Over-the-top (OTT) refers to media streaming services that allow subscribes to stream movies and TV without traditional cable or satellite pay-TV services like Time Warner Cable or Comcast. According to Parks Associates there are over 200 OTT services in the U.S. including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBOGO. These streaming services give their subscribers the freedom to choose what movies or television show they want to watch, whenever they want, at a fraction of the cost of traditional cable or satellite subscriptions. OTT video service providers have created a service that diminishes the need for cable or satellite for entertainment, and people are loving it. With roughly 93.8 million Netflix subscribers, 23 million Hulu subscribers, and more than 5 million online HBO customers, OTT streaming has taken over how people choose to view their entertainment. OTT services provide their subscribers with a variety of content at a low monthly cost with the only downside being timed advertisements throughout the episode or movie. These advertisements give businesses the opportunity to reach millions of people and maximize their traffic, profit, and audience. OTT has the capability of targeting viewers down to their zip code and access detailed reports including demographics, lifestyle, and interests. This capability allows advertisers to use advanced analytics tools to target the right audience and measure the results of their OTT campaign successfully.
There are three main categories for OTT media services: Subscription-Based services, Free and Ad-Supported services, and Transactional services. Subscription-Based services are the most common, which include on-demand streaming content from services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video as well as live television providers such as DirecTV NOW and AT&T WATCHTV. These services provide subscribers with content streaming at the tips of their fingers with timed advertisements. Free and Ad-Supported services such as Roku give their users access to free streaming on TV sets. Free streaming is great, but the downside to using these services is that they don’t have as wide of a variety of content as Subscription-Based services. Transactional services such as iTunes or Google Play Movies allow users to make one-time purchases to rent or buy their movies and shows of choice. This allows people to stream the specific content they are looking for and make a single purchase instead of subscribing to a collection of content. With such a wide variety of OTT services, people are able to watch their favorite movies and TV shows without the need for traditional cable or satellite services. OTT services can offer something to business that TV networks can not: expertise in sales, marketing, and customer management. These are an important part of the success of an advertisement because they allow businesses to see how their ads are performing and what changes need to be made for a more successful OTT campaign.