Top 10 trends in the online video streaming industry in 2023

Discover the top 10 video streaming trends shaping online entertainment and enhance your videos with expert insights to provide a better streaming experience.

Video streaming has become one of the most popular modes of entertainment, captivating audiences with its convenience, accessibility and diverse content. This shift in consumption is evident from extensive research and studies highlighting the rapid growth and impact of video streaming platforms.

Motion Picture Association in their 2021 report reveals that the worldwide subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market reached 1.1 billion subscriptions by the end of 2020, showcasing a significant rise from the previous years. This substantial increase in subscriptions due to Covid-19 restrictions also indicates the increasing preference for streaming platforms as the primary source of entertainment.

Furthermore, another study conducted by Grand View Research, titled "Global Video Streaming Market - Statistics & Facts," underscores the dominance of video streaming revealing that the global video streaming market was valued at USD 89.03 billion in 2022. This demonstrates the widespread adoption of streaming services across various demographics and regions around the globe.

These reports collectively bring out the new ways of entertainment consumption, highlighting how video streaming grew above the geographical barriers and became a foundation of modern entertainment. The convenience of on-demand access to a vast library of content, coupled with the ability to personalise viewing experiences, has firmly established video streaming as one of the most preferred modes of entertainment for audiences of all ages.

For the sake of reading convenience, here's an overview of the complete article:

How it all began: The history of online video streaming

The growth of video streaming services has marked a transformative journey in the digital landscape. The advancements in high-speed internet technologies and the rise of content digitization have redefined how we consume media.

According to Wowza, Severe Tire Damage was the first internet band to introduce live streaming in the 1990s, using the MBone technology to broadcast audio and video concurrently. Following this new trend, technological progress in the late 1990s and early 2000s expanded bandwidth capabilities, enabling the streaming of video content to homes and even workplaces. RealNetworks, who broadcasted a baseball game online in 1995 also further helped in demonstrating the potentials of streaming. 

The year 2005 witnessed the launch of YouTube, a revolutionary video-sharing platform that allowed users to upload and share videos worldwide. This marked a turning point in the advancement of technologies of broadband services and mobile phones, with increased content creation and consumption fueling them.

The growth of Adobe Flash in the mid-2000s also played a pivotal role in enabling seamless video streaming across web browsers. However, the trend changed in the late 2000s when Apple's Steve Jobs criticised Flash and introduced HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), bringing in a shift towards HTTP-based technologies.

Also, Netflix emerged as a game-changer in the late 2000s, shifting from a DVD rental service to a streaming giant, forever changing the way of media consumption. Concurrently, platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video began offering streaming services, diversifying options for viewers.

According to Java T Point, the 2010s brought about the rise of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, which allowed content providers to switch from traditional distribution channels and directly reach consumers through the internet. YouTube also continued to flourish and diversify, supporting both professional content creators and user-generated content. According to Vimeo, social media giants like Facebook and Instagram also introduced live streaming features, further integrating streaming into daily online interactions.

A Wowza report states that this decade also witnessed the emergence of live streaming platforms like Twitch, originally a gaming-focused platform that expanded to various content genres. COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 intensified the role of video streaming as a lifeline for entertainment, education, and communication. With the demise of Adobe Flash and the rise of technologies like WebRTC and Low-Latency HLS, streaming services continued to evolve.

As the 2020s unfold, the landscape is marked by a surge in new streaming platforms such as Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, and more. These services are expanding the volume of available contents, leading to discussions about subscription fatigue.

In this ongoing journey, the development of video streaming services remains a dynamic intersection of technology, content creation, and consumer preferences, continuously reshaping the media landscape.

How it's going: Top 10 trends in 2023

1. Increasing interest in foreign content

The demand for streaming foreign video content has increased in recent years after Netflix’s South Korean series “Squid Game”. According to VlogBox, after the release of this series, the demand rose from 2% from the second quarter of 2021 to 5% till 2022.

Even Amazon Prime is planning to bring in TV shows from different Indian regions, while Disney+ will introduce more than 50 original titles of Asian content by 2023. So, streaming regional documentaries and series might be one smart move for these platforms as it gives an advantage of providing unique content in various languages which traditional TV can't do.

2. Bringing in nostalgia

Video streaming services have come up with many ideas in order to provide something new to their audiences and bringing in nostalgia was one such idea. According to  Exploding Topics, Netflix is skilled at capitalising on nostalgia in their shows. They acquired Cobra Kai and released The Baby-Sitters Club in 2020, both of which tap into the nostalgia of past decades. Additionally, Netflix's reboots like Fuller House, One Day at a Time, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, along with sequels like "We Can Be Heroes," play on nostalgic feelings. Even the immensely popular Stranger Things, set in the '80s, skillfully references pop culture from that era to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

3. Short videos

The rise of short-form video content's popularity isn't entirely new, but it’s making its way again into the recent trends for video streaming. According to Forbes, platforms like Vine have already showcased short videos since 2013 and in 2009, marketers experimented with one-second ads, like Miller High Life's "blinks" during the Super Bowl, leading to an 8.6% sales boost. Today, the trend continues to surge again, especially among younger generations, who engage with videos under a minute long.

Now major social media platforms are facilitating short content creation, enhancing accessibility for both viewers and creators. The success of The Soul Publishing exemplifies the importance of adaptability to trends, showcased by their remarkable 275% surge in TikTok viewership during the initial four months of 2022 compared to that of 2021. This combination of trend responsiveness and simplified content creation is what is driving the momentum of short-form videos again as an emerging force within the video streaming industry.

