The rise of streaming and OTT solutions has revolutionised access to content for consumers, significantly increasing convenience. However, this shift has also highlighted serious concerns about the carbon footprint it leaves behind. The infrastructure, data centres, and equipment required for streaming are energy intensive, contributing to environmental change. In response, the media and entertainment industry are actively working to establish new sustainability standards to minimise the environmental impact of streaming.

The impact of streaming

Content delivery involves several steps that significantly impact our environment. The energy required to store, process, and transmit online data contributes to the media industry’s significant carbon footprint. According to research by the Carbon Trust, the average carbon footprint per hour of streaming in Europe is around 55g of carbon dioxide. This represents an improvement on previous years, mainly due to the adoption of newer networks. While this estimate is comparable to other daily activities, there are many ways to make content delivery more environmentally friendly in the future.

What is sustainable development

The concept refers to an environmentally friendly approach to developing software and solutions that are in line with market needs. The main focus is on maintaining the highest possible standards of development and meeting user requirements while minimising environmental impact. It emphasises the importance of balancing growth with sustainable practices. The approach involves integrating environmentally friendly methods into the development process, such as optimising energy efficiency, reducing waste and using renewable resources. By prioritising sustainability, the approach aims to achieve a harmonious balance between technological progress, user satisfaction, and environmental protection, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and resilient future.
Environmentally friendly streaming development
One of the key aspects shaping the future of green solutions is the implementation of sustainable development practices. By adhering to fundamental principles and strategies for creating and delivering both market-successful and eco-friendly applications, we can contribute to a more energy-efficient digital landscape.

Sustainable development goals

Code and algorithm efficiency
Optimising code and algorithms enhances application speed and reduces the consumption of computing resources. This leads to lower energy usage on both user devices and servers.

Adaptive streaming and data compression
Techniques such as bitrate adaptation and buffer management enable dynamic video quality adjustments based on various factors, ensuring excellent viewing experiences while reducing data usage. Similarly, data compression aims to minimize the amount of data transmitted during streaming.

Intelligent caching
Strategically storing frequently accessed data decreases the number of data transfers, conserving energy and improving user experience.

Scalability
Designing solutions that can scale according to demand optimises resource allocation, minimises waste, and reduces energy consumption.

Cross-platform development
Cross-platform development offers numerous business benefits and is environmentally positive. Faster time to market, consistent user experiences, and simultaneous development for multiple platforms lead to significant energy savings and streamlined resource usage.

Monitoring and maintenance
Regular performance monitoring helps identify inefficiencies and address emerging issues promptly. This practice not only optimises and updates the app over time but also mitigates its environmental impact, promoting an eco-friendly software lifecycle.

Energy efficient UI
Creating simple user pathways and prioritising functionality are crucial for sustainable development. Reducing resource-intensive elements like excessive graphics or animations lowers device power consumption and enhances app navigability.

Applying regulations
Proactively adhering to regulations regarding data privacy, accessibility, and environmental standards ensures responsible and conscious operations. Ethical practices help reduce the carbon footprint of streaming and OTT development while ensuring user safety and satisfaction.

Strategic partnerships and third-party integrations
Collaborating with external partners accelerates solution development by leveraging the expertise of specialists, avoiding the need for extra resources. Utilising market-ready partner solutions fosters efficiency and expands reach, preventing resource wastage on redundant development efforts.

    Combining sustainability and commercial success

    While sustainability is a crucial goal for your streaming solution, it is not the only one. The primary objective is to remain competitive in your market and excel in your chosen field. Embracing eco-friendly practices can support this mission. However, like any endeavour, there may be challenges along the way.

    Achieving true sustainability requires addressing technical trade-offs, cost differences, and complexity issues. Balancing these challenges with the advantages of eco-friendly options is essential to promote sustainability without compromising economic well-being. Consulting with specialists can help you navigate these complexities, ensuring you reach your goals while making sustainable choices.

    About the author

    Oliwia Poswiat

    Marketing Specialist