Any audio or video content delivered over the Internet via streaming is considered streaming media. Some examples are TV shows, movies, music, cat videos or even live events. Also any delivery of closed captions, or real-time text can also be included. Basically, any type of content delivered via streaming to an end user is considered streaming media.
The first example of streaming media is from the 1930s when music was delivered to commercial locations over electrical wires. This was later branded as Muzak and heard in elevators and retail stores around the United States for decades until they were purchased in 2011 by Mood Media. The new owner retired the name Muzak, which had negative connotations associated with it.
Today, most people don’t think about the “media” in the streaming media. They simply click the play button. But it’s taking over the Internet. According to multiple sources, streaming content (another name for media) now accounts for 70% or more of Internet traffic.
Streaming media providers include TVNow, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. The BBC’s iPlayer is reportedly one of the largest streaming services watched in the UK.
Consumers can watch streaming media on virtually any devices, though not every service supports every device. Computers, tablets, mobile phones, gaming consoles and even dedicated TV set-top boxes generally provide access via the web or native apps.
The availability of streaming media has also started a change in the broadcast and entertainment industry. Many people are choosing to forgo traditional TVs or TV subscriptions in favour of online-only content. They are called “cord-cutters” because when using an online streaming service, they no longer pay for the cable, or cord, from a standard TV provider.
The data varies from country to country but in some places as much as 20-30% of people have switched to watching TV and movies via an online streaming media service. No one is quite sure if the trend will continue, level off, or even reverse.
Whether it is paid for or not, online streaming media is predicted to be over 80% of all landline Internet traffic around 2020. This will revolutionise not only the entertainment business but also education and business communication.« Back to Glossary Index