It’s one of those days, when the weekend’s primary task is binge watching. I thought it might be interesting to look up the internet to see what I should binge watch. And I kid you not, there is a whole ecosystem of paid and owned media around just binge watching! Just so many websites with recommendations and suggestion across genres – action, drama, romantic, comedy, romedy, and so many more. And then, there are languages suggestions, monthly trends (Fabulous February), seasonal recommendations, etc. Now that is what I call information overload. It really leaves me confused and indecisive. But who cares, it was weekend and I planned binge watching.
And while we are at this, let me share my pronto perspective on Over The Top (OTT) – one of the most disruptive media distribution concepts. There are three key elements that really come together to create the exceptional experience in watching video on demand.
Undisrupted scalable distribution services
Network infrastructure and connectivity are perhaps the base. Without the support of the high-speed bandwidth provided by the telecom providers, none of these options can be delivered. Ensuring that the delivery mechanism is sorted out, is the base of the pyramid.
The idea is to also build a future-proof network technology that supports a lower incremental investment rate for every increase in bandwidth.
One of the solutions is to move content closer to the users, or “the edge,” using private content distribution networks, or CDNs. Last-mile bandwidth choke points are another issue. The solution has been the use of dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP, or DASH, techniques, leveraging platforms like the Apple HLS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, and Adobe Dynamic Streaming. These employ racks of servers to create versions of the content, at different resolutions, bitrates and frame rates; that can be switched out dynamically, depending on the bandwidth availability to the client device.
While for the urban audience, there is significant effort and attention paid, to ensure undisrupted services. The semi-rural and rural areas are where distribution considerations need to be addressed. Mind you, the exponential growth potential really lies in these segments.
Content is king
Creating a pipeline of unique, compelling content that can captivate large viewing audiences, is perhaps the key. The OTT space is rapidly getting crowded. But I strongly believe the only player to survive this onslaught will be the one with best content. Consumption in this segment will be driven by original content and diversity of the portfolio, and their ability to remain relevant to the discerning audience.
A case in point is Netflix, for both licensed and original content. Globally, their original content is one of the biggest draws to its existing customer base. Shows like House of Cards or Narcos are wildly popular, and are produced only for Netflix.
The discerning audience
And finally the audience… that’s “us”. We have a mind of our own, and choice expectations across the spectrum. So, the OTT service providers better serve up something that meets our moods and desires. Content discovery is the key. Someone should have the plans to be the google of content discovery for the OTT platforms. With so much available, discovery and search are more important now, than ever before, to help consumers access the content that suits them best. Machine learning/Artificial Intelligence pays a massive role here.
The process of discovery through a combination of metadata analysis, behavioural analysis, and editorial control, provide a rock-solid foundation for the online video discovery. And finally, effective and intelligent recommendations, where videos that are not just generally related, but are most likely to appeal personally to each individual viewer is suggested.
Now, enjoy watching and be spoilt for choices!