OTT in 2020 – What To Expect
How will OTT shape the broadcasting media landscape in 2020 and beyond?
If you’re new to the landscape of broadcast media, you’re likely wondering what Over-the-top (OTT) is. OTT refers to the activity of streaming content directly to viewers and users across the web. The primary focus of OTT has always been convenience; and this is what makes it such a fresh, exciting prospect to consumers and broadcasters alike. Unlike the traditional media channels, the required ingredients for a successful OTT experience start and end at a stable connection to Wi-Fi or Mobile data and a subscription to one of many OTT platforms.
With the pending arrival of Disney+ and Apple TV+, and the continued prosperity of Netflix, Hulu & DAZN, 2020 will be a telling year for OTT. We’re also keen on seeing how platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn start and continue harnessing the power of OTT. Read on as we go over some of the major influences for OTT’s growth next year.
FAANG is a term used to summarize the major online players of modern times – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. You’ll also find the term used loosely to describe other organizations that compete in similar online environments (Hulu, LinkedIn). These companies have taken full advantage of the saturation of Traditional TV & Media and the subsequent rise of OTT – and this is not just limited to Netflix and Amazon Prime. Think of Instagram TV (IGTV), Facebook Watch and the upcoming Apple TV+ as proof that OTT is cementing itself as a massive draw to the online platforms of today. But what can we expect from these guys in 2020? We’re likely to start seeing some big competition in the OTT subscription market as Apple TV+ launches on the 1st of November. Furthermore, Disney’s OTT offering (Disney+) is scheduled to release in the US on the 12th of November. Apple TV+ will be available for $4.99/month, with Disney+ sitting at a modest $6.99/month. Time will only tell whether these surprisingly-low subscription costs will be enough to raise some alarms over at Netflix and Amazon, and we’re intrigued to see what original media they will offer that will overcome subscription fatigue amongst audiences (how many streaming subscriptions is too many?).
Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality
AI is not a new concept to OTT platforms. AI can take many forms when it comes down to OTT and the overall user experience. Perhaps most noticeably is the use of AI technology through Netflix to provide relevant content suggestions & recommendations based on what a user has viewed before. The AI in place here considers the genres of a user’s previously viewed content, actors, producers & directors – the list more than likely goes on. Of course, this act of profiling is not just limited to paid-subscription based services. Youtube have long been using the ‘recommended’ section to tailor content towards a user based on their previous viewing. Providing a robust, consistent user experience simply isn’t enough to stand out as a dedicated OTT platform any more – you’ll need the smart search, the content suggestions and clever data profiling. We can hope to see more data-driven decision making innovations to come in 2020 by platforms, including more advanced concepts such as automated ad insertion and contextual subtitle generation.
But what about VR?
Virtual reality has been a bit of a myth for OTT as of late. 2016 bought news that over 52% of OTT providers were actively researching and getting ready to launch dedicated VR components to their services. However, we’re still yet to see the mass market acceptance which was predicted for the technology. But there’s no denying that VR still poses a promising opportunity for OTT. Misconceptions of VR as a novelty purely for gaming are subsiding – with Hotstar harnessing the power of Oculus VR for audiences, allowing them to watch sports coverage in a full 360 perspective. It remains a big question mark as to whether this technology is truly craved for by passive subscribers of Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime – but the possibilities are exciting. Imagine being able to delve deeper into your favorite shows, explore the landscapes and feel as if you are truly there in the process. We’ll be keeping an eye on how VR performs and transitions into 2020.
2020 and Beyond
We’re excited to come back to this post as time goes on for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020. The OTT landscape is a lively place to be with newcomers & new technologies providing multiple avenues and options for customers. The experiences are getting more clever, the competition is heating up and customers may well start demanding more.