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Frost & Sullivan's report on the streaming media market

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MUMBAI: Media streaming over the Internet faces stiff competition from traditional television. The anticipated convergence of television, cable, and the Internet and high speed Internet access are expected to lessen the impact of this restraint.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan on the world media streaming platforms, reveals that revenue in this market totaled $720.5 million in 2003. The number is projected to grow significantly by 2010.

One of the company's analysts Mukul Krishna was quoted in a company release saying, "Online content owners are under pressure to provide a value proposition that can draw customers from televisions to their desktop screens. This is an uphill task, considering the present quality of streaming over the Internet compared to that of television and the amount of content available to television viewers."

The report further noted that in order to compensate for the lower visual quality, Internet content providers need to focus on niche markets such as adult and sports entertainment -- otherwise available by subscription or pay-per-view. Delivering a richer viewing experience through higher bandwidth coupled with better video compression is also likely to attract new users.

There is also a rising demand for high quality video streaming, sparked off by the application of digital media in the phenomenally growing mobile wireless market. With end users looking for rich multimedia experiences, streaming platform providers are striving to enable delivery to portable wireless devices states the release.

These platform providers are usually multinational giants with the financial might and resources to provide free basic media players along with their systems. With two or three branded players installed in systems, there is hardly any demand for new units offered by new entrants. This lack of demand coupled with lack of resources proves to be a barrier to the entry of new market participants, and established companies usually acquire any new entrants. In addition, the market is beset by concerns such as piracy and digital rights management, patent infringement litigation, and anti-trust issues.

However the report has noted that in spite of these challenges, the media streaming platform market holds great potential for the participants. In fact, participants from the telecom and other allied technology markets are also seeking opportunities in the streaming space which adds a new dimension to the competitive environment.

"In a nutshell, market success of participants will hinge on the level of functionality, portability, and reliability they can provide to their customers" concluded Krishna.

International growth consultancy group Frost & Sullivan has been supporting clients' expansion for more than four decades. Its market expertise covers a broad spectrum of industries, while the portfolio of advisory competencies includes custom strategic consulting, market intelligence, and management training.

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