In 2015 the video streaming market was worth $30.9 billion. By 2024 it’s expected to have grown to $132 billion. For this huge market OnLive plans to become the leading platform for live streaming services and paid public broadcasts.
Whether you’re broadcasting a show or you’re an expert looking to find a market, OnLive hope to provide you with a way of reaching your customers, with no scalability issues. Rather than a centralised server model, OnLive’s use of blockchain will allow a decentralised peer-to-peer network.
Anyone with the necessary bandwidth and processing power will be able to rent out that capacity to aid distribution. All payments within the system will be made and received in ONL tokens.
Content creators will be able to broadcast in HD directly to individuals or groups, and offer a variety of payment options including pay-per-minute, pay-per-view or monthly subscriptions.
The platform should offer utility to conferences, tutorials or broadcasts like concerts or sporting events. All users will be able to earn ONL tokens by renting out their capacity for relay and transcoding.
Concept and White-Paper
This is a very ambitious project. OnLive hopes to become “the market leader in the live advising platform market” by creating a large ecosystem of experts, broadcasters, consumers and distributors, transcoders and relay nodes.
The OnLive white-paper goes into considerable detail describing the functionality that will be offered to the different members of the ecosystem.
The platform will eventually serve four markets: live broadcast (1 to many); live services (1:1 and 1:8); relay nodes and transcoders.
Here content creators can offer HD live broadcasts to unlimited viewers. Consumers can pay for these broadcasts either using pay-per-minute or pay-per-view options. On.Live suggests that this market would serve workshops, sports, conferences music etc.
Like Live Broadcasts, creators will be able to broadcast HD in real time, but broadcasts in this marketplace are interactive. Therefore it is better suited to experts who can sell their time and advice by the minute through consultations. The pay-per-minute option is more appropriate here, and the creator can offer their broadcast to up to 8 people at one time. Examples of potential creators here are lawyers, doctors, fitness consultants, language teachers etc.
Transcoding and Relay Nodes
Rather than the content of the broadcast, this is the market in the content distribution. Transcoders transcode the broadcast stream into different formats for viewers. Relay nodes transmit the stream to viewers. Transcoders and relay nodes may or may not be the same people.
Anyone on the network can earn ONL tokens by using their spare computing power for relay and transcoding. The white-paper distinguishes this as “real, useful work instead of useless computations as usually happens in a standard Proof of Work based blockchains.”
The use of ONL tokens as a payment method allows creators to select a variety of payment options as the processing fees are so low compared to fiat. Options include:
- Pay per view (PPV): this is a one-off “entry fee” payment which suits public broadcasts like concerts or sporting events. Payment is handled within the video player to maximise conversions.
- Pay per minute: consumers are charged per minute of the broadcast. This is more suited to the consultations and advice with experts.
- Subscription plans: users will be able to pay a monthly fee to a channel (a creator’s videos) and have unlimited access
- Tips / Donations: Users will be able to tip creators during broadcasts.
On.Live will offer a suite of additional functionality for payment and interaction between viewers and broadcasters. These include a messaging service, ONL wallet and a channel verification and rating system to enhance consumer confidence.
The initial idea came in 2009 but withered due to the lack of available technology. It was resurrected in 2014 when Blockchain solutions became more promising. 2015 saw the development of the Rills engine and the deployment of the first version to market with the showup.tv site. Agreements signed on use of blockchain currency.
In 2016 the team started working with the UK trade and investment (UKTI) and work started on the mobile versions of the platform and increasing the team members.
2017 saw increased team recruitment. And joined the GEP (Global Entrepreneurship Program) with On.Live chosen as one of the most promising projects out of Central Eastern Europe.
For 2018, the current outline of the project’s developement is laid as follows:
Q1: Pre-ICO and main ICO sale periods.
Q2: Platform launch in UK and USA. One-to-one broadcast module launch for web.
Q3: One to many version launched (for web) and public broadcasts for Web
Q4: Widening into new sectors and mobile version version one-to-one.
By late 2019 OnLive plans to have one-to-many broadcasts on all versions. Any broadcaster will be able to send a live video to the network, in different formats and encodings, and sell it.
In 2020 the services should be completely decentralized free of censorship. Network members will be able to lend out their processing power for video transcoding and distribution, and be paid in ONL token.
This is an experienced team, particularly in technical areas. All members have LinkedIn profiles and contact details. There is perhaps a relative lightness in marketing experience. According to the distribution of responsibilities there is no senior team member taking charge of marketing.
OnLive is receiving advice from the UK government’s UK Trade and Investment Global Entrepreneur Programme. This scheme offers guidance to overseas startups relocating to the UK which should prove useful as the UK is one of their initial targeted markets.
Token and Token Value
All payments within the OnLive ecosystem will be made in ONL token, derived from Ethereum and ERC20 compliant. Total supply is capped at 100 million and anything left over after the ICO will be burned. No further ONL will be minted or mined.
When the final version is live the ONL token will allow instant and cost free transactions within the OnLive network. ONL is the only payment system within the network. Users will pay broadcasters and broadcasters will pay transcorders and relay nodes in ONL.
The token will also be compatible with any other sites which use the same technology, for instance fit.fit.
The white-paper does a good job detailing the growth in video streaming and the scope of the market opportunity, but is less strong on showing how OnLive will capture this market.
Network effects will determine the success of any entrant into a market like this. The more popular the platform becomes, the more useful it will be, and the more popular it will then be in the future. Having the best technology will help, but is insufficient to ensure market success.
As outlined above, the team appears to have a comparative weakness in its marketing expertise. The website is professional and the white-paper attractive but there are typos in both and times when the message could be clearer. English is not the team’s first language, so these kinds of oversights might be expected, but it can still off-putting to investors.
The company has multiple social media profiles but activity there is a little subdued. We fear that their message may not be landing with potential investors.
However, 37% of the proceeds from the sale will go to various forms of marketing, which should go a long way to solving these issues. The team appear to have focused on building a strong product first, which is refreshing in the ICO space.
On.Live have put together a strong offering and look set to disrupt the burgeoning video streaming industry, provided they can get their message across.
Serving multiple markets and ecosystem participants gives us the sense that the company might be trying to offer too much to too many, where more focus on a smaller problem might bring quicker traction.
However, with both the blockchain and online video industries moving so quickly, it is inevitable that any current business plans will have to be quickly adjusted as the number of real users increase. Though plans for the platform’s final version look impressive, by the time they get there it will almost certainly have changed substantially.