Full Stream Ahead for SVA

The video-streaming market is getting bigger by the day, but is it ready for the big time? Not yet, but it’s getting there. Pushing ahead with a plan to bring massive scale to online video alongside the building of common standards and metrics, the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA) said it made some significant strides with the launch of a handful of new working groups focused on online video technology and operations.

The SVA, a group comprised of dozens of multichannel video programming distributors, content delivery network players and programmers and studios that was established in late 2014, said it followed last year’s establishment of working groups focused on Open Caching and Quality of Experience, with the launch of five more: Accessibility, Ad Insertion and Audience Measurement, Geocaching, Privacy and Content Protection, and Scaling.

The SVA has come together as disparate groups in that overall technology ecosystem seek to build common metrics and standards that can push over-the-top video to new heights, and reach TV-like scalability and reliability.


There’s a clear need for that focus, particularly around major tentpole live events that are delivered over-the-top, but threaten to buckle today’s Internet infrastructure. That need is also being fed by the ongoing rise of new OTT services tailored for a small-but-growing group of cord-cutters, such as HBO Now and Showtime’s new direct-to-consumer service.

Another company that has plenty of skin in the streaming game is Yahoo, which made waves Oct. 25 when its global live stream of a Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills NFL game from London’s Wembley Stadium pulled in about 15.2 million unique viewers. Those were massive numbers for an Internet-delivered live event.

“Video is a critical growth area and investment area for us going forward,” P.P.S. Narayan, VP of engineering at Yahoo, said.

Narayan, a keynoter at the SVA’s quarterly meeting held earlier this month at Yahoo’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, said the organization is making rapid progress in an OTT market that is moving at Internet speed.

“The big takeaway [from that meeting] is that the industry is shifting very, very quickly,” Narayan said.


The SVA continues to add members to its rolls, including network vendors such as Ciena as well as satellite ISP ViaSat.

They’re joining up with a membership that includes founding members such as Comcast, Charter Communications, Cisco Systems, Epix, Fox Networks, Limelight Networks, Yahoo, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and Yahoo.

But the SVA still needs to round out some of those edges, as it’s still missing input from two significant OTT players — Netflix and Amazon.

Getting to Work

The SVA established a batch of new working groups, building on earlier established units focused on Open Caching and QoE. Here’s their agenda:

Geocaching: To identify how ISPs can expose location information (including city and ZIP code) to support the following:
• Local ad insertion;
• Geographical streaming restrictions (i.e. authorizing streaming of Broncos games live if the consumer lives in Denver);
• Content-provider licensing (i.e. a show that’s authorized to be streamed in the U.S. but not in Canada).

Accessibility: Focused on how accessibility features like closed captioning will be supported in streaming environments.

Scaling: How to scale network capacity and operations to support massive, live events such as the Super Bowl or World Cup.

Privacy: How to handle privacy of information related to streaming.

Ad Insertion and Audience Measurement: How to measure audience and engagement in streaming and how to manage ads.

SOURCE: Streaming Video Alliance