From computers and phones to TVs and social media, entertainment options abound everywhere. Streaming services have certainly seen explosive growth since the start of the pandemic. Research on the over-the-top (OTT) market varies, but the numbers are both impressive and mouth-watering.
Research dive, for example, the global OTT market is growing at a CAGR of 19.1% (compound annual growth rate) and generating revenues of over $ 440 million in 2019-2026 alone. And Allied market research valued the global OTT market at nearly $ 122 billion in 2019 and now predicts that it will reach over $ 1,000 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 29.4%.
It’s no wonder that brands are so eager to jump into the streaming game and develop their own OTT solutions. All of these opportunities can be a recipe for failure or success – it just depends on how the content creators plan to stand out from the crowd.
Recipe for failure
Jumping into the OTT world of content management without a proper business plan is a recipe for failure. Businesses struggling to grow typically make one or more of the following streaming mistakes:
- Do not diversify the content: The OTT market already has its superstars in familiar names like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney +. Brands that try to emulate these companies and do it all from day one are doomed to failure. OTT services should not offer the same content that other streaming providers already offer.
- Do not invest in the public: While many viewers find out about streaming content offerings from friends and family, word of mouth is not an effective growth plan. The desire for the content to go viral is also not. In such a crowded marketplace, content creators can’t afford to skimp on their audience’s understanding or hope that viewers will magically stumble upon their platforms.
- Do not monetize correctly: As diverse as OTT solution providers are today, so are their revenue models. The content companies that inevitably fail are the ones that are overpriced or run too many ads.
- Not properly equipped: Brands that try to do too much at once often find that they are not technologically well equipped. Content companies trying to build their own in-house streaming platforms or outsource the work to too many different providers will inevitably run out. OTT solutions with too many cooks in the kitchen will either have salespeople pointing the finger at each other or everyone trying to take credit for them.
Recipe for success
The good news for content companies is that they can take concrete steps to stand out in today’s crowded OTT marketplace and build successful streaming platforms. The recipe for success has four essential elements:
- Create and leverage unique content: For an OTT solution to be successful, the creator must carve out a niche for their content and master it. This means offering unique, exclusive and fresh content – preferably to a large market. For example, MyOutdoorTV.com is considered the “Netflix of the outside world” because it focuses specifically on outdoor and adventure activities, such as hunting, fishing, and camping. Again, more of what other streaming platforms are already offering won’t work. Successful businesses deliver content that no one else has and when they master that, they continue to create and refine their offerings to keep audiences engaged. Personalization and easy search capabilities are key, as artificial intelligence can illustrate what viewers are interested in. TikTok is the best example of mastering unique and personalized content. The social media platform was very successful in short videos as it gave story makers a new opportunity to express themselves. A good rule of thumb is to create around 250 hours of new content and then launch something new on the OTT solution every week. Creators pushing TV channels should also look to video on demand (VOD) to take advantage of existing content they already own.
- Find the target markets: Brands that want to create their own niche businesses and grow aggressively need to find the right audience. It might sound intuitive, but a surprising number of content creators stumble here. OTT solutions must adapt to ecosystems suited to their target markets, test their pricing models and make their names and partnerships known to viewers. Marketing is important, whether it’s digital, billboards or local campaigns. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of price, as it’s usually a barrier to viewing.
- Monetize your market and your industry: Content creators undoubtedly have monetization in mind, but successful OTT solutions understand that they need to balance monetization with user experience. This is why flexible business models are important in the world of streaming.
Businesses today are realizing the importance of content: most know how to create it and some even know how to market it. Where brands stumble is to grow their businesses and stay ahead of the competition. The global demand for streaming services is only increasing. Today more than ever, OTT solutions need a roadmap to success, a recipe for growth.