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Boost your video ROI: Develop a multi-CDN strategy

Brightcove News 8/2/2019

In today’s streaming landscape, content owners around the world must determine how to deliver high-quality content quickly and securely—while also providing an affordable and scalable multi-platform offering. During our recent interview-style webinar, streaming media expert Dan Rayburn provided his data-driven insights on how to optimize your user experience and maximize your video ROI. 

Didn’t have a chance to tune in? Read on for an overview of what we discussed—and watch the on-demand recording for more information.

Survey says...

During the webinar, Dan highlighted some key findings from a recent survey he conducted amongst 128 respondents across the US streaming media industry:

Measuring success

Seventy-two percent of respondents reported that “cost analysis data” is the metric that matters most to them when measuring the success of their live stream.

As Dan highlighted, this finding accurately reflects what we’re hearing from a lot of customers in the space. People throughout the industry are still looking for ways to monetize their content—and plenty of customers are willing to pay a higher cost for better quality. The question becomes: “How do I measure, as a customer, the success of live streaming?”

Customization features

Sixty-eight percent claimed that “improved user experience with faster startup times and less buffering” was one of the two most important customization features when it comes to the delivery of their video.

These results highlight that today’s content owners don’t see cost as the only factor to consider; they want to provide a good user experience. As Dan called out, this improved experience will hopefully translate to better engagement, higher revenue for those that use the VOD model, and lower churn for those that leverage the subscription model.

Adding live streaming to VOD delivery

Fifty-three percent of respondents aren’t currently adding live streaming to their video-on-demand delivery because they “don’t have content that is time sensitive.”

As Dan pointed out, not everything has to be live: “This is about using the best technology for the best use case and for the right application.” And there’s definitely the potential for simulated live content here—which is something we’ve had in the industry for awhile. We’ve seen this more as people are packaging content into playlists and creating personalized, linear channels. As a best practice, start with one live event and see how the technology works for you.

Playback platforms

When asked which playback platforms are most important to them, 94% selected mobile, while only 41% selected Smart TVs.

This finding comes down to monetization: “Connected TV advertising is only just now coming to the market,” explained Dan. If there’s no good way to monetize on a platform, content owners aren’t going to use it. Thankfully, the industry is coming together to create some standards and build a good ad experience. In fact, we predict that this Smart TV stat will jump over time. According to Dan, if we do this survey again next year, this figure could potentially be in the 55% to 60% range.

Improving service

When asked to choose the three most important things a video platform provider can do to improve their service, the top selections were:

  • Better business terms/contract flexibility (56%)

  • Provide solutions that help increase the ROI of delivering my video content (43%)

  • Take the time to understand my business (25%)

As Dan called out, today’s customers aren’t necessarily calling for a lower price, but a fair and flexible one. And it’s important to remember that they “measure ROI very differently—depending on their business model. They need better ways to understand what the impact of video is on their business.”

Overall, Dan’s survey results highlighted that today’s viewers seek a high-quality, fast, and secure multi-platform experience from an affordable, scalable, and reliable provider.

Why you need a multi-CDN strategy

In a world where content delivery can be expensive and complex, how you can provide the desired user experience outlined above—while maintaining your profitability? Adopt a multi-CDN strategy.

CDNs play an important role in determining your audience reach, delivering your content, and scaling your offerings. As Dan called out, certain CDNs are better than others—and some options focus on certain types of content delivery in specific verticals, markets, and regions.

By implementing a multi-CDN strategy, you can spread your traffic across multiple CDNs to compare cost and quality, explained Dan. Doing so empowers you to maximize your ROI—and increase your flexibility and redundancy, as you can easily switch from one CDN to another. In addition, you can deliver the best blended experience to your end users.

And a multi-CDN strategy isn’t just for large customers anymore, according to Dan. Today, medium-sized and small providers can use platforms like Brightcove to decide where the traffic should go based on performance (so you don’t have to figure that out yourself!) In fact, here at Brightcove we support Delivery Rules that empower customers like Seven West Media to deliver their content in an efficient, cost-effective way.

The key finding from my conversation with Dan? Overall, it’s important to understand how and when your customers want to consume your content so that you can deliver the best user experience—while still being able to maintain a profitable business model. “Do the basic business economics math to make sure that you have a way to monetize your content,” said Dan. “That’s the most important thing.”