The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry with Meghan Markle saw viewers from different time zones joining this much-anticipated wedding via OTT platforms. (Photo credit: iStock by Getty Images)

Royal Wedding watched by global viewers across different screens

However, it could represent a bigger shift impacting traditional broadcasters around the world

By Jim O’Neill

Last Saturday’s Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may well be the last hurrah for traditional broadcasters, as over-the-top (OTT) streaming services become increasingly popular among audiences.

How we tune in has changed considerably since William and Kate tied the knot in 2011, and users have become much more critical of what it is their services have to offer. Considering how big events from the West have often found their place on screens in Asia-Pacific, global live events will continue to gain popularity.

Revenues for OTT services in Asia-Pacific are expected to exceed US$35 billion by 2021, according to a report by Media Partners Asia. This means that traditional broadcast TV viewing will be less of a choice than before as viewers migrate to linear OTT viewing.

Consumer frustration — particularly with the number of streaming services available to viewers — is driving improvements in the overall OTT experience: from streamlined authentication to better content curation, personalisation, and easier search and discovery. Near-instant start-up, consistent video stream quality and uninterrupted delivery — without any buffering — will be critical to end-user experience and to preventing audiences switching over when it comes to events like the Royal Wedding.

The “Millennial Flu” means that most people already struggle to watch content for hours at a time so, if broadcasters fail at any of those quality of experience (QoE) factors, they should expect their customers to look to alternatives — namely those OTT providers that can provide a more seamless viewing experience.

While streaming platforms were initially only popular with the younger generation, those statistics are starting to change. According to Ooyala’s latest Video Index Report, Asia-Pacific was the leading region for mobile video plays, and OTT platforms are already striving to optimise the “TV anywhere” experience by experimenting with mobile-specific or vertical video formats that will attract a large audience.

While OTT providers continue to pioneer the media industry when it comes to new technologies, traditional broadcasters can expect to be left behind and live events — such as those last Saturday — can expect to move over to online platforms to improve the viewing experience for royalists.


Jim O’Neill is principal industry analyst at Ooyala
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