OTT marketplace remains rife with opportunity for innovative entrants

Monday, June 8th, 2015
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New Vindicia and Ooyala Study with Parks Associates Finds OTT Marketplace Remains Rife with Opportunity for Innovative Entrants

  • Keys to success in the OTT market for new players include differentiated features, accurate consumer targeting, and a path to profitability

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — 2015 is proving to be a blockbuster year for over-the-top (OTT) video services, with more than 65 players either offering video services today or announcing plans to do so in the coming months, according to a new study conducted by Parks Associates called The OTT Playbook, Part II: Keys to Building Momentum. The report was co-sponsored by Vindicia, a leader in enterprise-class subscription and recurring billing, and Ooyala, a leading innovator in video publishing.

In addition to active OTT video services from the likes of Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO, and Amazon Prime, a number of leading players across major markets have stated their intentions to introduce OTT services, including SingTel, Sony, Warner Bros.,, and Samsung.

Today, approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide actively watch online video on a variety of connected devices, representing just over 20 percent of the planet’s population, according to the report. An estimated 900 million access TV programming and movies online today. And that number will swell to over 1.3 billion video viewers by 2019, states the report.

So what do consumers want in an OTT video service? The first priority is content. The report found that more than 70 percent of consumers subscribe to services like Netflix and Hulu Plus due to specific titles available through the service, and over one-third of consumers do so in order to access original content. The size of the video library and the amount of recent content are also important factors.

Service availability is another critical consideration, states the report. While in-home viewing of content with a mobile device is common, most consumers want to watch on the largest screen available. Generally speaking, television-based viewing is preferred to viewing on a computer, which is itself more popular than tablet-based viewing.

Consumers also expect an OTT service to be available on multiple platforms. Almost half of consumers who watch video on connected devices want to be able to use four or more different connected platforms to access OTT video content, according to the report.

“OTT services face a race for content and a race to reach consumers on all of their connected devices,” said Vindicia SVP Marketing Bryta Schulz. “However, with so many players entering the market, interesting content and widespread availability alone are not enough to guarantee survival. Players must be able to look beyond their own services and establish strategies to achieve success in the context of heightened competition.”

Specifically, the report identified several areas where OTT services will need to excel, including:

  • Differentiated features: Even quality OTT video services will struggle if they don’t provide consumers with unique features, benefits, and value such as original content, promotional programs, and community building.
  • Accurate targeting: Heightened competition is forcing all players to find defensible niches that they can identify, target, and hold against competitors.
  • Service discovery and availability: While ongoing promotion and discovery of content within the user experience continues to be important as a means of driving engagement and stickiness, viewers must first be able and motivated to find and use the service itself. Availability is also an important consideration, with consumers expecting OTT services to be available on multiple connected platforms.
  • Path to profitability: Several business model and promotional options beyond free trial periods are emerging for OTT services that can encourage greater and/or recurring revenues. Current approaches include ad-free subscriptions, restricted content subscriptions, bundling of linear channels online, limited subscriptions with premium transactional use, and loyalty programs.