Prafulla Kolhe, Sr. Manager- Broadcast Engineering, Times Network

Following the deep dive into the mobile video industry dynamics and mobile operators’ strategic options, this article will focus on the creation, distribution, and consumption of a new form of mobile video that is gaining strong momentum: mobile live video streaming.

By mobile live video streaming we mean the delivery of video content over mobile in real time, which is a subset of Internet live streaming. In mobile live streaming, the video content to be distributed is either streamed to the Internet via a mobile device over a cellular or Wi-fi network’s uplink channel in real-time, or is streamed to a mobile device for consumption over the cellular or Wi-fi network’s downlink channel. Although this is similar to live coverage of events by the traditional broadcasters, and occasionally also called mobile live broadcasting, the delivery is not carried over broadcast airwaves but over Internet, and the viewers watch the content on their mobile devices (e.g., smartphones).

Mobile video has grown from watching on-demand content on the mobile devices to new modes of content creation and consumption. Two of the most prominent recent trends are social video and mobile live video, and the two are often intertwined.

  • On one hand, live video is being carried on leading social networks, e.g. Facebook and Twitter
  • On the other hand, the social aspect of live video, including the interaction between broadcasters and viewers as well as between viewers, is driving the fast adoption and, direct monetization of mobile live video

Total mobile video revenue will rise to USD25 billion, with advertising revenue accounting for 2/3 of the total value by 2021, as viewer numbers and usage continues to expand and rise around the world, according to new market research from Strategy Analytics.

Businesses will spend more to advertise on mobile device video delivery platforms in a bid to reach wider audiences. Strategy Analytics predicts that the number of mobile video viewers worldwide will more than double to 2 billion by year-end 2022, a 36-percent market penetration, the market research company highlights. In India, few channels are also present on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. Driven by broadband services at affordable rates and technology improvements, the number of Internet-enabled mobile phones is growing very fast and the number is expected to touch 700 million by 2021.

Market Potential

The concept of real-time communication over video is not new. Tools like Skype have long enabled professional and individual users to communicate through video calls. However, the mobile video live streaming phenomenon discussed in this article is fundamentally different from the earlier video communication tools.

According to a report released by Vuclip, 80 percent of its consumers report watching videos on their mobile devices at least once every 2–3 days, with more than half opting to watch daily. A typical smartphone user in India is spending significantly more time on his/her smartphone (150 percent) as compared to TV.

Mobility of Video

To start with many mobile video live streaming applications are mobile only, for example, Periscope, which means both the production and the viewing are conducted on mobile devices. This is both driven by consumers’ growing needs for social connection anywhere they go, and is also facilitated by the increasing penetration of smartphones with front-facing cameras and broad rollout of LTE networks.

Streaming Preference

Mobile subscriptions are growing at around 4 percent year-on-year (y-o-y), reaching 7.6 billion in Q1. India grew the most in terms of net additions during the quarter (+43 million), followed by China (+24 million), Indonesia (+10 million), Pakistan (+5 million), and Nigeria (+3 million). The strong subscription growth in India was mainly due to an attractive LTE welcome offer by one operator, with free voice and data. Mobile broadband subscriptions are growing by around 25 percent y-o-y, increasing by approximately 240 million in Q1 2017 alone. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is now around 4.6 billion. LTE subscriptions continue to grow strongly, with 250 million new subscriptions added during Q1 2017 to reach a total of around 2.1 billion. The net addition for WCDMA/HSPA was around 10 million subscriptions during the quarter.

Vast Regional Variations as Networks Evolve

Over the forecast period, Middle East and Africa will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions, to a region where 80 percent of the subscriptions will be WCDMA/HSPA and LTE. However, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will still account for a significant share of subscriptions by 2022. In Latin America, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE already account for around 65 percent of all mobile subscriptions – a number that is expected to increase to 95 percent in 2022. Asia-Pacific is a diverse region. In China, the ongoing deployment of LTE is expected to result in more than 1.3 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2022, making up around 80 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

VoLTE has now been launched in more than 100 networks in 55 countries. Based on recent measurements in operator networks, a stronger growth than anticipated has resulted in a significant upward adjustment of our forecast. The number of VoLTE subscriptions is now projected to reach 4.6 billion by the end of 2022, making up more than 90 percent of all LTE subscriptions globally.

Willingness to Pay for Mobile Data

Digital India driving data. India’s mobile subscription base crossed the 1.2 billion mark in January 2017. Total subscriptions are estimated to increase by 4 percent per year, exceeding 1.4 billion in 2022. The entry of a Greenfield 4G operator in 2016 has triggered an uptake of data and intensified competition across 4G services. Technology shift for future growth GSM remained the dominant technology in 2016, accounting for over 70 percent of total mobile subscriptions.

Reaching new highs in 2017. Smartphone subscriptions in India are expected to represent around 30 percent of all mobile subscriptions. By 2022, this number is expected to reach over 60 percent. By this time, smartphone subscriptions are set to reach 890 million, and data traffic per smartphone to reach almost 11 GB per month. One of the key drivers of this growth will be increased smartphone penetration in rural areas.

Capacity Needs

Both the sharing by the live streaming hosts and the viewing by the live streaming viewers need to have pleasant experience to complete the loop. Therefore both uplink and downlink capacities need to meet the demand to transmit the content. Huawei’s X Labs research has identified the network capacity requirements for the two-way transport:

  • Uplink. After analyzing the uplink bitrates of the leading live video streaming applications, Huawei’s X Labs recommends that 2 Mbps is needed to deliver a satisfactory sharing experience.
  • Downlink. After analyzing the downlink bitrates of the leading live streaming applications, Huawei’s X Labs recognizes that a downlink bitrate of 2 Mbps is needed to support viewing resolution of up to 720p, which will meet viewers’ expectation: 94 percent of respondents from Strategy Analytics’ survey agreed that the video’s smooth play is more important than video quality when watching live streaming videos over mobile data.

New Trend – Mobile Journalism

The new technologies of mobile and digital media have revolutionized the entire media. Mobile journalism is the new way of reporting incidents live. Incidents  spread fast using mobile and social platforms. Different applications have been developed for community reporting.

In future, people may see many other technologies far better than mobile journalism. Cell phones are now much more productive in news recording. To capture young audiences we use mobile journalism; for this, social media, Internet, and web contribute much more to collect information.