Stream on SharePoint is Fundamentally Different to Stream Classic

Useful Spreadsheet to Understand Changes

Two weeks ago, I reviewed the new Stream (on SharePoint) client. The client is incomplete, and Microsoft still has lots of work to do to round it out. An online spreadsheet helps customers compare the functionality available in the new Stream client against the classic client, and it’s worthwhile checking out to make sure that your favorite feature is in Microsoft’s plans.

Before reviewing what Microsoft intends to do as it builds out Stream on SharePoint, it’s worthwhile considering the fundamental nature of the change that’s in motion. Microsoft designed Stream classic as a standalone app. The original idea was that Stream could function independently of Office 365 to allow Microsoft to sell it to customers who didn’t have a tenant or allow consumers to use Stream to store video analogous to the way and OneDrive consumer work. Inside Office 365, Stream would replace the old Office 365 Video portal.

Stream Services Rather than a Portal

The app idea is dead. Stream on SharePoint is really a set of services that manage video files stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The obvious manifestation of the services is revealed in the web audio and video player, while the new Stream client is really just an adaptation of the OneDrive client modified to manage video files.

The Stream on SharePoint client (preview)
Figure 1: The Stream on SharePoint client (preview)

The transition means that there is no video portal. People interact with videos they have access to through the new Stream client, but there’s no organization-wide portal to highlight selected videos or publish material to end users. If organizations want this kind of functionality, they need to use a different approach. For example:

  • A SharePoint site tailored to highlight and feature selected videos.
  • A channel in a team dedicated to the same purpose.
  • Organization videos published through Viva Learning.
  • Videos published through a Yammer community.

In other words, there’s more work to do to create an organization-wide video portal. On the plus side, you now have the option to select your preferred approach instead of being limited to a video portal conceived and delivered by Microsoft.

Video Organization

Another related change is in how Stream organizes videos. Stream classic can collect videos into channels and Microsoft 365 groups. These concepts don’t exist in the new Stream because SharePoint organizes its files into sites, libraries, and folders. However, something called SharePoint video collections page is coming soon that appears to take the place of channels. The notion of using Microsoft 365 Groups to organize videos is present because many SharePoint sites are backed by a Microsoft 365 group, but it’s a less direct connection than what happens in Stream classic.

Stream Audit Events

On the compliant front, the Stream-specific audit events logged when users uploaded and viewed videos are no more. Microsoft says that “Audit log schema will change and be logged against the file in ODB or SPO.”

In other words, audit capture for video uploads and other activity is treated in the same way as other SharePoint file operations. When someone uploads a video, SharePoint captures a FileUploaded event; when they modify a video, SharePoint captures a FileModified event. Some Stream-specific events remain, such as those for transcript generation (FileTranscriptCreated), but the majority of the logged events for Stream actions are likely to look like SharePoint file operations.

There’s no harm in using SharePoint file operations audit events until the time comes to extract Stream events from the audit log. You’ll now need to search for the standard SharePoint file operations and then extract the Stream events from that set, probably based on file type (here’s an example PowerShell script I wrote to report Teams meeting recordings).

The problem here is the sheer volume of SharePoint file operations, especially FileModified events. Office documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive generate vast quantities of these events because of the way the AutoSave feature works, so 5,000 FileModified audit events might only include two or three relevant to Stream. Some won’t care about this change at all, but you will if you use audit events to track video uploads.

Lots of change is in the air. It will be interesting how Microsoft 365 tenants take to the new Stream.

Insight like this doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to know the technology and understand how to look behind the scenes. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the best eBook covering Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

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