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Monetizing the ‘OTT’ buzz

By - Harichandra Nair | 2 Sep 2016

W
hen was the last time you watched the television?

Do you know you’re using OTT services to watch television without even realizing so?

Heard of OTT before?

If you’re a millennial, there’s an overwhelming chance that you have a fair idea of what OTT programming is and how people across the world are using it to access content in every form.

However, if you’re someone who isn’t aware of this phenomenon yet, its time you understood just how much you stand to lose. Ready to know more and stay ahead in today’s agile world? Scroll down to get a detailed view of what’s currently trending as a topic of immense interest – OTT.

For starters, Over-The-Top (OTT) refers to a service that is used over the network services of a service provider application. A recent TDG report states that OTT TV advertising is expected to grow nearly fourfold between 2015 and 2020 to touch the $ 40 billion mark. Empirical evidence of this is several network service providers including HBO, CBS and NBC launching standalone OTT services. The premise, of course, is to maintain revenue streams and margins in the face of Internet-based OTT in the coming years.

The media and entertainment (M&E) industry, like the larger business environment today, is experiencing an increased interest and focused attention on OTT. The glitch, though, is most people outside the business having no idea about what OTT is. So much so that if the acronym was explained to them, the default response would be ‘Over-the-top of what?’

Truth is that OTT is increasingly occupying a major chunk of the content delivery mix today. For instance, one of its prime advantages is that it lets you watch videos (repurposed TV programming) through an app or devices like desktops and / or laptops , gaming consoles (such as PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One), set-top boxes, smartphones, smart TVs and tablets. Having said so, there is a clear and pressing need to find innovative ways to acquire new customers, increase traction among existing ones, and find new revenue streams.

OTT heavyweights like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber and WeChat are taking off as messaging services of choice, prompting operators to seriously think about creating sustainable business models that enable them to partner with OTT players.

Major OTT players like Starz, Showtime and Viacom have either announced or launched subscription-based video services – also called direct-to-consumer (D2C) – to meet the escalating demand for OTT. Their move to OTT is considered as smart, as digital disruption and mobile adoption have upended traditional business models, especially when it comes to TV viewership.

A major part of the M&E industry runs on advertising, and in this context, OTT video has the unique advantage of being able to collect consumer data to a great extent. With video consumption on the rise, there’s an enormous value that can be garnered from targeted ads.

However, OTT TV programing’s major challenge is its lack of unified measuring. This makes advertisement buying and selling difficult. Standardizing this domain can help OTT service providers / players gain rich dividends by fully monetizing the true value of OTT TV programming, in the coming years.   Companies must also begin to determine / reshape their strategies, overcome technical challenges, and fine-tune their business models to take advantage of this opportunity to gain greater customer satisfaction and increase revenues.

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