The Final Days of Office 365 Video

Automatic Migration to Stream on March 1 2020

Videos stored in Stream
Figure 1: Videos stored in Stream

Microsoft launched Stream, its new video streaming service, on June 20, 2017. During its preview, Microsoft positioned Stream as a platform for both consumers and businesses, but when it attained general availability, Stream was on target to be the future video service for Office 365 and consumer access was no longer in scope.

Since then, Stream has matured and added new features like video trimming, but the migration from Office 365 Video has not been fast. The long-drawn out transition is now coming to an end. On December 19, Microsoft published a blog to announce the final steps in the process. Office 365 Video is no longer available to new tenants and has been disabled for any tenants who never uploaded content to the service.

Moving Office 365 Video to Stream

The Office 365 Video portal was one of the next-generation portals developed by Microsoft in the 2014-16 timeframe to leverage SharePoint Online. In fact, video was the only portal to reach prime time. Metadata and original content are stored in SharePoint Online, where channels have their own sites, while encoded video is stored and served from Azure Media Services.

Stream doesn’t use SharePoint Online at all but does store its content in Azure Media Services. The migration therefore needs to transfer data from SharePoint to Azure and then remove the migrated sites. It doesn’t sound as if this should be too difficult, but you can’t be too careful with corporate content. This, and the need to make sure that Stream offers features needed by Office 365 tenants, is likely what has delayed the migration for some tenants. On the other hand, it should be acknowledged that many tenants (including my own) have moved to Stream successfully over the past few months.

To help convince tenants to migrate, Microsoft points out that Stream offers many features not found in Office 365 Video (extracted from this page).

  • Office 365 Groups support, allowing a video library for every Office 365 Group
  • Permissions at the video level
  • Sub-channels within a group
  • Videos may appear in multiple channels
  • Personal watch list to get back to videos later
  • Comments and likes directly on the video
  • Rich video description, including links directly to times within a video
  • Automatic closed caption based on what’s spoken in the video
  • Deep search of what’s spoken in the video
  • Face detection, allowing exploring a video by where a face appears
  • Live events
  • Support for Hive (P2P), Kollective (P2P), and Ramp (cache proxy and multicast) as eCDN providers
  • Microsoft Teams meeting recordings
  • Stream mobile app on iOS and Android with offline playback

Timelines

If your tenant hasn’t yet moved video content to Stream, you need to note some important dates:

  • Now: Decide if you can migrate or need to delay. If you decide to delay, you must make that decision by March 1, 2020. To delay, follow the posted instructions.
  • March 1, 2020: Automatic migrations begin for tenants who opt not to delay.
  • April 1, 2020: The Office 365 Video iOS app is retired.
  • March 1, 2021: Last phase of migration starts for tenants who opted to delay (as long as possible).
  • March 1, 2022: Redirection of old Office 365 Video links to Stream halts.

The biggest issue is to need to decide to delay or go ahead with the migration before March. The longest possible delay is one more year, so this should be a real wake-up call to remove any obstacles that might be blocking your tenant’s migration. Some tenants and ISVs customized Office 365 Video to enhance or add to functionality and these are likely to be the last to move.

GCC and Sovereign Clouds

These dates apply to commercial Office 365 tenants, but not Government Cloud (GCC) or sovereign cloud tenants. Microsoft will update GCC tenants about migration dates in early 2020 while the migration from Office 365 Video in the Germany and China sovereign datacenter regions is dependent on the availability of Stream services in those regions.


Stream is covered in Chapter 14 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. It’s an evolving application, so we have new Stream content to cover on a regular basis.

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