What is OTT (Over the Top) and Why is it Important?

If you’re familiar with the Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, and SlingTV, then you probably already have a rough idea of What OTT is. Many TV consumers are gradually shifting from normal broadcasting to OTT.

With this transition seemingly inevitable, most media companies are openly embracing the change. But what is OTT?

In this piece, we’ll comprehensively talk about OTT starting with its definition and its growing importance in the TV industry. We’ll also highlight some of the challenges media companies face in integrating OTTinto their strategies.

What Is OTT?

Over-the-top (OTT) is a media service in which companies offer product streaming online directly as an individual commodity. Publications have rightly dubbed this media service as the future of television because of its constant surge in popularity.

The technique ditches conventional broadcasting methods and instead uses the internet to relay content. For this reason, many consumers with an internet connection, a wi-fi capable device like a smart TV or a streaming stick can easily access this service.

Most OTT companies make money through periodic subscriptions. Some companies, however, offer free OTT services with in-app purchases or advertisements. Some great OTT examples include Netflix, HBO TV, Hulu, to name a few.

Though OTT is often reserved for video streaming services, the term can also be applied to online messaging services, audio streaming, and online video or voice calls.

Facebook and WeChat are perfect examples of OTT messaging services. Skype and WhatsApp are also OTT providers that offer voice calling services.

What Makes OTT So Important?

The exact importance of OTT is rooted in its increasing growth in mainstream media consumption by online media streaming services. A VAB report recently concluded that OTT usage in American homes has tripled over the last five years.

A staggering fifty-one million households have subscribed to OTT media streaming services. This figure represents about half of all wi-fi connected homes; that’s a significant fraction if you ask me.

And with the trend pointing upwards, most media companies are compelled to join the wave. Which brings us to our next discussion, Why use OTT?

Reasons Why OTT Is Important

As more and more media companies are gearing towards Over the Top video services, It’s only right for you or your company to jump on the bandwagon too. Here are a few reasons why you should consider using OTT.

1. Original and Unique Content

If you’ve been on Netflix or Amazon Prime TV recently, you’ll notice a lot of original content exclusively for the OTT channels. This exclusivity makes it easier for consumers to access your content, and you also retain customer loyalty.

2. Great Content That Doesn’t Cost Much

Media streaming services have a definite edge over standard cable packages. Not only do you have access to thousands of movies, TV series and documentaries at a reasonable price, but you also can watch them wherever and whenever you want.

All you need is a reliable internet connection and a Wi-Fi capable device.

Netflix, for instance, charges only twelve dollars per month for its HD package and only eight dollars for the normal subscription.

3. Multiple Compatibility

Unlike traditional broadcasting, you don’t always need to have your TV to get access to your favorite shows. As long as your on any device with Wi-Fi and an internet connection. All you need to do is download the necessary apps and register with the particular service.

You can also share the same account among multiple devices, though this feature is limited with some companies. Some devices that allow OTT streaming include:-

• Mobile Phones

Both Apple and Android smartphones have OTT apps that can be downloaded to access OTT services.

• Personal Computers

Mac and Windows PCs allow access to OTT services through various programs and web browsers.

• Smart TVs

The new wave of smart TVs allows TV compatible apps to be downloaded straight to your TV including OTT apps

- Normal TVs

TVs with USB ports can be transformed into smart TVs with smart boxes or TV sticks to enable them to access OTT services

- Video Game Consoles

Some consoles have preinstalled OTT apps or allow streaming of media content by downloading OTT apps

Apart from these devices, other digital media players are OTT capable. With OTT services the optioms are manifold.

Do OTT Companies Face Challenges?

Yes, just like any other businesses, OTT companies have their fair share of problems. The major challenge among OTT is competition.

Today, Netflix is not the only streaming service available. With more and more media companies adopting OTT services into their business strategies, competition has become pretty stiff.

To prove this, consider Disney’s recent announcement to launch its streaming service in November 2019. HBO has also considered entering the game with their very own streaming service for all platforms.

Apart from the big names, smaller companies are also making significant strides in terms of OTT streaming services. Companies like CenturyLink and DaCast are slowly growing their customer base.

Opportunities in OTT

Despite these few challenges, OTT continues to hold as a thriving industry. If you’re looking to venture into this industry, you might want to consider the following.

First, the OTT industry has amassed global popularity in recent years. From Asia to the North Pacific, the whole world seems to have taken a liking for online streaming services.

Secondly, apart from the entertainment aspect of OTT, the service can also be used for educational purposes for institutions and instructional streaming techniques.

Thirdly, the industry is set for massive growth, especially with the advent of 5G. This technology sets the world up for a more versatile, diverse, and competitive OTT industry.

Start Creating OTT Content

We hope that you now have a firm understanding of what OTT is, its importance in the media industry, and the reasons for its popularity. If you’re sold on the idea of OTT for your company, then you might want to take the necessary steps to put it into fruition.

Contact us today, and we’ll help you out each step of the way.