Over the top or OTT streaming is becoming a major part of viewer’s media diets. Audiences are shifting away from traditional satellite networks when it comes to consuming entertainment. On-demand and live OTT platforms like Netflix, Disney +, HBO Now, Amazon prime, etc. are leading the market.
By eliminating the restrictions of traditional TV networks, OTT streaming platforms provide better access to the needs of modern consumers. They allow them to consume content on their convenience and the devices of their choice.
OTT streaming amplifies the power of media delivery by offering powerful analytics and reporting tools to professional broadcasters. By leveraging OTT services, streaming services can refine their OTT offerings to match the requirements of users faster than ever before.
It also presents a unique opportunity to reach and connect with a growing user base who are inclined more into cord-cutting.
What is OTT?
OTT is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the internet and is accessed through websites on personal computers or apps on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. OTT content can also be accessed on digital media players including video game consoles or TV integrated with Smart TV platforms.
An OTT platform provides viewers the flexibility to view their favorite TV shows and movies across the connected devices of their choice, something which the traditional TV network cannot provide due to technological restrictions.
OTT service offers app-based services that stream content directly on the viewer’s device by surpassing traditional content distribution channels which are commonly referred to as online TV.
OTT services are increasingly used in offering media and communication services for distribution of movie and TV content as on-demand and live streaming features prove to be much cost-effective for consumers than traditional satellite networks.With the cord-cutting trend increasing, most brands are brainstorming on how to start an OTT business to stream their content on the web, mobile, and connected devices. The revenue in OTT is projected to reach $206,563m by 2024 showing an annual growth rate of 11.5%.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the movie industry has been particularly hit hard by screens closed. The current pandemic has transformed how viewers are watching their favorite shows and movies.
While most movie studios have decided to delay their new releases, some of them have decided to bring their movies straight to the homes of viewers which seems to be a smart idea. For example, Trolls 2: World Tour made over $100 million in rentals in just a week and Universal gained around 80% revenue from the online release which is an excellent response to OTT streaming.
How does OTT streaming work?
The main distinction between OTT streaming and traditional broadcasting is that video file sizes are very large. Therefore, transferring these big sized files and offering a smooth playback experience for viewers simultaneously can be challenging.
To overcome this issue, video files of OTT content must be compressed and cut down to smaller videos called packets.OTT streams are sent to viewers at the rate of a single packet at a time. As these small files are received by the user’s device, streaming protocols realign the data to a single video file that is delivered to end-users.
Its content offers great flexibility and convenience to viewers. The videos can be delivered to various devices like laptops, smartphones, Smart TV, and streaming media boxes like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, etc.
OTT simplifies and improves the content delivery process and blurs the line between streaming and traditional broadcasting.
OTT streaming vs video on demand
Most commonly OTT and video on demand are used interchangeably as people are confused between both. While these technologies are closely related, they are entirely different and can be used independently of one another.
Video on demand is the actual content you deliver to the audience whereas, OTT is the medium of content delivery between viewers and broadcasters.
The technology is also the solution for streaming live events like concerts, sports, business meetings, or church services. These live performances can be broadcasted using OTT streaming and later added on to VOD libraries for future playback.
One of the major advantages of it is that it is relatively cheaper than traditional broadcasting. Leveraging the ready-made infrastructure of existing OTT providers, brands can quickly deliver reliable and best quality content for their online viewers. In the most basic sense, VOD is what you offer to the audience and OTT streaming is how you provide the content to your viewers.
OTT content: Giving your viewers what they want
The most successful OTT business plan includes strategies to improve your content offers so that you can become and stay as a successful OTT provider in the market.
Netflix understood the significance of content and realized best TV shows and series could get snapped up by satellite TV networks or could be taken back by original creators like Disney recently did to them.
The best way is to create your own OTT content so that you have a great deal of information from users and leverage these analytics to improve your offerings.
For example, Netflix found out that viewers would binge-watch originals in a way that they would do for sitcoms. When Netflix launched the House of cards, it leveraged its robust analytics to understand how much they loved their show.
