Streaming War or Alliance?

Hulu joined the edge computing space in early 2021 with an application published detailing a process for predicting storage of video files in caches. This functionality would obviously be very beneficial for all streaming platforms as it would reduce latency for users accessing the videos that were predicted to be popular during a specified period of time. Netflix has also been active in the sector with two patent documents so far, although Netflix’s focus so far seems to be more focused on load balancing. Despite these both being interesting companies to watch because of edge computing’s obvious impact on their business, what makes it more intriguing is that Disney (Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+) and Netflix both operate on AWS systems.

In fact, of the major platforms Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, HBOMax, and Disney+, all of them utilize AWS instead of hosting their own data centers. However, HBOMax does utilize streaming technology from parent company AT&T that manages the experience before retrieving data from AWS. What these recent patents from Netflix and Hulu may be indicating is a shift to a similar structure for other platforms where the cloud data storage is still hosted on AWS but some of the optimization for streaming happens in-house to fully utilize edge computing capabilities. The recent patent activity also makes it appear likely that streaming services are working on bringing the increased capabilities of the edge to market soon and are catching up to leverage Amazon’s progress so far.

Ultimately this means that while Netflix, Hulu, and AT&T will compete to have the best user experience for their customers, Amazon’s focus will be different and any progress will be mutually beneficial to all of their streaming competitors.