ESPN, Hulu mobile video demand continues to increase

Mobile video discussion with ESPN and Hulu
Mobile video discussion with ESPN and Hulu

Mobile video accounts for 53% of mobile data traffic globally, said Dan Mead, President and CEO of Verizon Wireless and CTIA Chairman at CTIA 2014 in Las Vegas.

To meet consumers' ever-growing demand for mobile video content, Verizon will continue to leverage LTE Multicast, which it debuted in May. Mead said LTE Multicast provides content to thousands of concurrent viewers more easily by assigning a specific channel of spectrum to one specific broadcast.

At the event, Mead led a discussion with several mobile technologists, including Sean Bratches, EVP of Sales and Marketing at ESPN.

Speaking about the World Cup 2014, Bratches, said ESPN had more than 15.7 million devices stream more than 2.6 billion minutes of content during the month-long event. He also said five billion unique devices streamed live games. ESPN will continue to make use of mobile video to accelerate views for traditional events, he said.

ESPN innovation

ESPN is about to launch a responsive design video template for apps across mobile platforms, Bratches said.

"We're very focused on creating the best experiences," he added. "Native experiences are critical in the mobile experiences, particularly on smartphones." Bratches teased a soon-to-launch Coors Cold Hard Facts advertising campaign that will leverage native experiences on mobile devices.

Hulu's mobile experience

Tim Connolly, Head of Distribution and Strategic Partnerships at Hulu, who previously worked at Ericsson, said mobile is a critical part of the video streaming company's business. In the three years since Hulu launched mobile video, it has grown to 20% of all views.

He said Hulu is working hard to deliver optimal experiences to its users in order to meet increased demand for mobile video.

"Advertising on mobile is kind of tricky," Connolly said. "We have been able to find a way to build a significant ad business. We've built one billion in revenue from ads."

He referenced Hulu's Ad Selector, which enables users to choose one of multiple ads rather than be forced to watch a specific ad, as an example of Hulu's digital video innovation.

The tools to meet demand

To meet the increased demand, "We have to rebuild our networks to accommodate the explosion of video traffic," said Michel Combes, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, a French telecommunications equipment company. Combes said multicast technology will help to manage traffic, specifically when it is driven from one large venue, such as a stadium.

Combes also said cloud networks will help it seem as if mobile users have seemingly endless bandwidth. "Obviously it won't be endless, but [with cloud solutions] it will appear this way."

Analytics will help provide personalized data for consumers, which will ultimately allow networks to respond to each specific person's needs to provide this seemingly unlimited bandwidth experience.