If you’re analysing the environmental impact of OTT streaming you can choose to jump down any number of rabbit holes. The most obvious one is how much online video is actually being watched by any given person over the course of, say, a year? And what does that “cost” in terms of carbon emissions? (Short answer to that second question: Netflix estimates that an hour of streaming on its service is the equivalent to driving a small car 400 metres.)

What about how platforms deliver content to their viewers – a workflow that incorporates making the content in the first place, building and maintaining VOD products, working with multiple vendors (each with their own resource-hungry processes), using CDNs / caching software and storage in the cloud?

And then we can talk about the end-user devices themselves: all the hardware and software elements it takes to build and sustain an iPhone or an iPad, for example.

It’s complex.  

We discussed some of these challenges at this week’s OTT Question Time Thursday 25th November) and particularly focused on innovations which can help make OTT streaming much, much greener. Together with Lars Larsson, CEO of Varnish Software, Bleuenn Le Goffic, VP of Strategy & Business Development at Accedo and Gulliver Smithers of RampRate IT, we explored:

  • New, and better, methods of encoding and delivering video data
  • Agreeing processes and policies to improve standardisation
  • Reducing emissions through observation and analysis as well as carbon retention and capture
  • The introduction of “right to repair” laws
  • And how the OTT industry can work together to make a significant and lasting difference



Kauser Kanji has been working in online video for 19 years, formerly at Virgin Media, ITN and NBC Universal, and founded VOD Professional in 2011. He has since completed major OTT projects for, amongst others, A+E Networks, the BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, DR (Denmark), Liberty Global, Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and UKTV. He now writes industry analyses, hosts an online debate show, OTT Question Time, as well as its in-person sister event, OTT Question Time Live

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