What is OTT’s biggest issue for 2017?

In a recent LinkedIn post, members of the OTT Video Group discussed the biggest issues facing OTT in 2017. This excellent question was raised by Scott Solter, Senior Director of Business Development, OTT, Media and Content at Equifax, a financial services company. At the time of writing, more than 20 people had contributed to the conversation, with recurring themes about the cost of delivery, bandwidth constraints, monetization and content.

For example, Shrirang Nargund, founder of a media and entertainment house in Mumbai, India, said, “Data availability, speed & cost, the foundation of OTT. All technology including live, AR, VR, 360, 4K etc. depends on internet quality. Niche / speciality channels with localized content will win the race. OTT is a highly personalized experience.”

While David Foley, a creator of hardware and software products, video games, arcade & casino gaming machines, commented, “Bandwidth to the home at peak hours with multiple streams as cord cutting expands.”

David Justin, an investment banking advisor, echoed the comments of many others in his criticism of recommendation engines and the ease of finding relevant content, and suggested that, “Maybe more niche OTT services will deliver a better experience.”

What I didn’t see in this discussion was a consideration that the issues facing OTT in 2017 are different in each region. For example, in the USA there is a challenge to making content available: negotiating media rights can feel like tackling an obstacle course. Exclusivity of content continues to be a primary hurdle for mass-market services, while niche subscription businesses will need access to high-value, high-volume specialist content.

A continuing issue in Europe is whether European online startups are disadvantaged compared with global competitors due to European fragmentation. However, the Western European market is more mature than most regions so there are significant opportunities for content providers to increase monetization of video content, in the form of transactional services, ad-supported offerings and hybrid bundles.

Africa is the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market and OTT is thriving as 3G and 4G networks are rolled out; fewer than half of African households have large-screen televisions, with smartphones the preferred screens for watching many TV programs.

In some Eastern European countries, there is a larger issue with pirated content, making it more of a challenge for licensed content owners to launch.

In parts of Asia, the combination of up-front payment requirements and low cost-of-service limits the content selection that can be made available.

Finally, there are countries in different regions that are lacking internet infrastructure, especially in rural areas, that limit the reach of an OTT service.

One of the most insightful comments (in my humble opinion), came from Darcy Lorincz, a live events digital pioneer who is President and CTO of AerNow: “Some of the biggest issues are availability and scale. The current complexity of devices and formats makes OTT unreachable except for those with deep pockets to pay agencies and consultants for complex one-off platform/app solutions.”

This is exactly the challenge that the SotalCloud offering solves. We are rolling out OTT services for clients at a fraction of the cost of “complex one-off platform/app solutions” that Darcy mentions and in a fraction of the time.

To find out more about SotalCloud, which offers a “pay-as-you-grow” model to eliminate the massive up front capex investment, and offers a free proof-of-concept trial, visit http://www.sotalcloud.com/.