Over The Top (OTT) usage was still in its nascent stage before the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic. Today, it has become a way of life. Entertainers, advertisers, marketers, etc., have been using the OTT platform for screening new movies, advertising products, and services, live video streaming etc. It has provided many people with an alternate platform to overcome the mandatory social distancing norm that needs to be currently followed.
OTT or over the top services are so named since they stream media directly to the viewers over the internet. No cable connections or broadband services are needed. The easy availability of interesting content from within the confines of their homes has resulted in the migrating of traditional media consumption to online platforms. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, Hotstar etc., have become buzzwords now with people accessing them on live streaming platforms.
OTT, however, is not a type of service. It is the method of provision of content using the open internet irrespective of the internet access provider. It was initially used for online streaming of TV programmes and videos. Today it offers numerous other services also like instant messaging etc.
This huge spike in popularity is also because of the various benefits OTT services offer like:
- Connectivity: OTT platforms are very easy to use and require only a few things like a stable internet connection, a viewing device like a smart TV or a smartphone etc. The network carrier provides the internet connectivity against a monthly payment and the viewer has the flexibility to choose an internet package or plan based on his requirements.
- Cost-friendly: One internet many uses. The internet is used in several different ways like working from home, live video streaming, online classes, watching movies, accessing social media websites etc. But the internet usage charges are independent of the network carrier chosen or the content that is being accessed. The total cost of OTT usage is based on the internet data package chosen and the subscription fees, if any, for the OTT platforms being watched. In comparison to the traditional TV cable network charges, the charges are, thus, relatively lower.
- Convenience: Since the internet can be accessed from anywhere, at any time and from any device, accessing content on OTT platforms becomes easy. In contrast, traditional Cable networks are bound by physical and geographical boundaries. This freedom of location of OTT services makes it very convenient for viewers to watch their favourite content.
- Varied content: Traditionally cable networks are restrictive in the content that they show. This content usually involves serials, news, live games, movies, kids content etc. Thus the viewer is faced with limitations in channel selection, type, quality and variety of content. OTT platforms offer a wide variety of content, most of which offer free content as well as paid content. Subscriptions enable viewers to become prime members but even without subscribing to OTT platforms, a viewer can watch varied almost unlimited content.
- Device independent viewing: This is perhaps the biggest advantage of OTT platforms. It can be watched on any device irrespective of the network carrier. Additionally, the ability to watch or upload videos even through smartphones makes it possible to enable live video streaming from anywhere and anytime.
Additionally OTT is not used for only streaming or watching content. It can also be used to advertise and market products and services. The OTT offers several advantages in this aspect like:
- Data transparency: Metrics used to measure traditional TV consumption is based on extrapolating interpreted data. OTT advertisements offer greater transparency in content consumption. What a consumer watches, for how much time he watches the same, when is he watching it, which device is he watching content from etc., are just some parameters that OTT had data about. Thus it offers greater data transparency thereby enabling better data analytics.
- Micro-targeting: Advertising campaigns are all about finding the right audience niche and running taste-specific content. With better data analytics OTT platforms offer advertisers the benefit of analyzing who their audiences are, what they want and how their tastes can be catered to so that conversions can be facilitated. Thus micro-targeting becomes easier and there is also greater engagement with the consumer. The advertiser to also able to put across the message in a much better way.
- Access to a healthier, younger audience: Audience targeting parameters calculating the success of an advertising campaign look at the amount of engagement the advertisement has been able to achieve. Thus the availability of a wealthier, younger, more engaging and enhanced audience base makes for the perfect opportunity to unleash an advertising campaign. OTT provides just this. Thus advertising on OTT platforms yield better results and enable better ROI.
- Smooth transition process: Many companies are not very conducive to the idea of running a digital marketing campaign. They still look towards the traditional TV consuming audience for gaining leads and facilitating conversions. For companies and individuals with this mindset, OTT streaming paves a smooth way for transitioning from traditional TV to OTT advertising. With similar formats being followed in both companies can capitalize on both the resources to gain better ROI. Profitability of the company increases with maximum utilization of the:
- Viewable and highly engaging TV commercial breaks and
- Data-oriented online targeting.
- OTT live streaming: This is another extremely useful digital advertising strategy that helps target a niche audience. It enables companies to:
- Have greater control over the marketing strategy adopted,
- Target niche-specific audience,
- Offer multiple device live video streaming,
- Aappeal better to a wealthier niche audience and
- Build and capitalize on word-of-mouth campaigning.
OTT is the future of result-oriented media content delivery. Companies, who understand the same and change their marketing strategies, stand to gain enormous benefits provided they can capitalize on the popularity that the OTT platforms currently enjoy. This choice can make all the difference between standing out in the crowd and becoming a part of the crowd.