When it Comes to OTT, if You’re Not Everywhere, You’re Nowhere
OTT’s rapid ascent to the top of the content world can be attributed to a single factor – ease. For consumers, convenience will always win the day. When it comes to content, convenience for users is the ability to watch on their preferred platform in every scenario. Platform and device preference comes down to experience, accessibility and price: three criteria OTT endpoints address with a wide range of options. Conversely, old-fashioned distribution models, such as over-the-air cable and physical copies of content (DVD’s and the lot), are outgunned in regards to number of devices supported. Both require a cumbersome television screen, an outlet, and unsightly wires or no dice. This is the reason cord cutting is so prevalent today and why most people can’t remember the last time they bought a DVD.
It is abundantly clear to most media brands, networks and content creators that OTT is the future; new streaming services are launching at an all-time high for a reason. Of these new streaming services, not all are destined to succeed. A mix of content, marketing and an element of fate all will impact rates of success. There is also another component, important as any to the growth of a streaming service – ubiquity.
Streaming services attempting to extract maximum value from their distribution must rely on all platforms in order to provide users the full convenience offered by OTT. Existing on only a few endpoints still has benefits for modest streaming services trying to find legs, however for those aspiring to truly rise as a leader in the brave new world of OTT it is essential to be everywhere.
There are two major advantages to be gained by streaming services that launch across every OTT platform:
- Maximize Engagement
- Marketing Simplified
The most apparent value of launching on all OTT platforms is the total number of potential users. The more platforms and devices you are on, the greater the potential usership-pie, and the larger your slice becomes. Beyond an increase in total audience size, there is another more important advantage as well; increased odds of finding your power users. Every streaming service, large or small, has key target demo- and psychographics that compose the majority of their top, most engaged fans. In the fragmented ecosystem of OTT, each platform offers a varied mix of experience, accessibility and price; causing them to attract different segments of the market. Launching on every single OTT endpoint provides a streaming service the best chance of finding the platform with users who most align with their target demo- and psychographics, maximizing engagement.
Marketing a streaming service that is not on every platform is a major challenge. It requires finding advertising methods that only target users of the specific OTT platforms supported. Native promotion on each platform is effective, but the instant you try to run an ad on social media, SEM, or in the real world, you’re in trouble. A streaming service only on Roku cannot run a Facebook ad or sponsor a billboard that only targets Roku owners. Instead, those campaigns will be seen by a general audience, but only be relevant to a subset (your fans) of a subset (users of the specific OTT platforms you’re on). This means a significant percent of your marketing dollars go to waste with no chance of a conversion.
Being on a limited number of OTT platforms not only restricts the relevancy of your marketing to mass audiences, but also impacts the effectiveness of your promotional content. Look at an ad for any show on television or a streaming giant such as Hulu. They focus on content, some touch on experience, and all tell you when the content premiers. However, one thing is almost always absent, mention of where you can access the content. A preview for Game of Thrones does not need to say ‘watch on Apple TV’, nor does Netflix have to let users know it is available specifically on Android Phones. These are premium offerings that consumers assume can be accessed everywhere. Streaming services on every platform advertise with a focus on what actually draws audiences in – content. If you are not everywhere, the ads you run always must include the discouraging message, “only available on these devices,” which will disqualify you from attracting millions of potential users.
The Cost Of Being Everywhere
Understandably, not all streaming service can afford to be on every OTT platform. The barriers of entry including cost and development time can be high. The rate at which new OTT platforms pop up also creates a seemingly never-ending source of work for Dev teams. At Unreel, we’ve always understood the importance of being on every platform for our partners. That is why we are constantly working to support new OTT platforms as they emerge and do not charge our partners extra to expand onto them. We want to encourage, not charge, the streaming services we work with to be everywhere. That is what it takes to win OTT, and when our partners win, we do.