Powerful tips for OTT broadcasters to increase viewer engagement
OTT services are constantly looking for effective ways to increase viewer engagement. Higher engagement can positively impact user satisfaction and can greatly improve the user experience.
Viewers who are interested in your offerings are more likely to visit your platform to stream more shows. Keeping your viewers engaged must not be just for a moment, it must be a long term goal.
You must find powerful ways to keep your subscribers on broad for the long run especially in the ultra-competitive OTT environment.Here are some of the established ways to improve viewer engagement which can bring in increased revenue and profitability.
Offer top-notch viewing experience
What makes viewers come back to an OTT platform for more? One important element in the success of OTT services is the excellent user experience that ensures top quality video and audio delivery across all devices.
When was the last time you watched a blurry video that took a lot of time to buffer? You probably might not be able to remember. Most viewers have zero tolerance for fuzzy videos or videos that pauses often.
The OTT content must be of the best quality challenging TV networks to offer a first-class user experience. With linear TV services, audiences are used to receiving a high-level viewing experience where the TV channels instantly appear once they click the remote.
The audience of OTT content expects the same level of performance and experience in all locations across all platforms and devices. Integrating top-notch OTT platform features also contributes to a great user experience.
Customize the encounter
The more your audience receives recommendations that are specific to their interests and viewing behavior, the more likely they would be related to the OTT content. However, viewers resonating with the content takes more than a smart recommendation.
OTT broadcasters need accurate data to base these smart recommendations and analyze the information the right way to deliver the most effective user experience to end-users while complying with recommended regulations.
When continuous and smart feedback loop and data collection is implemented where the information is collected based on the user behavior to offer smart and customized recommendations that are useful to improve the viewing journey of each user.
Personalization is not just about what to offer to your audience but also customizing the way your content is offered. Personalized user experiences include the following:
Continued user experiences
The ability to choose and view content that they stopped viewing in the middle.
Creating wish lists
Viewers can watch chosen content that they cannot view at the moment or view specific series over and over again.
Offering viewers particular content to watch based on user preferences.
Integrate social sharing to improve viewer engagement
Over 60%-70% of viewers who watch TV also use a second screen like a computer, laptop, a smartphone, or an iPad. Utilizing this second screen is one way to encourage viewer engagement by providing more information about your new shows.
Even big streaming services like Netflix use a multi-channel approach to keep with the audience who are an active part of social media space. Many OTT broadcasters use voting and other social media techniques to enhance active user audiences enabling them to take part in the conversation and interact with their favorite content.
Social media platforms are a great space for your audience to interact with your brand in real-time heightening engagement.
You can share deleted scenes of originals, upcoming events, commentary from the cast and crew, interview with popular actors to engage your audience and collect valuable feedback from them.
Offer original content that lures viewers
Streaming original content started with Netflix. Even though it is not this one method that contributed to the success of Netflix, original content is surely a critical factor.
Netflix originals always outnumber normal content and pioneers binge-watching.
Netflix continues to produce a wide variety of original content and relies on the data collected from the feedback of these originals just like how traditional TV networks use Nielsen ratings to rate their shows.
One of the main goals behind creating original OTT content is to lure new subscribers and get new users to consume your services.
Use powerful business analytics
Producing real content is not enough to emerge as a successful brand. Along with creating interesting content, you must also measure the impact of your content to analyze which performs well and which isn’t working great.
With that said, don’t just measure the content but measure the effect on your content packages, advertising, and promotions.
When you are creating your OTT platform, make sure you integrate powerful business analytics to gain valuable and actionable insights to fine-tune offerings.
You can use a white label solution or Netflix clone that features great and accurate analytics and reporting tools. OTT services can utilize business analytics and reporting tools to personalize the viewing experience and to build strong relations with their audience.
With a focus on great content, excellent user experience, speed, convenience, and value, OTT is the next evolution of content delivery. OTT helps broadcasters deliver what content viewers want without the network restrictions of traditional broadcasting.
As premium OTT services are becoming the sources for top quality and entertaining original content, there is a high demand for OTT content in the industry despite the fierce competition.
Now is the perfect time to enter the OTT industry if you want to leverage the power of video streaming to emerge as a competitive brand.