Over recent years, we have seen significant growth of over-the-top (OTT) services, with consumers demanding more content across more devices than ever before. According to a recent survey, 76% of US homes are currently subscribing to at least one service; an increase of roughly 6 million households over the past 12-month period.
In the past, the primary challenge for OTT service providers was often related to the initial launch of their offering. How can I get my service to market quickly, but also make it stand out from the increasingly fierce competition? However, as the video industry has matured, and users have gotten used to having a large number of service providers to choose from, companies ought to look at how to continuously grow and optimize their offerings, beyond the initial launch. Video providers need to constantly adapt their services to suit rapidly evolving consumer preferences in order to retain and attract subscribers. At the same time, the OTT ecosystem is becoming increasingly complex and this too can add to the challenges and costs of launching, growing, and maintaining a successful service.
Whatever type of content and service a company is looking to deliver, they will need to consider and integrate with multiple service providers, as well as a plethora of platforms, components, tools, and partners, in order to set their video business up for success in the long run.
An increasingly complex ecosystem
From a customer perspective, there are more OTT services available than ever before. These offerings are accessible across all manner of devices and are often used and paid for in a number of different ways. The average person will regularly use multiple devices and services to watch various forms of content. And, depending on the service, they may be charged for this content either through a subscription fee, pay-as-you-go transactions (or by using an ad-supported offering). The onus is on OTT providers to work out the best approach for their business. They then need to have the right tools in place in order to successfully manage this solution.
From a service delivery perspective, the market is technically fragmented. Today’s media landscape is characterized by a “no one solution fits all” mentality. There are more vendors than ever before, providing tools for specific parts of the media ecosystem – and these parts are all needed to build, analyze, maintain, and adapt a successful video service. This makes it extremely challenging for media companies to navigate the constantly evolving market and determine which combination of tools works best for their needs over time. It also means that the total cost of ownership is high for video service providers as they need to keep up with new tools and technologies and select different parts of the workflow from different vendors.
How can you navigate the OTT ecosystem?
The challenges of navigating the OTT ecosystem will differ depending on what stage of maturity a service is at. At the launch phase, budget constraints will often be seen as a major pain point, whereas stages of growth and optimization are more about using data and analytics to enhance and differentiate the offering. As a result, service providers will need to integrate new technologies and features as their video business matures.
Put simply, OTT service providers need to have a handful of things in place in order to provide a good video experience. These include ways of knowing your audience as well as the capability to analyze how they enjoy and consume content. This data can then be used to create the optimal user experience. Choosing the right technology and partners to optimize and evolve said experience is an essential part of the mix.
The ability to provide a flawless user experience is key to attracting and retaining audiences. Most service providers want to deliver a bespoke user interface that feels uniquely relevant to their brand, while also ensuring that their service is constructed using cost-effective and maintainable components. There are a whole host of elements to consider; from ensuring you have the right security in place to identifying the best way to monetize your service (not to mention, having the right tools to support your chosen monetization model).
In order to form an extensible video workflow, service providers need to skillfully plug the right tools together. At the same time, OTT providers don’t want to be locked into a very specific technology stack as they need the flexibility to adapt as their services grow.
This challenge is the impetus behind Accedo One Marketplace, which makes it simple and cost-effective to get all the elements of a successful video business in place.
Delivering an OTT Marketplace
Over the years, Accedo has built a wide network of technology and service vendors, all specialized in different parts of the video service ecosystem. We used this experience to build Accedo One Marketplace, part of our Accedo One SaaS platform, to enable customers to easily set up different vendors for different functionalities, stack them together for a successful video service, and grow their service with new integrations as the needs of their business evolve.
Through Accedo One Marketplace, customers have easy access to all necessary technology components in the video ecosystem. This means that video providers can connect their services to other technologies in the Accedo One ecosystem to build customer-centric video solutions.
A number of key partners are already available within the Accedo One Marketplace. This includes solutions from Akamai, Amdocs’ Vindicia, Bitmovin, Brightcove, castLabs, Cleeng, FlowPlayer, FreeWheel, InPlayer, Irdeto, IRIS.TV, Jump, JW Player, Kochava, Limelight Networks, MPP Global, Mux, NPAW — Nice People At Work, SpotX, Toolbox, Verimatrix, Vimond, and Vidispine. Accedo’s Software Development Kit makes it easy to extend these integrations with additional platforms according to demand.