54% of U.S. OTT brands plan to change business models in 2021

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021
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OTT Industry: 76% Plan To Change Business Model To Capitalize On Exploding Streaming Demand

  • 84% of media execs plan for continued streaming growth in 2021
  • Advertising is king: two-thirds of respondents use advertising, often as part of a monetization mix
  • 19 different combinations of revenue models now utilized across platforms

NEW YORK — Applicaster, a leading technology provider for simplifying the creation, delivery and management of OTT video applications, in its latest industry report, has revealed that 84% of media executives expect streaming to grow in 2021, with nearly half of those budgeting for more than 50% growth this quarter alone. In addition, a surprising three-quarters of respondents plan to change their monetization model this year, or are considering making a change.

The new report from Applicaster, titled “The State of OTT Revenue 2021”, features insights from nearly 100 streaming executive decision-makers in broadcasting, direct-to-consumer video brands, and multichannel aggregators.

“The study clearly shows top media executives are diversifying streaming and revenue models amidst this tsunami of digital content demand,” said Ido Hadari, CEO of Applicaster. “COVID-19 changed how we consume media, and brands are getting increasingly creative in mixing and matching different revenue models to be able to serve the expanding number of cord-cutters, cord-nevers, and cord-shavers.”

OTT brands moving from single to hybrid revenue models

Audiences are increasingly expecting customization, in both viewing experience and pricing options. This has led to increasing experimentation with different revenue models.

Advertising is the most prevalent revenue model, currently used by two-thirds of respondents, and usually in a monetization mix, according to the study.

However, in 2021, 54% of OTT brands plan to change their business models to appeal to a wider range of viewers, with an additional 22% considering it. Two-thirds of OTT brands are now transitioning to a hybrid monetization approach. In fact, the study showed 19 different revenue combinations currently utilized across platforms.

Flexibility is key as brands plan for Growth

Brands also plan to grow by expanding the number of platforms in their streaming strategies — leveraging the proliferation of Smart TV viewing and its interplay with mobile.

Expansion plans vary:

  • 66% will launch app(s) on more platforms
  • 57% plan to create more content for apps
  • 55% expect to launch more properties/apps on existing platforms
  • 49% will license more content for their apps

“Media executives understand viewer behavior will continue to evolve, long after apps launch. It’s not enough to keep pace by making changes in their app offerings, they need to continuously adapt their business models as well, and appeal to a variety of audiences,” said Devra Prywes, CMO & CPO of Applicaster.


Applicaster surveyed 95 digital media executives and decision-makers at broadcasters, D2C media companies, and multi-channel aggregators for this study, to explore 10 key OTT subjects that define the industry in 2021.

The study’s goal is to understand how brands outside of the “Big 9” platforms are planning for growth and monetizing their content.

Links: Applicaster