When streaming platforms began to gain traction, the public was eager to abandon their cable subscriptions and cease buying DVDs and Blu Rays.
Instead, they pay a small monthly fee to access a massive library of content from a variety of devices. With sites like Netflix and Hulu, users can enjoy their favorite movies and TV shows on an unprecedented mobile basis.
Professionally produced narratives are not the only kind of content people consume, either. Platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram allow anyone to become creators, providing bite-sized pieces of video for their followers to enjoy. Snapchat users, in particular, watch an average of over ten billion videos each day; as long as people have devices with a camera, there will never be a shortage of online content.
The way people consume video media is changing rapidly, and accessibility is one of the more prominent driving forces. From entertainment to e-learning, and from music to sports, producers are finding ways to reach expansive audiences that do not have the resources to view or patience for previous distribution methods. Not all avenues are efficient, though, and many fail to monetize processes effectively. Fortunately, decentralized techniques for content sharing are here— an approach that benefits both creators and consumers.
What are the benefits of decentralized distribution?
“Today’s content delivery networks (CDNs) have been around since the late 1990s. While they have grown in size and number of features, the underlying mechanism has remained largely the same. Current CDN vendors operate tens or hundreds of physical servers across the globe that cache content and direct traffic from web requests to content cached on the nearest physical server.”
However, decentralized CDNs would replace hundreds of large-scale serves with tens of thousands of smaller “nodes.” Decentralization means that data is stored in multiple places, without one individual gaining too much control over the system (beneficial in case of a cyber attack or a natural disaster that can destroy servers). A system that can enable this practice is blockchain technology, which is famous for being an inherently decentralized peer-to-peer network.
Blockchain-based CDNs would have numerous benefits, one of them being security. Blockchain records all transactions on a transparent public ledger, so when people pay for content, they have verifiable proof of purchase without the need for intermediaries. Another is cost: an Antithesis Group report found in 2015 that approximately 10 million servers—roughly 30 percent of the worldwide total—are “comatose.” Their inactivity translates to a waste of at least $30 billion. Blockchain technology network of nodes, storage capabilities, and computing power can dramatically reduce both traditional inefficiency and associated expenses.
Who is using a decentralized content delivery network?
Want to know something else worth $30 billion? The live streaming industry in 2016, which is projected to be worth more than $70 billion by 2021. Live streaming is a rapidly growing medium, something platforms like Instagram and Facebook have eagerly taken advantage of.
The sports industry is adopting the format, too. In a report titled “The Future of the Sports Fan,” Performance Communications and Canvas8 say:
“Online streaming and virtual reality will present big opportunities to expand audiences globally. In 2015, Yahoo streamed the first online-only NFL game to 15 million viewers, a third of whom were non-American.”
Live streaming is an excellent way to for fans to view content without having to physically attend events or wait to see footage until it is released. A company moving sports live streaming to blockchain is TOK.tv, which knows that an ever-growing number of fans are hoping to consume sports content via mobile devices. TOK.tv’s platform allows participants to watch games live, view highlight reels, and exchange digital tokens with one another. Blockchain directly connects fans with brands and their favorite teams, which monetizes the sports experience without sacrificing transparency or enjoyment.
Not all video is for entertainment reasons—sometimes it’s educational. The e-learning business is growing in popularity, but it’s also a very centralized business: occasionally content overlaps, prices are too high for those who need it most, and it’s challenging to determine if the material is authentic prior to purchase.
A company called SuccessLife is using a decentralized network to make e-learning accessible for everyone. Blockchain enables its platform to collect an immense library of content (including audio and written) from all sorts of users, and the public ledger helps the user community decide which materials are best. SuccessLife hosts live-streams for motivational speeches, seminars, workshops, and other events, bringing previously inaccessible resources directly to users. SuccessLife aims to be the go-to platform for all things related to personal and professional development, so it uses a decentralized network to reach a broader audience and protect their information.
People are eager to watch content—so long as it is available. With decentralized content delivery networks, a higher number of consumers can easily access a wealth of material immediately and securely.