NAB 2018: Lack of differentiation for OTT
Walking through the Las Vegas convention center during NAB 2018, one thing was abundantly clear, the OTT space is heating up. From ancillary services to end-to-end solutions, there was no shortage of booths trying to hawk their product made for OTT. There was also a surprising number of new services intersecting with Unreel’s offering in attendance. Although counter intuitive, we view the rapid increase of competition as a great sign. There is a huge opportunity and it is attracting legions of new businesses looking to swoop in and nibble crumbs from the pie. An opportunistic mindset has led to dozens of cookie cutter services popping up quickly, all building the same features in an attempt to be ‘good enough’ to compete. This lack of differentiation in the market is in stark contrast with Unreel’s platform, highlighting just how uniquely positioned we are to dominate the space.
There are four points of differentiation most noticeable between Unreel and our competitors at NAB:
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of seeing so many competitors in one place was not the quantity, rather the eerily similar look and feel of each product. The most apparent point of differentiation for an end-to-end OTT solutions should be features. From both a back-end perspective, and end-user UI/UX, there was a noticeable effort by each service to pitch themselves as unique. In reality, despite their best efforts, nearly every platform was ultimately offering the same experience; a simple variation of the same back end CMS, with analytics, and consumer facing apps with standard carousels of video thumbnails. There is nothing inherently wrong with a cookie cutter CMS, the expected analytics, and a basic video streaming service UI/UX. Those are the classics for a reason. In an increasingly crowded market however, having an X-factor, be it viral engagement features, modular designs or proprietary analytics, will afford a leg up that defines the winners and losers of OTT.
2. Network Focus
In most cases, premium content owners distribute their videos across multiple vertical brands. For these networks, choosing an OTT distribution strategy takes on an extra layer of sophistication, as they must follow a path that scales across their several streaming services. The requisite set of features to scale a network on OTT is glaringly missing from our competitor’s offerings. They do not have what Unreel calls ‘connected apps’. There is no ability to share data across each streaming service within a network to track users behavior. By aggregating this information, and making it available in a central place for the network owner, they can better target their user-base and cross-promote content. It also allows users to use a single account to access the network’s multiple streaming services. Unreel has specifically set out to build a platform that presents networks with a competitive advantage when managing multiple brands on OTT.
3. Reach trumps number of platforms supported.
For most content owners, the primary motivation to go OTT is to expand the number of monetized users viewing their content. What we saw at NAB were competitors whose sole strategy for maximizing reach was to launch apps on as many platforms as possible. That is a great place to start, and something Unreel has always done, but we believe distribution does not end there. We have a stake in our partner’s success, so we obsess over finding them new audiences. We’ve supplemented our app offerings on standard end-points by building strong relationships with CTV platforms to secure tens of millions of pre-installs and prominent placement for our partners’ content. Unreel also has a network of OTT streaming services, with over 80 million installs globally, hungry for content, serving as end-points to distribute our partners’ videos. From day one, launching on OTT with Unreel means reaching millions more than the nearly non existent built-in reach of our competitors’ platforms.
If reaching the largest audience possible is the chief mission of a new OTT service, then keeping that audience engaged is a close number two. Higher watch times justify a higher subscription fee and leads to more ad impressions. Watch time is largely impacted by the quantity of quality content on the streaming service. A greater total of video hours within a streaming service’s library naturally allows for more content to be watched before a user sees everything and moves on. Despite the direct correlation between a large library of content and dollars for the service, it is an opportunity our competitors fail to address. They bring the tech, their partners are responsible for the content, and that’s the extent of their relationship. Unreel goes beyond that, helping our partners source as much content as possible to make their streaming service a success. By creating an ecosystem where content from partners can flow seamlessly from brand-to-brand within the Unreel network, we have amassed a syndicatable library with over 5 million pieces of content any network working with us can distribute and monetize.
Want to learn more about how Unreel has differentiated itself from the pack and is scaling networks across OTT? Click Here!