Where do you watch your favourite series and talk shows if you happen to miss the episode on your traditional cable or satellite TV? The answer is obvious, we use the video streaming applications available online on demand anytime and anywhere. These applications are built using an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, which can be used to access the videos through the internet on any device. For those of you unfamiliar with the term OTT platform, video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, HBO Go and Hulu might ring a bell. People choose OTT services for multiple reasons; however, the main driver is its convenience. With easy internet access you can use the OTT services anywhere using your laptop, smart phones, tablets or any other streaming device. Additionally, you can repeatedly watch your favourite episodes as many times as you like; unlike on traditional cable tv. The OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, among others, provide a complete list of episodes on a variety of TV shows allowing you to watch what you please. The cost involved in the subscription of the OTT service is cheaper and with some of the premium subscription packages you can enjoy watching the content without advertisement. The most important benefit you get by using the OTT platform is you get to consume original content at your convenience.
OTT service platforms provide three types of Video on demand (VOD) modules:
- AVOD free and ad-supported services
AVOD, an advertisement-based video on demand module is free to use as no subscription is required. The best example is YouTube where we find a number of advertisements stirring in middle of the video, but you still watch the videos for free as no subscription is required to access the content.
- TVOD transaction services
In Transactional VOD model we pay only for the content we consume; the module is divided into two sub categories TVOD-Electronic sell through (EST) and Download on rent (DTR). In TVOD-Electronic sell through (EST) module you get an unlimited viewing access to content on demand via internet on any device for a onetime fee and in Download to rent (DTR) you can rent a content for a limited time for a onetime fee. For example, every smart phone has a Google Play store or an iTunes online store where you can purchase content as required.
- SVOD Subscription-based services
Subscription VOD uses a subscription-based business module where you will be charged a weekly, monthly or yearly fee with unlimited access to the programs. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Hotstar, Amazon Prime video, Voot, Jio Cinema are some of the examples for subscription-based VOD.
Currently we find many people shifting towards online channels and spending more on subscription video services. According to various research reports they found a great shift in the growth of OTT market about 51 percentage of user are between the age group of 18 to 40 years. Europe is going to be the biggest contributor in the OTT and online video market. Netflix is the leading OTT service market provider and it is the most consumed online streaming portal in Europe. Businesses that can benefit from launching OTT services are fitness, education, yoga and entertainment as they can not only be accessed anywhere at any time but also provide personalized content on demand through subscriptions. However, as more companies are joining the OTT service market, it is becoming highly competitive urging providers to invest more on creating original content. OTT providers like HBO Go create their own content to engage wide range of audience and drive more traffic and subscriptions to their sites.
The OTT platform leverages a cloud-based solution for the storage and delivery of the content so the functioning of the OTT platform purely depends on the broadband internet connection. The OTT providers use technologies like artificial Intelligence and machine learning to curate content according to the user’s interest. Based on your viewer history it gives you personalized recommendation of what video to watch next. However, one of the negative aspects of an OTT platform is that if your internet connection is slow you will have difficulties in accessing the content. Additionally, sometimes OTT providers do not get OTT rights for certain channels which are strictly meant for Cable TV. Another drawback is the data usage limit set by the internet service provider. Despite its drawbacks OTT services continue to be an attractive option to consumers due to the high quality and low cost video streaming capability.
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