The introduction of commercial television altered the entertainment environment for all parties involved, from viewers to networks to marketers and brands capitalizing on that viewership. OTT distribution is now positioned to follow suit.

With the introduction of streaming services, which redefined what it means to “watch TV,” the way we perceive content has changed dramatically. From subscription-based services like Netflix to transactional aggregators like Vimeo On Demand, consumers have an apparently limitless number of options for controlling what and when they watch. As a result, it is critical for content creators to create an appropriate OTT strategy.

If the younger generation has taught us anything, it is that people want freedom of choice and they want it now — hence the success of OTT companies. It’s been so effective that the United States now has over 820 million connected video devices, with 71% of internet users using an OTT service at least once a month. These figures are continuously changing as the internet’s and OTT distribution’s capabilities grow. When you consider the reach of the hundreds of available streaming services, it’s simple to see the enormous potential for OTT.

Sharing content that their customers care about is critical for brands looking to grow and connect with their audience — and creating a proprietary OTT channel is one way to get ahead of the curve. The opportunity to cut through the noise of social media and improve a consumer’s experience continues to draw more people into the fascinating world of OTT.

Here’s everything you need to know about OTT strategy, how companies are embracing it, and the advantages of shifting your video marketing strategy to OTT.

What is OTT?

Over-the-top (OTT) refers to premium video material that is streamed directly to viewers over the internet via various devices rather than appearing on conventional broadcast TV outlets such as cable and satellite. Netflix, Hulu, Paramount+, and Amazon Prime Video are a few instances of OTT strategy in action.

Related: What Is The Difference Between Connected TV (CTV) And Over-The-Top (OTT)?

What are folks looking at? Apple TV, SmartTV, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, and FireStick are a few instances of OTT-capable devices. Mobile and desktop devices can also stream OTT content, but they are not called OTT devices.

This is being played out in dramatic form today. As more and more people abandon cable, OTT distribution has become an essential component of the content production process. According to a Pew Research Center study from 2021, only 56% of Americans viewed TV through traditional cable and satellite setups.

5 Benefits of Adopting an OTT Strategy

There’s a reason why OTT strategy adoption is on the increase — several reasons, in fact. Here are a few of the features that make OTT so appealing, ranging from its monetization choices to its ability to be streamed almost anywhere.

  1. Stream It Anywhere: If there’s a wifi or internet signal, there’s OTT. This means your content can be consumed in a much wider viewing space.
  2. Ads and Other Monetization Strategies: OTT content is full of potential for targeted campaigns, ad-hoc subscriptions services, syndication and more. In fact, one study revealed that publishers could potentially earn $21.6B annually across YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
  3. Availability: Viewers are no longer limited to what’s on the air; they can watch what they want at any time they want.
  4. Consumer Freedom: OTT puts viewers in control, which in turn, drives the demand for more content production and faster turnaround times.
  5. Go Global: We mentioned the ability to stream anywhere. This is not limited by region. The beautiful thing about OTT distribution is that viewers can watch content wherever they live. Think for a minute about the possibilities that may open up for your brand.

Growing Your Audience

All of these advantages contribute to the growing importance of OTT strategy for businesses seeking to differentiate themselves in the marketplace: omnichannel marketing. OTT, with its click-through rates, view rates, and other data, provides insight into the customer journey that conventional advertising channels cannot provide. Furthermore, OTT provides a unique chance to grow an audience by engaging customers through relevant video content that they genuinely care about.

Bottom line: OTT can help increase audiences, strengthen campaigns, and provide a more robust experience from first contact to purchase.

The Challenges of OTT Strategy

OTT, like many amazing innovations, comes with its own set of challenges. When it comes to advertisements, for example, frequency without limits can be a problem for customers. Bot activity has also increased in poorly handled OTT distribution. In the same spirit, both consumers and brands are concerned about data privacy and ad fraud. Finally, according to Forbes, placement is a problem that can be alleviated by using platform filters.

Whose upping their OTT strategy and why?

Given the benefits and potential of a well-managed OTT strategy, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of companies are overhauling their video strategies in favor of launching their own OTT networks. Getting started is simpler than ever, and the marketing ROI potential is enormous after the initial investment.

Reach is also important because OTT users vary in age. According to this research, more than three-quarters of the OTT audience is between the ages of 18 and 49, with millennials (18-34) accounting for 56% of ad impressions and Gen X accounting for 27%. (35-54).

Related: The Advertising Industry Has Launched An Effort To Revise Standard Terms And Conditions For Digital Advertising

Sundance, HBO, and Disney+, which launched in the fall of 2019, are among the notable companies taking advantage. Even broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC, and others are catering to the OTT audience by making their programming available on apps and online. NBC News, for example, used OTT distribution effectively when it launched “Stay Tuned” in 2018, the first daily news show to appear on a social media channel.

However, OTT isn’t just for the big boys. Smaller, more savvy brands with specialized communities will also benefit from their own OTT content in the coming years. With social media’s continued rise, the time has come to profit on the potential of OTT business and distribution.

Today, the OTT network provides creators, brands, and even consumers with an unprecedented chance to create an experience that benefits everyone involved.


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