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Can third-party players I publish to influence my viewership statistics and bandwidth usage?

The OVP’s own Video Player is the only player which is programmed and managed by the OVP and the only player which can be controlled by the OVP. This means that only the Lightcast Player is developed, managed and controlled by Lightcast.com. Third-party players - including native players of OTT platforms, such as Roku, FireTV or AppleTV - are beyond our control. 

While we do offer OTT App Development Services as part of our Service Packages (something that is a bit unique within the space of streaming providers, OVPs and CDNs), certain platforms (especially OTT / ConnectedTV platforms) do play back your content with their platform’s native players, not ours. This means: while we build the Apps for you, including all graphics, metadata, video and audio thumbnails and artwork, content, navigation structure - your videos and streams are actually loaded and played back in the platform’s own player within your App. 

This has several implications. One of them is bandwidth usage. Using their device’s own native players, they can control stats/analytics reporting, bandwidth switching (for adaptive delivery) and buffering/loading management. This can lead to fluctuation in bandwidth usage, simply because a platform can change the amount it pre-loads (buffers) during video playbacks. Loading ahead more it will ensure a better user experience, but pulls more data from the CDN, thus using more bandwidth. On the other hand, if the platform reduces the amount it pre-loads of a video viewed, it risks freezing/stuttering/buffering events thus a poor user experience, but uses less bandwidth. 

Of course, it is very possible that some (or even all) of your increase in bandwidth usage comes from viewership growth and change in viewership habits, but it can very well also be influenced (and sometimes strongly) by changes in a device’s operating system, and as a result, the native player’s loading management. Of course fluctuation can go either way and bandwidth usage drop as well as increase. 

When it comes to our own player - the Lightcast Web Player for embedding on websites and mobile apps - Lightcast is in control of and can vouch for publisher-friendly loading management in order to keep bandwidth usage as low as possible. Of course it will always be a balance between user-experience and keeping bandwidth usage low. But third-party players of other platforms are outside of our immediate control.

We are in constant contact with all of the major OTT / ConnectedTV platforms on behalf of our Clients to make sure that content delivery, bitrate sensitivity and buffer/loading is continuously optimized across all players.