Key reasons why broadcasters must integrate OTT into their distribution strategy

By Rick Allen, CEO, ViewLift

As a country with one of the youngest populations in the world, India has adopted digital mediums extremely aggressively. This growth is spurred on in a big way by millennials who have changed the way Indians shop or consume content. Youngsters today are spoilt for choices with the flexibility of choosing a movie or a web series according to language or genre. Given the diversity of a country like India, streaming has huge momentum, as it provides everyone the choice of watching content according to his or her individual preferences.

For broadcasters, there are innumerable opportunities. Firstly, they have to recognize the fact that many viewers are not consuming news and entertainment from cable anymore. Instead, they have shifted to OTT video streaming services to watch whatever they want, whenever they want it. The ways people consume news and entertainment is quickly evolving. For example, according to Deloitte’s 2022 Technology, Media, and Telecommunications predictions report, India’s OTT space is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 20% to reach US$13−15 billion over the next decade. Deloitte says that this growth will be driven by heavy investment in original content, pricing innovations, low data costs, and the rise of short-form content. More importantly, the analyst firm also says that the progression from the early to mass stage might come at a cost to the broader media industry, as subscribers, especially in tier-1 and tier-2 cities, may switch to more streaming content from traditional linear TV.

More and more people rely on digital devices for easy access to entertainment and news consumption. OTT streaming platforms give on-demand access to several types of content, including live news. Viewers can tune in from anywhere with a stable high-speed internet connection and watch the news when it breaks.

As the above Deloitte report notes, the market for providing video streaming services in India is highly fragmented with more than 40 streaming players vying for the Indian customer’s attention and wallet. There are global streaming service providers such as Amazon, Hotstar and Netflix who are competing with local players such as Zee5 and Voot, in addition to a number of regional players. There is huge demand for OTT content, and hence, as a broadcaster, turning to OTT is necessary if you want to maximize your audience and revenue.

Advertising-based Video on Demand models
In addition to the overall surge in streaming, advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) is becoming one of the hottest business models in the OTT streaming space. The Deloitte report notes that AVOD is expected to increase its current revenues of US$1.1 billion in 2021 to US$2.4 billion in 2026. As AVOD audiences grow, many advertisers are making their ad buys around matching their products to what viewers using a particular streaming platform might want to see. Accordingly, more and more Indian broadcasters are adding OTT to their broadcast plan. OTT is appealing to advertisers because of higher viewer-engagement levels on OTT platforms, and increased demographic and other information that can drive more informed viewer targeting.

For example, advertisers can modulate their ad frequency to track streaming viewing behavior, like “binge watching” (viewers who watch more than two episodes of a particular show in a single viewing). These ads are meant to target those streaming over a long period and can be specific to the show being watched. For example, it is estimated that each paying customer in India has, on an average, 2.4 subscriptions (Source: Ormax OTT Audience Report 2021). Adding OTT to your broadcast plan also allows you to attract advertisers wanting to penetrate an audience thoroughly by targeting these binge viewers. This can deliver more ad buys, and if binge watchers consistently return to the shows they’re watching, your advertisers are likely to continue buying your air time.

Broadcasters must also pay close attention to their audience demographics and their expectations from an exceptional OTT streaming platform. Once broadcasters have determined their target audience, they must develop a plan to market specifically to them. They can supplement their broadcast experience by searching for an OTT streaming platform with proven expertise working with broadcasters across a wide range of challenges and opportunities.

Use an OTT streaming platform to integrate OTT into your broadcast distribution and advertising strategy

Advertisers are actively shifting to OTT, but don’t worry: They’re not leaving traditional broadcasts. They’re finding ways to expand their ads to both channels, which means it is necessary to have a strong understanding of both audiences.

To maximize the OTT streaming experience, broadcasters must look for an OTT streaming solution and ensure that their content consistently receives high viewership and engagement. OTT streaming solutions come with several features, like geo-fencing and multi-language support, to take the content to a global audience – a scale never possible with any single broadcaster. A combination of linear and VOD solutions also allows the audience to access aired shows to watch from the archives at their convenience.

Top OTT platforms also provide deep real-time analytics for broadcasters to gauge viewer behavior constantly. For example, a robust data and analytics dashboard gives broadcasters the data to create personalized experiences with recommendation engines, a win-win approach that can decrease user churn and create best-in-class viewer experiences.

As we head into 2023, one New Year’s resolution will benefit any broadcaster: combine linear and over-the-top digital distribution to retain and engage your current audience, and add new viewers.

OTT platformsstreamingvideo streaming services
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