Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Olympics video headache: you can start panicking now

If you have been in the industry as long as I am, you probably smile fondly every couple of years when vendors are pitching network armageddon because of a specific (usually sporting) event.

"How will you handle the spike and growth from <insert your favourite theme here>":

  • Fifa World Cup Finals
  • Superbowl
  • New year's eve 
  • Champions League finals
  • Stanley cup's final (this is hockey for those of you unfortunate souls not freezing in Canada)
  • New show on Netflix...
In some cases, you might have reacted with an indulgent smile, recognizing the ploy from the vendor to sell more capacity and secure their vacation bonus to the Bahamas on the network upgrade forced on you.

Well... I am getting report of multiple mobile network failures during the olympics as video viewers resorted to their tiny screens to cheer for their favourite team / athletes while at work / in transit / feigning interest in boring conversation with visiting in-laws.

This might be anecdotal, but evidence shows that the variance between average and busy hour in mobile video is higher than in voice, messaging and data services. 

There is a certain amount of predictability to it (it is likely that football fans will try and catch video snippets of their teams if they are not in front of their TV when the game is playing after all), but the fact that this is video has a multiplier effect on the demand.

Because of the voracious character of some of the devices, video players and content providers attitude towards quality, networks get oversubscribed much faster and longer than with other services.
Will network operators start to consider video as a separate service and manage it actively rather than suffer its unpredictable consequences? 

This and more in my new report "mobile video monetization and optimization 2014".

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