4. Growth of free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) services

According to Statista, the popularity of free ad-supported streaming TV is growing because more people want affordable options instead of regular cable TV. With FAST services, streaming services are giving viewers more content, like new shows and live sports while using smart advertising to show ads that match to what people like. The key drivers include connected devices, making streaming content more accessible and premium content availability for boosting service appeal. Advertisers can show ads to specific groups of people, which makes them want to invest more. Studies show that this growth will keep going, maybe around 9% every year until 2027. More and more people will watch, maybe 1.1 billion by 2027. That's about 14% of all people, up from 12% in 2023. People are also leaving cable TV and switching to streaming, which will help this free ad-supported streaming TV market keep growing.

5. Video streaming for business

After Covid19, video streaming has brought in various opportunities to grow businesses in different sectors. One such sector is customer service. According to Finances Online, nowadays organisations are using video streaming to assist customers in resolving product and service issues. The interactive nature of video streaming significantly enhances the customer experience, a crucial aspect of modern customer service. This technology also eliminates the necessity for an on-site technician to troubleshoot problems, further streamlining the process.

The applications of video streaming continue to grow across various business functions, including marketing and sales. For example, according to the recent Wyzowl State of Video Marketing study, more than 99% of businesses using video for marketing plan to continue utilising the platform in 2021. Among marketers, 89% are choosing YouTube as their preferred platform. This trend can be attributed to the significant increase in video consumption by consumers, with 96% stating that their video consumption has surged due to the pandemic. 

6. Omnichannel video streaming

With more players entering the streaming market, it is important for content creators to have a grip on different platforms to reach out to a larger audience base. According to Exploding Topics, Netflix has been using YouTube to promote itself for a long time. In June 2020, they released Dave Chappelle's "8:46" - an original 27-minute show centred on the murder of George Floyd - exclusively on YouTube which accounted for 33 million views. This shows that omnichannel is a better chance for gaining more audience traffic because not all viewers go for subscriptions, but prefer to watch it somewhere else for free.

7. Live streaming

Real-time interaction, longer-form content and wide accessibility is important for modern engagement. Because of the presence of these features, live streaming is gaining popularity for businesses compared to pre-recorded videos. According to Stadamedia, audiences who watch live streams tend to remain three times longer than recorded videos, as they feel more connected. It offers a human touch to digital marketing as it gets more engaging with the interactive features. And with proper promotion and advertisement, live streaming can reach out to an even larger audience base compared to a limited crowd.

8. Screen preference

Finances Online report shows that mobile phones have become the go-to choice for watching videos, outpacing traditional TV. This shift is fueled by mobile networks offering faster internet services. Streaming services are teaming up with mobile providers, offering perks to customers who watch more content on their phones. Amazon's Twitch, a major live-streaming platform, saw a huge 101% increase in viewership in 2020, partly due to COVID-19. A significant 33% of Twitch users now watch live streams on their smartphones.

On the flip side, cable TV subscriptions have declined by 3.4% in 2017, with 79% of US households still using cable or satellite TV. This trend of "cord-cutting," or leaving traditional TV, is likely to continue as mobile options grow in popularity, thanks to content bundles and subsidies. The mobile channel is reshaping how we consume video content.

9. Better streaming quality

The video streaming industry is working hard to make videos look better and load faster. COVID-19 has made this effort even more important. According to Exploding Topics, in March 2020, big companies like YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix lowered the quality of videos in Europe to help the internet provide better services. Now, with new and better technologies, video making is getting even better. One is called H.266 or Versatile Video Coding (VVC). It can make high-quality 8K videos look great with less internet speed, which is awesome.

Another one is AV1. Big companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Samsung, and Mozilla are supporting it. It also makes videos look good with less internet speed. And there's 5G, the next big thing in mobile internet which is super-fast, like 20 times faster than 4G. Plus, it can handle a lot more devices, which means no more waiting for videos to load. So, thanks to these new technologies, we can look forward to better and faster video streaming in the future.

10. Ad support

As per  Exploding Topics, "Streaming subscription fatigue" is making people think twice about how many services they're willing to pay for. To solve this, ad-supported streaming is gaining popularity. In places like Asia, it's been common for a while, with over a billion people watching videos with ads.

Now, in the West, it's catching on too. A study found that 76% of Americans are okay with watching ads if it means they can watch content for free. And 55% plan to use free streaming services in the coming year. Services like Tubi, Crackle, and Pluto TV are totally free because they show ads. Others, like Hulu and Peacock, offer both a cheaper ad-supported option and a premium ad-free one making streaming services more convenient.

As more streaming services appear, many may start using ads to lower or even remove subscription fees. People don't want to pay for too many subscriptions, so this trend is likely here to stay.

Looking ahead: Near future developments to keep an eye out for

According to a report by Grand View Research titled "Video Streaming Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, 2021 - 2028," the video streaming market is projected to continue its growth route. The future of the video streaming industry includes significant growth and transformation. According to the report, several key trends are expected to shape the industry. Firstly, the adoption of advanced technologies like 5G and improved video codecs (such as H.266 and AV1) will lead to higher-quality streaming experiences with reduced buffering. This aligns with the earlier discussion on these technologies promising to enhance streaming speed and quality.

Secondly, the report highlights the increasing importance of ad-supported streaming services as a way to combat subscription fatigue. As seen in the shift towards ad-supported streaming mentioned earlier, the report provides further evidence of this trend. It also suggests that ad-supported models will continue to gain popularity, allowing viewers to access content for free while advertisers fund the service. These trends indicate a future in which streaming becomes even more accessible, reliable, and diverse, catering to a wide range of user preferences and needs.

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