With 2016 coming to a close, it’s about time we look back on the past year and highlight some of the most interesting, influential, and revolutionizing developments it had to offer. Our Top 10 streaming media moments of 2016 aren’t listed in any particular hierarchy, as each has a value all its own.
# 10 NBC and the O(TT)lympics
Every two years, when the United States tune into the Summer or Winter Olympic games, they are most certainly turning to NBC. This year, NBC revolutionized the distribution of the games by dedicated incredible resources to the construction and subsequent improvement of an OTT platform to carry the Games. As The Verge details, the network is realizing that what it “streams online might have to be more important than what it broadcasts…”
Using cables which run between Brazil and the US, NBC was able to remotely produce every Olympic event from a facility in Stamford, Connecticut. From this nucleus, NBC producers cut every highlight reel, game synopsis, and general webcast. A gold medal indeed.
#9 The VRevolution
Come on, admit it: a few years ago, if someone asked you to name your favorite VR console you’d probably laugh at them and say “what even IS a VR console. Well today, it’s no laughing matter. VR is as real and widely available as sliced bread and soft drinks (ok…maybe that’s a stretch). In any event, 2016 brought Google Cardboard (despite being originally launched in 2014) into the mainstream, as well as the introduction of PlaystationVR, which joined the ranks of established VR gaming platforms like Oculus Rift to make virtual reality…reality. Comparison shopping for what still seems like FutureTech is almost surreal, but we are looking forward to the future of VR with great interest.
#8 eSport Liberation
The freedom offered by OTT is limitless, especially when such streaming is the lifeblood of a new way to play a game. eSports, or professional video game competitions came into the public eye in 2016 through the popular user-generated content platform Twitch. Just don’t be fooled, while a traditionalist may dismiss eSports to be new-wave, millennial nonsense, they are a serious force to be reckoned with, creating a world of entertainment for our friends who’d prefer a controller in lieu of cleats this Christmas. Yes, it was live streaming which helped bring enthusiasts their favorite CS:GO, Smite, or Pokken streams, and is the lifeblood of eSports webcasting – definitely worth a place on this list.
#7 Social Media Live Streaming
In the spirit of sporting, but perhaps a little more physical, comes the successful webcast of sporting events by social media sites. Of course we’re speaking of Twitter’s stream of Thursday Night Football back in September. But it didn’t stop there, social media platforms went further, and transformed American politics by carrying the debates leading up to the U.S. Presidential Election on behalf of trusted names like The New York Times, Bloomberg, and ABC News.
#6 360 Video: Bringing us to New Worlds
Think of 360 Video as VR’s little brother: an exciting way to immerse yourself in another place without traveling there, or putting on a clunky mask. 2016 brought 360 Video into the fold, and 2017 looks like the year live-streaming 360 Video transforms everything from journalism to concert webcasts – just another way of bringing the world to the masses.
#5 Pokemon Go, and the AR world order
Pokemon GO took Summer 2016 by storm. It may not be the force it once was in the US and Europe, but it’s still taking the world by storm, being rolled out in India in December 2016.The game did the important work of bringing AR technology into the public consciousness. Who knows how 2017 will change the way we think of AR – will we use it to find monsters in our neighborhood, or will we change the way we shop – only time will tell.
#4 Europe leads 4K Adoption
In the beginning there was just TV, then there was Hi-Definition TV, now there is 4K TV. Remember when 1080i was the crème de la crème of display resolution? Double it, that’s 4K, and it’s taking the world by storm. Although 4K is coming into the mainstream in North America and Asia, Europe has taken the lead in adopting the technology and making it their own. And while these initial moves have affected broadcasters on both sides of the pond, adopting infrastructure to support 4K content distribution is occurring faster than the switch to HD.
#3 Netflix offline viewing
This is game changing. Following Amazon Prime’s lead, this year Netflix gave customers the option to download select titles for offline viewing, to the joy of metro riders everywhere. Why the wait? Well, securing the rights to syndicated programming took a long time, but the past is the past and we can only expect the library to grow. With two leading OTT’s giving users more content freedom, we are truly in a golden age of TV Everywhere.
#2 CBS Super Bowl Streaming Fail
Perhaps more of an example of what to avoid, one of the streaming media industry’s most talked about moments occurred early in 2016. CBS, the carrier of Super Bowl webcasting developed an app to stream the game on. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned, and many spectators were locked out of the feed. Here’s hoping the ‘Tiffany Network’ has better luck next time.
#1 The Release of YOUBORA 2.0
The team at Nice People At Work (NPAW) has had a particularly busy year, developing the second generation of YOUBORA, YOUBORA 2.0, which was released in December of 2016. The latest incarnation of the industry leading analytics platform is equipped with more metrics, bringing a new meaning to the word “precision”. A new, even more ergonomic and intuitive dashboard seamlessly displays all modules, metrics, and monitors set by customers.
2016 had its ups and downs, but for the overall streaming media industry the year was brimming with good news. We look forward to 2017 with hope and positivity, as we bring our commitment to NPAWering Online Video into the New Year.
From our team here at NPAW, Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year!
Just another thing to think about from us here at NPAW.
James Noeker on December 21st 2016
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