The Ultimate Guide to OTT Video
Watching TV is the most popular leisure activity in the US. In fact, estimates show that Americans spend more than three and a half hours watching TV every day! Which is why OTT videos can have a huge play within your marketing this year!
But television has come a long way since it was invented back in 1927. Now there are more channels and more ways of watching than ever before.
OTT video services are becoming increasingly popular in homes across America. They offer an alternative to traditional cable viewing, which many are using to replace their original packages. But OTT platforms can be a great way of streaming more than just video content to an audience.
If you work in media, then using an OTT platform is something you should definitely consider.
Want to know more? Then you’re in the right place! Read on to find out everything you need to know about the OTT industry and what it could do for your business.
What Is OTT Video?
OTT is an abbreviation of “over-the-top”. It refers to streaming services, which people use to watch content from the web directly, rather than via a cable package.
Users often pay a subscription to these services, which means that they can use them anywhere. Other free services, such as FaceTime, make their money by selling advertising space. Some applications also offer in-app purchases as a way of generating additional revenue.
This OTT industry is booming both in the US and around the world. Last year, music and video-on-demand platforms brought in $18.6 billion worth of revenue in the US alone!
OTT allows people to use these services wherever they are, provided that they have an internet connection. This means that people can skip out cable providers altogether and still access the content that they want to see the most.
What Type of Content Uses OTT Video?
OTT is great for several types of streaming content.
One of the most popular types is video streaming websites. These host a huge number of TV shows and films so that customers can pick whatever they want to watch when they want it. Often one platform will buy the hosting rights for a film or show so that users can only watch it on their site.
For example, Netflix currently hosts the entire Friends series. This means it’s the place to go for any customer who wants to watch this on-demand.
Other OTT video platforms include Amazon Prime, iTunes and Apple TV. You can also now buy and stream content directly via YouTube.
But video isn’t the only thing you can use OTT for.
The rise in popularity of podcasts has made audio streaming a big part of the OTT market. Services like Spotify and Audible all use OTT to stream their content. Some radio stations also use it to stream their channels directly to people’s phones or computers.
OTT doesn’t just have to operate on a one-way basis either. It is now a vital part of online communication applications. Instant-message applications and online calling services all use OTT.
OTT is integral to Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, and WeChat, among other services. This allows people to communicate without the need for a landline or SMS contract.
To really understand how OTT has come to be so useful in our daily lives, let’s take a look at just how OTT delivers its content.
Is OTT The Same As Programmatic Video?
Programmatic video refers to how the video will be optimized and placed digitally. OTT refers more to the type of content rather than the execution of the ad or video. OTT can be ran programmatically. We highly recommend it!
How Do You Deliver OTT Video Content?
There are several ways that users can access OTT content.
These all cut out the need for a third-party to deliver content directly into people’s homes. All that a customer needs in an internet connection and a device that supports streaming applications.
For example, most mobile devices will let you download OTT apps from the app store or online. This means that customers can stream content onto their smartphones or tablets.
You can also download these apps onto your Connected TVs. Some Smart TVs actually come with apps already installed to save customers time installing them themselves. All they have to do is hook the TV up to the internet and pick their favorite shows!
If you have a video game console, such as an Xbox or PlayStation, you should also be able to download OTT apps onto this. This is a great solution if you don’t have a Smart TV in your home.
Finally, customers can access OTT content on their laptops or desktop computers. You can do this by downloading apps to the desktop. Or you can access content directly on a web browser.
As you can see, sharing this content is incredibly easy. This means that you can use the OTT content to reach a wide audience quickly. But this is only one of the benefits of using an OTT media service.
What Are the Benefits of OTT Video?
There are lots of reasons why you should use an OTT platform.
As we already mentioned, this is a booming market. In fact, Netflix alone has nearly 150 million subscribers. The reason for this is that OTT platforms suit customers down to a tee.
They offer cheap streaming services that provide access to a wide variety of content and work across multiple devices. These streaming services also offer a smooth experience for every user, which makes them happy to come back.
Most OTT platforms also offer high-quality content. For example, recently platforms like Amazon Prime and Apple TV have started generating their own original shows. These shows are exclusive to these platforms which means that they boost subscriptions.
For a business owner, more subscriptions mean that your content reaches a bigger audience. And audience numbers have a huge impact on whether your website fails or succeeds.
If you’re looking to advertise then OTT advertising is definitely something you should look into. It lets you create all of your advertising content digitally. This makes it easy to manage and deploy.
