Optimising Video Content Delivery Amid a Spike in Viewership

Optimising Video Content Delivery Amid a Spike in Viewership

Online video streaming and linear TV viewership have increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How are broadcasters and content platform operators taking advantage of this surge in viewership? 

Unprecedented Events Sparking Dramatic Increases in Viewership
As the world instituted large-scale lockdowns and stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, people began to watch television and online video content en masse. Research has shown that overall TV viewership, including linear TV and online video streaming, increased during the lockdown period by 56% in Sri Lanka, 26% in the Philippines, and 23% in India. 

This extended period at home, and the resulting need for in-home entertainment for large portions of populations across the region, has created an opportunity for broadcasters and content platform operators to expand the distribution and reach of their content. However, this situation has added pressure to traditional business models and revenues, and the strain on transactional, advertising, and subscription revenues will continue into 2021, affecting overall market value. As a result, in the effort to reach more customers and increase revenue in the future, broadcasters and content platform operators need to stay nimble to address short-term changes, such as allowing customers to substitute sports channels for other content, and long-term shifts to a more nomadic use of TV and video services. [1] 

Media Partners Asia notes that the focus for traditional pay-TV platforms, and new mobile and virtual operators, will need to provide more robust aggregator offerings to maintain this surge in viewers. Additionally, the successful delivery and distribution of live and on-demand streaming video is expected to be critical in Southeast Asia as consumer spending between online video and pay-TV returns to normal. [2] 

Pressure on Network Infrastructure Also Grew
Along with the increase in people viewing online videos, a side effect of the lockdowns has been the impact on network traffic. In March, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India asked the government to instruct streaming services to ease pressure on the country’s network infrastructure by taking steps such as temporarily switching to standard definition from high definition streaming and removing high bandwidth-consuming advertisements and pop-ups. [3] 

The Economic Times has also noted the impact on network speeds, reporting that median download and upload speeds from 1100 am to 2300 pm have decreased up to 36% in March compared to February, in addition to other indicators that the network is congested such as higher packet loss and latency. While these effects were felt in both urban and rural networks, it was noted that rural networks were less able to handle the increases in network traffic, and a larger decrease in performance was experienced as a result. [4]  

Easing Network Pressure and Preparing for Future Viewing Preferences 
Broadcasters and content platform operators across the Asia-Pacific region can supplement fibre or internet protocol (IP)-based services with satellite. This enables them to benefit from the reach of satellite and the viewing convenience enabled by IP networks. Combining satellite with IPTV and fibre-based services also provides the flexibility broadcasters need to address an evolving media industry with a hybrid content delivery solution that is cost-effective, accessible, and reliable. 

Additionally, content delivery networks (CDNs) can be instrumental in helping content platform operators and broadcasters deliver video streaming services with lower latency as people use more bandwidth during the pandemic. It is estimated that CDNs will carry 72 percent of all internet traffic by 2022. [5] This period where bandwidth is being strained could potentially hasten the transition as broadcasters and content platform operators continue to address increased bandwidth needs in the region. SES’s online video platform empower content platform operators to optimise their app or website to ensure enhanced experiences, and the high-performance (CDN) delivers the highest possible quality during streaming experiences. 

Learn more about how SES can help media companies deliver reliable, high-quality streaming services in a simplified and more efficient manner. 


[1] Analysis Mason: COVID-19 will boost OTT video viewership but will reduce the total value of the TV and video market

[2] Media Partners Asia: Online Video Streaming Minutes In Southeast Asia Skyrocket After COVID-19 Impact According To New MPA Study

[3] BloombergQuint: COAI Asks Netflix, Amazon Prime, Others To Take Steps To Ease Network Pressure Amid Coronavirus Lockdowns

[4] Economic Times: Avg network speeds in peak hours since India lockdown down 36% vs Feb avg: Tutela

[5] Deloitte: Coming to a CDN near you: Videos, games, and much, much more