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Asking the Right Questions Comes First
The number of OTT platforms around the world is exploding, with everyone eager to serve content over the Internet to a public hungry for it. If you’re considering launching your own OTT, your first step is to pick the right vendor. The process of choosing a new service or product is usually the same: we usually search for vendors, whittle the number down, ask for a quote and describe what you’re looking for. The most price-conscious choice might be appealing if the budget is tight, or you might choose a vendor that’s more expensive but offers important features. After a demo and a sales pitch, you sign on the dotted line.
That’s a logical process for most of the services and products. But it leaves out some important criteria if you’re searching for an OTT provider. To find out why, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. In the booming world of OTT, hundreds of providers, many of them brand new, are offering services that seem similar and acceptable. How do you find the serious players that have the expertise you need?
Is the company stable?
If you’re looking for reliable long-term service, the most important first step is to investigate the company behind the service. The one that looks good on paper might be on the verge of bankruptcy or has never made a profit or just opened their doors last month. The choice of your OTT provider should not be a gamble, but rather the rock-solid foundation of your operation. At this early step, find out if the company has been around long enough to inspire confidence that it will still be in business in six months – and six years. Is it a startup looking for its next round of venture capital funding? That’s another blinking yellow light that it may not offer the stability your service needs.
What about price?
Because so many new OTT companies have entered the market in a short period of time, many try to distinguish themselves in the marketplace by lowering their prices. That can result in a competitive price drop that ultimately leads many to bankruptcy. Hitching your service to an OTT vendor on a bumpy ride that ends in a crash is not a way to build a business or a customer base.
Those lower prices may also bring trouble down the line. As your OTT platform develops, you’ll likely want to innovate and offer more services. If you’ve chosen more price conscious providers, the prices will creep up but it’s less likely the vendor will update apps, innovate new services or offer better performance.
Another crucial factor is the OTT end user experience and user interface (UX/UI ). A well-crafted one draws in users and keeps them engaged. What should you look for in a successful UX/UI? The home page is key to engaging viewers. It should provide an automatic carousel promoting specific shows, events and channels and a “watch next” button built on a recommendation engine. That’s exactly what you’ll see if you visit Amazon and Netflix’s home pages – and you shouldn’t settle for less.
What features do you need?
You also need to think ahead to what features to add as your business grows. Once your business is off the ground, will you have tools for transcoding, middleware, security, digital rights management and monetization including features such as ad-insertion? Will you suddenly discover you need to hire programmers to get the services you want?
Setplex knows the questions to ask because we’ve been answering them since we opened for business in 2006. Over time, we developed an end-to-end solution that ticks off all the boxes on what’s required to launch an OTT platform and remain successful.
We’ve been able to help a range of customers achieve success with their OTT needs. ArtMotion, for example, needed our help to build a hybrid end-to-end OTT/IPTV solution to distribute content to customers and to mobile devices over the public Internet. USNile Arabic TV wanted our expertise to distribute Arab language channels via multi-platform apps, with interactive features and subscription management, and SAT.TV leveraged the Setplex platform to syndicate Brazilian channels to multiple ISPs across that country with branded apps and DRM-protected content.
Start small and scale
Our service-level agreements allow new OTT operators to start small, getting the same high level of service as the bigger players, and then scale up as they grow. Through our CDN partners, we’re pushing 80 petabytes a month, which allows us to offer competitive rates and enable you to scale up at your own pace. Our transcoding system is also highly scalable and cost-effective. And our middleware, which forms the core of the platform, allows you to easily manage subscribers, content, business models and customizable user experience – no coding required.
With locations in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the U.S., we offer responsiveness. With our strong partner program, resellers in different global regions provide content or additional services. Our recently launched UI/UX is garnering positive attention and has been compared to those of major broadcaster apps. We offer a complete set of apps that can be branded across the platform, the ability to support multiple business models (subscription, pay-per-view, ad-based) and we never stop investing in user experience.
Have any more questions? We’re happy to answer them.