Understanding OTT


Streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video have been around for some time now, providing the public with instant access to all their favorite movies and TV shows. Missed the latest episode of Bob’s Burgers on cable TV? Just open up your Hulu app! Many consumers have begun switching entirely to these user-friendly streaming apps, and cancelling their cable subscription in favor of using their Wi-Fi connection to watch their favorite media.

“Over-The-Top” refers mainly to delivering media content over the Internet that would otherwise have been delivered via cable or broadcast technologies. Recently however, this has also come to include telecommunication services such as texting and making phone calls. We now have apps that allow users to send and receive text messages, phone calls, video calls, photos, and more through a Wi-Fi signal or data usage rather than phone service providers. Why pay for unlimited cell phone plans when you can do all the same things through a free app?

So what does this mean for the marketing world? Many of these services show advertisements on their streaming/communication platforms. The difference between these advertisements and TV commercials is the consumer is often given a choice of the ads they would like to view. This way, marketers can track which advertisements consumers are responding positively to, and provide more related content to increase sales. However, in some cases not every OTT network allows the viewer to pick and choose the advertisements they view. For this situation marketers rely on “unskippable” advertisements, usually lasting around 15-30 seconds. The consumer is unable to bypass the advertisements that are shown and since they are typically more engaged in the OTT program  than they would be watching cable TV, the advertisements target the audience more effectively. OTT provides marketers with valuable consumer opinions in a convenient and efficient way.