Streaming services consist of digital platforms that enable the transmission and reception of audio and video over the internet — without downloading to a local medium like a hard drive. Media is delivered as it is being broadcast, replayed, viewed and heard.
Streaming services have a consumer and business context.
Consumer services are focused on information and entertainment. They include video subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and ad-supported services like Tubi and Hulu. Consumer services also include music and audio providers like Apple Music and Spotify. These services, and many others, are referred to as over-the-top or OTT services. They reach consumers directly without cable, broadcast or other traditional media distribution by providing content “on top” of internet service providers. Many OTT services incorporate devices like Roku and Fire TV Cube that enable viewers to watch streaming video on standard televisions.(1)
Business services are focused on what is termed enterprise video or enterprise video streaming, which encompasses on-demand video assets and live video broadcasting. Enterprise video streaming services enable organizations to create, manage, publish and distribute video to viewers both internally — as corporate communications — and externally — as marketing communications.
Streaming services can be accessed from and hosted in the cloud or used on premises. Cloud-based platforms are typically easier to use and less expensive because resources can be deployed on demand, rather than requiring a large initial investment.
Video conferencing services are different than streaming services. Video conferencing is a two-way approach that requires participants to be in a room with special conferencing equipment. In contrast, streaming video services are a one-to-many approach. Viewers can comment, answer polls and submit questions online, but they are not on camera and don’t verbally participate. Generally, video conferencing is best suited for conversation and video streaming for presentation.
Another area related to streaming services is streaming analytics. Streaming analytics transmits data — typically unstructured data from applications, social media, sensors and other time-sensitive sources — in real time for analysis.(2) Streaming services are linked to streaming analytics in that live streaming media can be one of the data sources for streaming analytics.