“What will be interesting to see is how willing people are to subscribe to multiple services at once, or whether there will be a lot more churn on accounts…”
At the moment we are experiencing a host of streaming services emerging with content being delivered directly to consumers, but not all launches were created equal. The year 2019 saw several big streaming service launches such as Google Stadia and Disney +, both of which experienced teething problems from the start.
Google had a rocky start to its Netflix style videogame streaming platform Stadia which launched in November of 2019. According to Google; Stadia’s instances tap a custom x86 Intel CPU running at 2.7GHz. This performance is joined with a custom AMD graphics silicon capable of 10.7 teraflops of raw compute.
Yet the high performance capabilities on Google’s end doesn’t do much for dodgy/patchy internet connections. To stream a game at 720p resolution you need a minimum of 10mbs. For a gaming resolution that most games are tailored towards, such as 1080p or 4K, you need to have a connection speed of at least 20 to 35mbs. Many early users of Stadia have been left wanting as it currently suffers from connection breaks and latency issues due to patchy connectivity.
Patrick Callaghan, enterprise architect at DataStax told Computer Business Review that for the growing streaming service industry: “The market will be so competitive that keeping customers at launch will be critical. All the media companies will be investing heavily in the content they create to entice people to sign up.”
At the time of writing it is too early to tell how well Stadia will fair overall, but they are not having the smoothest of launches especially with the type of people you want to make an impact, the lucrative early adopters.
Early adopters of the platform who had purchased the pre-order Founders edition, which allowed you to choose a username before everyone else, were still waiting to be emailed their activation codes days before the official launch. Users took to Reddit to voice their disappointment to which Google responded: “We’re aware that some of you who pre-ordered Founder’s Edition may not have received your invite codes in the expected time-frame. The Stadia team is actively investigating this issue, and we’ll be back with an update as soon as possible.”
Issues to Watch When Launching Streaming Services
Callaghan of DataStax informed us that the some of the key issues that a firm needs to keep an eye when they launch a service are;
- 100% uptime – you just can’t afford any downtime during a launch, as it would crater the service at its most important time
- Cloud support – preferably multi-cloud, so you can run across multiple geographic locations closest to where your customers are
- Fully distributed – so you can effectively run the same database across your internal data centre if you have one, or across cloud providers
- Security – when you are dealing with commercial IP, you have to be able to control access to that content so it can’t be stolen or pirated
- Performant – you will be working in real-time around data, so you will have to test that the service is able to meet your needs around data writes instantly
Subscription Fatigue, Disney + and the Tale of the Threat Actor
The consumer is experiencing an explosion of content and streaming service from HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Direct TV Now, Hulu, Plex and Spotify to name but a few.
All of these streaming services require a subscription of varying prices and there is a limit to how many subscriptions the average consumer can manage every month. Subscription fatigue has firmly entered the lexicon and it’s a situation that is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Mark Pidgeon, VP of technical services EMEA at Sumo Logic told us that: “There are a lot of new launches taking place – what will be interesting to see is how willing people are to subscribe to multiple services at once, or whether there will be a lot more churn on accounts where people join for short periods, binge and leave again. Different markets around the world will have different sets of content too based on content licenses, which will affect the overall success of each company.”
The cybersecurity implications of consumers handling multiple subscriptions on different platforms were laid bare following the recent launch of Disney +, a streaming service that saw over 10 million Americans sign up in the first 24 hours. However, not all users managed to keep their accounts in their possession for that length of time.
DISNEY+ HAS BEEN OPEN FOR LIKE 10 HOURS AND MY ACCOUNT HAS ALREADY BEEN HACKED pic.twitter.com/YBv6CfwTlh
— brandon ʕ·ᴥ·ʔ (@brandoncult) November 12, 2019
The main cyber threat here is credential stuffing which is a process that involves threat actors using previously obtained login credentials from a data breach to login into other websites and accounts. Unfortunately many people still use the same login details across multiple platforms so when one is hacked, there all hacked.
Mark Pidgeon of Sumo Logic notes that: “When it comes to the business side, those companies that use ad-supported models will have potentially more challenges around integrating and scaling up. This is because those ad server and content services are provided by third parties – so if one of them is performing poorly or not working, then it affects the ability to monetise viewers. All this happens in real time, so you have to be able to spot poor infrastructure performance as it is happening or you run the risk of lost revenue. When people dislike ads in any case, any poor service is visible and will be called out. So observability data on how the IT side is performing will be essential, across your own applications and across any third party service too.”