2019 will go down as the year when giants collided over who is streaming the right content to win the growing market demand and dollars. Disney announced they would have a streaming service, while Netflix subscribers reached an all-time high with 137.1 million Netflix users as of Q3 2018. To top it all off, consumers are very excited about the much-anticipated climaxes of franchises like Avengers, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones.
These powerful brands drive much excitement and, of course, dollars. With all of this interest, the in-home viewing experience continues to grow as the place where consumers want to watch content. The spread of where consumers want to consume content, at home, at the office, at the gym, on a plane, at any time where there is connectivity, puts significant pressure on the network and performance monitoring teams for streaming brands. One thing is clear: when planning for the consumer experience to be simple and easy to use, the backend infrastructure and performance becomes much more complicated.
Whatever size of company you are, performance monitoring and testing is a critical part of the success you will have. It is also worth noting that brand popularity doesn’t translate into more success if you are not testing load to confirm your streaming services will performs. Application uptime matters more than ever, and we’ve seen in the past that large streaming services can go down.
When more and more video content is streaming directly into the consumer’s hands, how will your streaming services ensure the performance of those services, and at what level will you ensure high service levels? Consumers are becoming more and more fickle in not only what they watch but how well the content is delivered. Global consumers have high expectations for seamless access via wireless and mobile networks, regardless of their location and the complex, technological components underneath. A survey Apica conducted highlights that 75% of online users expect a greater level of performance than they did just a few years ago.
With higher expectations, comes greater scrutiny in the way your content is being delivered. The survey also showed that digital disappointment would drive 60% of respondents to other competitors’ offerings. Consumers will leave you for slow or intermittent performance because there are other content options. In addition in this age of social media, brands must perform at their best or expect negative word-of-mouth because 80% of consumers are likely to tell friends, colleagues, and anyone on blog or reviews site about unsatisfactory online experiences.
Hollywood works closely with IT organizations to provide streaming (non-linear) content, especially during seasonal events, because e-business and e-commerce interactions via these web applications are as revenue critical as cable subscriptions are. At low numbers, all viewers will each experience similar response times for their streamed content, but at higher numbers, the response times will increase and rise exponentially until the sites cease to respond partially or entirely. When Hollywood wants to keep the attention of a captive audience for popular shows, Hollywood turns to Apica’s services and solutions in load testing and monitoring performance.
Apica’s scale is enterprise-grade. In just the last few months, Apica supported the global launch of one of the most anticipated final seasons on a major cable network. Our global platform, across 60+ countries in 100+ points of presence as SaaS, hybrid, or on-premises, means that we can generate the load where your consumers are and at the capacity you demand. Apica has the technical knowledge and infrastructure capacity to test any of the world’s largest online streaming services.
The Apica LoadTest solution uses innovative technologies like monitoring nodes and load clusters to reliably deliver and sustain a large-scale load of virtual users (VUs) to Hollywood for different, realistic user scenarios all at the same time. These virtual users simulate realistic scenarios scripted and recorded with Apica’s ZebraTester tool so that hundreds, thousands, and millions of tests run concurrently in a Streaming companies/studios’ pre-production or production environments before the episodes are actually ‘aired.’
Apica’s performance test experts advise Hollywood on creating and managing complex scripting scenarios, for example: how to emulate authentication scenarios where each virtual user has their login account, the virtual users reuse refresh tokens, or the virtual users have different user scenarios depending on what country they are streaming from. Our experts and platform will also give your IT organizations knowledge on when and how to test.
Apica has provided pre- and post-deployment load testing services at a massive scale by simulating tens of millions of viewers across all major platforms and devices. High volume streaming load and stress testing include:
- Testing beyond just the Web
- Covering multiple devices: Mobile (Android™, and iOS), Boxes (Set-top and Game), major web browsers
- User scenarios specifically expected to have high-loads
- User scenarios with sequential steps such as logging in, selecting, and playing an episode
- Load and stress-testing benchmark goals for the backend technological components
- Test runs in both normal ramp-up mode as well as ‘instantaneous’ ramp-up mode. (Instantaneous ramp-up testing is vital to simulate when new episodes are premiered at users hit streaming sites in the very same second.)
Apica provides load tests with 10 million+ simulated VUs for Hollywood at 800 GB/sec to measure the behavior of their systems, analyze any bottlenecks from the spike of simulated traffic, and assess any risks to the stability and availability of their streaming services before actual primetime.
Streaming companies/studios want to know how well their technology components work together at regular loads and high loads. These companies should involve multiple organizations during Apica’s load testing to observe and pinpoint opportunities for performance tuning. Apica’s load testing has provided opportunities for Hollywood to find bottlenecks with databases, load balancers, and aspects of the web applications as well as test failovers to their duplicate systems in their east and west cloud regions.
By testing streaming services before a major launch (and during), Streaming companies/studios get transparency and knowledge on how these services would perform globally while under tremendous stress. Being prepared for both the known and the unknown ensures your online services will be successful before consumers access and use these services in real-time.