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What is OTT (Over-The-Top)? - The Future of Television

Updated: Jan 30

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, how we consume television and video content has undergone a revolutionary transformation. One term increasingly mentioned in this shift is "OTT" or "Over-The-Top." In this blog post, we'll dive deep into what OTT is, its significance, how it works, and its impact on the entertainment world.

What is OTT?

OTT, short for Over-The-Top, is a term used to describe the delivery of television and video content over the Internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite TV distribution. This evolution of content consumption means consumers can spend time with their favorite shows or movies directly through the Internet without needing a cable or satellite TV subscription.

OTT platforms and services have gained immense popularity in recent years, and they've become a fundamental part of how people consume entertainment in the digital age. Examples of well-known OTT services include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube, and many others.

How Does OTT Work?

OTT services work by delivering content to viewers over an internet connection. Here's a simplified breakdown of how it works:

  1. Content Libraries: OTT providers curate extensive libraries of movies, TV series, documentaries, and other video content.

  2. Internet Access: OTT viewers need a stable internet connection. This connection can be through devices like smart TVs, game consoles, computers, smartphones, and tablets.

  3. Streaming: When viewers select a piece of content they want to watch, the OTT service streams the video directly to their device over the Internet in real time. The content is not downloaded but plays as it streams.

  4. On-Demand: OTT services offer on-demand access, allowing viewers to watch content whenever they want. This access differs from traditional cable or satellite TV, which often relies on scheduled broadcasts.

  5. Subscription and Free Models: OTT platforms typically offer subscription-based models - commonly referred to as SVOD, or Subscription Video On Demand - (consumers pay a monthly subscription for access) and ad-supported free models - widely referred to as AVOD, or Advertising-supported Video On Demand (consumers can watch shows but still have to see commercials). Netflix is an SVOD example, while Peacock is an AVOD example. However, the lines between all of these acronyms begin to blur quickly.

Significance of OTT

OTT has brought about several significant changes and benefits to the world of entertainment:

Freedom of Choice

Not too long ago, television watchers had 4-5 networks to choose from when they sat down at the end of the day. The world today is focused on what can be a vast number of choices and the flexibility to choose between them. This flexibility is a stark departure from traditional linear TV.

Wide Range of Content

Thanks to this dizzying number of platform choices, content is being produced that can fit into even the most niche of audience tastes. That was never possible with only 4-5 networks to watch. Types of content include original programming, classic movies, niche documentaries, and more.

Global Reach

OTT services have a global presence, allowing viewers worldwide to access the same content. This democratization of access has led to the globalization of entertainment.


OTT providers use algorithms and user data to offer personalized recommendations, making it easier for viewers to discover new content they may enjoy.

Disruption of Traditional TV

OTT has disrupted the traditional cable and satellite TV industry. Many viewers have "cut the cord" and switched to OTT services, leading to a decline in traditional TV subscriptions.

Impact on Traditional Media

The rise of OTT has had a profound impact on traditional media and broadcasting:

  1. Cord Cutting: Many people have cut out cable or satellite TV subscriptions in favor of OTT services, a phenomenon known as "cord cutting." This change has prompted traditional TV providers to adapt to the changing landscape.

  2. Adaptation: Traditional media companies have launched their own OTT platforms or partnered with existing ones to stay competitive in the digital space.

  3. Competition: The competition among OTT providers has increased investment in original content, creating a golden age of television with high-quality productions.

Wrapping Up

To wrap up, OTT has revolutionized how we consume television and video content. It offers viewers unprecedented freedom, a vast library of content, and a personalized viewing experience. Its impact on traditional media is undeniable, leading to significant changes in the entertainment industry. As technology advances, OTT will play an even more central role in the future of entertainment. As an advertiser or agency, the time is now if you still need to explore the world of OTT.

Want to learn more? Contact us to discover how we can help you can stand apart from your competitors within the OTT landscape.


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