What is Over The Top?
Over-the-Top, or OTT, in short, is the term used for the delivery of film and TV content over the medium of the internet, putting aside the need to subscribe to traditional media, like cable, multichannel television, or satellite pay-TV, which offer services such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable, which traditionally have been controllers or distributors of such content. An OTT application could be any application or service that provides a product using the Internet as the medium and bypasses traditional distribution channels. These services are mostly related to media and communication and are, almost always, lower in cost than the traditional delivery methods. OTT services are usually accessed through websites, using personal computers, mobile apps, digital media players, or smart TVs.
Types of OTT Content
- OTT Television – Internet TV or streaming television has emerged as one of the most popular OTT contents. In this type of OTT service, the content is received over the internet or through a cell phone network, unlike the traditional method of receiving the television signal from a terrestrial broadcast or satellite. Access to the content is controlled by the video distributor, by means of either a mobile app or a separate OTT dongle or box, connected to a phone, PC, or television set.
- OTT Messaging – This type of OTT content is defined as an instant messaging service or an online chat service provided by third parties, which provides an alternative to SMS services provided by mobile telephone networks. Messaging services such as WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Skype, Telegram, and Google Allo are good examples of an OTT messaging service.
- OTT Voice Calling – This type of OTT content is more popularly known by the term Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP). Internet services that provide these capabilities are Skype, WeChat, Viber, WhatsApp and Google Duo. These services use open internet communication protocols to replace services offered by mobile phone and telecom operators and are gaining acceptance worldwide.
Modes of Access to OTT Content
OTT devices are driving the merger between the world of television and that of digital video. Users can access OTT content through the following Internet-connected devices:-
- Mobile phones (iOS, Android and Windows type)
- Smart TVs
- Set-top Boxes (Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku etc)
- Gaming consoles
- Desktop and Laptop computers
- Tablet computing devices
Services like Netflix have a first-mover advantage and dominate the new entrants in this field. However, smaller services like those launched by Amazon, Hulu, HBO Now, and CBS All-Access are catching up. Thus as more players get onto the field, the established ones will find it harder and harder to get noticed.
As OTT technology evolves and develops, its offerings will increase to meet consumer demands. Some of the features of OTT that are driving consumer demand and innovation are:
- Global View Cloud-hosted Dashboard
- Personalized Overlays, Feeds, and Widgets
- Automated Contextual Program Scheduling
- In-Video Interactivity
- Social Media Integration
- Video/App/User/Demographic Analytics
- Targeted Advertising
Viewer Measurement Holds the Key
As the audience for video splits across devices and consumer viewing behavior shifts from linear TV to streaming video, the ability to understand, measure, and filter-out duplicate audiences has become critical for both advertisers and programmers. Innovations in software have now made it possible to identify and filter duplicate instances of viewers, thereby limiting repetitive advertising across TV and streaming video. This allows advertisers to optimize the frequency and reach and drive conversion across digital, OTT, and linear TV, with the aid of a unified view of all viewers, across platforms. Moreover, by improving and adapting campaigns in quick response to user requirements, not only do the returns on ad spend improve, but it also helps reduce waste and dramatically improves the user experience. With more than $220 billion spent on TV and digital video advertising globally, the advantages of such a measurement with a unified view are far-reaching. With a huge market and availability of tech-savvy population, India is projected to be one of the top OTT video markets by 2022
The growth of the OTT category will continue to be significant in advertising and subscription. Monetization methods will strengthen with the increase in the number of advertisers and subscribers. In a rapidly changing ecosystem, where consumer requirements and technological advances push each other forwards constantly, OTT content delivery is a key requirement for operators and an attractive revenue stream for broadcasters and content creators. The conversion of Technology, Media and Telecommunications are going to take place on a huge scale. Machine Learning and AI will evolve further to add value to the user’s time. Rural audiences will have a huge influence on the growth of OTT.