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Limelight Networks predicts trends for 2017

(Image credit: Limelight Networks)

More; 2016 was the year of more. The migration from traditional programming to VOD (Video On Demand) delivered independently via the internet, more commonly known as Over-the-top content (OTT), has fundamentally transformed the way that video is produced, sold, distributed and consumed. OTT providers are expanding their network capacity to ensure that consumers can download what they want, when they want. Meanwhile major content producers like Amazon and Netflix, as well as broadcasters with robust digital platforms like BT and Sky, have been scaling up their digital-first original content. While there has been a growing shift towards mobility, computers and laptops remain the most common device for online video viewing (Source: Limelight State of Broadcast Industry). 

In this article, I have looked at five trends, or changes, that I expect to impact commercial markets in 2017.

Serious shift in securing digital content online 

“With more content being established every second across the world it’s now more important than ever to be secure. The SSL encryption trend will accelerate as Google’s intention to prefer secure sites hardens. Toughened EU data protection rules come into force in May 2018, making 2017 the year to review and smarten up cybersecurity. Gaming websites, online retailers, and media broadcasters must have a robust system in place to guarantee optimum website performance all year round. It will be crunch time for the emerging online retailer, the ticket seller or the OTT service provider seeking to grow its business. With little time and a daunting mountain of work, digital content and ecommerce businesses are going to look to how they can embed security into their cloud infrastructure and networks.” 

Global race for flash e-commerce sales 

“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast becoming staple events in the calendar for retailers around the world. The battle to win consumers with bargain deals is ever intensifying as Retail becomes even more competitive and upward pressure on inflation begins to increase prices. In 2017 it will be no surprise to see retailers race to outdo each other with surprise flash sales throughout the year. Naturally, these international events will put pressure on digital marketers and customer experience specialists to assess website performance. Businesses will need to ensure that they have robust networking solutions in place to prevent any downtime when delivering digital content to a global audience. After all, a moment’s glitch could cost millions and significantly impact the customer experience.”

Rethinking content storage and performance for OTTs 

“The rush to spend on original and premium content is going to trigger a rethink on operational margins for content storage and delivery. The current rate of content spend is unsustainable not only in terms of operational margins, but also in terms of storage and performance. More OTT brands are going to have to strike the best balance between offering the latest box set of a trendy new original series and the best long–tail content for subscribers. Culling obscure, little viewed content may make economic sense but could damage brands built on choice and variety.” 

Renewed thirst for investment in infrastructure 

“When it comes to discerning the relationship between OTT original content spending and the rise of peak digital TV events, we ain’t seen nothing yet! Broadcasters, including Netflix and the BBC, have both unveiled grand plans to invest in their digital offering in a push to drive more original content. This is great news for the content-hungry millennial and the cord-cutters, seeking alternative ways of enjoying TV. As a CDN working with international media and entertainment conglomerates, our playbook for future mega-terabit events is filling up faster and sooner. Digital broadcasters will need to take a proactive approach to predicting imminent surges in demand for their services. It’s essential that all this effort ensures the service experience doesn’t deteriorate. With spending focused on the content and the talent, the appetite for investment in new infrastructure is likely to be negligible, creating an opportunity for CDNs to step in.”

Brace yourself for the resurgence of DDoS attacks 

“Let’s not forget, it was only a few months ago that the Dyn cyberattacks took place compromising the websites packing some of the biggest content include SoundCloud, Amazon and Netflix. A hacker’s speciality – DDoS attacks – occurs when cyber attackers use botnets to flood a server with requests that overwhelm it with traffic causing either slow content loading or service outage. This establishes it as one of the most tangible threats – with almost half of respondents (46 per cent) in a customer survey conducted by Limelight Networks citing it as their number one threat. While IT services are frequent targets by cybercriminals, the media and entertainment industry is fast becoming the number one reporter of threat. Digital broadcasters are an attractive option for attackers due to their high profiles and large subscriber bases. This is a recipe to cause maximum levels of disruption to a wide range of people. With cybercriminals developing more and more sophisticated methods of attack, 2017 may well see a major digital broadcaster affected by a large-scale DDoS attack."

Popular video game releases and software downloads are also playing a significant role in driving website traffic across the world, including the UK. When some 68 per cent of millennials watch more than two hours of online video per week, compared to just over half of all consumers (Source: State of Online Video) content is growing at an unprecedented scale. SVOD and AVOD services have been riding the wave of the mobile revolution. Expect grand plans to invest in their digital offering to secure digital content. The ecommerce sector is also set to see a wave of flash sales as global retailers race to reach more customers. Last year saw the first Prime Day for Amazon customers and this year will be no different. The key for 2017 is to focus on delivering exceptional multi-screen experiences to drive revenue and enhance customer relationships.

When EU data protection rules come into force in May 2018 the pressure will be on. The question I believe we have to ask is, who will come out on top?”

Jonathan Smith, Managing Director EMEA, Limelight Networks
Image Credit: Limelight Networks

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith is group vice-president and managing director EMEA of Limelight Networks. Jonathan has more than two decades of experience in the tech industry, having previously worked for Sigma Systems, Convergys and Ericsson.