According to a Bloomberg article, titled “Live Streaming Market Worth $4.26 Billion by 2028 – Market Size, Share, Forecasts, & Trends Analysis Report with COVID-19 Impact“, the live streaming market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.4% from 2021 to 2028 to reach $4.26 billion by 2028.
Live video streaming, as an internet product form and a business model, has been pioneered by a few live streaming platforms like Inke Metaverse,Kugou, and Twitch since 2015, and becomes the core feature of some top platforms like Youtube Live, Facebook Live, and Titok Live.
These platforms have enjoyed vigorous growth from 2015 to 2020. However, since 2020, there has been a trend that live streaming platforms have to compete for users by offering differentiated user experiences and adopting cost efficient strategies.
1. The NEW Painpoints of Live Streaming Platforms
Let’s get updated with a list of new facts:
1) Increasing CDN Cost
Vendors have stopped competing with low pricing strategies, the sharply increasing CDN price has been weakening the profitability of live streaming platforms.
2) Revenue-Boosting Ceremonies
Online ceremonies have been effective events where live streaming platforms motivate their users who are spending-conscious to spend more aggressively.
3) High ARPU Regions
High ARPU users usually concentrate in certain regions. Live streaming platforms have to secure their revenue by guaranteeing the user experience by region.
4) High ARPU Users
The 80-20 rule also applies, 80% of revenue is contributed by 20% of quality users. Live streaming platforms will do whatever it takes to guarantee their user experience.
These facts have brought live streaming platforms new pain points:
1) Cost Pressure
Both user traffic and CDN prices are increasing sharply. To secure a profit, platforms must make cost-efficient decisions to allocate the budget to the right regions, right users, and ceremonies preciously and proactively.
2) User Experience
User experience includes several critical dimensions, such as instant-opening, high-definition, and smoothness. To outcompete for users, the platforms must guarantee user experience for high ARPU users and regions, especially in ceremonies.
2. SMOOTH Live Comes to Address the Painpoints
ZEGOCLOUD launches SMOOTH Live, a new form of a unified live streaming solution that includes the ZEGOCLOUD RTC network, a portfolio of CDNs, and the flexibility to schedule them dynamically and flexibly. It provides the following features:
1) 3 Levels of Live Streaming Networks
a) CDN Live
Best for scenarios where live interaction is not needed. Audience members subscribe via CDN, and the end-to-end latency can be over 3,000 ms.
b) Standard Live
Best for scenarios where live interaction is not essential. The end-to-end latency is between 600 to 1,000 ms. User experience and cost efficiency are balanced.
c) Premium Live
Best for scenarios where the host and audience members need to interact frequently through live audio and video with an end-to-end latency of less than 400 ms.
2) Network Resources Being Scheduled Dynamically
The solution can schedule the 3 levels of network resources dynamically.
a) Network Redundancy
When there is a problem with a certain network route, the scheduling center uses an alternative route instantly to avoid downtime. It can save the platforms from losing users, and also save the huge effort and panics of troubleshooting.
b) Dynamic Resource Designation
The solution allows platforms to allocate quality resources to a group of users labeled, by region or by paying power. The allocation policy can also be configured and adjusted for important events, say monthly or festival ceremonies.
3) Distinct User Experience
ZEGOCLOUD has delivered enhancements in the solution to address particular issues, including slowness in the opening, low-quality video, and stuttering. The enhancements can guarantee instant video opening, high-definition video, and smooth video playback.
The follow infographic might give you a more straight view of the solution:
3. How Does SMOOTH Live Address the Painpoints
ZEGOCLOUD SMOOTH Live helps clients reduce costs as a whole while improving user experience significantly.
1) Dynamical Scheduling of Multiple Network Resources
a) CDN Live, We use multiple CDNs to back up one another as redundancy.
b) Standard Live, We use the RTC network to guarantee service quality in the worst situation where no CDN cannot satisfy service level requirements.
c) Premium Live, We use the RTC network for data acceleration and distribution, guaranteeing superior service quality.
2) Instant Opening, High Definition, and Smoothness
a) Instant Opening
We optimize signalings to reduce waiting time. Streaming is started before entering a room. Streams are pre-loaded for a few rooms that are likely to be chosen. We make sure users access the network through nearby network nodes. Analytics have shown that real-time video can be opened within 200ms for 96.8% of usages.
b) High Definition
Instead of H.264, we use H.265 to reduce bandwidth and increase video quality. Also,we use an AI algorithm to identify important regions of a video picture and designate more bandwidth. Furthermore, we use AI-based image enhancement technology to improve video quality.
We make best use of ZEGOCLOUD’s RTC network called MSDN to guarantee transmission quality. Also, We use a UDP-based proprietary transportation protocol to battle weak network conditions. In addition, we use AI-based technology to insert additional frames into a stream to increase the frame rate and ensure smoothness.
3) Superior Network as Alternative to regular CDN
The regular CDN used to be the synonym of low cost, and the payoff is a compromised user experience. ZEGOCLOUD leverages its low latency RTC network and combines it with a portfolio of select CDNs to create a unified transmission network as an alternative to the regular CDN.
For example, in the Middle East, the quality of regular CDN is notoriously poor, and ZEGOCLOUD SMOOTH Live demonstrates great differentiation in quality.
ZEGOCLOUD SMOOTH Live is a unified live streaming solution that not only allows you to achieve lower cost strategy but also enables you to ensure a superior user experience for labeled groups of users. Also, you can access a full portfolio of ZEGOCLOUD’s products including live streaming, real-time voice/video, avatar, and the metaverse.
If you are still using traditional CDN to accelerate and distribute live streams, and you want to find a better alternative solution, please come and talk to our expert. You will be surprised to find out that it is essentially an RTC edition of CDN with an amazingly startup friendly pricing policy.