There are many more OTT providers than you realize. One service offers to provide you with 600 channels. A Mashable article promises 33 Ways to Watch Free TV Online and of course there are the usual suspects; Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, CBS, Crackle and the list goes on and on. By the way the industry term for Video Streaming is OTT for over the top.
But Which Video Streaming Providers will Survive and Why?
In Secret Formula to Win the OTT Race Keith Zubchevich talks about the importance of quality over quantity. But how do you measure quality?
In our data crazed world most surely the algorithm masters will find a way.
Some would say that quality programming only comes from experienced directors and producers. Some of the most successful shows like House of Cards and Homeland are created, written and produced by seasoned professionals.
It’s difficult to guarantee the creation of lots of successful shows. OTT providers will employ different strategies to accomplish this objective. Perhaps some OTT providers may opt to buy cable networks and/or a cable company. Perhaps Amazon will buy Comcast.
Are YouTube Stars Professional?
Would you consider Michelle Phan, one of the longest sustaining YouTube stars seasoned? Over the last 7 years she has uploaded 300 videos which have received in excess of 1 billion views. Have House of Cards or Homeland attained that viewership? What about PewDiePie? With almost 38 million subscribers and 9 Billion views he tops the list of YouTube success stories.
Is the Experience Important?
In his article Zubchevich appears to devote as much time to discussing the importance of the experience to the quality of the programming. Given today’s 3 screen (and perhaps more than that one day) world no doubt the experience is an important part. Maybe not as important as the quality of the show (a bad show in a good experience still is not going to get great viewership vs a great show with less of an experience).
According to Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco earlier this year, “In 10 years…it will be entirely delivered on the Internet. It will be a series of apps that’s closer to what you see on smart TV. I don’t think it will be delivered on cable, and I don’t think it will be linear”
However no question that the show of tomorrow will need to play to multiple screens and the ability for programming to adapt will definitely aid its popularity. The easier you make it for the audience to view your show and the more you can engage that audience most likely the greater the success.
Is Advertising History and Subscriptions the New TV?
Given that of the top viewed OTT programming a high percentage is on subscription only services and provided on a binge basis are we ushering in a new era of advertising free TV?
I don’t think free tv is going away any time soon. However I do believe perhaps a combination of paid subscriptions and advertising could be in our future. It’s not that viewers hate ads they just hate too many ads. Prime time TV keeps increasing commercial time to where it is almost 20 minutes per hour and it has become excessive in many viewers eyes. However if we need to buy every channel we see the costs could be prohibitive for most and limit the amount of programming that could be produced.
Perhaps the future will bring us sponsored shows with limited advertising but still incur a monthly subscriber cost; similar to how we pay for cable currently where basic cable has advertising.
Redefining the OTT Experience
I think Zubchevich is correct that, in addition to winning the programming acquisition challenges, the next most important initiative will be the enhancement of the OTT experience. Only time will tell who merges, who closes or who buys who.