OTT platforms have fast become the favourite way to access and watch content for many consumers.
In 2022, 1.88 billion people around the world will use subscription OTT services like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. In spite of gradually slowing growth, the headroom for increased usership is still high. Fewer than 50% of internet users worldwide are watching subscription OTT services.
There’s no question that consumers are keen to adopt tailored and convenient internet streaming experiences, often subscribing to multiple services at once. The question is, what’s going on behind the scenes and who/ what makes these experiences possible? Most importantly, could we make them better?
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
We’ll look at the key challenges facing OTT content delivery in the context of the growth of OTT services, the dramatic rise in OTT-exclusive content, and the impact of OTT services on consumer viewing behaviour and expectations.
You will discover how Imagen’s cloud-based media asset management system integrates seamlessly with leading OTT platforms, providing fast, consistent and customisable workflows that enable content producers to deliver media securely and at scale.
WHAT HAS FUELLED THE SUCCESS OF OTT?
There are a number of reasons why OTT services have shown tremendous growth in the past few years, notably:
A GROWING NUMBER OF DIGITAL DEVICES
From smart TVs to smartphones, desktop PCs to tablets, USB sticks to Set-Top-Boxes (STBs), the range of digital devices that can access and stream OTT content has rocketed. Price points for the hardware mentioned above are now so low that equipment cost has become a secondary factor to service costs.
GROWING ACCESS TO THE INTERNET
The number of consumers with an internet connection has risen exponentially too, allowing access to OTT conte nt to increase in step. For example, 93% of American adults use the internet, while in the UK, full-fibre broadband is available to 8.2 million homes (28%) - an increase of 10% year-on-year. A mere 0.4% of UK homes and businesses are still without access to a decent broadband connection, according to Ofcom.
EXCLUSIVE NEW CONTENT
Another major driver in the rise of OTT is the sheer volume of new content that is being commissioned by the major streaming platforms in order to maintain and grow their subscriber bases. Netflix’s worldwide spend alone amounted to around 11.8 billion US dollars in 2020, and is widely projected to continue at 2021’s level of about $17 billion for the coming years.
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR AND EXPECTATIONS
In addition to these enabling factors, consumer behaviour and expectations have changed throughout the pandemic and beyond. Viewing times have fragmented thanks to different flexible working practices, and a tidal wave of content has led to new viewing behaviours. Binge watching new series, for example, and the increasing number of major blockbuster films that premiere on streaming platforms - often at a premium - have cemented the idea that consumers can choose their entertainment, and watch it when they want.
THE 3 KEY PROBLEMS DELIVERING CONTENT TO OTT CHANNELS
Production houses spend millions on creating content. Doesn’t it make sense to deliver it properly and securely?
1 | PACKAGING - COSTLY AND TIME CONSUMING
Multi-platform delivery is a challenge for content producers. When packaging content for various streaming devices or OTT platforms, there’s a requirement for output in multiple different variants at pre-set data rates and resolutions. This causes headaches for media managers trying to adhere to the specifications of each OTT channel, is hugely time consuming, and open to human error - potentially costly problems at this stage of the production process.
2 | SECURITY - LEAKS, ATTACKS AND BAD ACTORS
Whenever digital content that has a perceived value exists, it is of interest to attackers and bad actors, whether they are looking to acquire the data and resell it, or to force the owners to pay a ransom for its safe return. When moving content from one place to another, security challenges are magnified, especially as human error can creep in. Ensuring exclusivity is a crucial part of content delivery, both for revenue maximisation and purely practical reasons.
3 | SCALABILITY - AGILITY AND FLEXIBILITY
Business growth relies on creating scalable processes, but unfortunately, many businesses are plagued with complex and timeconsuming workflows. This is no different for businesses creating and distributing media content to OTT platforms. Many use too many tools, too many steps, and far too much manual intervention to make delivering content at scale a reality. To build consistently scalable OTT delivery workflows without compromising service, they need to be robust, agile and flexible.
HOW TO SOLVE YOUR OTT CONTENT DELIVERY PROBLEMS WITH IMAGEN
1 | AUTO-PACKAGE VIDEO FILES FOR INSTANT DELIVERY TO ANY OTT PARTNER
Imagen’s automated delivery workflows allow you to offer programmed file delivery for broadcasters, OTT platforms, subscribing clients, or even other departments in your organisation.
A workflow is set up in the Imagen platform enabling video files to be packaged up automatically at the click of a button to meet the exact requirements of the receiving OTT or other broadcast platform, such as: resolution, framerate, bitrate, subtitles, metatdata, aspect ratio and so on. This means that a media manager doesn’t need to spend hours manually creating files that adhere to detailed specifications. It all happens instantly and automatically in the platform.
Creating a common packaging and delivery workflow is valuable from many perspectives. It helps to speed up and smooth out internal processes and creates more efficient content handover to external partners, wherever they sit in the creation or value chain.
Workflows can be applied throughout the content management process. For example, Imagen’s Ingest workflow can be used to place content in quarantine before it’s made more widely available. The system is highly configurable, so any approved content can then be given specific access permissions dependent on whether it is to be made publicly available, or only to be seen by specific groups or individuals.
2 | INCREASE AUTOMATION, SO TEAMS CAN FOCUS ON CREATING CONTENT
Enabling packaging and delivery workflows not only reduces wasted time and minimises mistakes, but it frees up creative teams to do what they do best. Ensuring that your creative engine room is not bogged down in admin tasks allows them to create and deliver their best content, while the delivery admin strain is handled by your Imagen platform.
If you are serving content to a wide range of OTT platforms, your Imagen platform will streamline the process significantly, enabling you to scale your operation successfully and prevent errors.
3 | STRENGTHEN SECURITY IN THE MEDIA DELIVERY PROCESS
Preventing unauthorised access to your content during the delivery process requires industry-standard browser security HTTPS to ensure that the connection between the data server and the user’s browser is fully encrypted during data transfer. This ensures that video streaming and file downloads are as secure as they can be.
In addition, watermarking is baked into the Imagen platform, so that all assets can be automatically tagged - both with a logo and within the metadata - before delivery.
One of the most widely-used tools are Imagen’s Access Control Lists, which can be used to set individual or group user access to the platform. In addition, segmentation by organisation and job role, as well as powerful administrator tools that allow managers to specify what each individual user or group can do with any media asset or groups of assets, mean that valuable assets are safeguarded at every step.
- Learn all about the rise of OTT streaming
- Explore the 3 ways to improve the way your content gets to market
- Find out how you can double your creative output
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