and personal. Brightcove’s flawless live streams deliver every note and nuance in absolute clarity, creating a virtual performance that, in some ways, will rival an in-person performance. What’s more, arts organizations are using the power of video to give audiences an even stronger appreciation for what they’re about to see. 

This might be an interview with the composer, an informative lecture about an opera, or a day in the life of a ballet dancer before she soars onto the stage. 


As video lets you connect with your current audiences, it also opens up a whole new world–literally. With Brightcove’s powerful technology, your sonata, pirouette, or soliloquy can be seen on phones, tablets, TV, and any other screen across the globe. Think of the new audiences you will reach. Maybe a couple who could never find a babysitter will now pay to sit at home and enjoy the performance. Or, maybe someone who could never afford the expensive night out will now find this much more accessible. People want to be entertained, and they’re already living a digital life, so meet that willing audience with outstanding video solutions from Brightcove and rest assured that you will look and sound your absolute best. 

The future of musical and theatre performance is clearly transforming, and Brightcove will make sure you stay on top of it all. Let our recognized video technology and solutions fuel your imagination as you keep your organization thriving and relevant in today’s changing world.

Watch our latest webinar, Keeping The Main Stage Alive With Video, to discover the latest trends impacting the performing arts industry and learn how some top organizations are implementing digital strategies and using streaming video to survive and grow their audience-base.

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In the US, People Are Switching to Digital for Live Sports Viewing


Sports are on hold in the US due to the coronavirus pandemic, but digital live sports viewership will still rise more than 14% this year thanks to continued organic growth and accelerated cord-cutting.

According to our first forecast on digital sports viewers, 36.5 million people in the US will watch live sports digitally this year. That includes individuals of any age who watch live sports monthly during at least one sport’s season—and we do expect some live sports to return later in 2020. Almost one in four (23.7%) US live sports viewers will watch via digital channels this year.

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Because the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness tournament was canceled, overall live sports viewership will drop 0.2% this year.

 “In recent years, TV networks and pay TV providers have relied more on live sports as cord-cutting and audience erosion accelerate,” said Eric Haggstrom, eMarketer forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence. “Live sports represents billions of dollars in advertising and affiliate fees for the networks. Advertisers are eagerly awaiting the likely return of live sports in the fall as it is one of the few ways to reach a large, younger audience at scale.”

 Almost half of those digital viewers will watch live sports through virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), such as Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV. This year, 17.1 million people will watch live TV on these platforms, up 13.3% from 2019. And 69.3% of internet delivered pay TV viewers will use vMVPDs to watch live sports.

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We’re assuming that live sports leagues that have been postponed will return at some point in 2020. Postponed leagues include the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Hockey League (NHL).

 One of the most popular platforms for viewing live sports digitally is ESPN+, which will have 14.9 million viewers this year, representing 40.8% of digital live sports viewers in the US. The platform grew rapidly last year thanks to additional offerings and a bundle with Disney+ and Hulu.

 This article originally appeared on eMarketer.com .

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