Video streaming has emerged as a powerful tool in health and fitness, enabling platforms to engage with individuals looking to achieve their health and wellness goals wherever they are. Whether in the comfort of their homes, on the go, or gathered in groups at physical locations around the globe, video streaming unlocks a new world of possibilities for people looking to get in shape. However, ensuring a seamless and captivating user experience can create unique challenges for platforms and service providers.
In this blog, we will explore the main hurdles health and fitness video streaming platforms encounter and discuss potential solutions for each.
1. Video Encoding and Transcoding: Achieving Compatibility and Efficiency
To make content playable and support different device screen sizes and network capabilities, efficient video encoding and transcoding solutions are necessary. By not implementing a correct encoding ladder optimized for every major device, the viewing experience can be significantly limited, giving your users a bad experience and possibly forcing them to churn. This is why utilizing a strong encoding solution such as Bitmovin’s Video On-Demand (VOD) Encoder benefits you greatly by ensuring your users have a smooth and consistent viewing experience. You can optimize VOD Encoder settings for your content through Per-Title Encoding, which plays a vital role by dynamically adjusting encoding parameters for each video, maximizing quality and bandwidth efficiency. With Bitmovin’s industry-leading Per-Title algorithm, you can deliver superior video quality while reducing storage and delivery costs.
Check out our whitepaper on Per-Title Encoding technology to learn more about the benefits of Per-Title optimization.
When it comes to live streaming, one of the primary challenges is ensuring the stability of the stream. This requires a robust internet connection and a reliable streaming solution that can minimize disruptions and buffering during live broadcasts. By leveraging a reliable encoder, such as Bitmovin’s Live Event Encoder, that supports multiple codecs like H.264, H.265 (HEVC) and VP9 and protocols like RTMP, SRT and Zixi, you can minimize the bitrate needed for playback, optimizing bandwidth usage and improving stream stability. This benefits viewers with slower internet connections, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience.
2. Device support, ABR streaming, and a customizable Player: Personalized Experiences for Every User
When delivering smooth and personalized streaming experiences to your users, providing broad device support, adaptive bitrate streaming, and a customizable player are essential for you and your development team. Utilizing an open-source player in this regard can be good for select device types and platforms, but it won’t be able to cover every major device in use. You can maximize your reach and engage with a larger audience by ensuring compatibility across a wide range of devices. The player must also be able to adapt to the user’s available bandwidth to guarantee they can still stream the video in the highest possible quality, which isn’t automatically built into every player option out there. Additionally, having a customizable player skin to personalize the viewing experience goes a long way with users, pushing them to engage more with the current content.
As all of these are essential functionalities, having a single video player solution that supports various platforms and devices with ABR and other capabilities helps simplify the development process and gives you more control over how users experience and engage with your content. This is where Bitmovin’s video Player stands out, as you can seamlessly deliver your health and fitness videos across web browsers, mobile devices, smart TVs, Set-top boxes, and other popular platforms while ensuring the best viewing experience. This full feature set and broad device support eliminate the need for separate player implementations and streamline your development efforts.
3. Live-to-VOD: Increasing the lifespan and expanding access to content
Health and fitness platforms often stream live workout and wellness sessions, events, and classes. Depending on the workflow, not converting these live streams into on-demand video wastes the potential value of this content, as it gives your users more video to engage with at their convenience. By utilizing a tool that enables live-to-VOD, such as the encoding solutions provided by Bitmovin, platforms can automate capturing, encoding, and storing live streams for on-demand use. This functionality helps improve user satisfaction and increase content views, while maximizing the ROI of your live stream production. It also enables them to revisit past sessions, catch up on missed classes, and follow their fitness and wellness journey at their own pace.
4. Analytics and Viewer Insights: Understanding User Engagement
Analytics and viewer insights are vital for every health and fitness platform so they can maximize user engagement and content performance. With the right insights being tracked, you and your team may be aware of performance issues, buffering problems, or other technical issues that impact the viewing experience. Furthermore, you may face challenges in understanding your user’s behavior, how they are viewing your content, and how your ads are working if you’re utilizing them within your workflow.
A comprehensive metrics offering such as Bitmovin’s Analytics is essential as it enables you to overcome these challenges. Bitmovin’s solution provides over 200 metrics and filters, real-time monitoring, and actionable insights that empower you to optimize your content strategy, address technical issues promptly, and deliver a superior streaming experience. This data-driven approach enables you to maximize user engagement, enhance customer satisfaction, and stay ahead in the competitive health and fitness streaming landscape.
5. Ease-of-use and scalability: Simplifying Development and Accommodating Growth
The last main challenge on my list is simplifying the deployment process and ensuring scalability. This is crucial for every health and fitness platform, as when implementing a video streaming solution, it’s essential to optimize the development team’s time by prioritizing ease-of-use to help streamline the integration and setup of each part within the workflow. Implementing the wrong piece can increase your encoding time, make content harder to access, and even increase buffer times on your video player if it’s too heavy. It can also force you to forego supporting new devices if technical expertise becomes an issue.
Opting for solutions that offer user-friendly interfaces, comprehensive documentation and guides for API usage, and robust support, such as Bitmovin’s Streams solution and other video streaming technology, ensures development teams aren’t breaking their backs to get up and streaming. Additionally, depending on the framework choice, such as React/React Native or Flutter, smaller teams or ones with less video streaming expertise can maximize their code usage by utilizing what they’ve deployed across the web and use it across additional platforms/device types, enabling them to support more devices and easily customize each aspect without needing to know certain frameworks.
Furthermore, scalability becomes a key consideration as the platform grows and user demand increases. The chosen video streaming solution should provide flexible scaling capabilities, such as being cloud-native, allowing the platform to accommodate a growing content library and many concurrent viewers. This guarantees the platform can seamlessly meet workflow needs and user demands, even during peak usage periods, providing a smooth, consistent, and uninterrupted viewing experience.
As you can tell from the 5 main points above, health and fitness streaming platforms face unique challenges in delivering seamless experiences. Bitmovin’s solutions for video encoding, live streaming, Player, and analytics provide essential tools to overcome these challenges and help simplify and scale streaming workflows. With efficient on-demand and live encoding, broad device support with ABR and customizable player interfaces, live-to-VOD functionality, and comprehensive analytics, platforms can optimize user engagement, make development easier, and ensure exceptional streaming experiences. With Bitmovin’s technology, you can successfully navigate the complexities of video streaming workflows and deliver high-quality content to your global audience.
If you want to see how Bitmovin’s solutions can help you simplify your existing streaming process or provide an end-to-end workflow to help launch your video streaming platform, sign up for our 30-day free trial to start testing them today (No credit card required)