As over-the-top (OTT) video and streaming services leapfrog cable to become the primary way consumers watch shows, sports, movies, and more, cloud computing is poised to play a pivotal role. Many OTT providers still consider hyperscale clouds to be the only way to deliver their fast, high-quality video. Often, this leaves OTT services—especially smaller, emerging players—paying for more cloud services than they need while missing out on features they want.
There are other options, however, better suited to meet the needs of OTTs in the form of alternative cloud providers. From better performance to unique features and core functionality, alternatives to Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure can be a better fit for growing streamers because they offer cloud essentials without the complexity and costs associated with big cloud providers.
This topic was the focus of a recent webinar from Trender Research titled, “How OTTs Save Money and Improve Performance by Streaming Video on Alternative Cloud.” Trender CEO Brian Mahoney, CEO of Red5 Pro Chris Allen, co-founders of MIXR Garvan Doyle and Blaze Cerovec, and our head of communications Mike Maney discussed ways OTTs are benefiting by switching to an alternative cloud.
1) Better Performance, at a Better Price
When it comes to video streaming, performance is what matters most. Imagine streaming the championship football game and hearing the crowd from the other room react to the winning play before getting to see what happened. Latency is a deal-breaker for most OTTs, which is why they’re willing to fork over huge amounts of money to hyperscale clouds to prevent it.
But bigger isn’t always better. In many cases, alternative cloud providers can provide lower latency at a better price point. While hyperscalers charge fluctuating costs on egress or bandwidth to ensure top-tier performance, alternative providers charge fixed fees. In doing so, alternative clouds promise the same or lower latency, resulting in a more appealing price-to-performance ratio for users.
“That’s one of the reasons why we switched,” said Cerovec, co-founder of Mixr. “We operate at fractions of the cost we used to with the big three providers.” Mixr, an interactive social video chat platform where users can play games together, requires streaming its users’ webcam video and media content simultaneously and without latency. To achieve this, Cerovec and his co-founder Garvan Doyle experimented with several hyperscale cloud providers before realizing Linode would deliver the same result for less.
2) A Mix of Core and Niche Features
The cloud market is becoming more complex. A vast array of new and different offerings can make it hard to choose the right partner, especially for cloud users with unique needs. According to a Trender Research survey, the need for open source and configurable APIs, privacy compliance, and third-party integrations top the list of features and functionality OTTs want from their cloud providers, alongside cost-effective core services (storage, network, and compute).
Alternative clouds can provide the essentials and, thanks to open source software, offer developer-friendly flexibility. “The feature list of hyperscale clouds goes on forever, but what do you really need?” asked Doyle. “[Mixr] isn’t doing much quantum computing in the cloud, so it’s necessary to limit what you actually need from your cloud vendor.”
3) Customer Support for All
When delivering live, on-demand services to customers worldwide, OTTs must have a cloud partner with live, on-demand customer support to match. “Right when we started, AWS or GCP wouldn’t bat an eye at us,” Cerovec explained. “Since we moved over [to an alternative cloud], the continuous support and guidance we’ve received have helped us grow and scale to what we are today.”
Alternative cloud providers can also support OTTs with fast cloud deployments and upgrades. “Alternative cloud providers have taken a strategy of a bottom-up, developer-first approach,” added Allen. “That’s a big deal, and I think it was really needed in the [cloud] market.”
4) A More Trustworthy Cloud
Whether it’s YouTube or Prime Video, the parent companies behind Google Cloud and AWS are OTT providers themselves, which means they are direct competitors. How can OTTs trust these clouds to power their services?
Tech giants are known to wield their influence across markets to strong-arm partners and advance their interests at the expense of vendors and customers. Choosing an alternative cloud eliminates this risk and ensures OTTs have a partner they can trust.
As a new generation of OTTs emerges and becomes the dominant force of entertainment consumption, the importance of credible alternatives to hyperscale clouds grows, too. Alternative cloud providers can unlock new potential for OTTs as they aim to deliver new interactive, live, and niche services to their users—with low latency and at low costs.
Check out the full conversation from the on-demand webinar.