It’s no surprise that streaming video is taking over television. Netflix has over 148 million subscribers worldwide and growing. Keep reading to learn how OTT (Over-The-Top) streaming is changing media today.
What is OTT Streaming?
“Over-the-top” media services are essentially any online content provider that delivers streaming media as it’s only product. This term tends to be applied to any video-on-demand platforms, but can also refer to messaging services, internet-based voice calling and or audio streaming services.
OTT services provide a way around traditional media distribution channels like cable providers and telecommunication networks. All you need is Internet access either locally or through your mobile network, and you can get access to streaming services on your time.
OTT services tend to be monetized through paid subscriptions, but there can be exceptions. There are some OTT platforms that could offer advertising and or in-app purchases.
How OTT is Changing Media
There’s a good chance you’re already using OTT now, as over fifty percent of American have and maintain Netflix subscriptions. While the other 50 percent are probably using someone’s Netflix’s log-in credentials.
High Value, Low Cost
OTT is much more appealing than traditional television because it offers high-value content at a low price. Streaming services are considered to be much more cost-efficient than cable packages.
A Netflix HD membership is currently $12.99 a month, which is super reasonable even if you only watch a fraction of the content on the streaming platform.
OTT providers don’t only stream classic movies and TV shows, OTT services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, have also started producing original content. This content is exclusively available through their platforms. While services like HBO Go and Disney+ have exclusive licenses with previously televised content.
Before OTT, watching cable meant having a television set. Now we can watch OTT from many different devices. If you’re an account holder, you can get the same OTT experience from your smartphone, smart TV, tablet and or gaming console.
How OTT is Delivered?
Since OTT is internet-based, OTT platforms can bypass third party networks that used to manage online content, in the past. All a customer needs is an internet connection and a hardware device that is compatible.
Here’s how you can stream on various devices.
Tablets and smartphones can download OTT apps from any supported digital storefront.
Most computers support viewing OTT content through desktop-based apps and or web browsers.
TV models often have pre-installed OTT apps, or users are provided with an option to download these apps.
Digital Media Players (TV-Connected Devices)
This includes third party devices like Apple TV, which support a whole bunch of OTT solutions. A lot of modern video game consoles include the ability to run and download OTT apps.
Types of Content Suitable for OTT Solutions
The OTT conversation tends to mostly revolve around video-on-demand, but the technology can actually cover a wide range of web-based content. Here’s a closer look.
The most recognized version of OTT media tends to be streaming video. This includes subscription-based platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but there are also paid platforms like iTunes and ad-based services like YouTube.
You can also stream audio through OTT. Some examples of this are internet radio stations like Spotify and Pandora, and podcasts.
OTT based instant messaging services can connect users just through internet connections. This bypasses mobile SMS networks. We see this on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Skype, WeChat and many other brands like this keep popping up.
Most of these services can replace or integrate with text messaging from a smartphone.
VOIP or Voice Over IP calls platforms like WeChat and Skype that run on Internet platforms, are considered to be OTT services. In some cases, these services are able to integrate with mobile phone networks and can enhance certain features.
Is OTT Replacing Traditional Media Distribution?
Most OTT services are associated with trying to “cord cut” which means cancel TV or phone subscriptions and focus just on the web alternatives. While cord-cutting has increased OTT consumer adoption, this doesn’t mean that traditional networks will go away entirely.
Actually, customers tend to maintain their traditional cable services along with their Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions. You should also keep in mind that OTT services are relatively new, and they could still go through some major change as they are refined through the years.
You might soon find that OTT platforms will bundle together, similar to how traditional cable packages work. Some cable companies are now offering OTT solutions like HBO with their premium subscriptions
The Biggest OTT Opportunities
Regardless of these challenges, OTT technology still has a lot of potential. As video streaming services rise globally, North America represents the most mature market with a 51 percent adoption rate.
Europe and Asia-Pacific are also showing impressive growth as brands like Netflix internationally expand. Aside from global adoption rates, there are major opportunities in the non-entertainment market.
A recent survey shows that fifty percent of OTT subscribers pay for educational content, typically in the form of instructional streaming platforms. Streaming services that have children’s programming or health-based content tends to hold the most potential.
OTT platforms might also want to consider the benefits of tiered monetization. Most solutions are subscription-based (SVoD), but in 2018, twenty percent of subscribers made in-app purchases. This made a wide net for monetization methods that could help OTT grow in the future.
OTT services have been here for years, but still, have room for growth. More diversity and competition shows the market is healthy and growing, and there are still some untapped opportunities.
OTT is Changing Media
Now that you know how OTT streaming is changing media, it’s time to accept it. It’s an exciting time for media, as really anything can happen with steaming services. But if one thing is for sure, OTT will continue to grow, improve and flourish. For more OTT resources, be sure to check out more of our blog posts and subscribe to our newsletter today!
Tags: OTT • subscriptions