Pandemic-Fueled Streaming Here to Stay

  • With Nick Ma, Magewell

Pandemic-Fueled Streaming Here to Stay

By: Nick Ma, CEO and CTO

It’s both an understatement and stating the obvious to say that the adoption of streaming technologies and services accelerated significantly over the past year, not only from a content consumption standpoint but also within content production workflows. The question, though, is whether these trends will continue as the world emerges from pandemic-driven lockdowns and settles into a “new normal”. 

Before contemplating the future, everyone involved in streaming technologies should take pride in the fact that their past efforts have played an important role in helping many people connect, communicate, and cope during the pandemic. From visionaries who conceived of key technologies years ago; to product vendors who made those foundations practical for users; to producers and distributors who used these advances to share their content – all should be proud of helping make the past year just a little bit more tolerable for many people. 

Even with vaccines arriving, the increased adoption of streaming is here to stay. Being so immersed in the technology ourselves, it is easy to forget that there were many people still reluctant to start streaming, both on the content creation side and as a primary viewing platform. Some thought it was too complicated, some didn’t consider it reliable enough, and others simply didn’t invest the time, effort, or money yet because they hadn’t needed to. The pandemic forced many of them to try streaming, and now that they’re comfortable with it, they’re likely to stick with it. 

On the production side, the pandemic similarly accelerated the transition from legacy infrastructures to IP-based workflows. Solutions that support streaming and media-over-IP protocols such as SRT, NDI, and SMPTE ST-2110 enable the flexibility, affordability, and efficiency needed for evolving remote production workflows. Even as entertainment productions return to studios, we expect more will be produced remotely or in hybrid workflows now that such models have proven efficient and successful. 

Even for non-real-time productions, live streaming has delivered new value. Pioneering “digital dailies” solutions adopted earlier streaming technologies many years ago to let editors in other cities begin working immediately with low-resolution footage in advance of receiving full-quality files, or to allow remotely-located production executives to give immediate feedback during the shooting of key scenes. Once used only for major motion pictures, such workflows are becoming more commonplace in allowing all sizes of production to resume with reduced on-site staff. 

Magewell has long offered innovative yet practical solutions that empowered producers who were creating content specifically for streaming. With our new Ultra Encode family, we have extended our capabilities to help all types of entertainment and informational productions benefit from streaming, whether directly to consumers or behind the scenes. Streaming is here to stay, and Magewell is continuing to help our customers take advantage of it.