Because we are all about streaming video technology
When I first joined the Streaming Video Alliance in the summer of 2016, the organization was still in its infancy. We had significantly fewer members, fewer working groups, and, of course, fewer people engaged in developing solutions. But we were also just at the cusp of the “streaming revolution.” Before Disney+ and before Hulu, Netflix was the darling of the new streaming video tsunami as the industry began to talk more and more about cord cutters and dwindling cable subscriptions.
But even back then, I felt that the SVA had a clear mission (although it took me a year to really articulate it): to solve the technical challenges of delivering high-quality streaming video at scale. So we worked tirelessly to ensure that our industry and the market knew what we were about…and what we weren’t. I can’t tell you how many times I had to answer the question, “ how will the business relationships with Open Caching work” with, “I’m sorry, but we only focus on the technical challenges.”
Fast forward to 2022. The pandemic is, mostly, in the rear-view mirror. Everyone is returning back to a normal kind of work. And, most of all, the tipping point for the transition from broadcast to streaming has happened. The transition from cable subscriptions to streaming subscriptions, from coaxial delivery via a set top box to IP delivery to a connected device or a mobile phone, is accelerating. And the Alliance has been busier than ever. Not only has our membership grown over 500%, but so too has our output: more working groups, more engaged members, and more publications. We are even creating code now to provide a quicker means for implementing Alliance specifications. In addition, Open Caching is making a significant impact in the industry. Verizon has productized their implementation (which includes production Disney+ traffic) and several other ISPs have begun commercial deployments.
When I look back on things, I can see how the convergence of streaming demand during the pandemic, coupled with a growing unrest amongst network operators with having to backhaul all that video traffic drove a post-pandemic demand for Open Caching. Not because it proposes new revenue opportunities (although that may well be the case) but because it solves a technical challenge: more efficiently delivering content to broadband subscribers. By caching popular content at the edge, network operators can not only deliver a higher-quality experience (Verizon’s performance testing demonstrated this) but also protect the mid-tier bandwidth for better network performance.
Although all of the work done by the Alliance focuses on addressing specific technical challenges, I continued to get asked about business models and revenue opportunities. This made us realize that our message was still not precise enough, and that we needed to do something different to communicate our intention to focus solely on technical issues.
That’s why we have evolved our name. As you’ll see, it’s a subtle change to add “technology” into the brand but it’s a big distinction. Our brand now clearly supports the story we are trying to convey: that we are a technical association focusing solely on technical challenges. It provides a new gravitas to our working groups. There is no longer any question that our Privacy and Protection group, for example, is tackling the technical challenges of streaming video security and not issues like legal enforcement (even if there is a technical solution to such). What’s more, this slight tweak also speaks to those who get involved with the organization. The people sent by our member companies are focused on technology as well. They may be product managers or architects or devops or software engineers, but they are, at their core, highly technical people.
A re-branding like this isn’t taken lightly. Even the slightest change may require years of messaging to help the new brand or name take root. But I feel that ours is less of a change to our brand and more of a clarification, a way to help support the messaging that we have been consistently pushing out into the industry.
I hope that you’ll join us in celebrating our new name: The Streaming Video Technology Alliance. As the SVTA, the color of our spots may have changed, but not what’s underneath. Under this new acronym, we will continue with our mission to help the industry solve the critical challenges of delivering high-quality streaming video at scale. Perhaps if your company is not a member yet, you’ll consider joining us under our new banner and help shape the future of streaming video technology.
Jason is the Executive Director of the Streaming Video Technology Alliance, a worldwide consortium of companies dedicated to helping shape the future of online video. In this role, he runs day-to-day operations, finances, member recruitment, strategy, and evangelizes the organization at events around the world. He is also the co-founder of a big data startup, datazoom.io. Jason is a contributing editor at Streaming Media Magazine and has written several books.