OTT platforms also let you monitor your audience more accurately than other services. This means you can assess how effective your content is without loads of extra work.
They provide detailed reports of how long customers spend looking at your content. They can even generate information about which audience demographics you’re hitting.
Not only does OTT offer you a bigger audience but it will also help you to target this audience with relevant content. If that doesn’t sound useful, we don’t know what will!
What Impact Does OTT Video Having on Traditional Types of Media Distribution?
When it comes to media distribution, OTT allows you to stream content to customers more directly than ever before.
Many associate the rise in OTT services with “cord cutting”. This would mean that a large number of customers have canceled their more traditional packages, such as cable and phone lines.
However, this isn’t always the case. Customers are spending more on stronger, faster internet connections in order to access their OTT content. But they are running these subscriptions alongside their traditional cable service.
To preemptively manage OTT competition, some cables service also now offer access to OTT platforms. For example, a premium subscription may provide cable plus an HBO subscription. This will save the customer a fractional amount in subscriptions but helps to keep their cable renewed.
It’s hard to say how this competition will play out in the future. With the rise of Smart TVs, traditional cable packages may have to evolve further to fight off competition. However, one thing is very clear: OTT is here to stay.
Do OTT Solutions Face Any Challenges?
No market exists without challenges and OTT is no exception to this.
YouTube was actually the original OTT streaming service. It began streaming back in 2006 but it wasn’t the only one for long. The following year Netflix went online as a streaming service and the year after that Hulu joined the ranks.
More than a decade on the competition in the OTT market is fierce, particularly for video solutions. The list of OTT video solutions now includes:
- YouTube TV & YouTube Premium
- Apple TV+
- Google Play
- DC Universe
- Prime Video
- PlayStation Vue
- Sling TV
Last month, Disney also launched its own streaming channel Disney+. This highly anticipated release has created fierce competition in the market for kid’s OTT platforms.
Most large services have long-term, committed subscribers and have big budgets for advertising. However, smaller channels often struggle to maintain their subscribers in the face of this. This is made even more difficult when big platforms pour money into original shows, locking down the rights for in-demand content.
This content isn’t exclusive to video content either. There are now more podcast streaming services than ever before. So before you release your content via OTT solutions, it’s important to check out the competition.
Possibilities for OTT Platforms in the Future
Despite this fierce competition, OTT solutions don’t look like they’re going anywhere soon. In fact, since their conception in 2006, the market has swelled beyond belief! And its future prospects are looking equally hopeful.
Video streaming services offer easy access to a global market and their reach in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions is on the rise. Some platforms are already using this global reach to target customers in different countries.
For example, HBO is currently in licensing talks over the international streaming rights for Games of Thrones. This will allow streaming in select countries around the world so that OTT platforms can target specific audiences.
As well as expanding on existing platforms, OTT services are also developing new platforms for new customers. For example, they are creating educational OTT platforms. These combine video streaming and communication platforms.
This perfectly complements the recent rise in e-Learning around the world and gives these platforms a global reach. They are a great way to promote healthy-living solutions and share child-friendly content. And they will open up access to educational content for more students than ever before.
All of these solutions also come with the possibility of making media providers more money.
Monetizing OTT Platforms
OTT solutions also have a lot of potential financially.
At the moment, the majority of platforms just make their money through subscriptions to standard packages. However, more money could be made by offering additional features via in-app purchases.
For example, video streaming platforms could offer behind-the-scenes content of popular shows. This could come as part of a premium package or as a one-off purchase. This would also allow you to target customers who have already shown an interest in that content.
Using technological development alongside OTT platforms also opens up a new monetizing possibility. This may be a little further down the line but it could be a real money-maker.
At the moment YouTube users have the option to choose cheap SD content or pay a premium for HD content. But what’s to say this has to stop there?
3D and virtual reality content is on the rise. Offering this for a premium could give OTT platforms an edge for video streaming or communication in the future. Just imagine how cool it would be to FaceTime your grandma in 3D from the other side of the world!
The Potential of OTT
In the last fourteen years, we have seen an enormous rise in the use of OTT video in homes around the world. Customers now use OTT solutions throughout their daily lives and this opens up a lot of possibilities for media agencies.
Using an OTT platform could help you reach a wider audience than ever before and you could monetize on this as you go! What’s not to like?
For more information on promoting your business, check out these brilliant media services. Or get in touch to schedule an appointment with a digital marketing expert today. We’re here to help!