A Brief But Definitive Guide to OTT
Most of us use on-demand streaming platforms for our entertainment needs. This is the Age of The Cord-Cutter. More and more people are turning away from conventional cable entertainment to streaming platforms. Giants like Amazon and Hulu are making a lot of money offering streaming content directly to users online. For most people who ask about OTT technology, this is the definitive blog to read.
What is OTT Technology?
OTT stands for over-the-top technology. It refers to offering streaming content directly to consumers as a product on-demand. For many people, OTT represents the shape of entertainment in the 21st Century. With millions of on-demand content consumers all over the world, OTT gains popularity every year. In fact, it has attracted a large, younger segment of traditional cable TV viewers. OTT platforms like Netflix are changing the entertainment game forever. This blog explores:
- OTT Explained
- Why People Use OTT
- The Technology Behind OTT
- Challenges to OTT Media
- Opportunities for OTT
Let’s explore these in more detail below.
Online content providers offer content as a standalone streaming product. This is known as an OTT media service. While the most common OTT services refer to video streaming, others include audio, voice calling, and even messaging. But what sets them apart?
These services work around conventional entertainment distribution frameworks. They don’t need to go through cable TV providers or networks. Instead, all they require is a stable and reliable internet connection. Of course, you can stream over your cellular data, but that can be expensive if you’re streaming in HD. It is better to use your home wifi setup. Most such media services will require a monthly subscription, with a few exceptions. These include services that rely on ads or in-app purchases.
Why People Use OTT
Most Americans have a subscription to a streaming platform like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Some even have subscriptions to more than one. With the majority of Americans relying on on-demand streaming, it is clear that the format is popular. There are also several other factors that contribute to more and more people using them.
For one thing, these media services offer more high-value content than cable at a lower price. For another, these services consistently produce original content to beef up their offerings. Finally, most of these services have apps that are compatible with nearly every smart device. This makes them much more accessible than cable TV. That is also the major difference between CTV and OTT media services.
The Technology Behind OTT
As we saw above, these platforms deliver their services through an internet connection. That means they don’t have to rely on traditional entertainment distribution channels. The underlying technology is genius in its simplicity. All a consumer needs is a compatible device and an internet connection to start streaming. While internet providers obviously see an increase in subscribers, cable TV is seeing a decline.
This is because there are more devices to get your entertainment on than just your TV. You can stream content on your smartphone or tablet. Or you could use a desktop app on your PC or laptop. You can also stream content on a Smart TV or a digital media player like Apple TV.
Challenges to OTT Media
Of course, unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Netflix is not the only service people binge on their streaming devices. There are several other players. Amazon Prime has built up a content library to rival everyone. Disney launched Disney+, that offers exclusive content from the media giant. Even cable TV networks are jumping on board the streaming bandwagon. HBO Go offers exclusive HBO content to select countries.
What this means is that people have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to their streaming platform. If they have more than one platform subscription, they may even experience fatigue from interacting with all of them. This will ultimately lead to people becoming more selective about their content and platform of choice. With cable providers bundling services like HBO Go, the competition will only get stiffer.
Opportunities for OTT
The technology does face significant challenges. But it also has significant opportunities to expand. The demand for video streaming platforms has increased globally. Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America are all major markets that can be further penetrated. The adoption rate for these platforms is very high on a global scale. Mainly because you don’t need a blazing-fast 100Mbps connection to use them. Anything upwards of 3Mbps will do.
At the same time, the entertainment segment is not the only market to explore. Non-entertainment markets are a significant opportunity for OTT media services. Many subscribers are more than willing to pay for educational content. There is immense potential in offering educational streaming content for children and students.
Let’s also not forget that a tiered monetization system can also hold potential. Most services have a subscription format in place in order to use them. But they can also broaden their revenue streams. Offering in-app purchases or advertisements can open up more profits. Casting a wider net than a simple subscription can net these media services more money.
While OTT services aren’t exactly new, they have plenty of room to grow. The market is growing healthily. The competition is increasing, while services are diversifying their offerings. What’s more, there are still many untapped markets with lots of potential. Whether you casually watch movies or religiously follow TV shows, OTT media services are the future of entertainment. We only hope they continue to improve as time goes on.
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