The changes in the entertainment industry over the years have been staggering. Traditional cable is a dying format and the use of the Internet, downloading but especially streaming, has become the undeniable powerhouse in the way we view media. People have certain expectations now and it is shifting the way we consume and demand our entertainment.
For example, how often do you watch a show where you have to wait every week for the latest episode to air? For many of the people reading this, they would rather wait for an entire season to go by and then watch the whole thing at their leisure. Or they are watching more shows that come out with an entire season all at once, such as a Netflix or Hulu original show.
How does it apply to marketing?
The truth is that the average media consumer these days is a highly demanding audience because they have been given the option to be. Adaption is critical.
What Is OTT?
Originally, OTT was not just used to describe video services. It stands for Over The Top and it can qualify as anything that is operated over something else. For instance, when you use a social media app like Facebook or Twitter, who benefits? The platforms do, not T-Mobile, who has no personal stake in whether you use social media via mobile or on your computer. Instead, it is Facebook or Twitter who gets the revenue from ads you see.
In the last couple of years, OTT has become all the more focused on video, which is understandable. An OTT service would be something like Netflix or Hulu, which stream their content over an ISP or mobile provider but maintain their own profits as isolated entities.
For the sake of this article, we are going to look at video based OTT and what can be done to grow your OTT brand.
Some Statistics On OTT
Just how much potential are we seeing with OTT? You may be wondering about how much growth you can expect as a smaller brand. The truth is there is no way to project that without seeing your business model, but we can make some general leaps on a more broad scale.
First of all, a lot of people are using OTT. According to Comscore, that number is as many as 51 million households across the United States. That is about half of all homes with a WIFI connection.
Why is the number so low given how many people use the web? If I had to guess, I would say it is due to an aging population who is less likely to adopt that kind of viewing technology and more likely to stick with traditional cable. But there are plenty who are growing up with it as a natural option, so projections will be pretty high for future use.
In spite of this, an interesting fact to come from ratings firm Neilsen is that most of that viewing is done via the television, thanks to streaming capabilities on devices like consoles and standalone streamers. What an interesting combination of new and old tech!
As you can see, the potential is there. So how to your create a solid marketing strategy for OTT that will grow your brand?
Creating Your Own OTT Strategy
It's actually easier than you may think and lots of brands are already exploiting the strategy to their advantage. Just a couple of examples:
- Viva Learning, a dental education platform, consolidates their webinar-driven assets through their own OTT channel and a standalone mobile app
- Tim Milgram, a well-known Youtube brand, has put together his own OTT brand to monetize his video content even further
To put together your own OTT channel, take advantage of one of the following platforms. We have put together the comparison chart for you which you can download here:
The beauty of a brand-owned OTT channel is all the omni-channel marketing opportunities that you can suddenly take full advantage of. Remember your target customer is using a crazy amount of platforms including:
An OTT channel can open up all or most of those marketing opportunities for you making your brand findable there and thus building customer loyalty and nurturing community:
- iTunes (through marketing a standalone app for people to access your channel from mobile phones)
- Facebook and Twitter (through live streaming capabilities)
- Youtube (through re-using parts of your video content as well as also live streaming)
- Amazon (through getting access to their Amazon Web Services platform)
An OTT channel can get your brand where your core product can't.
Personalize the Recommended Content
One of the best things that services like Netflix have done is customized and personalized the recommendation feature to appeal to their audience on a person by person basis, The ability to open individual profiles and view there gives more power to personalize the experience.
For instance, say you watch a lot of British period dramas on your Netflix account. A new Netflix Original based around London in the 1840's is released. One of the marketing methods to gain an audience would be to target that person who has been watching Peaky Blinders and Call the Midwife. Doesn't that make more sense than to alert the person who is always watching Comedy Central specials and The Office?
Herein lies the future of personalized marketing: It's not just about demographics and personas. Take Netflix: instead of segmenting viewers by age, gender, or location, Netflix created over 1,000 "taste communities." to be able to make recommendations on related movies or TV shows based on what customers in that community prefer.
We have seen that where you live, gender, age and other demographics are not significantly indicative of the content you will enjoy... Time after time, we see that what members actually watch and do on the service transcends the predictions of stereotypical demographics
There are so many categories, both general and direct, that can be used to find people who would be most excited about certain content. The found footage is one example, but what about those who like alien documentaries? Conspiracy theory movies? Horror in general?
You control the net, so caste it!
Live Video and Downloaded Content
What is better, live streaming video or downloaded content? The answer is both. There is a reason the Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and other platforms are allowing you to choose whether you stream or you download through their app in order to watch that content online.
In a world of smartphones that have to worry about both price and access to data, balanced with viewing speeds and location of viewing, that makes perfect sense. Customers like to have control over how they consume their media, as mentioned earlier in this article. This gives them what they are demanding.
Exploit Naturally Formed Fandoms/Communities
People take their media seriously, so you should take advantage of that fact. Communities are going to develop and fandoms are going to be created. This gives you insight into your audience, a chance to connect with them and something deeply intimate that you can tap into as you continue creating that content.
Never underestimate the power of fans. They can make or break your OTT service.
Level Services for Upselling
How do you watch Game of Thrones on Hulu? You get the HBO addon. What happens if more than one person wants to watch Netflix at the same time? They need to be signed up for more than one screen.
Upselling is a tried and true method of developing any services. Create levels and use them.
Do you have a tip for OTT marketing to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!