2015 was certainly an interesting year for OTT, as more providers joined the market and the shadow of ad-blocking presented a unique and ongoing challenge. Each year is now bringing a significant amount of flux, as the world of OTT evolves to meet the demands of a rising global audience. Major broadcasters are now starting to provide video streaming options, and providers are increasing their concentration on producing original content.
Let’s take a look at some of the developments that shaped the world of OTT in 2015 and why they are so important to the future of the industry.
We had already become used to the continued growth of major players such as Netflix, but in the second half of 2015 we witnessed something different. An impressive ten significant OTT provisions launched, with many of them based on providing an SVOD service. 2015 was the year that saw major networks such as CBS launch their CBS All Access subscription service. Others to enter the fray included Smithsonian, Showtime and Starz. Their planning finally reached fruition, as they aligned all of their technological planning and budgetary considerations.
All of this is very good news for subscribers who are being treated to a wider range of content going forward. In the coming months, providers will need to provide high-quality content at a competitive price in order to remain afloat.
Live streaming is alive and well
In 2015 live streaming moved further into the mainstream, at least partly due to the impressive reach of live stream gaming site Twitch which was purchased by Amazon. Other gaming providers recognised opportunity potential, leading to the development of YouTube gaming. Another development to affect the world of live streaming in 2015 was the emergence of apps such as Meerkat and Periscope. Right now these apps are still reaching their full potential, and there are certain copyright issues to overcome, with users attempting to stream copyright protected events. The apps have opened up the world of live streaming further, though.
In the future, these apps represent a very real opportunity for real-time feedback on marketing campaigns, and expanded use in the realm of sports event journalism.
During 2015, you could not escape the subject of ad blocking, and it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s not clear exactly how much revenue has been lost through the use of ad blocking software, but it certainly runs into the billions of dollars. This is not something that can be taken lightly by the industry.
Online video producers and marketers need to find a way to overcome the obstacles that ad blocking presents. The problem is that there is no real incentive for viewers to want to let ads through. This is especially the case for mobile device users where ad content can be heavy on data usage and can often lead to mobile websites crashing. One of the options providers may want to consider is one that has been adopted by mobile gaming providers. Gamers are encouraged to watch ads in return for enhanced gameplay features. One thing is for sure, the challenge of ad blocking is one of the major hurdles that need to be addressed during 2016 and beyond.
Local television embracing OTT opportunities
Local television stations are more and more embracing the use of news aggregator streaming apps to enable them to bring their content to a wider audience when events are happening. This is not just an important content producing improvement for local stations, it also enables them to increase their revenue stream. They are able to use ad generation technology to bring local-centric advertising to their viewers.
Netflix especially has become known as a quality provider of original content as well as an OTT provider. The OTT giant aims to have at least 30 original titles on offer to subscribers by the end of 2016 and has even invested in office space in Hollywood to be closer to the heart of original production.
High-quality original content can only be a good thing for subscribers. It also presents real savings options for providers who have to pay less to acquire content if they produce more of their own. Producing original content certainly seems to be the way forward in the world of OTT.
You can see how 2015 has been a year of much change for the OTT industry. The number of providers has expanded and technology has continued to advance. As we begin 2016 the expansion seems set to continue, as does the challenge of ad blocking and the aim to produce a higher percentage of original content.