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The growth of OTT platforms has been unprecedented over the last few years, with content owners, telcos, platforms, broadcasters, and almost anyone who could raise funds from investors jumping into launch OTT platforms. While growth trends might vary across countries, the rationale to launch OTT with loads of content, both live and VOD (Video On Demand), to aggressively capture audiences at scale and eventually take over a lion share of the TV ad spend and subscription revenue has been consistent across markets.

As per a Conviva’s Streaming in the time of Coronavirus report, video streaming went up by 20 percent across the globe during the first half of March 2020, with the USA alone accounting for 26 percent on a three weeks growth trajectory.

increase in streaming viewing hours by region

We could always deliberate on whether an MoM or YoY could have been an appropriate time frame to map the time spent growth; however, we can not ignore that we are experiencing a proliferation of content consumption worldwide.

While quarantines and lockdown might have played a role in increasing the content consumption over OTT platforms, it is increasingly becoming clear that audiences are seeking more control over their ability to access the content they want to watch. OTT platforms have been investing billions of dollars in producing or acquiring original content libraries to differentiate from the competitors. We have also seen many of them structure partnerships that would have been unthinkable like what we have seen with SKY in the UK tying up with Netflix and Disney to offer bundle packages to satiate the hungry consumer.

Imagen’s research findings in the UK market further validated how consumers are pushing the various stakeholders to innovate or be ready to perish.

How are people consuming media?

Charlie Horrell, CEO, Imagen, commented, “The OTT market has become increasingly competitive over the last year, with the likes of Apple TV+ and Disney+ launching; therefore, it’s critical to streaming platforms’ survival that they respond to consumer demand. Partnering with other streaming services or indeed traditional broadcasters – like Sky has already done with Netflix and Disney+ – to offer bundles will allow OTT providers to present a more captivating offering and appeal to more customers. It would also mean they’re not constantly competing against each other, but rather working together to gain a more solid share of the market….. “

Adding assets to the library through original production efforts or syndicating it from the partners can not be just the silver bullet idea to drive user engagement as audiences expect OTT platforms to be more than being a ‘Digital’ version of Linear TV.

Content Personalization, is a way of acknowledging the likes and dislikes of the audience and enabling easy discovery of the assets based on algorithmic predictions that factors all those critical attributes that influence video consumption patterns. The virtuous cycle of providing more content to the user leveraging the insights from their consumption data to give them access to more content is the holy grail of video content experience that every video platform out there is trying to address. Netflix, in the case of video, and Amazon in e-commerce shopping, has done a phenomenal job with content personalization, which most of the video platforms would try to emulate in the next 12 to 24 months.

The increasing number of tech patents around Interactive Digital Video Experiences indicates that while most video players had traditionally pushed for linear video viewing, OTT platforms might soon be looking to offer interactive experiences. An experience like what Netflix’s Black Mirror- Bandersnatch offered would give audiences more control to navigate and pursue a path of their own.

We look forward to delving further into the technology and operational aspects of these two high impact video features and the world of mix reality-based video experiences in our future posts.

For now, tighten your seat belts, sit back and enjoy the ride as content platforms worldwide are busy putting together more content and more features to keep you engaged and cut the cord from linear television.


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