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Choosing the Right Platforms for Your OTT Streaming Service: What You Need To Know.

Neil Van Zyl

Solutions Engineer

May 2, 2024


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Selecting the ideal platforms to support your OTT service launch or growth strategy is an important decision that fundamentally shapes the trajectory of your video business’ reach and reception. As streaming media becomes an increasingly dominant force in global entertainment, the stakes for making informed, nuanced decisions have never been higher. 

The landscape of OTT services is diverse and complex, influenced by regional consumer behaviors, technological infrastructures, and market dynamics. Understanding and adapting to these regional differences, as well as variances between different user demographics, is essential for capturing and sustaining viewer engagement across markets. 

This blog post provides the important-to-know numbers and data points for your consideration when navigating the intricate process of platform selection. By staying on top of the latest market trends and insights, and taking in the nuances among different age groups and in different parts of the world, you can ensure that your OTT business strategy is well-aligned with the unique characteristics and preferences of your consumers. 

Understanding your target audience’s device use habits.

On a global level, Smart TVs and smartphones are the primary devices for video consumption and this holds true for all user demographics. According to a consumer research study recently conducted by Accedo, 76% of users turn to Smart TVs for watching content on video streaming services at least once per week, closely followed by smartphones which is used by 71% of respondents. However, preferences vary considerably across regions. Smartphones are especially popular in Asia, with 88% of users leveraging them for video streaming— a behavior that is even more pronounced in India, where 95% of respondents regularly watch video content on their mobile devices.

Device usage also varies depending on the average age of a service’s target audience. Young adults (18-24) predominantly use smartphones, adults (25-44) show balanced usage between smartphones and Smart TVs, and older adults (45+) lean towards primarily watching video content on Smart TVs. This age-based differentiation in device preference necessitates that OTT streaming businesses optimize their services for both mobile and home-based devices to cater effectively to their entire audience spectrum.

Interestingly, a Conviva report in 2022 points out that the global growth of streaming is beginning to mirror device adoption trends in the smartphone market. For example, Android devices are surging in popularity outside North America, potentially overtaking iPhone in global streaming hours. This trend is crucial for OTT providers to consider, as it indicates the importance of supporting a broad range of Android devices, especially given their diversity in hardware capabilities. Furthermore, the report shows how Smart TVs continue to grow in popularity as the preferred streaming device globally. The integration of streaming apps directly into TV operating systems by manufacturers is leading to increased adoption, as it offers users both convenience and cost savings.

Assessing the potential reach and market size of each platform in your market.

Market share research reveals where your largest and most engaged audiences are located and allows you to strategically target platforms that align with your OTT service’s content offerings and audience demographics. Such insights also aid the efficient allocation of resources, ensuring investment in platform development and marketing is directed towards platforms that offer the highest potential returns.

Connected TVs & Smart TVs

According to Pixalate’s CTV Device Global Market Share Report, Roku dominates the Connected TV (CTV) market in North America with a substantial 55% share, indicating a strong consumer preference and acceptance. Meanwhile, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV each secure 11%, and Samsung captures 9% of the market, showcasing a competitive landscape with significant representation from multiple players. This pattern of Roku's dominance extends into Latin America where the OEM leads adoption with a 45% market share, followed by Samsung at 29% and LG at 11%.

Conversely, in the EMEA region, the market is more evenly distributed among the leading device platforms, with Amazon Fire TV leading at 30%, followed closely by Samsung at 24% and Roku at 23%. This is testament to a highly competitive market without a single dominant platform - something which may make platform decisions even more tricky for video streaming providers in this region.

Mobile Operating Systems

Globally, Android holds the largest share in the mobile OS market, which becomes particularly notable in Europe and Asia with shares of 67.04% and 79.11%, respectively. This widespread adoption makes Android a key platform for OTT services targeting these regions, ensuring that apps are optimized for Android's diverse ecosystem of devices and screen sizes.

However, in North America, iOS leads with a 55.14% share, with Android following at 44.54%. This indicates that for successful penetration in North America, OTT providers must prioritize iOS optimization alongside Android to effectively reach a wider pool of audience.

On the other hand, web-based services maintain a strong position globally, crucial in regions lacking advanced hardware or where desktop streaming remains prevalent. Such ubiquity makes web platforms indispensable for OTT services aiming for comprehensive global coverage.

Determining which platform ecosystem can best enhance market penetration and operational effectiveness.

Launching on the right platform can enhance your OTT service’s market penetration and operational effectiveness, as you can tap into the built-in audiences and leverage established infrastructures to maximize your reach and streamline user experiences.

For example, Amazon Fire TV integrates with Alexa and Amazon Prime, providing OTT providers with promotional opportunities such as visibility on and inclusion in Prime Video Channels, which simplifies subscription processes and quickly reaches a vast audience. Similarly, Apple TV attracts a high-value user base willing to pay more, offering integration with the Apple TV app that consolidates various providers' content for a streamlined experience, while also enhancing the service's brand through a focus on high-quality app experiences. Roku, known for its large install base, increases service visibility through its Roku Channel Store and allows AVOD services to generate significant revenue via its sophisticated advertising platform, making it an attractive option for targeting diverse audience segments.

If launching OTT apps on mobile devices, video streaming services can partner with mobile carriers to bundle their services with mobile plans, often incorporating special data deals that encourage streaming on mobile networks without the fear of data overages.

Each platform and device offers unique advantages and opportunities for OTT service providers. The suitability of a particular platform or device depends on what your business prioritizes, what your customers prefer, and your overarching strategic intentions. Ideally, it might seem advantageous to launch your OTT service across all available platforms, but in practice, businesses face constraints—both technical and financial. Therefore, when deciding which platform or device to include in your OTT launch or growth strategy, it is essential to consider a variety of factors and select the right ones.

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